The world, connected by the internet, is a vast marketplace, teeming with brands vying for the attention of customers.

In this bustling space, each brand occupies a unique position, much like a stall in a market. This position is not a physical location though, but a mental space in the minds of customers. It’s shaped by their perceptions, experiences, and interactions with the brand.

Every interaction a customer has with a brand, from seeing an advertisement to using a product, contributes to the formation of this mental image, a perception of the brand. It’s a dynamic, evolving space that changes with every new product, campaign, or customer experience.

Perception is a powerful lens through which customers view brands. It’s influenced by a myriad of factors, from the quality of products to the tone of customer service. Each brand is perceived in relation to others, creating a competitive landscape in the customer’s mind. These perceptions influence their purchasing decisions, brand loyalty, and word-of-mouth recommendations.

The downside of inadequate or non-existent branding

In this bustling marketplace, a clear brand is not just a luxury, but a necessity. Without it, businesses may find themselves grappling with several challenges that can hinder their growth and success.

Brands struggle to stand out: The first challenge lies in differentiation. In a sea of competitors, each offering similar products or services, standing out can be a daunting task. Without a clear brand position, a business may struggle to carve out its unique identity. This lack of identity can lead to customers perceiving their offerings as generic or interchangeable with those of other companies. The business becomes lost in the crowd, its voice drowned out by the cacophony of the marketplace.

Inconsistent messaging: Another challenge posed by weak branding is inconsistent messaging. A brand’s message is its voice, its way of communicating with its customers. When a brand lacks a clear positioning statement, its messaging can become inconsistent and confusing. This can dilute the brand’s image and make it harder for customers to understand what the brand stands for and what it offers. Inconsistency in messaging can also lead to a lack of trust, as customers may question the credibility of a brand that seems unsure of its own identity.

Perceived to be generic: Perhaps one of the most detrimental effects of a weak brand position is the risk of being perceived as generic. In the absence of a clear positioning statement, customers may fail to see what sets a brand apart from its competitors. The unique benefits and values that a brand offers can become obscured, leading customers to view the brand’s products or services as generic. This can result in lower customer loyalty and reduced competitive advantage.

strtgcommsgrp - brand positioning statement

Seeking to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

A strong brand position serves as a strategic tool that can help businesses overcome these hurdles and steer their brand towards success.

Providing a clear focus: A brand position, served by a strong statement, provides a clear focus for all marketing efforts. It acts as a roadmap, guiding the brand’s marketing strategies and campaigns. With a clear positioning statement, businesses can ensure that all their marketing activities are aligned with their brand’s identity and values. This alignment helps in creating a consistent brand image that resonates with the target audience, thereby enhancing brand recognition and recall.

Ensuring consistency in messaging: Consistency in messaging is crucial for building a strong brand image. A brand positioning statement serves as a reference point, ensuring that all communications from the brand convey a consistent message. Whether it’s an advertisement, a social media post, or a customer service interaction, every communication is an opportunity to reinforce the brand’s positioning. By ensuring consistency in messaging, a brand positioning statement helps in building a cohesive and reliable brand image.

Guiding product development and business decisions: Beyond marketing, a brand positioning statement can also guide product development and business decisions. It ensures that every new product or service aligns with the brand’s positioning, thereby reinforcing the brand’s image and value proposition. Moreover, it helps in making strategic business decisions that are in line with the brand’s identity and goals.

Sidebar: The lighthouse effect: How a strong brand draws customers

In the vast marketplace, a strong brand acts as a magnet, exerting an irresistible pull on customers. This magnetic pull is not merely a result of superior products or services, but a manifestation of the brand’s positioning.

How does this happen?

Creating a sense of belonging: A strong brand creates a sense of belonging among its customers. It resonates with their values, aspirations, and needs, making them feel understood and valued. This sense of belonging is a powerful force that attracts customers to the brand, making them feel part of a community that shares their values and understands their needs.

Building emotional connections: Beyond meeting functional needs, a strong brand builds emotional connections with its customers. It taps into their emotions, aspirations, and experiences, creating a bond that goes beyond the transactional. These emotional connections make the brand more than just a provider of products or services, transforming it into a trusted friend, a reliable partner, or even a symbol of the customer’s identity.

Fostering customer loyalty: The magnetic pull of a strong brand fosters customer loyalty. Customers who identify with a brand’s positioning are more likely to stick with the brand, even in the face of competition. They become advocates for the brand, spreading the word about it and contributing to its growth.

Guiding customers with a lighthouse: A strong brand serves as a lighthouse amidst the sea of competitors, guiding customers towards the brand. It provides a clear signal of what the brand stands for, helping customers navigate the crowded marketplace and find their way to the brand.

strtgcommsgrp - how a strong brand draws customers

A 5-step guide to putting together a brand positioning statement.

How can you start to build a strong brand for your business? We begin with creating your brand positioning statement.

A brand positioning statement succinctly encapsulates the essence of the brand, acting as a compass for all brand-related decisions.

Here are some examples of brand positioning statements from recognised brands.

  1. Amazon: For consumers who want to purchase a wide range of products online with quick delivery, Amazon is a one-stop online shopping site. Amazon sets itself apart from other online retailers with its customer obsession, passion for innovation, and commitment to operational excellence.
  2. Nike: For athletes in need of high-quality, fashionable athletic wear, Nike offers customers top-performing sports apparel and shoes made of the highest quality materials. Its products are the most advanced in the athletic apparel industry because of Nike’s commitment to innovation and investment in the latest technologies.
  3. Slack: Slack is the collaboration hub that brings the right people, information and tools together to get work done. From Fortune 100 companies to corner markets, millions of people around the world use Slack to connect their teams, unify their systems and drive their business forward.

The brand positioning statement is a concise description of three key elements:

Here are five steps to take when creating a brand positioning statement.

  1. Identify your target audience: This is the first and arguably the most crucial step in creating a brand positioning statement. It involves understanding who your customers are, what they value, and what their needs are. This can be achieved through market research, customer interviews, surveys, and data analysis. The goal is to gain a deep understanding of your customers’ demographics, psychographics, behaviours, and needs. This knowledge forms the foundation upon which the rest of your brand positioning is built.
  2. Analyse your competitors: This step involves understanding your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. It’s about identifying where your competitors excel and where they fall short. This can be done through a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats), competitor profiling, and market analysis. By understanding your competitors, you can identify gaps in the market that your brand can fill and position your brand in a way that sets it apart from the competition.
  3. Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Your USP is what sets your brand apart from the competition. It’s the unique value or benefit that your brand offers, which your competitors don’t. Identifying your USP involves understanding your brand’s strengths, capabilities, and unique attributes. It’s about pinpointing that unique feature, benefit, or characteristic that makes your brand stand out in the marketplace.
  4. Define the key benefits of your brand: This step involves understanding what your brand promises to the customer. It’s about defining the key benefits or values that your brand delivers. These benefits could be functional (what the product does), emotional (how it makes the customer feel), or self-expressive (what it says about the customer). Defining these benefits helps in crafting a brand positioning statement that resonates with your target audience and communicates the value your brand offers.
  5. Craft your brand positioning statement: This is the final step where you combine all the above elements into a concise statement. Your brand positioning statement should clearly articulate who your target audience is, what your brand’s unique selling proposition is, and what key benefits your brand offers. It should be simple, clear, and compelling, effectively communicating your brand’s unique position in the marketplace.

Here are two templates that you can use:

  1. [Brand] provides [key unique benefit] for [target audience] that needs to solve [key challenge] by [reasons to believe]. We are different from our competitors because [insert differentiation – how is your product/service different].
  2. For [target audience], [brand] provides [key unique benefit] to solve for [key challenge] by [insert reasons to believe]. Different from our competitors, we [insert differentiation – how is your product/service different].

This process can help position your brand in the marketplace and serve as a guide for all your brand-related decisions and actions.

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