What Is a Brand Positioning Statement? And Why Do You Need One?
Ever feel like your business gets lost in the crowd? Then it's time to think about (or rethink) your brand positioning statement. Many entrepreneurs misunderstand what a brand positioning statement is actually all about, and they're missing out on everything it can do for their business. So let's fix that. Today we're going to talk about what a brand positioning statement is — and what it isn't. And I'll show you how to create one that will drive real results and make your life easier every single day, whether you’re communicating about your brand or making decisions about your business.
A Brand Positioning ISN'T a Tagline
First, let's clear up a common point of confusion. A brand positioning statement isn't the same thing as a tagline. Both are important, and you can't have a memorable tagline without first creating an effective brand positioning statement. But they serve different purposes.
A great tagline stirs a strong emotional connection with your audience. If you look at examples of some of the most famous taglines, you'll see that many (like Nike's "Just Do It") don't even mention the name of the company or its product or service.
By contrast, a brand positioning statement is a lot more straightforward. It's similar to your unique selling proposition or elevator pitch. While a tagline speaks to your audience, a brand positioning statement serves as a guide for you and your team. Your audience may never see the exact words of your brand positioning statement, although it will inform all of your communications with them. (More on that in a bit.)
A Simple Definition of Brand Positioning
You can think of your positioning statement as the foundation you build your brand upon.
A solid brand positioning statement will clarify these three things:
- What you do.
- The audience you do it for and how you help them.
- The expertise and passion that make you uniquely suited to create the best results for your audience.
At DesignGood, we don't create a single thing for our clients until we thoroughly understand these three aspects of their business. That's because we know that a brand created without this understanding will fail to connect.
How to Write Your Brand Positioning Statement
When working with clients, we use questions like these to shape positioning statements that lay the groundwork for memorable brands. Take a few minutes to answer them and you'll be well on your way to your own brand positioning statement.
- What do you do? What product or service does your business offer? Let’s say that you’re a coach. You do want to differentiate your business by talking about your speciality as a coach (careers, relationships, etc.). But you don't have to invent some totally original new job title yourself. That will just confuse your audience.
- Who is your audience? Who are the people who will benefit the most from what you do? Get as specific as you can here. Your brand doesn't have to be for everyone. Instead, you will be more successful if you focus on the needs of your unique audience.
- How do you help your audience? What needs do you meet for them? How do you help them ease their fears, achieve their ambitions or fulfill their desires? What do they get out of working with you, and how do you make their lives better?
- Why are you uniquely qualified to help them? Your prospective clients or customers have many choices. So why should they select you? What expertise and experience set you apart? Your passion can also be magnetic. So consider why you care so much about the work you do.
- What's different about working with you? We've found that the most successful entrepreneurs often demonstrate their credibility through a distinctive process or approach. For example, DesignGood client Tom Perry of Engaged Pursuit uses the Professional Story as the core of his career coaching.
Use the answers to the above questions to shape your Brand Positioning Statement. Feel free to play around with the order of information until you find what really clicks for you. You may even want to create versions of different lengths that you can draw on in different situations.
3 Benefits of Brand Positioning
Now that you've crafted your brand positioning statement, how can you use it?
- Clear and effective brand communication. You don't have much time to get your dream audience's attention. When you take the time to build a great brand positioning statement, it will help you make the most of every single encounter with your audience.
Whether you're planning your website, shaping your social media feed or following up on an introduction email, it's all about helping your audience quickly understand what you do and why you're the best choice for them.
But, like me, I'm sure you've visited business websites or social media feeds that feel indistinguishable from others in the same field. Or, worse, you can't really get a handle on what the business even does.
A brand positioning statement helps you avoid these mistakes. By using it as a starting point for any communication with your audience, you will draw them in and let them know they are in the right place.
- Smarter, faster, more confident decisions. Most of the time, you'll hear brand positioning talked about in the context of marketing communications. But, as always at DesignGood, we like to think of things more energetically.
Life as an entrepreneur is full of distractions. It's easy to get off track. But you can use your brand positioning statement as a "true north." Refer back to it any time you are trying to decide whether a particular project or client is right for you.
- Inspiration and motivation. A brand positioning statement isn't just about external communications. It's also about the way you communicate with yourself and with your team (if you have one). Your statement can excite and inspire you when you need a boost. So write it in a way that feels warm and authentic to you. Don't fill your statement with jargon or business-speak. That's not what your future self will listen to.
Creating a brand positioning statement might feel like slowing down a little when you're ready to jump in on the more visible aspects of your brand, like building a website or creating a course. But, in the long run, a positioning statement grounds you and leads to lasting success. Taking the time to create clear positioning is just one more way you are telling the universe you are up for the challenge and that you welcome the people and opportunities that will get you where you want to go.
Need a partner in creating a solid foundation for your brand? We are here to help.