Get up close and personal with brand positioning
By Carolyn McMurray, SOCIATE’s Junior Copywriter & Blogstar
It’s time to get intimate with your business’ marketing strategy
Imagine having a relationship with someone without ever having asked a few questions about what they do, what they like, and what they don’t like. You wouldn’t walk into a relationship blindly, so why do so many businesses do just that with their marketing?
You see, a lot of people think they know their business like the back of their hand.
After all, they created it. It’s their baby. But these same businesses don’t really have a solid marketing strategy. It’s all over the shop. When asked who their customers are they reply with, “X, Y, and Z.” In other words, 5% of the population is their customer. That means they have to create content and build a marketing strategy that entices three different kinds of people. That’s pretty hard to do.
Businesses who have a sort of vague hum-drum idea about their target audience and value usually don’t understand themselves that well. If they did, they’d hit the nail on the head with their marketing. They’d create content that speaks to their customers (and they’d have a very good idea of who those customers are).
So, how do you get to know your business better? How do you craft a marketing strategy that gets your audience hook, line, and sinker? The answer lies in brand positioning; a concept that will help you understand your business and its strengths and weaknesses.
What is brand positioning?
Think of positioning as your business foundation. It’s what everything else rests upon (marketing, content, culture). It’s a concept that defines how your product/service is the best on the market and the kind of values that your customers care about. It’s well-defined and descriptive. It helps you better understand your target audience, so you can craft a marketing strategy that cuts through all the noise.
In a nutshell, it defines:
- Who your competition is
- What makes you different from your competitors
- What value your product/service brings
- Who your target audience is
- What your niche is
Why is brand positioning so important?
When you know what your positioning is, you begin to understand your business on a much deeper level. Rather than coming up with a marketing strategy that’s all over the place, brand positioning will ensure you target the right customers, cut out time-wasters, and get more sales.
Marketing without a well-defined set of values might draw in some customers, but it isn’t the best strategy possible. When your positioning is here, there, and everywhere (in other words, you have no clue) you’ll have to cut through a lot more cold leads. You’ll also find that pitches become a lot more difficult to sell. If you don’t even know your own business, how can you expect to explain it in a way that gets customers excited?
Short answer is, you can’t.
A lot of companies have a completely different idea of what their positioning is compared to their customers. This is why it’s so important to know and understand who your customers are.
In fact, they’ll be the very ones helping you figure out this whole positioning thing.
Top tactics for finding your brand positioning
It’s time to get up close and personal with your business. No matter what industry you’re in, there will always be competition. Unless you’re the love-child of Elon Musk and Bill Gates, your product/service probably isn’t one of the first of its kind on the market. There’s bound to be a lot of other businesses selling similar products/services to you, all waiting to be snapped up by customers.
So, how do you position yourself in a way that pulls in customers and sets you apart from the crowd?
Turn to your customers
The best place to get info on how to position yourself lies with your existing customers. Ask them questions. Get their feedback on how they see your business. A lot of people use loss analysis to extract this info, but there’s an even better route. Instead of asking customers why they don’t choose your business or why you lost a deal, turn your attention to why they do choose you (AKA win analysis). There are a million reasons why people won’t choose you (and this only makes it harder to scope out your positioning) but only a handful of reasons why they will pick you.
Instead of asking why your customer didn’t pick you, ask them:
– Why did you choose to buy our product/service?
– What turned you away from our competitors?
– What triggered you to make a change and look for this particular product/service?
– Where did you find out about our company?
– Where did you find out about our competitors?
– How did you narrow down your list of choices before choosing us?
Getting your hands on this info is golden. It will help you understand what sets you apart from the competition and where your value lies. You can then use this to shape your position, and win and retain more customers.
Get intel on the competition
As well as asking customers their opinion, you’ll need to do a little digging of your own on the competition.
But how do you get your hands on top-secret competitive intelligence info? An easy route is to scan all your competitor’s sites and reviews – this way, you’ll get a quick glimpse into what they’re doing well (and where they’re missing the mark).
If you want a bit of 007-esque action, then you’ll need to turn to your sales team. They’re the ones who talk to customers all day long, so they’ll easily be able to extract this info. After all, customers window-shop before making a purchase. They might even have tried a few products/services out before coming to you. As soon as they come to your sales team, listen and take note. If they complain about pain points or their poor experience with other businesses, you’ve got your info. Both of these things are a sign of what your competition doesn’t have. Use this to your advantage and make it something that you do have.
Once you’ve nailed your brand positioning, you’ve got to be consistent. This is what you’ll become known for.
This is what people will think of when they see your logo. It’s what makes a company like Innocent Smoothies so recognisable – their positioning is fun and quirky, and they regularly poke fun at themselves. They’ve been consistent with this positioning, and know exactly how to reel in the right kind of audience.
This is especially important if you’re a service-based business. Since your products aren’t physical, you’re essentially selling an experience. Use your positioning to create an experience that’s consistently in line with your values and what you do as a business.
Take your business out for dinner
Turns out brand positioning isn’t too difficult to figure out after all. It just means getting to your know your business and taking a bit more time to understand it. Not only will it strengthen your brand’s reputation, but it will also help you align your business to a marketing strategy that gets results.
So, take your business out for dinner and get to know it a little better.
Maybe you’ll find out a few things that will surprise you.
If you’re still scratching your head over this whole positioning thing, we get you. It’s what we’re here for.