You’ve been told it’s a best practice to set yourself apart from competitors to be successful in the market. While this sentiment is certainly true, it’s only one part of the equation. If you want to excel in your market, you need to consider brand positioning—the process of ensuring your business is perceived as favorable, valuable, and credible in the minds of customers.
Why Is Brand Positioning Important?
If you take brand positioning seriously, you can greatly benefit from:
- Greater brand recall. Whether you want to be known as the fun, safe, or luxurious brand, positioning your products and services helps customers more readily recall your business with respect to your desired qualifier.
- Additional ways to compete. When you’re a newer, unknown business, you typically have to compete on price. But once you position your brand with the right perception, you can compete on aspects such as quality or overall value. This opens the door to additional pricing strategies and higher profit margins.
- Higher conversions. When your brand is properly positioned in the market, there’s a lower psychological hill to climb with customers since they already know about you. This knowledge—and hopefully trust—makes it easier to get the sale.
Brand positioning can positively impact your business; however, for it to be effective, you’ll first need to come up with a brand positioning strategy. Strategy is an important component of any initiative. If you want to learn how to develop a powerful brand positioning strategy for your business, check out the steps below.
How To Create a Brand Positioning Strategy
1. Review your current brand positioning.
If you just started your business, it’s likely you have no positioning. In that case, you’ll be starting from scratch, so there’s not much to review. But if you’ve already introduced your products and services to the market, it’s crucial to assess the current perception of your offering.
First, look at the types of customers buying from you. Who are they? Do they differ from the types of customers you originally envisioned? How do your customers view and engage with your brand?
Then, review your business vision, mission statement, marketing messaging, and any other aspects that would impact your brand perception in the market. How do these elements align with what you learned from your customers?
Answering the above questions provides a strong starting point to develop your brand positioning strategy.
2. Perform competitor research.
Now it’s time to see how you stack up against the competition. If you put together a business plan and have been observant of the market, you should already know your competitors by name. If not, you can conduct market research to surface a few businesses selling similar products and services.
Once you’ve identified your competitors, it’s time to assess their brand positioning strategy:
- What products and services do they offer?
- What are their strengths and weaknesses?
- What do customers say about these companies?
- What marketing tactics do they employ?
- What kind of image and voice do they display on social media?
- How in alignment are their image and voice across channels?
These are just a few key questions to inform your analysis. Try to learn as much about your competitors as possible—the more you know, the clearer you can establish your brand position in the market.
3. Determine your unique value proposition.
Analyzing your competitors helps you identify gaps in the market your brand can fill. This is where you can formulate your unique value proposition, a promise of value you provide to your customers that lets them know why they should choose your brand over another.
For example, maybe your competitors all offer subpar customer service. Customers readily complain online about the service they receive. Through your research, you gauge that many customers would be willing to switch to a brand that offered comparable product quality and better service. This aspect could be the foundation of your new brand positioning strategy.
4. Craft and implement a brand positioning statement.
Now take everything you learned from the previous steps and transform your insights into a concrete statement of your brand positioning strategy. When doing so, ensure you answer these questions:
- Who is your target audience? Reconcile any audience discrepancies between your original audience and the audience you identified in your positioning review, then put yourself in their shoes. Create the statement using verbiage they would connect with.
- What is your unique position in the market? Recall your competitor research and the market gap you identified. Put in words how your brand addresses this unmet need.
- What’s the greatest benefit of your brand? Note the best aspect of your brand that will entice customers to buy from you over competitors.
- What’s the proof of that benefit? It’s not enough to simply believe your offering is the best. You need to be able to prove it. For example, with the customer service example, you could use social proof in the form of customer reviews and testimonials.
5. Assess your statement and measure success.
After implementing your brand positioning strategy, it’s important to gauge its effectiveness over time. Customer feedback will be your primary source of insights here. Try developing and distributing customer surveys, making sure to ask whether they’ve noticed any changes in your marketing or other brand elements. Also, ask how their thoughts and feelings about your brand have changed before and after your brand positioning changes.
You can also use indirect assessment methods, such as reviewing your marketing efforts. Are your campaigns performing better after repositioning your brand? Look at engagement and conversion rates. To achieve your desired results, it may be necessary to revisit or tweak aspects in the strategy-building process above.
The steps above on building a brand positioning strategy provide a solid walkthrough on formulating one of your own. Be sure to consider the unique context of your business and the market you operate in as you proceed through the process.