It’s the Positioning, Brilliant.

Mar 5, 2024

Sure, I could have been more provocative with the title, but I’m not trying to “position” this article as a hatchet job on those who undervalue the importance of brand positioning. Nor would I suggest that only the most successful companies recognize the value of positioning.

After all, plenty of companies have launched and even scaled without effective positioning. For example, companies born from viral success might never even think about positioning. But we all know virality has its ups and downs. In the long term, no company can thrive on a single moment of digital fame. When the dust settles, a brand without strong positioning will find itself wandering aimlessly as positioned competitors slowly consume their initial lead.


Positioning Extends Success


Success is rooted in three things – brand, reputation, and marketing. Yes, there are other “behind the curtain” critical factors, like leadership, vision, product, and talent. Businesses can have all these and still fall short if they neglect the former. But even an organization that recognizes the importance of brand, reputation and marketing could be missing out on the full potential of their business if they forego positioning.

So, what is positioning precisely?

Positioning is the strategic placement of a brand within the view of consumers. It is the process of taking your brand, reputation and marketing and artfully arranging them in a way that is appealing and distinct to your brand. You can’t have positioning without brand, reputation and marketing, but without positioning, your business runs the risk of blending in rather than standing out.


Positioning is More Than a Statement


When people hear positioning, their minds immediately go to positioning statements. Don’t get me wrong, a solid positioning statement is an excellent tool to guide the actions of an organization, but there’s one thing to keep in mind: positioning is more than just a statement.

A positioning statement outlines who you are, who you serve, and what you do. It serves as both a reminder and a guide. But words without action are just words. A statement no one believes in can’t drive strategy. A position that is never reevaluated runs the risk of going stale. Positioning statements should be treated as living, breathing documents that grow and evolve alongside your organization.


Finding Something Brilliant to Say


So, we’ve established the importance of positioning, but how do you actually go about creating it?

First, bring your key internal stakeholders together, along with an outside, impartial party – like an agency – to keep you grounded. Sometimes, we don’t realize when we’re drinking our own Kool-Aid.

Next, hold a session or two to land on the five critical pieces of positioning: audience, company definition, point of differentiation, benefits and the reason to believe. Don’t overthink it or wordsmith it at first. Just get it down and agree on it conceptually.

Then you can go back and tweak it, twist it and turn it around until you land on the final product. By now, you should be excited about it. You should believe it will sell, differentiate and guide your marketing strategy.

Now, get out there and live it.