Without a brand positioning statement you will have no real marketing success, because understanding why customers should buy from you, is the key to marketing your product.
An effective positioning statement doesn’t need to be long and complicated, it should be short and simple, short enough to be able to fit into a tweet. Here are five simple steps to help you create your own unique positioning statement.
1. Identify your main target customers and competitors
By now you should have already defined and verified your target customers and competitors when writing your value proposition. If you haven’t written your value proposition yet follow the link and find out how to write one in five simple steps. This will help you understand who your customers and competitors are, and will help you visualise, design, and test how you can create value for customers.
Startup value proposition: how to write one in five simple steps
Once you’re at this stage and you have identified the customer groups you will need to identify your primary target customer group. If you want to create the perfect positioning statement you will need to focus on one main group of customers. Later on, you will be able to develop additional positioning statements for any secondary customer groups.
We have mentioned in previous articles that it is always good to know who your competitors are, and the same rule applies when writing your positioning statement. Do your research and find out what value your competition is offering its customers and how well they promote this through their marketing. By identifying their values and marketing efforts, you will have a much better understanding around how much time and energy you will need to put into your marketing strategy, and it might help you perfect your brand positioning statement. A great way to monitor your competitors’ progress is by using a competition map, this way you can track your competitors marketing efforts along with the value they are delivering to customers.
Download our competition map template here
2. What makes you different from your competitors
There are numerous ways to start writing your positioning statement but the most important thing to get across to your customers is how you are different to your competitors. What can you offer that your competitor doesn’t? What values and criteria are important to your customers? Here are a few different elements to think about, which will help you start to build your positioning statement
• Customer Benefits
Customers won’t care about your start-up as much as you do, but they will care a great deal about what’s in it for them. If you can offer your customers a unique benefit that no-one else can deliver, it could be very appealing and will help you stand out from the competition. It might be advantageous to talk about customer benefits at the beginning of your positioning statement, to draw them in. When building a successful company most startups focus their business around a common customer problem that needs to be solved. So if you have already found your problem-solution-market fit, you are already well on your way to writing the beginning of your positioning statement.
• Product Characteristics
This strategy may not be as effective as one that focuses on customer benefits and will be used very rarely as it focuses on the product characteristics. Unless your product is something incredibly innovative, unique and one of a kind it can be very difficult to differentiate your product from other competitors in the marketplace. This strategy is not worth doing if you have a similar product or service to anyone else because you will get lost amongst the competition. And your positioning statement will be promoting characteristics that can also be delivered by your competitors.
Pricing is a common strategy used in positioning statements, but this approach is not always effective and can be risky. You will often see brands that offer more to their customers in terms of service, quality, features and benefits, but with these premium features comes a more premium price which customers tend to pay because they are happy to spend a bit more money for a premium service. It might also be worth considering if you could offer alternative payment methods that your competitors don’t currently offer. Could you offer a subscription service or an instalment plan rather than paying upfront? Some brands focus on delivering the cheapest and most affordable service, but unless you are a cost leader in the market and have a good strategy in place to maintain your low costs you could end up losing your point of differentiation.
• Support and Service
Could you offer a different level of service and support to your customers? Take Apple, for example, their devices are a bit more expensive than competitors, but the support and service are excellent. You can set your computer up in store with the help of an apple employee, you can learn how to use your device with unlimited free lessons in the Apple Store and you have somewhere to go for help if your device has any problems. Apple provides premium support and services that people are happy to pay extra money for.
What separates your startup from your competition? What makes you different? Think about the things that make you most proud of your company, and what would provide the most value to your customers. This is a great place to start with your positioning statement.
3. Provide proof
It’s all well and good telling your customers how you’re different to other competitors in the market but you need your customers to believe you, and for that you need proof. You could do this in a number of ways. You could show your progress by sharing data statements, customer reviews and testimonials, or by offering your customers some kind of risk-free guarantee that shows your confident and genuine in what you’re saying.
Write down three compelling reasons people should believe in you. Once you’ve written those down, go through them and ask yourself; Which one is the easiest to digest and understand? Which is the most difficult for competitors to copy? Which is the easiest to incorporate into your brand positioning statement? And which statement stands out and would best prove your credibility?
4. Create your positioning statement
When creating your brand positioning statement it’s a good idea to write down a few different variations. This way you can share the different variations with clients or colleagues and you can see which statement gets the best results and resonates with your target customers the most.
Here’s a positioning statement formula to help you write the perfect brand positioning statement:
For [insert target customer],[insert your startup brand] is the [insert point of differentiation] among all [insert frame of reference or competitors] because [insert reason to believe].
Remember, you’re positioning statement should focus on the value you bring to your clients, why your clients should care about your business and should ultimately get to the heart of why you’re doing what you are doing. Don’t overcomplicate it, just focus on one promise.
5. Make It Catchy
Once you’ve nailed your brand positioning statement it’s time to create your positioning slogan. This is a short tagline of two or three words, which should capture the very essence of your brand promise. The best way to test your positioning slogan is to use it with another brand-name. If your slogan works with another brand-name and doesn’t really stand out, then your slogan is no good. Your slogan might not explain your whole positioning statement, but it should leave customers with a good understanding of what your product Is about, what makes you different to competitors and why they should buy from you.