How to Write a Strong Positioning Statement

The brand positioning statement is such a useful tool for marketing strategy. The positioning statement lays out how you’re going to “position” your brand to make it appealing.

The words that you use to describe your business could be very different depending on who you’re talking to (your target market). That’s why you can have several positioning statements if you have different types of customers. Each different type of customer needs a value proposition that speaks to them directly.

 

How to Write a Positioning Statement for Your Business

A foundational step for solidifying your branding is to craft a statement that will describe how you’re going to position your brand. A positioning statement is a specific message, and it’s aimed at a specific target audience. It can serve as a guide for your branding, and your company can refer to the positioning statement internally when you’re crafting those outward facing marketing messages.

When you’re making this position in statement, you have four major decisions.

  • target audience
  • industry category
  • main benefit you’re providing
  • how you’re going to differentiate yourself from all the other competitors

I’m going to walk you through an example of a positioning statement and notice how those four elements are going to come into play. In this example, we’re going to pretend that we’re marketing a new art gallery.

Brand Positioning Statement Example

For millennial art collectors who love to travel, Hidden Light Photo Gallery is the contemporary photography gallery that will bring the beauty of the world to you because it displays captivating images from the furthest reaches of the Earth.Let’s break this down: for your target market, it is the business within an industry category that provides a main benefit, and it sets itself apart from all the other art galleries.

Target Market

Defining your target market (also called target audience or buyer persona) means listing every characteristic you know about your ideal customer. And you can go back through your transactional data and see who your most profitable customers were.

If your customers are business customers, then you’re thinking about things like firm size and company culture. What a company’s decision making processes is like-you’re taking all these traits. For consumers-if you’re selling to in consumers than you’re thinking about other things like demographic, what the individuals interests are and maybe what their purchase occasion is.

So you take all these traits and you put your customers into groups and you think about: what’s the size of this customer group? What’s their growth potential? What’s their profitability?

You choose your ideal customer group based on these traits, and you consider what this group really needs. And how is your business going to meet this group’s need better than anyone else? What resources do you have that are perfect for this target?

Industry Category

Next you have to communicate your value proposition to that group. You start with your industry category to instantly establish in the customer’s mind what market you’re in. This sets the stage for explaining your brand. You want to use the most familiar terms when you’re choosing your industry category. Think about the words people use when they’re thinking about your market.

It’s very rare that a company would ever need to create a completely new industry category. Even if you’re entering a new or nascent market, look at the trends and jump on board with whatever’s the most dominant category label right then.

And it would have been really difficult in the days when the horseless carriage was invented to know what the most dominant terms were to be able to do that research. But now we have Google trends that we can look at and we can see what words people are using to search around your industry.

Key Benefit

Now choose the main benefit of your brand. Your company has a lot of benefits that it’s offering your customers, but first you choose the main one that gives the most value to your target market, and it might not be obvious.

A lot of times the functional benefit you’re offering has an underlying emotional benefit, and that aspect might be the reason that customers actually buy your product. Dig in and you decide what’s really the most important aspect of the product that you’re offering. You’ll have secondary benefits as well. In our example gallery, a secondary benefit of the art gallery might be nostalgia.

Differentiator

Finally, think about your differentiation from your competitors, your unique selling proposition. Really look at your resources versus your competitors’ resources to reasonably determine what unique value you can provide. And how can you convince your target customer that you can provide them the most value beyond what your competitors can provide? Convince your potential customer that your product is the perfect solution for their specific pain points.

Positioning Strategy

Back to our example:

For millennial art collectors who love to travel, Hidden Light Photo Gallery is the contemporary photography gallery that will bring the beauty of the world to you because it displays captivating images from the furthest reaches of the Earth.

Our target audience is based on demographic and interest. The category is well defined. The main benefit is aesthetic, and you’re focusing on something different than all the other art galleries. All of these elements combine to form the positioning statement that defines your brand positioning strategy and brand identity, and sets the stage for defining your brand personality.

When you write your positioning statement, keep in mind that this is NOT a mission statement. A mission statement lays out your values and “why” you’re in business. A brand positioning statement helps you communicate your value to a specific audience. This will guide your marketing.

Your positioning statement is really going to unify your marketing efforts. You can have several positioning statements, especially if you’re targeting lots of different groups of people or you’re providing several products or services. I encourage you to sit down and go through this to write your own positioning statement. Define how your brand will position itself within the market. How will this impact the rest of your marketing?

 

Ava Shije presenting on brand positioning statements
Ava Shije presenting on positioning statements at PechaKucha Strategy Night

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Ava Shije
Founder

Ava Shije creates intentional website strategies that draw in new visitors and convert them into customers. Her focus is on web design, optimization and engaging website content.

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Comments (1)

Nice presentation! I like the idea of positioning statements for each audience, rather than “goals,” although I understand the connection. Loved the integrated graphics.

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