By Re Perez
Your brand is only as strong as the energy you put into it. Branding requires synchronized efforts of several moving parts in order to create a perception in the marketplace that drives your business forward.
Brand Positioning is perhaps the most critical and foundational component of a broader 5-phase brand-building process used by BRANDING FOR THE PEOPLE, a leading branding agency I started for entrepreneurs.
What exactly is Brand Positioning? And, why is it so important?
Let’s start with defining the term. Simply put, Brand Positioning is the place you want to own in your target audience’s mind. It's exploring, identifying, and refining your distinctiveness.
But why exactly is Brand Positioning so important? The results of honing your unique stance in the marketplace may seem obvious, but without understanding the real significance, it's easy to take Brand Positioning for granted. Doing so, you’ll join thousands of other entrepreneurs who miss this critical component and make the mistake of going directly to choosing logo and colors.
Here are seven distinct (and overlapping) reasons why Brand Positioning is so critical.
1. Brand Positioning creates market differentiation
Let’s face it: the world doesn’t need another widget. However, if your company, products, or services provide a unique proposition, resolve an unmet need, or deliver a desired experience, then Brand Positioning will help you stand out from the crowd by articulating how you are different.
2. Brand Positioning breaks through the clutter of noise
A clear Brand Position enables you to efficiently and effectively communicate and reach your target audience. Every day, we’re bombarded with marketing and sales messages at every corner. Everyone is vying for your time and attention. In the midst of all this noise, your Brand Positioning breaks through the clutter by speaking directly to the people you intend to attract. Rather than shouting to an empty room or to a crowd who doesn't care about you, your brand is seen and heard clearly (and not in the style of Charlie Brown’s teacher).
3. Brand Positioning makes it easier for people to buy from you
Consumers want easy decisions. They don't want to screen 30 alternatives in order to find the right one for them. They want to know easily and quickly who to trust and what to buy. Consciously and subconsciously, Brand Positioning triggers an emotional response from your target audiences. If the right levers are pulled in the shortest amount of time, you increase the likelihood for people to decide “yes.”
4. Brand Positioning enables you to compete on value (not price)
Whether your brand is consumed by the mass market or is a limited luxury item, Brand Positioning gives you clarity on your specific value. Your value is what you offer customers, how it satisfies their needs best, and how the alternatives offered by competitors are insufficient. Without Brand Positioning, you have nothing to offer but ambiguity. No one values (or buys) ambiguity.
5. Brand Positioning justifies pricing strategies
Sometimes, even when your value is known, your brand still needs price justification. Brand Positioning is where you've identified and compared your brand to the competition and their specific offering, which informs whether your price point is strategic and justified. Are you higher? Lower? Is it clear why? Will consumers respond favorably?
6. Brand Positioning amplifies your storytelling, copy, and messaging
Without knowing your Brand Positioning, how can you write copy? How can you write about yourself, if you don’t know where your brand sits on the spectrum? You can't. It's impossible to communicate to an audience when you don't accurately understand your brand’s uniqueness or its competition. You might as well try to sell ocean-front property in Arizona to a fence post in Arkansas.
7. Brand Positioning makes your design more creative
Visual design must build off a clear story, which requires an understanding of positioning. Would you pick blue or red without knowing what your competition uses? What if you didn't know, for instance, that consumers’ taste for specific foods is influenced by color? It really is no different than writing copy, only the communication (and resulting perception) is through imagery.
All in all, Brand Positioning is the singular most important part of building a brand by enabling you to identify where you fit in the sea of competition.