It's essential for businesses to continually adjust their marketing strategies throughout the years of their operation, developing their promotion principles not only as they grow, but as their market changes, and as their consumers' preferences shift. It can be challenging, however, for company leaders to anchor advertising activities with clarity and consistency during change, and not lose sight of their core brand identity amidst the excitement for marketing innovation.
This is where something called a positioning statement comes into play. This short description summarises a company's product or service offering, its value proposition, ideal consumer and intended brand perception. Its objective is to aid the internal implementation of marketing strategies and influence uniformity across different campaigns and tactics.
Therefore, as a business owner, it's important to know how to create one. To help, we've compiled a comprehensive, in-depth guide on how to write a positioning statement for your organisation.
What is a Positioning Statement?
To begin creating a positioning statement, entrepreneurs must first understand what exactly it is - and why it is valuable.
Ultimately, a positioning statement depicts how you wish your business to be perceived externally. In just a few short sentences, it describes:
- Your core products
- The market needs they fulfil
- What makes them unique compared to your competitors' offering
- Which consumers they are targeted to
This text is designed to be used internally, helping you and your marketing team decide on how to share your business' core principles through your go-to-market strategy, promotional campaigns and other marketing content. As a result, it can greatly support your company in achieving its promotional objectives, accumulating brand equity, attracting new consumers and growing sales. It is, therefore, considered an important tool to be used throughout the planning, execution and evaluation of both marketing and advertising strategies.
Although positioning statements are crafted predominantly for internal use, they may occasionally be used directly within marketing content to demonstrate brand positioning to consumer audiences, alongside the customer-facing mission and vision statements.
How to Write a Positioning Statement
The contents of a positioning statement can be broken down into four categories: your target consumer, your business' product, its key differentiators, and the reason to believe in your company's promise. Each of these must be expanded upon within one or two sentences each, to create a first statement draft.
The Consumer: Somewhat similar to a customer profile, you should summarise the demographic characteristics of your ideal consumer, and mention the needs of these buyers that you aim to meet.
The Product: Here, you should describe your main products or services, the value they offer to buyers and how they match the needs previously identified.
Key Differentiators: Next, it is important to detail how your brand's portfolio is different from that of its competitors, and why consumers should choose your brand based on that information. This can also be considered as the company's value promise to its buyers.
Reason to Believe: Finally, the positioning statement should close with evidence of how your business satisfies the expectations of its customers and fulfils its brand promise.
With this first outline prepared (it should be several sentences long), you should work on shortening and clarifying each section with the aim of reaching just two or three sentences in total.
If it helps, you can follow a predetermined positioning statement template to help you in this process. For instance, a template commonly used by major brands such as Google reads as follows:
"For [the consumer] who [statement of need], [the product] is a [value proposition] that [statement of key differentiators]. Unlike [competitor alternative], [reason to believe].”
Even when using such a pre-prepared template, you can continue to adjust the formula used to make your positioning statement unique, easy to understand, and easy to use.
Reviewing Successful Examples
After arriving at a developed draft for your positioning statement, it can help to consider examples of effective statements released by other brands, before making the final necessary adjustments.
Amazon offered an excellent example of a short, powerful positioning statement in 2001 when it defined its revolutionary business model thus:
"For World Wide Web users who enjoy books, Amazon.com is a retail bookseller that provides instant access to over 1.1 million books. Unlike traditional book retailers, Amazon.com provides a combination of extraordinary convenience, low prices, and comprehensive selection."
This statement was successful because it:
- Accurately and concisely communicated the brand's target consumers
- Described its offering
- Detailed why that offering was unique
- Closed with a compelling reason to believe
Therefore, as a business owner, you should ask yourself: does my positioning statement provide the same clarity and guidance to readers, support future promotional decisions, and effectively position the brand for market success? This analysis should shape your final remaining changes, and result in a completed positioning statement.
Using Your Positioning Statement
Once crafted, your positioning statement should be referred to during each stage of your marketing planning and execution processes.
As the statement describes your target consumer audience, it can, for example, guide you in selecting the marketing tactics and communication channels most likely to reach these buyers. Its evaluation of buyers' foundational needs and your products' competitive advantages, meanwhile, can influence the composition and delivery of your marketing campaigns, helping you tailor your core messaging to capitalise on these elements.
As the statement signifies the intended perception of the company and its products, it can also allow your company to set effective KPIs for your promotional efforts, based on meeting the expectations set out in the positioning statement. This approach can also be used to evaluate and improve on past strategies and ensure consistency between long-used and new marketing tactics.
As it reflects both the purported value of the product, as well as the means of your ideal consumer demographic, your positioning statement can even help you navigate challenging microeconomic elements such as product pricing.
Positioning statements are integral to providing clarity and consistency to a company's ongoing marketing strategies. Although the process of crafting such a compelling statement may be time-consuming, it can ultimately save your enterprise a significant amount of time in the long-term, and enable you to make important decisions on how to target customers and execute promotional activities.
As you follow these steps and create a positioning statement, you should remember to keep it short, make it memorable, and continue tailoring its contents until it reads smoothly enough to support the internal implementation of your marketing strategies, as well as influence uniformity across all of your advertising campaigns and tactics. Achieve this, and you will have crafted a successful positioning statement.
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