People cannot be enthusiastic about what they don’t understand.
Positioning is the critical element in shaping all that you say and do. When your strategic position is clear and effectively communicated, your people feel more energized and inspired, your customers come to you for the right reasons, and you create the rational and emotional ties that build strong brands. Strong positioning strategy inspires effective company and product names, engaging audience messages, and powerful brand identities.
We help our clients occupy a distinct, understandable place in the minds of their most important audiences. Through understanding, analysis, strategic thinking and stakeholder engagement, we have developed the tools that inspire everyone in your organization to better tell your story. This process builds understanding and awareness, yields enthusiasm, and increases public engagement.
What is Positioning Strategy?
Positioning strategy is how you make your promise clear, differentiated, and meaningful. When done effectively, your strategic position helps you articulate, clearly and compellingly who you are, what you do, and why you matter.
- Who you are: you can use positioning strategy to meaningfully set yourself apart from others in your category or industry. Just as your name and personality set you apart from your peers, your organization needs to identify those essential qualities, that are shared by all and that make you different in important ways.
- What you do: this is more than the functions of your organization, whether products or services. This is your promise to the world. It is the promise you make to your employees, investors, customers and partners. It is an aspirational promise that you collectively try to live up to year in and year out.
- Why you matter: this is where the emotional connections are born. What would be missing in the world if you weren’t there to provide it? What aspirations do you have to make a difference in people’s lives? If it doesn’t matter, it’s not worth saying.
See how we helped position the global leader in aerospace.
Effective brand positioning strategy is demanding.
It has to be ownable, believable, beneficial and sustainable.
- Ownable: it must be true for you’re and nobody else. If you can own an idea, or better yet, a word, your leadership becomes clear and defensible. Some of the most successful brands in the world have achieved greatness through their singular and passionate focus on an ownable promise.
- Believable: you want people to come to you for the right reasons, so you can fulfill your promise. While good positioning strategy is always aspirational, it is still based in reality. Anyone who thinks brand is “hype” has been disappointed by a misleading or over-promoted promise.
- Beneficial: There has got to be something in it for everyone. For your employees, your investors, your partners and your customers. Too many brand positioning strategies focus solely on the “what” (products, features), and not enough on the “why.” The best brands inspire your to want to take part in their story, because it is beneficial for you, no matter who you are.
- Sustainable: Good brand positioning strategy results in a lasting story. It’s a story that evolves with you as you grow and prosper, but it shouldn’t have to change. While campaigns may be specific, and changeable over time, the positioning strategy that informs them should be steady. Sustainability is what makes a single, ownable story last for organizations large and small, over years and decades.
Here’s how we applied these brand positioning principles to one of the nation’s top public universities.