Use This Framework to Create a Powerful Brand Positioning Statement | Entrepreneur - Latest Global News

Use This Framework to Create a Powerful Brand Positioning Statement | Entrepreneur

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The most important thing you can do for your startup is to focus on positioning your brand. But often startups don’t approach it with the care with which they treat general marketing, go-to-market and product development work. A clearly defined brand positioning statement gives you clear direction and can serve as a compass for all aspects of your business. When making strategic decisions to launch a new product or service, you need to ensure that they align with your brand’s positioning.

When you’re creating sales and marketing materials, keep your positioning statement in mind. Often, startup founders and executives use their judgment and intuition to make such decisions, when in fact these decisions should be driven by a clearly defined brand position. Given the critical role it can play, this article focuses on a positioning framework you can adopt for your startup today.

Related: The importance of “positioning” your brand when you’re just starting out

The 3 Cs

In marketing, we often hear about the 5 Cs (Company, Customer, Competitors, Employees and Climate), but if you’re pressed for time, three of these Cs are solid enough to help you position your business compellingly. These critical Cs are your customers, competitors and your company. Although this exercise still requires resources and time, it will be one of the most important things you do for your startup.

This is a very effective framework. You should create a comprehensive list of all the features of your products and your brand. The next step should be to identify your competitors’ strengths and their offerings; Make sure you conduct a comprehensive competitive analysis at this step. You should then use this research to focus on the elements that are unique to your business and not offered by your competitors.

The final and most important aspect is to understand your customers, what they want and how much they want those things. If your business offers something that your customers want but is not offered by your competitors, that is the golden aspect that you should focus on and drive your positioning. This means you have to make some tough decisions and decide on the one truly differentiated aspect that your customers want. You will be tempted to choose several aspects, but the difficult and right decision is to choose one and use that one advantage to advance your positioning.

Related: How to Create a Positioning Statement That Gets Noticed

Why is that important?

If you have something that customers want but is not unique to you and is also offered by your competitors, you will likely be caught in a price war and struggle to get a good ROI from your marketing spend. On the other hand, if you have something that is unique to you but your customers don’t want it, you’ll likely spend a lot of marketing money in vain and struggle to convince customers to spend money on your product. It is crucial that your customer research is comprehensive and helps you find out everything about your customers’ needs and their willingness to pay to satisfy those needs.

Personal Experience: A typical example

In my previous role, I led marketing for a VC-backed men’s clothing e-commerce startup that had over 100,000 customers. The company was three years old when I joined and it specialized in making chinos – a unique hero product. Granted, the chinos were made in over 30 colors, but chinos themselves were not a unique product. On the contrary, it faced enormous competition. But how could we distinguish it?

I focused on what we did differently. Our customers everywhere liked the fit of our product and we received tons of repeat orders, but there was one particularly unique aspect about our fit: we had never changed it in our three years of business. As someone who wore chinos almost exclusively, I knew that as a consumer I don’t like shopping for my favorite pants over and over again; I preferred it if I could always go back to the same brand.

A close scan of our competitors showed me that everyone else changed their fit with each season. I was fascinated. I then conducted a customer survey that revealed that men don’t like having to buy staples like chinos from different brands (because the brands keep changing the fit of their products). They wanted to stick with one brand and continue to order their favorite chinos.

Related: 6 Secrets to Writing a Better Brand Positioning Statement

I had arrived at our holy trinity – something our customers really wanted and we offered, but our competitors didn’t. That was extremely powerful. Then it began to inform and influence all of our strategic decisions and our brand narrative. It also had a significant impact on our business – we were in the process of raising additional venture capital funding and this played a crucial role in attracting more interest.

We originally struggled to resonate with investors due to our inability to communicate a clear and unique competitive position, but this new positioning and brand narrative has changed that dramatically. Not only were we able to attract interest from more investors, but we also received funding commitments of $500,000.

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