Formulate a strong positioning statement in 8 steps
Creating a strong brand is a large-scale project that requires a lot of creativity. I can imagine that you are not quite sure where to start. Being creative on command is not everyone's strong suit. That is why I recommend starting by peeling back the layers of your organization. By doing so, you will eventually reach the core of who you are and what you do, allowing you to position yourself in the market. It may seem simple, but in reality, it can be quite challenging to accurately and clearly formulate what you do and why. That is why in this blog, I will provide you with 8 steps to help you formulate the positioning statement for your organization.
The positioning statement
The positioning statement is literally a statement and contains the four elements that are crucial for your marketing message:
We offer (what) for (who) by (how) because (why).
In one sentence it needs to become clear what is so special about your product or service, who is your target audience, what is your position in the marketplace and what is the core belief of your organization. And although positioning is an actual marketing term, the positioning statement has to be created, recognized and experienced by the whole organization. Follow the below steps to formulate a strong positioning statement.
Step 1: Your current positioning
Perhaps you have already developed a positioning strategy in the past, or maybe you have not. Whether documented or not, through your business activities, marketing, and communication, you are already positioning yourself in the market (consciously or subconsciously). It is therefore important to take a closer look at what you are currently doing in terms of positioning. Examine your website, communication messages, and business strategy, and evaluate where you currently stand. Then, formulate the goals you want to achieve and determine the necessary steps and resources, including the people involved, to reach those goals.
Step 2: Your calling (the ‘why’)
During the second step of your positioning, you will determine why you are actually in this business. After all, this forms the foundation for all your activities. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Why are you in this business (besides making a profit)?
- What is the purpose or meaning of what you do?
- What inspires you to go to work every day?
- What would you do with your company if you had nothing to lose?
Since these questions are about the core of the organization, it is important to get input from the CEO or owner. Additionally, it is beneficial to involve diverse people from within the organization.
Step 3: Your ideal client (the ‘who’)
Now it is time to determine the ideal customer for your organization. Many companies tend to target the widest possible audience. The result is that your positioning becomes so broad that you actually don't appeal to anyone. Therefore, dare to make choices about the type of customer you would like to serve. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Which type of customer have you been most successful in helping in the past?
- In which industries, sectors, or segments do you excel in terms of knowledge and expertise?
- What type of companies or customers do you prefer to work with?
Step 4: Your core competencies (the ‘what’)
The next step is determining your specialization. What is your company an expert or thought leader in? This is your core competency. Try to make it as specific as possible. For example:
What do you know the most about? > Remote teamwork
Which aspect of remote teamwork? > Collaboration software
Which aspect of collaboration software? > User adoption
The following questions can help you with this:
- Do you want to be valued for what you do (production, delivery) or what you know (strategy, advice)?
- What do you excel in (compared to similar companies)?
- Which of your products or services provide the most value to your customers, are the most unique, or are particularly innovative?
Step 5: Your organizational culture (the ‘how’)
Your organization's culture strongly influences the choices you make. Those choices are always led by norms, values and principles. With the following questions you formulate your organizational culture:
- What are the formal or informal norms and values that determine the service towards customers?
- Which philosophies or methods serve as the guiding principles for your service?
- What do you truly stand for?
Step 6: Finalize
Now that you went deeper into the why, who, what and how, you can put together the positioning statement. Do this with the help of the below template:
We offer (product / service / value / solution) for (a specific type of company / branche / market) by (a specific approach) because (why).
Step 7: Validate
When you have formulated the positioning statement, it is important to validate this within the organization. Can people with different functions and from different departments recognize themselves in the statement? Is the statement effective and clear? Evaluate this with the help of a short survey and adjust the positioning statement if necessary based on the results.
Step 8: Bring it to life
Now that the positioning statement is final, you set up concrete actions to bring it to life. This can happen in any aspect of your organization. Think of your services, HR, work environment, internal communication and marketing. For example, make sure that your content, website and other marketing expressions are in line with the positioning statement.
Example positioning statement
Below an example of our own positioning statement.
"We offer a comprehensive package of online marketing services for small and medium-sized businesses by combining the different specialties of our departments. We do this because we want to help our clients grow and achieve more online success!"
Creating a strong brand
Positioning is an important part of a strong brand. By showing what makes you unique you can distinguish yourself in the market. How do you position yourself in the market? And have you documented this in a positioning statement? I would love to hear about your experiences. Feel free to get in touch or check out more information about Inbound Marketing.