Most companies deal with multiple products and services, for multiple audiences, with multiple competitors, in multiple markets. No single position can properly address them all—and that is where positioning strategy comes in.
For example, ACME Equipment Rentals (not their real name) decided to build their brand around a perception of making customers’ jobs—individuals, companies, institutions—as easy as possible. Thus they developed a positioning strategy around three related points: the right equipment, customer support, options for every budget. Here’s how that strategy maps out:
With this framework in place, they now have a guideline for their staff to position new products and services going forward. Further, all such positioning will be consistent with their brand intent. If you are involved with establishing or reviewing positioning strategies, look for these key elements that add up to positioning success.
- It is true. You must be able to provide evidence to your position. This could be customer testimonials, awards, competitive comparisons, etc.
- It is believable. If for some reason, your claim is doubted by your target audience, then either start to work to erase that doubt, or come up with a believable claim. Often the latter is easier.
- It is unique. If one or two competitors are already using the position or claim you want to make, then it is probably not wise to go there. The longer they have made that claim, and they bigger they are, the more daunting your task.
- It can support multiple products, services, and markets of your sales and marketing programs.
- It must reinforce your overall company brand.
Note: It takes years to build a recognized brand. So if you work for a start-up rather than an established company, don’t wait to implement a positioning strategy. Do it now and work on your brand over time. Positioning strategies are too closely linked to sales to be delayed for long term reasons.