Is Your Company’s Positioning Statement Accurate?

how to determine market positioning

Positioning is like a roadmap for your business. It drives all of your branding, messaging and marketing.

A clear positioning statement defines:

  • Who you are.
  • Who you help (your target market).
  • HOW you help (the problems you solve or needs you fill for clients).
  • Your USP (unique selling proposition).
    What makes you different/better than the competition?

Static Messaging Is…Ho Hum…Stale.
Your messaging should not be static. It needs to evolve along with what’s going on in the world – politically, economically, culturally.

If not, your brand will be out-ot-touch and not be seen as authentic. Since authenticity is a key driver of customer acquisition and retention, you can’t afford for that to happen.

In an INC article titled “In the Age of Brand Authenticity, Most Marketers Are Missing the Mark”, author Amy Balliet claims’ ”Only about one in every three marketers consider reworking their brand messaging and positioning when planning their overall marketing strategy.”

If you fall into that category, you’re missing out on growing your business.

So how does authentic and timely positioning work?

According to a  Zoom article titled, “Positioning in the age of authenticity”,  “Authentic positioning means your words match your actions.”

The days of allowing your business to say one thing but do another are long gone.  Customers want to know what you stand for and who you are.

Claiming to run a green company when you’re really not doing all you can to save the environment will eventually backfire.

Ever Heard of Greenwashing?

From misleading packaging claims to pseudo recycling that still harms the environment, companies that greenwash are eventually found out.

Check out this article from zoom.org, 10 Companies and Corporations Called Out For Greenwashing.

It’s not just oil companies that claim to do one thing but in reality do something else. Giant banks and investment firms claiming to be eco-friendly lend money to companies that pollute the environment and contribute to global warming. There’s still culpability. And consumers aren’t letting companies get away with that any more.

It’s All About Trust.

Companies that garner customers’ trust are the ones that will succeed in a turbulent marketplace….which is what we’re seeing at the moment.

Are gas companies screwing us at the pump or are they simply passing on increased prices they’re paying?

Can we trust that organic products we purchase in the grocery store really are?

Are the medications we take as pure as pharma companies claim they are?

We like to do business with companies we trust. Fortunately, in an age of unlimited media (thank you, Google), sussing out misleading claims is fairly easy. Eventually, dishonest companies get found out.

What can YOUR small business do to boost authenticity and accurately position your brand?

Here are three simple to-do’s to earn (and keep) your clients’ trust:

  1. If you say you’ll do something, do it.
    People remember and will hold you accountable.
  2. Don’t abandon your clients.
    There’s nothing worse than disappearing after the project. It says to the customer “We got paid. That’s all we care about.”
  3. Let clients know you want them to be happy with your work.
    Ask for their feedback (good or bad) and use it to improve how you work.

We are forgiving people. If we believe you’re sincere about mistakes you’ve made and changes you’re making in your company, you can recapture our loyalty. And loyal customers are what every small business wants.

Need convincing?

According to this article in Forbes titled “The Value Of Investing In Loyal Customers,” keeping your current customers happy and making repeat purchases is key to growth for almost every business.”

It’s easy enough to do if you make authenticity and customer care part of your corporate culture. It’s certainly far easier that prospecting for new customers.

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What are you really selling?

table for 2 in a seaside setting

Businesses that know exactly who they are and what they provide have a leg up on the competition. They have a deeper understanding of their value. Smart business owners incorporate this into a positioning statement or brand positioning statement.

If your marketing is looking a little dull or you don’t have a positioning statement, here’s an exercise that might help. Ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. What are you known for?
  2. Why do customers come back? 
  3. What do they say?

Then add a 4th: Are you satisfied with who and where you are? 

If the answer is no, keep reading. 

Let’s say you’re a (fill in the blank) company. Maybe a service provider. Or a manufacturer. Or perhaps you have a retail location or e-commerce website where you sell products. So that part is clear.

But what you’re really selling is probably far more. Let’s look at some examples.

Suppose you own a restaurant – one that’s upscale, sophisticated, and pricey. Maybe a prix fixe tasting (or degustation) menu. The kind of place you’d go to celebrate an occasion……or WILL once the pandemic has passed.

Alinea comes to mind. In fact on their home page, it doesn’t say “make a reservation”, it says “book your experience”.

Or Everest offering “exquisite wine and cuisine.” I’ve been to neither but from their marketing copy and website, I know these are very special places.

What Alinea and Everest are providing is far more than just food. They’re offering an experience, in this case, a fine dining experience….white linen on the tables, heavy gleaming flatware, subdued lighting, candles, gracious and attentive service. Designed to impress the diners. And hopefully have you recommend them to your friends or share on social media.

In another instance, you might be a service provider. Maybe a health and wellness business. COVID-19 seems to have launched a bevy of them as we struggle to stay fit and sane. Some are doing well. Others are, no doubt, struggling.

Let’s look at Peloton – as in “super success.”

Peloton took a product — a stationary exercise bike, made it state-of-the art and set off on a mission to “bring the community and excitement of boutique fitness into the home”. In eight years, they’ve added “addictive” real-time classes and morphed into a lifestyle, a platform, an app, and a way of life.

Peloton is providing far more than an ability to exercise at home. They’ve created a fitness platform and community that has transformed the way people exercise. Of course, a pandemic helped them become the success they are. But they knew when they launched that they were providing something different. And they made sure their marketing made it clear.

The examples above are not typical success stories. They’re the crème de la crème. The exceptions. So how does this relate to your small business?

Build Your Brand

Simple. If you want to build your brand, really make an impression on potential clients and become more successful, you need to focus on exactly who you are and what you provide.

And to do that, why not learn from the best – the companies that are knocking it out of the park. Yes, you’re probably on a much smaller scale, but so what? Most of us are.

Which takes us back to the beginning of this post and the question: What are you really selling?

Whatever product or service you offer needs to positively impact the potential customer. It needs to add value to someone’s business, bottom line or life.

We think one of our clients does this really well. (Full disclosure: we had something to do with that ;)

Tulip Tree CBD is an e-commerce company with product distribution in some brick and mortar retail shops. Their positioning is clearly stated on their website home page:

Founded by a nurse with decades of clinical experience in critical care, hospice, cardiology, and natural medicine, Tulip Tree is the culmination of a lifelong passion to help people relieve pain and suffering.

The value? The support of a knowledgeable and experienced healthcare provider in helping to relieve pain and suffering. The opportunity to live pain-free. To ease anxiety, stress, PTSD and insomnia.

So while Tulip Tree sells premium quality hemp-based CBD,  that’s not what they really do. What they really do is enable people to live better lives.

If you’re not happy with your company’s positioning, go back to the start of this blog and work on the questions we shared. If you come up with a positioning statement you’re happy with, share it with us. We’d love to see what you really do.

Read more about positioning and branding:

Branding News: 6 examples of brand positioning to inspire

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