Are you starting a new brand? Maybe you’re updating an existing one. Either way, your brand positioning statement will be foundational to your success.
In this article, I’ll explore what a positioning statement is and why it’s important, the four questions you need to ask yourself to create one, three tips to ensure your statement is as effective as possible, and more.
Let’s get started!
What is a Positioning Statement?
A brand positioning statement is a brief, internal document that clarifies what a brand does, who it does it for, and the benefits it provides to a specific target audience.
For example, if I owned a landscaping business, my positioning statement might be:
“At Yard Perfect, we provide high-end landscaping services such as weekly lawn inspections and annual soil analysis, as well as standard services like mowing, watering, and weeding. Each service is based on the latest scientific discoveries and offered to a select group of clients who appreciate their yards and are willing to pay to have them properly kept.”
It should be noted that a positioning statement is NOT the same thing as a mission statement.
Whereas your mission statement is a public-facing declaration of your company’s purpose, your positioning statement is an internal document that speaks to the value your brand, products, and services deliver and the specific audiences it delivers them to.
Remember, even though your brand positioning statement is an internal document, it should guide and inform every piece of public content your company publishes.
Does Your Company Need a Positioning Statement?
Positioning statements aren’t mandatory, but they can be quite useful. Why? Because a well-crafted positioning statement clarifies who your brand serves, what it serves to them, and what differentiates your offerings from other companies in your industry.
This information can then be used to craft more pointed website copy, blog and social media posts, sales messages, email newsletters, and every other form of public communication.
4 Questions to Create Your Brand Positioning Statement
Positioning statements are an important piece of the branding puzzle. The question is, how do you create one for your company? Simple: answer the following four questions.
1. What’s Our Market Category?
Your category is the niche that your company falls into. It can be broad or narrow. For example, “retailer” is a very broad category, while “comic book store” is much more precise.
As a general rule, a broad category will make it harder to differentiate your brand from the competition. But a narrow category may limit you down the road. What if a comic book store wanted to sell sports cards, too? It might be difficult to gain traction in this new vertical.
Think long and hard about the market category you choose for your company. When in doubt, go broad. It will be much easier to niche down if needed than expand.
2. Who Is Our Target Audience?
Your target audience is the group of people you want to reach with your products and/or services. And, no, your target audience can’t be everyone…
If you attempt to appeal to every consumer, your messaging will be bland and no one will be interested in your offerings. Instead, identify the specific buyers who will benefit the most from your products and services. Then focus your efforts on these people.
The best way to do this is to create buyer personas, AKA fictional characters that represent real-world consumers. Your personas should include demographic details like gender, age, occupation, income level, as well as psychographic information like hopes and fears.
Note: if you sell multiple products/services, it’s okay to create multiple personas.
3. What Benefits Do We Provide?
It’s important to understand the difference between features and benefits: a feature is what your product does, a benefit is why it matters. Customers buy benefits, not features.
For instance, many SUVs are equipped with four-wheel drive. This, in and of itself, means nothing to the average car-buyer. It’s just a feature.
But when car manufacturers explain to potential customers that four-wheel drive provides power to all four wheels at once, allowing drivers to handle adverse road conditions with greater control and safety, four-wheel drive becomes an important benefit worth having.
What benefit does your brand provide to its target audience? Better question: what benefit does your brand provide to its target audience that no one else does? If your product benefits aren’t unique, ask yourself how your brand provides them better than other brands.
4. How Do We Deliver On Our Promises?
Finally, consider your brand promise, i.e. the result a consumer expects to achieve after using your product or receiving your service. What does success look like to them?
Under Armour promises high-quality fashion items that will enhance my athletic performance. HBO Max promises must-see entertainment that will keep me glued to the edge of my couch. And Chipotle promises delicious food that’s prepared quickly and won’t cost me a fortune.
Then think about the ways your brand delivers its promises to customers.
Maybe your products use superior components. Perhaps you’ve developed more efficient systems, which allow you to offer better service in less time. Some companies deliver on their promises by only hiring top talent to work for them.
Pro Tip: Oftentimes the way you deliver on your promises is a differentiator that you can use to set your brand apart from the competition in your marketing efforts.
Put It All Together
Have you answered the five questions above? Great, now you can take your answers and assemble them into a unique brand positioning statement for your company.
Here’s a template to follow:
“[Your Brand Name], a [Your Markey Category] company, provides [Your Target Audience] with [Benefits You Provide]. We do this using/through [Main Differentiators].”
For example, “Larry’s Lemonade Co., an organic beverages company, provides health-conscious millennials with a healthy, great tasting alternative to sugar-loaded drinks. We do this using proprietary blends of clean ingredients.”
Feel free to manipulate this template in a way that makes sense for your brand. Just make sure to include your company’s market category, target audience, benefits, and differentiator information in every brand positioning statement you create.
3 Tips For a Better Brand Positioning Statement
If you’ve answered the four questions above, you should be able to craft an effective brand positioning statement. But to ensure your success, keep these three tips in mind, too:
- Short and Sweet: You’re not writing the next great American novel. Your positioning statement should be short and sweet. Aim for no more than three to five sentences.
- Look to Differentiate: What sets your brand apart from others in your industry? Do your best to include this information in your positioning statement.
- Consult Your Team: I don’t suggest creating your brand positioning statement alone. Get input from your team as well. They may have insights you don’t.
Get Inspired By These Positioning Statement Examples
As I mentioned earlier, positioning statements are internal documents, which means you won’t find very many real-world examples of them online.
Not to worry! Using the information shared above, I’ve crafted two brand positioning statement examples for you to read through and get inspired by. Let’s take a look:
As a leader in the fast food industry, McDonalds strives to provide customers with consistency across thousands of locations, friendly service, and great tasting meals served quickly. Our relentless commitment to customer satisfaction differentiates us from our competitors.
Microsoft creates a variety of software tools for both business and personal use. By combining our commitment to customer convenience and a desire to innovate for the future, we strike the perfect balance between easy-to-use features and cutting edge technology.
Position Your Brand
Your brand positioning statement is an important document that will clarify what your brand does, who it does it for, and why your target audience should care. Once you’ve written one, you can use it to inform the creation of all your company’s public-facing content.
Fortunately, crafting your positioning statement isn’t hard. Simply ask yourself the four questions outlined above and keep my three tips in mind and you’ll be good to go!