At the end of my blog last week I promised this week would be all about what I called “the third element” of brand – your positioning.
It’s the element of brand that’s most often treated as key basis for marketing, but I take a different view and think it should go much deeper than that.
I like the general Free Dictionary definition of positioning: “Put or arrange (someone or something) in a particular place or way.”
In business, as the articulation of your what, how, where and who you are, positioning drives the principles and practices of your business and your brand – arranging the pieces to achieve a certain result in relationship to those around you.
But it’s not static – those things can will and should change over time and so too will your positioning. That’s the point. By evolving and updating them to keep in tune with your marketplace and relating back to your core values and purpose, it keeps the brand current and in sync with your customers.
So how can you go about finding your positioning? And what do you do with it when you have it? To begin with, positioning must take into account current and intermediate reality. It’s not about your aspiration or your history. It is who you are – today.
Questions that will help include: What do you do? How do you do it? Who do you do it for? Where do you do it? Why are you doing it (back to your purpose)?
When finding your positioning it’s a good idea look around and see what your competitors are doing and saying. Where your industry is headed. It’s the place you most usually find differentiation (if what, how, who or where you are doing business is not in some way different from others then you will struggle to survive).
Without taking the environmental cues into account and responding through your positioning, brands can become stagnant and seem to be out of touch.
However if you do find yourself feeling a bit out of touch the response is NOT to embark on what is often termed as “rebranding” and what I call a fool’s errand. The response is to look at your positioning. Are there things you’re doing that need to change? Are there principles you work to, practices you work with, policies you work under and products you make that are out of touch?
Change those things first and then adjust your positioning accordingly and your brand will stay alive and current. And further, as the resulting positioning statement interacts with your purpose and values you now have a foundation for promises that you can keep and a strong and resilient brand that will stand the test of time.
See you next week.
Get your brand questions answered by posting them on twitter @michelhogan or emailing me at [email protected]
Michel is an Independent Brand Analyst dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make. She also publishes a blog at michelhogan.com. You can follow Michel on Twitter @michelhogan.