Positioning a brand is the biggest hurdle for entrepreneurs!

Many marketing people have different interpretations about what brand positioning means. It’s one of those concepts that is hard to pin down, yet at the same time is so important to the success of your brand. Positioning is at the heart of your brand. It’s essentially the summation of everything your brand is about to your customers, employees and others in your category.

So look at some real life examples.

Positioning is built from what you know to be true about your customer. It takes the benefits you’ve outlined and makes them meaningful to customers. In the easiest way to explain, positioning is the unique space you want to occupy in your customer’s mind. It’s the first thing you want your customer to think about when they hear your brand name. I believe it is critical to establish an emotional connection with your customer as the key to being a successful brand. An emotional bond should be reflected in the positioning statement for the business. Positioning is more about emotions and less about the facts at the very core.

That’s why marketers who think a claim about their product or service is a positioning statement, really miss the point. The same goes for a general description of your type of business. There’s no emotion in that and it’s emotions that differentiate a brand not just the facts.

Let’s take a look at a few big brands and what they’ve done for positioning. As I mentioned, the tagline can often be a big hint:

BMW: “The ultimate driving machine.”
State Farm: “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.”
L’Oreal: “Because you’re worth it.”

Notice the level of emotion in each of these taglines, which essentially highlights each brand’s positioning. Here’s how these tag lines translate into positioning statements:

BMW: Makes you feel powerful.
State Farm: Makes you feel secure and safe in times of need.
L’Oreal: Makes you feel valued and good about yourself.

These are obviously big blockbuster brands, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t do the same for your small business.

You need to dig to the core of emotional benefit that you offer your customer. Think about how you want your customer to feel about you, every time they think about you. Try to capture that in a brief statement that best describes what you can offer, and jot down some options. Run them by your customers, employees, friends and do a little brainstorming. It can be a fun and insightful exercise and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you start generating ideas.