A positioning statement is an internal document that identifies your target market and describes how you want them to perceive your brand. A strong positioning statement guides the creation of your marketing materials by giving everyone a consistent message to work with.
A few years ago we (tried) to work with a business that wanted a video for their brand. We did a consultation and some ideation, but the project never got beyond initial work.
The problem was their people couldn’t agree on a vision or message for the project. Unable to reach consensus, they decided to put it “on the back burner”.
We reflected on this effort and realized all their marketing (website, ads, social) was incoherent. They didn’t seem to know who they were trying to reach, which caused their message to waver. They didn’t come across as a company you felt certain could deliver on their promises.
What this company needed was a marketing positioning statement.
Get Your Team On the Same Page
The purpose of a positioning statement is to align your team with a consistent marketing message. It clarifies who you’re targeting and what distinguishes you from the competition.
While a position statement may sound like a piece of marketing or sales material, it differs because it’s used internally. Its purpose is to get everybody on the same page so when you create marketing campaigns and collateral, you have a point of reference for the messaging.
If, for example, the company we worked with on the video would have had a positioning statement, they would have had a starting point for the purpose of the video.
Every product and marketing effort a business makes should align with and support the positioning statement.
Positioning Statement Template
Here is a template for creating a positioning statement
For [insert Target Market], the [insert Brand] is the [insert Point of Differentiation] among all [insert Frame of Reference] because [insert Reason to Believe].
- The point of differentiation (POD) describes how your brand or product benefits customers in ways that set you apart from your competitors.
- The frame of reference (FOR) is the segment or category in which your company competes.
- The reason to believe is just what it says. This is a statement providing compelling evidence and reasons why customers in your target market can have confidence in your differentiation claims.
Source: Cornell University’s eCornell.
Here’s an example for Marketing 360®:
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Positioning Statement Tips
The key to an effective positioning statement is that it informs your marketing decisions. It must serve as a guidepost that keeps your messaging consistent.
Also, consider these tips. Make sure your positioning statement:
- Clearly differentiates your brand from the competition.
- Is specific about your value but general enough you can apply it to multiple campaigns.
- Is believable and makes promises you can deliver on.
- Fits with your overall brand identity and voice.
- Is convincing to both your company and customers.
- Is something you can own; your position is unique in the market.
- Is flexible enough that it can grow with your company.
Imagine someone asks you what you do, who you do it for, why you do it, and why you’re the best choice, and you have to tell them with a single answer.
That’s your positioning statement. It tells everyone involved with your company where you’re at. Because if you don’t know that, it’s impossible to dictate where you want to go.