After all of the love, sweat and tears we pour into dreaming up, creating and growing our small businesses, sometimes the hardest reality to face (despite how amazing you are!) is that you're not all that unique. Reality tells us that it's truly uncommon for any single business to be entirely one-of-a-kind. Besides, your business serves a market that demands to consume whatever product or service is on your table. What matters isn’t being “one-of-a-kind.” What matters is what your table is known for and how it stands out against all the other tabletops. So, the real question here is:
How do you make sure clients choose YOUR table?
This is our ah-ha moment. It's where we dig deep to find and communicate our stickiness that keeps customers coming back and recommending you to others. Whatever you do, offer, or sell needs to fulfill a competitive edge against the other guys...
Enter: brand positioning
Great brand strategy aligns positioning with your unique value proposition (UVP). Remember that amazing UVP statement you wrote with me in the last Brand Strategy Discovery article? (Be sure to brush up here if you missed it!) Pull that out and let’s take it to the next level by aligning a positioning promise to it.
When established and expressed consistently, your positioning promise maximizes key differentiators for your brand to stand out against the competition, sustain customer relationships and make an impact. There are so many tremendous approaches out there on how to do this. Here in this blog space, I have the small business owner, solopreneur and emerging business owner at heart… and one thing we all love when and wherever possible is SIMPLICITY. So with that, I humbly share the following proven, simple and awesome three-step-positioning process.
Because I want you to knock this out of the park, I also threw together a free, down and dirty editable worksheet to help us apply this process directly to your business. Get it here, my friend and let's walk through this together.
STEP 1. Find it! Think about what's at stake:
Who are your TOP competitors and how do they position their brand?
What do your ideal target clients want?
What are the realistic capabilities of your company and brand?
Now, your positioning strategy is all about weaving the weight of your UVP with these key factors into branding that resonates with your clients, is deliverable by your company and is somehow uniquely different than your competitors.
Zip over onto your worksheet. Knock those fingertips across your keyboard to capture your responses to these key points in black and white. Then, keep them close to reflect on as we move to Step 2.
STEP 2. Write it! Create a brand positioning promise in THREE words:
You want customers to come to you for the right reasons. When we coin our positioning promise we want it to be based in reality, own-able and sustainable through time. Campaigns and business needs change, but your positioning should be constant. I love to help clients capture their positioning strategy across THREE words. In order to land on these words, deeply reflect on your brand mission statement, UVP, key values and points from Step 1. You’ll want to stay away from enlisting common, generic words that sound like every other guy such as “unique, successful or quality.” The words you choose will be a key part of your brand ID design, directly communicating with and attracting your ideal clients. You'll want these words to standout, not blend in.
Let's look at a few examples:
A. An organic skin products boutique could be:
Pure, gentle & beautiful.
Assuming this dreamt up business expressed a mission and UVP reflecting that the company only used superior, organic ingredients that are gentle on your skin and allow customers to feel confident and beautiful – This three word positioning statement is right on! It communicates the company’s competitive edge and place within the skin care niche. This statement can also carry through time regardless of product changes (as long as the pure ingredient strategy doesn’t change), design changes, location changes… all the things that can come with a growing product based business.
B. A lifestyle photographer could be:
Real, honest storytelling.
Assuming this imaginary photographer created a business and brand strategy around their candid, honest and lifestyle focused photography approach – This three word positioning statement reels in and primes ideal clients looking for that exact style, before they’ve even seen a picture. It implies right away that it isn’t a portrait studio or glamour photographer. Again it reflects the company’s niche in the market and communicates a direct yet broad appeal that can apply across photography categories (e.g. family, portrait, weddings, etc.).
C. Before I hand you the writing reigns, let’s go over a final example and revisit the Morgatize model we leaned on in the first Strategy Discovery article of this series. Following suit with the mission, UVP and key values, the Morgatize positioning promise is as follows:
Imagine. Create. Connect.
Breaking this real and tangible positioning example down:
“Imagine” embodies a commitment to creativity and inspiration in all that Morgatize delivers whether it is strategy creation or consulting, graphic design or copywriting, or connecting with each of you.
“Create.” embodies the purpose of Morgatize, which is to create killer client deliverables be it solutions, photography, strategy or accessible content.
“Connect.” embodies the core of this business, you! The networks Morgatize is engaged in, the client family I service and the ability to link the two is critical in maintaining steady growth as an agency… while translating the same growth opportunities to clients.
Across all three examples, we’ve looked at both product and service based businesses. Notice how heavy with meaning each word selection is across each example. Notice how you can play with the style of the three words. Notice what the statements communicate and the feelings they translate for each brand… They are individual. They are meaningful. They are resilient and own-able. That’s what you’re going for!
Now, your turn! Hit up that worksheet... ready, set, you got this:
Write your amazing positioning promise.
STEP 3. Express it! Apply your brand positioning promise in everything you do.
That means use it, communicate it and integrate it across your brand personality, packaging designs, products, services, visual identity design, communications, etc. Every company does this a little differently in their own way. At Morgatize, a few areas I personally express it are in a version of the logo, in the footer of the website and on the front of business cards. Each of these expressions are ones that my audience and clients come in touch with while interacting with Morgatize.
Now you're up! Turn on those creative juices, start brainstorming and use your worksheet to list out where you will express your brand promise. I can't wait for you to share what you come up with!
As always, let me hear how you made out and please post your comments or questions below! If by the end of this article and exercise you found yourself still struggling to identify or articulate how your business stands out, I'd love to recommend reading Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by the brilliant Seth Godin. In his words, we are either "remarkable or invisible" and this book is such an eye opening read for all of us who strive to create business, products and services worth marketing in the first place. There's nothing like a dive into a book by the marketing master himself to reenergize our efforts.
Well, that's a wrap for now guys! Please don't forget to share this article with your buds. Next up in this series, we’ll dive deep into audience targeting, personas and your brand voice. Stay tuned and keep with me, I believe in you!
Talk more soon,
Brand Discovery Blog Series:
[You're Here!] 2. How to DIY Brand Design: Positioning in Three Words
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9. How to DIY Brand Design: Must Haves Roundup
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