In Step 1, we began paving our road to a winning brand strategy with the basics. We determined that in order to win in a competitive consumer marketplace, we must first establish an emotional connection with our target audience. We also decided that remaining focused on emotional motivators is the key to the development of that critical connection.
It’s time, now, to make sure we are winning with our “head,” as well as our “heart.” For the second step in our quest, we’ll don our lab coats and, utilizing the data from our emotional motivators and target audience surveys, we’ll now engage our sales and marketing teams to develop our company’s positioning statement and brand promise. If we can nail this critical “statement of purpose,” we’ll effectively stand out from our rivals and drive our company forward in the process.
With a little help from our friends -- and three foundational questions -- we can gain the insights we need to develop a solid positioning statement and brand promise and continue our march toward market leadership. Those three questions are:
- How do we develop our positioning statement and brand promise? What elements of our brand’s competitive advantage can we interweave with the emotional motivators to gain that advantage?
According to Entrepreneur, a positioning statement is the expression of how a brand fills a particular consumer need in a way that its competitors don’t. We’ve already pinpointed our target market; now, using that demographic information, we can take our emotional plea and develop it into a unique positioning statement that answers the critical question, “What value does our brand provide to its customers?”
Establishing our brand promise is another way to define our commitment to the buyer. Within our brand promise, we must clearly communicate the tangible benefit(s) that our brand experience provides to illustrate why we stand out from the rest.
Think of Coca-Cola’s brand promise, for example. They promise their customers that they will “inspire moments of optimism and uplift.” While it doesn’t even mention its soft drinks, the brand promise instead conveys a mindset aimed to focus employees and engage consumers.
Of course, a promise is only good if it's kept. If a brand can’t deliver on its promise like clockwork, its reputation – and sales – will likely decline. On the contrary, if we don’t make our brand promise clear, we are not taking advantage of an important opportunity to differentiate in the market and assume a market leadership position.
- We have our positioning statement and brand promise drafted. Why are we positioning ourselves in this way?
After we develop our initial positioning statement and brand promise, we’ll need to check the “why” behind it – this is especially important for future messaging and growth.
Will the statements we drafted lead to consumer confidence in brand and products? Will it help us to define a consistent customer experience that we can employ through our multiple sales and marketing channels in the future?
When working on the final draft of your statement and promise, make sure the excitement you’re generating will match the customer experience you provide, so you can deliver on client expectations.
The “why” must also come back to the needs of the customer. Will your niche audience understand what they’re getting out of your brand in 12 words or less? Boston-based business analytics company Eckerson Group says that your statements should be short, simple, and adaptable to various media – and most of all, useful and believable to the audience you’re after. If your draft is too long, stuffy, or if the benefits are not clear or engaging enough for the average reader, take some time and work through a few drafts to conceptualize a novel, motivating message for the customer.
- When we are we going to introduce and deliver on our brand and positioning statement? What does it take to deliver in this way?
Once you determine these foundational statements, you can begin to develop your sales and marketing plan with a clear path forged in front of you. The emotional connection behind your positioning statement and brand promise should be woven into your social media, content, SEO, and advertising strategies – anything that touches the consumer.
The marketplace is always changing, so these questions should be reviewed periodically to determine if your team is meeting your goals, delivering on consumer expectations, and if any adjustments need to be made.
If you’ve never developed a positioning statement or brand promise, anytime is as good as now. Get together with your team and get these questions answered so you can move on to Step 3 – this is where building your winning brand strategy really gets exciting.
Simon Waldron is a Los Angeles, CA-based CMO with Chief Outsiders, specializing in Brand and Product Development, Manufacturing Integration, and Retail Strategy. Contact Simon at SWaldron@ChiefOutsiders.com.