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Common Brand Positioning Oversights

A brand’s positioning is based on a buyer’s perception of it relative to its categorical competitors. Once the brand positioning is established and the brand is fully developed, these findings are often shelved at the corporate level until the next planning session.  Because of its historic role, brand positioning is overlooked for its tactical application.  Here are three situations when an underutilized brand positioning statement could be valuable in the field.   

  1. Introductions:  When introducing your company to potential customers during networking events, social settings, or as part of an outreach program, it’s important to convey three points.  Who you are relative to a recognized best in class or anchor of recognition.  “The University of Chicago is the Harvard of the Midwest”.  What makes you special?  “The Tesla Roadster is the first fully electric sports car”. How you compare to a well known category competitor.  “Pork.  The other white meat.” Over the course of a discussion when you are not squeezed for time, these three points combined could make a powerful impact.  But when given seconds to leave an indelible impression, mentioning the most appropriate Who, What or How answer in a comparative context would make a memorable impression.
  2.  Presentations:  Although it’s bad form and poor use of time to speak ill of your competitors, they can be referenced if it is part of an explanation to help potential customers understand your company’s strengths.  During a presentation, you have the chance to dramatize your brand’s market position by using the white board to draw comparisons, using objects that represent an analogy or metaphor and demonstrating the differences, or some other entertaining method of showmanship to emphasize and clarify your points of distinction.  The key is to leverage the competition as a reference point within your story as a platform to separate your company from the pack and stand incomparable to other available alternatives. 
  3. Proposals:  When writing a proposal, recognize that it may be read by decision makers you never met.  Since they have not heard your introduction or presentation, be clear, concise, and compelling in the way you position your company in the overview so that everyone understands Who you are. What makes you special?  How you compare to the competition. Once established, people can concentrate on the points you are trying to make.

The value of brand positioning exceeds its well known strategic application and propels daily situations when distinctions are most easily understood and remembered through relative comparisons.