How to create a brand positioning – top tips

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I’ve just recently completed a series of positioning workshops, so thought I’d share some of the tips I picked up along the way. So, in no particular order:

1. There’s a logical sequence

With a positioning template…Brand Key, Bullseye, Pyramid…whatever you like to call it, you need to complete it in a specific order. This is it. (a) agree a market definition and name the key competitors. (b) select your target audience and capture the key consumer insight. (c) move onto the benefits and reasons to believe. (d) pin down your values and personality. (e) finally, articulate your essence / differentiator.

The positioning should tell a story and if you complete it this way, then each element should build on or link to the previous one.

2. Everything is in pairs

As you’ve probably noticed each element of the positioning has a natural pairing. For example: at same time as defining your target audience, you articulate your insight. Work on your values and at the same time bring it to life via the personality. Identify the key brand benefits and then see how these are supported by reasons to believe

Working in pairs makes it easier to complete the different elements and forces you to think about how they connect together

3. Avoid blah, blah words

In a positioning, every word counts, so avoid generic language that could belong in any positioning document. These include words like ‘ high quality’, ‘great value’, ‘gives me confidence’. Most (all?) brands would claim this. I’m not saying these are not important, but you should express them using more ownable, distinctive language. The words need to sing from the page.

4. Use creative tools and techniques

Creating a brand positioning should not be a box filling exercise. Use creative techniques to help push your thinking further. For example, use visuals to help bring your brand to life, use projective techniques to help express your brand’s personality. Role play an ‘elevator pitch’ to explain your brand positioning to a senior manager

5. Make sure it’s distinctive and ownable

Your positioning needs to be strong and distinctive. It needs to stand out in a crowded world. If your brand looks and feels similar to something else, then push yourself to create something which is more differentiated. Ask yourself, could you replace the brand with another one? If so, then you need to work harder.

6. Whatever you say has to be credible

Behind every great brand there’s a great product / service. Don’t make stuff up and invent claims or benefits and focus entirely on brand imagery. What you say has to have substance and it must be backed up by some real product truths

Creating or re-positioning a brand is a really enjoyable and challenging exercise, but make sure you do it properly. Once you created something you’re proud of, bringing it to life for consumers becomes so much easier

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