Mistakes to avoid when trying to find a clear and differentiated space for your brand.
Brand positioning can be defined as where your product, item or service stands in relation to others in the marketplace, as well as the mind of the consumer.
Finding a distinct and compelling positioning is one of the most vital tasks that a brand owner or manager will have to undertake.
Whether new or established, every brand needs to stand for something.
Get it right, and your brand will be enduringly memorable and relevant to consumers.
Something that they can buy into as much as buy.
Put a foot wrong, and it could result in brand anonymity, consumer apathy and tumbleweeds at the tills.
WHY SOMETHING THAT SEEMS EASY, IS SO DIFFICULT TO DO
Don’t be disheartened.
Brand positioning is difficult and it’s something that doesn’t happen very often.
One of the reasons it’s such a tricky undertaking is because it’s both an art and a science, requiring a balance of logic and intuition.
You can approach it logically, using data and axes. But while data may reveal a strategic ‘white space’, it cannot conjure up a rich and compelling brand world that takes advantage of it.
There is a leap from Brand Strategy to Brand Positioning that needs to happen if your brand is to stand out in people’s minds, and not just on a piece of paper.
Or you can approach it intuitively. Creativity can dream up a vivid mental space, but cannot ensure it is relevant to the category or the consumer. Or sufficiently different to competitors.
Creative freedom without a positioning framework can result in ricocheting from campaign to campaign, damaging your brand in the long term.
And then, there is the choice of which model to use. Brand pyramid? Onion? House? Caravan?
All of them clunky and unintuitive, that can leave you feeling frustrated and stuck.
So the decision is to either procrastinate: “We’ll do it next quarter/year” or charge ahead and risk making costly mistakes.
Try to side-step these common mistakes.
Backstory as positioning
The (hi)story of how a brand came about doesn’t constitute a brand positioning. No matter how interesting, charismatic or good looking the founders may be. There is a place for backstory, but it isn’t where most people think it should be.
Tell all. Say nothing
The impulse to try to communicate everything can be overwhelming. It can be difficult to create a hierarchy of information or even leave certain things out, but you need to be ruthless to ensure a clear consumer takeout. The process can be brutal…
It isn’t as special as you think it is
When you are emotionally invested in something, you can often assume that other people care about it as much as you do. They don’t. Even if your product is different or has special features, it isn’t enough. Your brand needs to be distinctive. And relevant to your audience.
Getting the angle wrong
You may think that your brand exists to change the world or shake up the status quo, taking consumers along with you. When actually what you really need to do is show how you fit into their lives, mirroring their desire lines. Or rather confusingly, your first instinct may indeed be right. But one thing is certain - your passion and determination is not the deciding factor.
Brand Strategy is not Brand Positioning
Positioning is certainly strategic, but relying solely on research data won’t make your brand compelling or distinctive in the minds of consumers. It’s then often left to creative functions to make that leap, but that has its own pitfalls.
Design and advertising aren’t the solution
Relying on advertising or design to solve your positioning problem is a common and costly mistake. They are both ways of communicating the brand positioning, but they don’t replace it. First you need a clear brand story, then you can find ways to tell it.
Start with story
Positioning might not be something that most people tend to do very often. But at Storyline Partners, we do it all the time.
We’ve done it successfully for spirited start-ups and established enterprises.
Our unique, narrative-based methodology is intuitive and fail-safe: balancing strategic insight and creative magic.
Our approach bridges the gap between strategy and execution, creating enduring brand narratives, guiding documents, and ideal agency briefs.
If you’re trying find your way to a clear, compelling and differentiated space, then talk to us.
We normally start with a no-obligation StoryScan - a review of your current marketing, or any draft positioning documents, through a narrative lens, to give you a view on how effective your positioning is, or is likely to be - what’s missing and what can be improved.
It’s our way of kicking off a conversation that could set your brand on a course to success.
To find out more, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org