How to Nail Your Positioning | Business LockerRoom

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By Josh Miles | Guest Posts

Feb 12

How to Nail Your Positioning

by Josh Miles

Welcome to Month 2 of the Bold Brand Challenge.

This month we’re going to focus on positioning.

Guest PostI’m assuming you’ve already accepted the challenge? If not, go ahead and give my last post a quick read. I’ll be here when you get back.

Are you ready to do this? Okay, back to positioning.

Positioning is all about understanding and influencing how the market sees your brand, as compared to your competition.

To say that in a different way: Who are you? What do you do? Who do you do it for? And why should they care?

Here’s the tricky part about brand positioning.

So let’s define who you are.

Think about all of the factors that make you unique. They may be physical, intellectual, or as simple as your point of view.

Once you have these things figured out, you should be able to write up your simple positioning statement as a short paragraph or one-liner that neatly sums it up.

Something like this:

We are an architecture practice, focused especially on designing stadiums and other performance facilities for professional sports. We blend use our passion for design to create iconic spaces that athletes will dream of competing in, and fans will revere.

How will the simple positioning statement sound for your brand?

Let’s start with the easy part of this, shall we?

Who are you and what do you do?

PositioningWhat is your primary business function? What kind of business are you in? Are you a service-based business? Do you sell a product? Are you a consultant?

Next, let’s determine what type of market you are in: commodity, premium, or someplace in between?

Look at the three charts on the left of this page..

These perceptual maps are demonstrating the differences between each market type. Along the x-axis (from left to right) we’re mapping the service offerings, as diverse to very selective. And along the y-axis (from bottom to top) we’re mapping price as cheap to expensive. So in the bottom left of these maps (Figure A: Commodity) you may think of Walmart, and a market focused on the top right of the grid (Figure B: Premium) you might think of brands like Ferrari or Coach.

Which of these perceptual maps looks similar to your market? What type of market are you in?

Now let’s focus on your audience and why they should care.

Who is your customer? Who is it that buys from you, and what pains do they have? How could your brand help alleviate some of those pain points and make their lives or jobs easier?

How could you help educate your audience or help them feel more confident?

If you brand seeks to build a thing, or provide a service that serves a real market need, your positioning job just got a whole lot easier.

Now take a few minutes to put it all together and write it out.


1. Write up your simple positioning statement.
Remember to include who you are, what you do, who you do it for, and why they should care. Once you have a draft, share it with some of your closest co-workers, clients, or friends to see how it resonates with them.

2. Who you’re not.
One great way to further round out your positioning statement is to contrast it with a declaration of who you are not. Talk about the things you stand up for, and stand against. For example, if you’re a boutique, you’re probably not a big box store.

3. Extra Credit: Find your Bold Brand essence.
If you want to take this a step further, think about how you could simplify your brand positioning down to two or three words. We call this your Bold Brand Essence. To learn more about that, check out this post.

Remember, the challenge is just getting started. Are you with us?

You can do this!

See you next month, when we’ll discuss the concept of brand voice. And remember to share your questions, challenges, and successes in the comments below!


About the Author

Josh Miles is a caffeine and Twitter addict, and the principal and founder of Miles Design. He was honored as one of Indianapolis Business Journal's 2013 40 Under 40. Josh is also the author of Bold Brand: The New Rules for Differentiating, Branding, and Marketing Your Professional Services Firm. His expertise is highly sought after by professional services firms from coast to coast.

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