What is a Positioning Statement?
Most people are familiar with mission statements, visions and brand strategies, but far less common is the application of a positioning statement.
Simply put, a positioning statement is a concise description of your product, its target audience and where in this market your product sits. In his book, Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey Moore proposes the following simple structure as a guide:
“For [Target Customer] who [statement of need or opportunity] the [product name] is a [product category] that [statement of key benefit].
Unlike [primary competitive alternative], our product [statement of primary differentiation] .”
How it does this is outlined below:
Defines the Target Market
By focusing on the target customer, the positioning statement forces the writer to be as specific and detailed about the consumer as possible.
Ideally, the target persona embodies the perfect customer and clearly defines their specific needs and wants from your product.
Knowing exactly what your ideal customer wants should drive every element of your product development and ensure your product fulfils every need.
Differentiates the Brand from Competitors
The last line clearly states who the primary competitor is and how your product differs from them in fulfilling the specific needs of your consumer.
This may seem quite explicit, but considering the purpose of the positioning statement is to be used as a guide to your sales and promotion teams, this is key.
If you cannot establish a clear and defined difference between you and your competitor, how are your customers meant to?
In a crowded and competitive market, it is essential to have a clearly defined unique selling point and make sure this is communicated clearly.
Communicates the Value Proposition
Once you have established a clear and definitive difference between you and your direct competitor, the positioning statement allows you to establish a value proposition.
Clearly defining your key features and benefits and how these fulfil your customers’ needs and wants is the primary purpose of marketing.
Once a customer is aware of your product’s true value, the most significant barriers to purchase have been overcome.
Guides Marketing Strategy
In identifying how your product fulfils your customer’s needs, you effectively define the direction of your marketing strategy.
The hierarchy of your customers’ needs helps you identify what your targeted marketing messages should be and how these can be delivered through the most appropriate campaigns and their designated channels.
Knowing that your strategy is based soundly on the fundamental needs of your customer reduces the amount of doubt and anxiety that delivering marketing campaigns can involve.
Provides a Framework for Decision Making
Once you have established your positioning statement, it can be your yardstick or fundamental framework for future decision-making.
If a strategic marketing challenge arises, you can test it against the current positioning statement. If it still rings true, then you continue as planned.
This consistent direction will ensure that your marketing strategy stays on course and is not subject to deviation.
The outline is a great place to start if you want to create your positioning statement.
If it raises more questions than answers, it suggests that you might need to consider a broader investigation into your brand and marketing strategies.
A branding specialist would be able to offer an independent perspective and impartial advice and guidance on the right answers.