At the heart of every great organisation is a strong brand positioning

August 8, 2023
B2B Brand positioning Brand strategy

What is brand positioning, and why is it so important?

Brand positioning (also known as a brand essence) is the distillation of all the elements that exist in your brand. It’s a single thought that ties everything together, it is the distillation of your purpose, your values, your archetypes, your propositions.

As such, senior leaders should use it to guide decisions, marketers should use it to guide the tonality of brand communications, designers should bring it to life visually, HR teams should use it to guide recruitment. In short, every touchpoint of your brand is consistent and single-minded with the brand positioning as the beacon.

Where all other elements of your brand strategy say, ‘what you do’, your brand’s positioning expresses the ‘how you do it’.

At BrandMatters, we see brand positioning as the “red thread” that binds an organisation – the most critical, single organising thought that ties everything you do together.

A strong and well-defined brand provides several immediate business benefits:

  • It delivers cut-through in cluttered categories, enabling your brand to stand out.
  • It gives customers a reason to choose you over the competition.
  • It helps validate customers’ choice.
  • It enables you to charge and sustain a price premium.
  • It allows you to build trust with key stakeholders.
  • It will help you attract and retain the best employee talent.
  • Ultimately, a strong brand positioning creates clients who are disinterested in alternatives.

Why do you need a strong positioning?

A strong positioning sets the distinctive position your brand can adopt within its competitive environment. It enables your target audiences to tell your brand apart from others in the market. It specifies and expresses your brand’s point of difference – how it is unique and compelling.

There are a few other key components in a strong positioning:

  • Consistency – Every interaction a customer or employee has with your brand should bring to life this single governing idea. As such, they walk away with a single impression made up of hundreds of moments that have been created with one thought in mind.
  • Efficiency – Making decisions inside any organisation can be time consuming. Your brand positioning will ensure every single person, from a customer service representative to a HR director is empowered to make decisions because they understand your way of doing things.
  • Clarity – Brands are complex, the way you express and go to market with your offer evolves and changes, but how do you remain clear on who you are, and are not? A strong brand positioning is your stake in the sand, whilst propositions and communications can evolve, advertising changes and your mission alters as you achieve more and more, your uniqueness, your DNA, your essence remains and serves to give clarity as to who you are for your staff and your customers. 

How strong is your brand’s positioning?

There are many ways to evaluate the strength of your brand’s positioning, but we find it easiest to look through four lenses, asking yourselves whether your positioning is credible, relevant, differentiating, and sustainable.

  • Credible – Is it an achievable stretch for the business and will stakeholders buy into it? Does it align to the needs and expectations of defined customers/clients? Does it work across short term and long term objectives? 
  • Relevant – Is it relevant to all customer segments?
  • Differentiating – Does it enable any first-mover advantage in the category? Is it claimable and therefore ownable prior to additional entrants arriving in the market?
  • Sustainable – Is it suitable as your brand enters new/different markets? Will it encourage new product/service development? Does it challenge and invigorate current employees and the concept of change internally?

What is the role of brand positioning in your wider brand strategy?

Your brand’s positioning informs your wider brand and business strategy, the platform from which organisations can set the strategic rationale for all corporate decisions.

It feeds into your brand’s proposition; the succinct summary of what key benefit your brand offers to customers; then informs and leads the narrative and personality of your brand. This includes your brand story (the who, what, when and how that makes your brand different, including reasons to care), key messages (to externalise your positioning through tactical communications), tone of voice (the language that expresses your brand’s personality) and the elevator pitch (the 30-second description of your brand that succinctly articulates your business).

Your brand positioning will also dovetail to bespoke customer and employee value propositions, helping to articulate the value of your brand and what it brings to clients, customers and employees alike. A strong brand positioning will help ensure there is greater clarity and consistency in these propositions.

The final core component that brand positioning informs is in your visual identity, especially in brand logo and visual expression systems. Ensuring these are also aligned to your positioning will provide your brand with all the tools to differentiate itself in the market and build a sustainable and growth-orientated business moving forward.

When looking at the brands that we engage with, either in the consumer or business world, one thing becomes clear. A strong brand, one that attracts the brightest and best, is so distinct and single-minded, that even when the logo mark is covered, the experience and tonality is so distinguishable that you identify it immediately.

That’s the power of brand positioning. With a single and ownable brand positioning, you will have carved out a brand that delivers that clarity of intent at every touchpoint. If you remove it, it becomes hard to create that consistency of experience.

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