In our current market, C-Suite executives are interested in heightened return on investment from marketing with decreased budgets, essentially expecting marketers to do more with less.
But how can you drive return on investment with decreased budgets? Or generate cut through and differentiation in an overcrowded marketplace?
This is by no means an easy task, having been made even more difficult by the competitive pressures of other organisations, who appear to be communicating more frequently, from a more defined position and with a more powerful brand to lean on.
Well, if they truly believe their organisation is adequately positioned to drive sales in the context of this turbulent market, we would put this to them:
How has your organisation sought to break through the surplus of similar companies, that employ similar people, with similar educational backgrounds, who have all recognised similar shifts in attitudes amongst their audiences, who have developed similar ideas to handle these situations, by producing similar products or services, that have similar prices and are of a similar quality?
If they could answer that succinctly and with purpose, we suspect that they would be in the minority. So how can you drive interest and sustainable differentiation in this unfolding marketplace?
Defining your brand’s unique essence and positioning is the most effective way to drive differentiation and distinctiveness in your category. A brand’s positioning is the internal expression of its purpose. It is the business’ reason for being that goes beyond simply ‘making lots of money’. A positioning statement sits at the intersection of business and is used to inform sales and marketing strategy, product development, HR and hiring decisions and team culture. As a result of these components, it encompasses the experience your customer ultimately has with you.
A well-defined brand positioning represents the unique, relevant, credible and sustainable position that you own in the market. It ensures your clients and prospects can clearly tell your brand apart from your competitors. It specifies and expresses how your brand is unique and compelling, providing a reason to choose your brand over others. Brand positioning is also sometimes called brand essence, because it’s the essential nature of your brand – its reason for being.
Powerful brand positioning binds the internal and external components together. It’s the high-level idea that unites and guides all organisational activities, actions and behaviours, from organisational strategy, to the products you launch, the businesses you acquire, the way you communicate, how customers experience your brand and how your employees behave – it is the compass for the organisation.
But beyond this, what are some of the functional benefits of clearly articulating the essence of your organisation? How does it turn up as a advantage for the consumer, your organisation’s sales figures and your own marketing initiatives?
We believe there are six key and comprehensive benefits for both the internal and external components of an organisation that can be achieved through unique, clear, relevant and sustainable brand positioning:
1. It ensures your brand stands out and generates cut-through in its category.
2. It provides customers a reason to choose your brand over competitors, presenting them with a necessary validation of their choice.
3. It enables your brand to charge and sustain a price premium, demonstrating both short- and long-term return on investment.
4. It enables your brand to build trust with its key stakeholders – customers, employees, shareholders, distributors, partners, intermediaries – because you are consistently seeking to deliver on your promise.
5. It helps your organisation attract and retain the best of employee talent – providing a single uniting force for all people to work towards, as well as an understanding of what is required of them to work for your organisation.
6. Ultimately, strong and relevant brand positioning delivers clients who are disinterested in alternatives.
In an environment typified by reducing expenditure, marketing budgets are being tightened but are still expected to deliver the same (or better) return on investment. Driving this sales growth in this context is challenging, but the task is made even more daunting when organisations have not established a positioning to lean on.