BrandMatters

Wednesday, 10 February 2021 20:38

Your brand positioning is the unique, relevant, credible and sustainable position 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. It also encapsulates your organisation's purpose, or reason for being, that goes beyond just making money. Brand positioning is also sometimes called brand essence because it's the essential nature of your brand - its reason for being.

Now, if we were to collectively look back over the course of the past 12 months, it is likely you have adjusted your internal and external processes to meet the expectations of the dramatically changed landscape. For many B2B brands, whether a product or service-based business, this was a largely unavoidable consequence of pivoting to meet the market landscape.

These adjustments were likely made around the periphery, not fundamental changes, but they may have impacted your positioning and the unique and sustainable brand essence that you had been leaning on before. But as we begin to return to more positive economic conditions, its important to reflect and measure the changes made internally and decide what is important to keep going forward, especially as it relates to your brand positioning.

Positioning is the source of your power in the B2B buy-sell relationship.

Evaluating and testing the strength of your positioning might seem like a daunting proposition, but rest assured, we’re not necessarily suggesting that your current positioning is fundamentally broken. It’s probably more likely that it needs refinement or clarification so that you can be more focused and more importantly, meaningfully different.

Again, a strong positioning is the source of power in your ability to differentiate yourselves from the competition. Successfully positioned businesses in the B2B landscape find everything easier (including closing the deal) because:

  • The single-minded focus allows you to develop deep expertise, rapidly
  • Ideal clients are more receptive to your outreach, or in fact, seek you out
  • Navigating a sales process feels more natural
  • Not only are you able to spot trends as they appear in your market, but you are also able to tailor your information during sales conversations to demonstrate bespoke expertise.
  • Your clients are likely more inclined to pay a higher rate for your expertise
  • Your entire team has a clear focus, which makes for more empowered decision making and improved customer interactions at all levels.

It is important to understand that an accurately defined positioning is a brand strategy and is not a tag line. An effective positioning strategy will drive growth, align your team and provide the entire organisation with strategic direction.

What to ask when evaluating your brand positioning?

Although the past 12 months of business may have been outliers, it is important to consider your recent strategic decision making and evaluate whether these choices still align with your positioning.

When evaluating your current brand positioning, the first step is to ask your senior management team the following questions:

Do you have a distinctive product and service offering?

  • Are you focused on what you do best? Do you have the necessary strategic alliances to manage the rest?
  • Have you developed any unique approaches that add value to the brand experience?
  • What sets you apart from your competitors and is this clear to your clients?

Do you have the right team with the necessary capabilities and expertise?

  • Have you clearly communicated your positioning internally and do your employees understand the positioning and business strategy?
  • Are your employees engaged in bringing the positioning to life, especially through professional development programs, guidelines and performance reviews?
  • Do you have clear hiring processes to ensure you attract and retain employees who reinforce your positioning?

How are your business processes and procedures?

  • Are you using your systems and processes as an opportunity to differentiate your brand?
  • How does your pricing reflect your positioning?
  • Are you continuing to develop, own, manage and protect your own intellectual property?

Do you have a clear and distinct brand identity?

  • Does your visual identity and logo reflect your positioning?
  • Does your website and collateral reflect the style and substance of your brand?
  • Are your key messages, tag line, elevator pitch and brand story all communicating your positioning consistently?

How is your strategic decision making?

  • What are the criteria by which you identify and evaluate prospective clients?
  • Have you developed an accountable measurement to determine the value of success that you deliver to your clients?
  • Have you done an effective job in establishing and then communicating that position in the market?

Asking these questions will not only start the process of evaluating your brand positioning, it will also start to embed its importance to the strategic direction, growth and success of your business.

Without execution, positioning is meaningless

Make no mistake, these are challenging questions to answer and a great many brands that are well established would find it difficult to evaluate these. Prioritising a specific area or component may help in the short term to realign your positioning to reflect your business intent, especially through a period of significant change in economic conditions.

Positioning a brand is complicated. It is an art and a science and is not likely to be well understood or appreciated by operationally oriented people in your organisation. It is however critical to your organisation’s long-term success and again comes down to executing across the entire business.

At BrandMatters, we are experts managing complex brand conundrums and building unique brand positioning statements that can measure up against the dynamic market we find ourselves in. If your organisation needs assistance in the evaluation of your existing and future brand positioning, get in touch with the BrandMatters team here.