Position Your Business as the Ideal Solution Customers Need
In marketing, positioning is also known as a unique selling proposition (USP). Simply put, it refers to the way in which you make clear how your business offers something valuable and unique to those who need your service most.
Every superhero needs to be clear on who they can help most and what their powers are, after all.
In this post, we’ll unpack how to optimize your message so it is received most effectively.
Think Through Whether Your Positioning Is Actually Unique
This is a common mistake in brand development, and is one you can solve by putting yourself in the shoes of the type of person to whom you’re primarily selling.
Here are some examples of bad positioning statements with an overview of why they don’t work.
“Full service insurance company.”
- No one claims to provide half-service, so what does full service even mean? It’s a statement meant to sound more robust than alternatives, but actually conveys very little.
- Even if the customer basically understands what you’re getting at here, the wording still doesn’t communicate how that level of service really benefits the customer. Implied messages lead your prospect to a guessing game. Don’t make them work so hard to understand your key points.
“Not your typical [industry] company!”
- If the customer doesn’t know much about your industry, they won’t know what’s wrong with the “typical” way companies do things. Because of this, simply being different doesn’t mean anything to that customer.
- The statement is also vague and doesn’t convey how you are better than the competition. (Why is being different better?)
- If your industry has a bad reputation for being slow or inconsistent, play to the fact that you provide prompt service and have extremely positive reviews to demonstrate your reliability.
“Fresh Baked Bread/Pies/Rolls”
- Everybody claims to offer freshly made food. (The alternative is stale food.)
- Focus more on tangibles like the taste, the quality of ingredients, your process, or your variety.
The key here is to avoid “me too” syndrome, where you’re taking the best known elements of your industry that customers know to look for and essentially saying, “Yeah, I do that, too!”
For instance, perhaps you’re a restaurant in an industry where it’s common to offer delivery. Stating, “We Deliver!” is worth mentioning, but shouldn’t be your main positioning statement because you are then only offering the baseline experience for your industry.
In industries where customers often look for deals or low prices, being one more company offering low prices isn’t much of a draw. However, making it clear that you keep prices low while offering faster or higher quality service than competitors is a good start.
Strengthening Your Positioning Statement
Here are some things to consider when examining your own messaging to make stronger revisions.
Customers want to know you understand their needs.
If you can demonstrate empathy, that you understand their pain points and/or their urgency, they’ll connect with what you’re communicating more than a company who is merely selling a solution.
Consider the example of a business offering financial assistance to those in hardship.
Many websites like this open by stating the wide variety of solutions they offer, but this doesn’t build rapport. All those options may even seem a burden to an already overwhelmed person. (“Ah jeez, I already don’t know what I’m doing and now there are 12 options?!”)
Instead, opening with verbiage like, “We understand how hard it can be to keep working and avoid worrying your family when you aren’t sure how to make that rent payment. That’s why we offer tailored programs for those exact types of circumstances for folks just like you.”
You’re painting a picture that seems familiar, and already they are thinking about the nights they’ve lain awake wondering what to do. The fact that you are cognizant of that pain, aren’t judging their situation, and are lending a sympathetic solution may be exactly what they want to hear.
Already here you’ve communicated the value of what you really offer.
Keep your positioning statement concise.
Your positioning statement needs to be memorable, both to your team and potentially to customers. While a positioning statement doesn’t have to be the same as your company’s tagline, the tagline should be inspired by it. Consider Nike’s highly memorable line, “Just Do It.” (See below for their full positioning statement.)
Also, avoid industry jargon that may seem vague or confusing to others.
Consider these questions to flesh out your positioning:
- What is the most pressing or significant challenge your ideal customer has?
- How are those people currently trying to solve those challenges?
- How are your competitors addressing those challenges?
- What makes your product or service unique and possibly superior to your competition?
Any positioning statement you create should also meet these criteria:
- Apart from being unique, it should also be something the customer can see is important.
- It must be believable. People hear exaggerated claims all the time, so if your position statement isn’t believable then your brand isn’t trustworthy.
- You’ll need supporting claims to prove the importance and viability of your positioning statement. They should reinforce your message with concrete benefits.
Examples of Good Positioning Statements
“At Nike, we’re committed to creating a better, more sustainable future for our people, planet, and communities through the power of sport.”
Why it’s good: Nike’s positioning statement focuses on its purpose of incorporating sustainability and innovation into its activewear. Their company philosophy is clear, as is their target market of sportswear. And it relates directly to their tagline of “Just Do It,” which clearly speaks to action.
“Disney provides unique entertainment for consumers seeking magical experiences and memories. Disney leads the competition by providing every aspect of related products and services to the world and appealing to people of all ages.”
Why it’s good: They’ve made the genre of entertainment they create clear, that they offer that experience in various mediums, and that people of any age can appreciate that experience. Those things generally aren’t true of other production companies (to that degree), and are ideal for parents who now know the content is suitable for their children — and may also appeal to them as parents. (It’s always a bonus when something you put on for your children is something you’d like to watch, too.)
“Starbucks offers the best coffee and espresso drinks for consumers who want premium ingredients and perfection every time. Starbucks not only values every interaction, making each one unique, but the brand commits itself to the highest quality coffee in the world.”
Why it’s good: Coffee shops are everywhere. But this position statement promises an absolute commitment to an excellent brew, and that the human aspect of the experience will also be memorable instead of simply transactional.
The Next Steps…
Hopefully from the tips shared here you have some ideas to get started on creating or refining your positioning statement.
Working through positioning statements in greater detail is a part of what we offer in our brand assessment services. If you’d like to take your brand messaging further and improve sales through more efficient marketing, contact me for a consultation!
And for the DIYers of the world, we’ve created a downloadable positioning statement template.