Brand positioning is the key to everything

Brand is more than a name, a logo and a tag line. It’s a promise to customers and a personality that identifies your company. Brand is about fulfilling an experience and creating aspiration. It’s the prism in which perceptions are created and associations become connected to a name and logo.  Branding is everything, every touch point with a customer from the way you answer the phone to the furniture in your lobby. But it is not just advertising, marketing claims or sales promotions. Its deeper than that.

I had a professor who believed that in our culture you are what you own. He saw the objects, and more importantly, the brands that we chose to spend money on as an extension of who we are as people.  If I asked you to describe a person who purchases brands like Rolex, Mercedes Benz, Ralph Lauren, Whole Foods and Starbucks the description you choose would not match with someone who identifies with brands like Tractor Supply Company, Carhartt, Wal-Mart, Cracker Barrel Restaurant and Dunkin Doughnuts.  Professionals who manage brands understand that the psychology of consumer perception is fundamental in creating strong brands and that brands are concepts that must be nurtured.  A consumer’s perception of a brand is influenced through design cues like symbols, color palette and naming.  So, where do we start when we want to better manage our brand? It all starts with the brand positioning statement.

Brand Positioning *

A brand position is based in the understanding of the hopes and perceptions of a targeted group of consumers. It is a strategic guide designed to be shared throughout a company. Brand positioning makes certain that the vision for the brand is consistent throughout the organization and for every consumer touch point. The following are critical components.

  1. A description of the target consumer including characteristics, psychographics and demographics.
  2. A frame of reference that includes a statement of how the target consumer will be served by the brand. This guide will define relevant competitors and identify situations in which the brand might be used.
  3. A point of difference should be created. This is the assertion of the superiority of the brand over its competitors.
  4. Supporting evidence for claims related to the frame of reference will provide reasons to believe. This is very important if the claims are abstract. Verifiable claims are self evident reasons to believe.

The following is an example of how we at MESH have used the above criteria to develop a brand positing statement.

Marketing Professionals who oversee a variety of time sensitive messages on multiple channels cannot afford conflicting information or ineffective collateral. (Target Consumer) MESH Interactive Agency provides seamlessly integrated brand strategy, graphic design and web development services. (Frame of Reference) Our many years of experience in the role of corporate marketing professionals enable MESH to uniquely understand the importance of being on message and encouraging stakeholder buy in. (Point of Difference) MESH has never exceeded an agreed upon budget and responds to every client inquiry within four hours. (Reason to Believe)

Great brands inspire loyalty and are based upon a mythology that we create.  Brands impact people and they’re the foundation for all strategic marketing initiatives. Creating a brand positioning statement eliminates any uncertainty regarding your customer profile, it focuses the goals of your corporate messaging and it helps identify the advantages you have over the competition.  It’s the first step to controlling the consumer’s perception of your company.

*Tybout, Alice and Calkins, Tim . “Brand Positioning” Kellogg on Branding, 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken, NJ