Tuesday, 3 January 2012

5 Strategies that Will Jump Start Your Brand Positioning in 2012

What is a Brand?

According to the American Marketing Association, a brand is a “Name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”

Brand Positioning is a deliberate or an unpremeditated image created in the minds of customers about a particular brand in relation to other brands within a given industry. 

As part of a branding strategy, it is important to design a brand positioning strategy that will certainly enable you take charge of your brand positioning. The under- listed positioning strategies will jump start your personal brand positioning and will take you to the next level.  

Positioning Strategies

  1. Set Your Brand Goals

Goal setting is the most basic activity of any venture, personal or business related. Without goals, strategies would be irrelevant and obviously, nothing would happen.

"Until input (thought) is linked to a goal (purpose) there can be no intelligent accomplishment."-
Paul G. Thomas

For a successful 2012, set meaningful personal brand goals in line with your overall life- plan and professional goals. Also create timelines for the accomplishment of your goals. Never leave your personal branding to chance. Strategic planning is deciding what you want to accomplish in the next 12 months, six months, three months, one month one week as well as setting day to day goals and targets. In short, your goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound). There is need to personally measure, evaluate and control your personal performance in accomplishment of brand positioning goals. Keep a diary if you need to.  

"The goal you set must be challenging. At the same time, it should be realistic and attainable, not impossible to reach. It should be challenging enough to make you stretch, but not so far that you break." Rick Hansen

 2. Define Your Target Audience

A Target audience is who you market your brand to. Many times, you will deliberately have to locate where these people are and the best way to reach them. If you are looking for your dream job, then your target audience should be recruiters, company managers, or other professionals in your target industry. There are so many opportunities in the world today in relation to personal growth, education,  careers, finance, business, politics, public service, just to mention a few.   A great way to kick start your brand positioning is to define your target audience, then identify the best way to not only get your message across but to gain their support also.   

A great targeting strategy that can be useful is to divide your target audience into various market segments such as geographic, psychographic, socio-economic, behavioral and so on and so forth.

Also, do a little research on the characteristics of your target audience so you can better decide the best way to reach them. For example, if you identify that your target audience is youthful and internet savvy, then it could prove to be highly profitable to increase your brand positioning activities via the internet, (e.g. advertising through internet gaming websites or social media platforms). By so doing you would achieve your goals efficiently and effectively. In other words you get to achieve your goals and at the same time save up on a lot of time and money, which you would otherwise have spent on bill boards, television ads or other pricey advertising media. 

  1. Competitive Positioning

In the same manner that you define your target audience, it is also imperative to identify key competitors in any business venture. Competition is not always bad. Competitive positioning will enable you differentiate your brand from the rest.

A quick and easy way to identify what makes your product/service different from those of your competitors is to conduct an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of a given market.

An effective positioning strategy is focused on unmet needs and wants of a market. Meeting market needs are what differentiate you from your competitors.  

 4.  Define Your Brand Positioning Statement

“Positioning is not what you do to a product; it is what you do to the mind of a prospect.”

Ries and Trout (1972).

A brand positioning statement defines the benefit customers will derive from your products/services and how it’s differentiated from the same products/services offered by your competitors.

Note that there is a difference between a positioning statement, a mission statement and a slogan

A positioning statement is a written description of a product/service’s benefits and how they are differentiated from those of key competitors; a mission statement on the other hand describes how an organization will achieve its goals and objectives.

Then also, a positioning statement and a slogan are not the same thing.

Simply put, a slogan is a catchy advertizing phrase derived from your positioning statement which is aimed at conveying your brand positioning message to your target audience.  

An effective brand positioning statement answers the following, although not limited to, questions:

WHO are you?

WHAT is your industry?

WHO are your competitors?

WHAT are the needs and wants of your target customers?

WHAT are your unique benefits/ attributes?

WHY should you be a preferred product/service provider?

 There are so many methods by which you can construct a positioning statement, however, brain storming sessions can be quite useful in the process.

Template for a Positioning Statement:

 For (target Customers), dissatisfied with (needs industry competitors are not meeting) (Product / Service / Organization / Person) provides (your key benefit/ point of difference) That’s because (reason to believe).

  1. Communicate Your Brand Positioning Statement

Effective Brand Positioning is contingent upon effectively communicating your brand benefits, attributes and uniqueness. A brand positioning statement is the best way to sum up and convey your brand personality’s core message to your target audience.

The main purpose of any brand communication strategy is to entice people to want more information about the brand.

There are a number of communication channels through which you can convey your brand positioning statement to your audience.    

On –Line Communication Channels

Product / service / personal website

Affiliate Website-advertising

Social media Communications


Off-Line Communication Channels

Newspapers Columns
Newspaper and magazine pages 

Business cards


Television Ads


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