Position your brand or someone else will

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Does your brand have strong positioning?
Does your brand have strong positioning?

Establishing a strong position for your brand is arguably the most important step you can take to ensure a successful product launch and a memorable brand identity. You don't want to skip it.

Just think of some of the most successful brands in the world—iPod and Nike, for instance—and what they stand for.

Owning an iPod means so much more than having 4,000 of your favorite songs at your fingertips. It's about feeling urban, hip, and young, as if you're a part of something bigger than yourself.

And Nike downright owns the idea of movement, athleticism, and the power of human potential. Who doesn't feel stronger, faster, and more fit when watching a Nike commercial?

In his most recent book and television show by the same name, The Big Idea, advertising guru Donny Deutsch says, "Branding is all about discovering and staying consistent to a core value. Find your brand, hone it, and stay true to it.”

That's what positioning is all about.

So, where do you even start?

thorough analysis of the market should help you figure out what space your brand can own credibly.

1. Talk to your audience. Learn what people's perceptions are of your brand, and where they see it fitting into their practices.

It's okay to push the envelope, but you should stay within the boundaries of believability.

And don't try to mimic the popular, but rather identify a unique position that will truly differentiate your brand from those of its competitors.

2. Then, together with your agency partner, work to craft a position that is singularly focused. When it comes to positioning, less truly is more.

In fact, some agencies will actually recommend culling your position down to a single word. Although you don't necessarily have to go that far, keeping your position narrow and focused will serve multiple purposes.

First and foremost, it ensures simplicity of your message and improves recall among your target audience. If you try to stand for too much for too many people, you end up standing for nothing.

3. A single-minded position also improves efficiencies in the campaign development process. It gives your agency partners specific direction and keeps everyone aligned strategically.

It becomes the guiding principle for all creative brainstorming—a mantra that binds your team together. It serves as the backbone of everything from copy to concepts to color selection.

And, even more important, it can help you save big on marketing dollars by helping you “get it right the first time.”

4. Finally, developing a strong, succinct position allows you to gain buy-in from all colleagues who will be involved in the launch before development begins.

Sharing your position with other important players in the process, such as medical and legal liaisons or sales managers, will ensure team alignment and go far in eliminating dissension among the troops later on.

The last thing you want are late-inning curveballs from those who have not “bought in” on the idea. An agreed-upon position will prevent that from happening and get your launch started in a positive direction.

Use our positioning template to get you started. Think about how you would replace the words in parentheses to complete each phase.

For: (target audience)

Brand X: is the (define its essence)

That will: (unique selling proposition)

Because: (reason to believe the unique selling proposition)

So that: (end user benefit)

Hint: Write, rewrite, and rewrite again. Share with as many people as possible. Shoot holes in it, then make it bullet-proof.

In the end, your unique selling proposition will be the words you live by. It should bring people together, inspire big ideas, and ultimately ensure the success of your marketing efforts.

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