How to Write a Killer Brand Positioning Statement
You’ve done it! You’ve come up with the idea, designed the product or service, created an awesome logo and brand – and now all you need is to get your brand into the world.
As you’ve probably learned by now, it’s really important for business owners at any stage to have consistent branding across the board. Over time, consistency will teach your audience to rely on you to deliver on a certain promise – one that helps them in their everyday lives.
And guess what? An audience that relies on you = loyal customers that will stay with your brand in the long term.
Luckily, it’s not too difficult to create this consistency; you just need a guide to get you there.
Enter: Your brand positioning statement.
Whether you’re a freelancer, solopreneur or small business owner, a strong brand positioning statement will not only help you develop your brand but also show you how to market that brand to the world.
But, before we get ahead of ourselves:
A brand positioning statement is a sentence or two explaining what your brand does, who exactly your brand is targeting, what benefits your brand brings to the market, and the “proof” you have that you’re the one for the job.
While that may sound like a mouthful, it’s actually just a really concise way of explaining the benefit that your brand brings to the world. In other words, your positioning statement is a brief explanation of how you fill some sort of need for your target market.
Note that this statement is only for internal use; its purpose is to help inform your own vision for your brand and how you want people to perceive it.
So, to create your brand positioning statement, you really need to understand your own brand.
Before we jump into things, let’s just clarify the difference between a couple terms.
People tend to confuse their brand positioning with their value proposition. While these are both important to a business’s marketing strategy, a value proposition is a much broader overview of your brands’ products/services and the benefits they offer your customers.
So, while you need to know what your value proposition is before creating your brand positioning statement, your positioning statement should be a more focused, concise statement of how your brand is differentiated from others in your market.
Think of your value proposition as the novel, while your positioning statement is the summary on the back cover.
On that note, let’s look at how to create your own positioning statement the right way!
In his book Crossing the Chasm, management consultant and author Geoffrey Moore recommends using the following template for a brand positioning statement:
For (target customer) who (statement of the need or opportunity), the (product name) is a (product category) that (statement of key benefit – that is, compelling reason to buy). Unlike (primary competitive alternative), our product (statement of primary differentiation).
So if you got all that, go ahead and start writing your brand positioning statement! But, if you’re scratching your head at this, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Let’s break down how to create your positioning statement in a few simple steps:
Why is this important? Well, because if you know what’s gone on in your industry in the past, you know what it means to your customers – both in terms of what it already gives them, and in terms of what it lacks.
For example, the sanitation supplies industry might provide consumers with effective cleaning products at a low cost, but without offering any organic solutions that are 100% safe for use (which is where your brand comes in).
Also, your industry’s history has shaped consumers’ attitudes towards it, and it’s important to know where exactly your brand is entering into the conversation. Get to know the nuances of your industry, so you can understand where your brand fits into it and how it can set itself apart from the competition.
What does it mean to know your brand – don’t you know it better than anyone? Specifically, there are 4 things to know about your brand before you begin writing:
1. Target Market. We’ve said this a million times, and we’ll say it again: You must know who you’re targeting before you launch your brand into the world. That applies to all aspects of your branding, but especially to your brand positioning statement.
Your target market should be determined based on demographic information, pain points, likes and dislikes, etc. Your brand isn’t for everyone, and that’s a good thing! But you should know who exactly your brand is meant to help, so you can be as precise in your positioning statement as possible.
2. Category. Which market are you entering? This should be a relatively easy one to pin down (and if you find yourself explaining why your brand is too unique to fit into one specific market, then you need to go back to the drawing board).
Your customers are going to want context before they evaluate your product or service, so they’re going to try to categorize you as “restaurant,” “lawn care,” “personal trainer”, etc. But if you don’t know which market your brand fits into, they sure as heck won’t either – and they’ll move on.
3. Point of Differentiation. What makes you different from your competitors? It’s best to stick to only one point here, with the unique features of your product/service supporting that point.
4. Payoff. This brings together the needs of your target audience with the point of differentiation you listed above. In other words, you have to lay out how your differentiator will give them what they want.
What reason can you offer your customers that your brand will deliver on its promise? Do you have specific information that backs up your claim as the right brand for the job?
This could be anything from using high-quality ingredients to having the fastest messaging response time or building in financially lucrative locations – whatever reasoning you can use to “prove” that your brand has the edge.
Just like this step, it’s important to keep your positioning statement short. We’re talking 1 to 2 sentences, 3 sentences max. Remember, you’re not writing out an entire marketing plan here; you’re only supposed to create a barebones statement on which you can base your brand vision.
It’s time to officially combine everything you learned above into a sentence or two.
If you haven’t gotten anything on paper yet, not to worry. Here’s a simplified version of the brand positioning statement template that you can follow:
“For [target audience], my brand is the only one in the [category of competition] that does [what sets you apart] because of [proof].”
Because you’ve done all of the other steps, by now you should be able to easily plug in your target audience, the category, differentiator, and the proof.
How closely does your brand positioning statement align with your values? As we mentioned above, you’ll want to be able to make some key business decisions according to your positioning statement.
However, in order to do that, you need to first make sure that your positioning statement has your brand values at its center – whether that’s creating a positive customer experience, worldwide respect for animals, or passion for innovation.
Now, let’s take a look at some examples of strong brand positioning statements so you can get a feel for what your own should sound like.
Most brand positioning statements are hidden from the public eye (yours should be too!), so we created a few examples out of famous brands for the purpose of this post.
Check out some of these simulated positioning statements and see what you can learn from them:
For eco-conscious consumers who need a dependable way of getting around, Toyota is an automotive manufacturer that produces reliable, energy efficient vehicles at an affordable price. Unlike other automotive manufacturers, Toyota is a market leader that is committed to providing clean, safe, and high-quality products to our customers.
For worldwide consumers who want to shop for everything they need online, Amazon is an all-inclusive online shopping store. Unlike other online retailers, Amazon is customer-obsessed rather than focused on competitors, passionate about innovation and committed to long-term thinking.
For people searching for a tasty beverage, Coca-Cola provides a wide choice of drinks that refreshes both body and spirit. Coca-Cola sets itself apart from other beverage companies through a customer-centric approach – using their products to make a positive difference in the lives of their customers.
For price-sensitive consumers around the globe, Walmart is a multinational retail corporation that provides everyday products at the lowest possible price. What sets Walmart apart is its operational excellence, inventory management, and their commitment to helping people live better lives by saving them money.
For modern consumers, students or educators looking for the best technology, Apple is the leading technology company that delivers the most innovative products. Apple distinguishes their products from other technology companies through providing a seamless user experience, using innovative hardware, and drive toward constant growth.
Now that you know how to create a brand positioning statement and have seen examples, feel free to play around with it! If you have several different audience segments, you might want to create multiple positioning statements that speak to their specific needs.
Once you have your positioning statement(s) down, you’ll be ready to begin setting up your brand strategy and building out your messaging. Happy branding!