You’ve done all the legwork, gathered the investors you need, and you have an excellent product. But as a growing startup, maybe your numbers just aren’t where they need to be.
A common pitfall many startups fall into is focusing on the numbers and market reports but neglecting brand development strategies. The truth is that 89% of consumers stay loyal to brands that have the same values as them. Building a brand is the key component toward cultivating trust and loyalty within your customers.
As part of building a brand, your positioning strategy is what you can use to connect with customers and differentiate from competitors. By focusing on your positioning strategy in the startup phase, you’ll be set for success down the road. As your business grows and changes, a solid positioning strategy will show you what to prioritize within your branding and marketing efforts.
Find out more about brand positioning and how to build a successful strategy that works.
Why Create a Brand Positioning Strategy?
In short, a brand positioning strategy offers focus. These days, customers interact with brands on hundreds of touchpoints. Brand positioning allows you to cultivate an omnichannel experience that’s cohesive and intriguing.
Whether your customers are visiting your social channels or reading content on your website, your brand positioning is what sets you apart from the competition. It also keeps your teams aligned so you’re always chasing the same goals.
Research shows that a consistent brand can increase revenue by 23%. Customers are spending more time researching before they make a purchase. It isn’t just about creating a logo and packaging that entices customers – everything you say will be scrutinized.
Brand positioning protects your company and makes it easier to make decisions about new product offerings, advertising campaigns and more.
Audit Your Current Brand
To get started with a brand positioning strategy, audit your current brand. As a startup, your go-to-market strategy may contain many of the elements you need to evaluate. What are your mission, vision and long-term goals? Consider if these elements are still true and revise if necessary.
Next, take a look at your marketing efforts to date. Where do you receive the most engagement? Evaluating your channels can help uncover the tone that works best for your brand.
If your customers engage most with educational whitepapers and webinars, your brand positioning may be more informative. On the other hand, perhaps you gain the most traction on social media platforms like Instagram. In this case, your brand may need a more casual positioning strategy.
Consider using a brand positioning map to see where you stand. Use a matrix to represent some common qualities in your industry. For example, you can chart your brand based on luxury, value, conversational and informative. Understanding your current position will help you think about where you want to be.
Evaluate Your Audience
Understanding your audience is key to developing a brand positioning strategy. Evaluating customers’ needs and values will allow you to resonate with them across all your marketing efforts.
To evaluate your audience, take a look at your analytics. Use everything from web analytics to CMS reports. You can also go a step further and gather timely data through customer surveys and focus groups.
While you’re analyzing your data, ask yourself the following questions:
- Where are my customers engaging with my brand?
- What are my customers saying about the brand?
- What type of content do my customers consume?
- What does my customer journey look like?
- What are my target customer demographics?
By answering these questions, you can begin to develop comprehensive customer personas. As long as your marketing efforts are speaking directly to your target personas, you can cultivate long-term customer relationships. If you’re meeting your customers halfway and addressing their pain points, they’ll be more likely to choose you over the competition.
Evaluate Your Competition
Brand positioning also means carving out a space that sets you apart from your competitors. By understanding the competition, you can begin to develop a clear path for your brand.
To evaluate your competition, you can use a few different methods:
- Social listening – See how your audience talks about other brands online
- Market research – Use sales research to determine which companies are occupying a larger market share in your industry
- Competitor analysis software – Evaluate your competitors’ digital presence to determine their performance across web, search, social media, advertising and more
As you’re evaluating the competition, identify gaps in the industry. Perhaps your competitors have positioned themselves as a value offering, while there isn’t a luxury brand in the market. You can position your brand within these gaps to capitalize on the customers that aren’t served.
Leverage your competitor data to determine what makes you unique. Are there weaknesses in the market that you can turn into your strengths? Find out which of your offerings you can improve to outshine the competition.
Writing Your Brand Positioning Statement
After you’ve conducted research into your current brand, audiences and competitors, you should have a good idea for your brand positioning. Now it’s time to boil your strategy down into a clear positioning statement.
Even though the statement should only be a sentence or two, this is usually a difficult part of the process. Your statement should be highly specific and tied to your benefits and unique offerings. The statement should also be something you can use across all efforts, including marketing and sales.
Keep in mind that your positioning statement is for internal use. Your customers shouldn’t ever see the statement. Instead, it’ll guide the messaging they do see. The opposite of a positioning statement is a tagline, which encompasses your positioning in a way that customers can see and resonate with.
As you’re writing your positioning statement, include these four elements:
- Audience – Who are your product or services for?
- Offer – What is your product or service?
- Differentiation – What makes your product or services unique?
- Promise – What is the promise that you can offer that customers will believe?
Look at Examples That Work
If you’re stuck writing your positioning statement, look at examples that work for other companies. Positioning statements are internal-facing, so they can be difficult to find online. We’ve taken the mission and vision of these successful companies to develop some sample positioning statements below:
Glossier: Glossier offers accessible beauty to customers seeking natural and inclusive products. Glossier makes beauty simple and customer-focused by giving a voice to its teams and customers.
Amazon: Amazon offers an effective solution to purchase all types of products for customers who prioritize convenience. Amazon is customer-focused and works fast to offer a single source of product discovery online.
Casper: Casper improves the entire sleep process by offering hassle-free mattresses and customer support. Casper aligns with customers who want to make quick, informed purchasing decisions and promises support at every step of the way.
Southwest: Southwest offers a value-priced yet exceptional flight experience. Southwest simplifies the flying process while going above and beyond through customer support for travelers seeking hassle-free travel.
Consider evaluating other companies in your space or top consumer brands to develop more examples.
Evaluating Your Brand Positioning Statement
As with every aspect of a business, your brand awareness strategy isn’t a “set it and forget it” process. Even after you’ve taken the time to develop a brand positioning statement, you still need to invest in evaluating the outcomes.
First, make sure your entire company understands the new brand positioning. Everyone from sales to customer support should focus their communications using the brand positioning statement.
As long as everyone is on the same page, set a period to test your efforts. Perhaps it means altering your messaging for the entire quarter. After the quarter, come back to the drawing board and evaluate your brand, audience and competition again.
Are you receiving higher engagement? Has your brand positioning improved customer sentiment? If not, find out what customers don’t like. It could be the platforms you’re using or your tone.
Even if you’ve found success, don’t stop there. See what works and reallocate your efforts there. When evaluating your brand positioning, you can improve ROI by leaving behind the efforts that don’t make sense anymore or aren’t working.
How to Improve Your Brand Development Strategies
The best way to improve your brand development strategies is by investing in brand strategy consulting. Sometimes all you need is an outside point of view to see where you’re falling short.
Contact us today to learn about our strategy services. We'll work with you to develop end-to-end brand positioning and more.