In 1927, Zenith introduced this advertising slogan: “The quality goes in before the name goes on.” That statement is as true today as it was then — and it takes on an even greater meaning if we think of it in broader branding terms.
The fact is, some marketers may be in such a hurry to bring their brand to market that they spend more time trying to think up a clever brand name than they do creating a brand position. But as Zenith implied, you have to build a quality product first, before you put a brand name on it.
In order for that quality product to be effectively marketed, it requires something more than just a brand name. It needs a brand position.
A brand positioning statement establishes a strategy for how you will launch and market your brand.
On the surface, a brand positioning statement looks pretty easy to write, because it is typically very short. But as professional copywriters will tell you, often short copy is much harder to write than long copy, because you have to distill key concepts into a few very well-chosen meaningful words.
Here’s what to include in a brand positioning statement:
1. Likely Brand Buyer- This is the person who is most likely to be interested in buying your brand. Often this person is described as being part of your “target audience.” The likely brand buyer should be described as specifically as possible: gender, race, age, income, geographic area, employment, interests, etc. Ideally, you will build a descriptive profile of one or more target audiences for your brand.
2. Competition- The statement should position your brand against existing competition so the target audience can distinguish between your brand and someone else’s.
3. Product Benefits – The most compelling benefits of the brand.
4. Unique Brand Promise- The unique selling proposition of your brand.
While the components are easy to define, what’s behind them is a lot more challenging. The brand positioning statement is really the culmination of having an in-depth understanding of your audience, being knowledgeable about your competition, identifying your product benefits, and carefully defining your brand promise.
The brand positioning statement can be phrased in different ways — the way you say it isn’t nearly as important as what the statement includes.
The most important thing you can do when you create a brand positioning statement is differentiate your brand position.
Today, very few company, product, or service ideas are truly new and unique. You can almost be guaranteed that someone, somewhere, has developed a product or service similar to yours. And even if you bring a unique product or service to market, it won’t be long before another company comes out with a look-alike. This is just the nature of the competitive marketplace.
This doesn’t mean the situation is hopeless! There are such things as first-mover advantage, which means being first in your category. Federal Express was the first overnight small package delivery service, and to this day, people still say “FedEx it” when they want to ship something overnight. There are also many situations where a brand creates a category and a better competitor arrives to take over the category. Palm, for example, was the first company to pioneer the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) with the Palm Pilot. But the company failed to see the evolution of the category into a combination PDA-smartphone, so other brands like BlackBerry and iPhone quickly grabbed top positions in the category.
The brand positioning statement will help you make sure you are creating a brand position that stands out in a highly competitive marketplace. Put your brand positioning statement to the test: Make sure it has the four elements mentioned above — and above all, make sure you are doing everything possible to make your brand unique.