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How to create a compelling brand positioning strategy

PostsStrategy & planning
Georgina Guthrie

Georgina Guthrie

February 28, 2024

What do Uber, Hoover, and Velcro all have in common? 

Chances are, if you want a taxi, a vacuum cleaner, or a hook-and-eye fastener, you’ll ask for them by one of the brand names above. That’s because those companies have positioned themselves in the market so thoroughly that they’ve become bywords for certain products.

Such is the power of brand positioning! But it goes beyond names: brands who are consistent in how they present themselves in the market see an average revenue increase of 10-20%. So it’s not just good for your reputation — your profits benefit too. 

We’ve created this guide to help you navigate the brand positioning process. It’s ideal for businesses of all sizes, whether you’re a small startup finding your place or an established giant looking to reaffirm your spot. It also includes examples and templates to help you get started. So let’s get into it! 

What is brand positioning?

Think of brand positioning as your organization’s spot in everyone’s mind. It’s how you make your brand stand out and be remembered in a crowd. Imagine your brand as a person at a party wearing something that turns heads — that’s the effect you want.

It’s not just about looks, though. You need to capture your audience’s hearts.

Brand positioning, then, is built on what you stand for, the personality of your brand, the perks of choosing you, and how you solve problems better than anyone else.

Here are some typical brand positions: 

  • Premium 
  • Good value 
  • The market leader
  • The challenger 
  • A safe pair of hands
  • Great customer service 
  • Convenient 
  • Great on social media 
  • Secure

The bottom line:  Brand positioning is making sure people understand why your brand is different and why that difference is important to them.

The brand positioning map

A brand positioning map is a handy diagram that shows you where your business (existing or proposed) stands in the market based on factors that matter to customers. 

Imagine drawing a big ‘X’ and ‘Y’ axis on a piece of paper. On one axis, you might put price, and on the other, quality. Each brand in your market gets a dot on this chart based on where they fall. Some might be high-quality and high-price, while others are low-price but not as fancy.

Here’s why this map is handy:

1. Identifies gaps: By plotting brands, including yours, you can see if there’s a ‘sweet spot’ that no one is hitting. Maybe there’s room for a luxury, eco-friendly option that nobody’s offering yet. Or maybe you can nab the best value spot.

2. Shows competitive landscape: It’s a quick way to see who your direct competitors are and how crowded a particular area of the market is. If there’s a spot with fewer brands, it might be a good place to aim for.

3. Helps in strategic planning: Understanding where you stand helps you figure out how to move your brand to where you want to be. If you want to be seen as more premium, you can see how far you need to shift.

4. Guides marketing and product development: Seeing your position can help decide what kind of products to develop next or what messages to push in your marketing to move your brand in the desired direction.

Brand positioning map (image source)

Real-world brand positioning examples

Let’s see how good brand positioning works IRL. These brands stand out by zeroing in on a unique trait or value and making sure everything they do communicates that message. 

1. Apple

Is any list of ‘brands who do it well’ complete without Apple? Often seen as the kings of brand positioning, the tech megabrand has positioned itself as the epitome of innovation, quality, and simplicity. When you think of ‘Apple,’ you think of ‘premium products that are user-friendly and ahead of the curve.’

2. Nike

Nike has positioned itself as more than just a shoe company. It’s a brand that inspires athletes and everyday people to ‘Just Do It.’ Their messaging focuses on perseverance, excellence, and the journey of becoming better in whatever you do. Nike stands for motivation, and they’ve nailed this position in the market by associating with top athletes and inspirational stories.

3. Tesla

Tesla has made its mark by positioning itself as not just a car manufacturer but a pioneer in sustainable energy and innovation. But more than that — it made its eco-friendly cars a status item rather than something for hippies. They’re all about leading the charge (pun intended) towards a greener future. When you think Tesla, you think cutting-edge tech, environmental responsibility, and luxury. 

How to create your own brand positioning strategy in 8 steps

Not sure where to start? It’s as easy as…

1. Know your current position

The first step is to get a clear view of where your brand stands today. This isn’t just about how you see your brand but, more importantly, how your customers and potential customers see it. 

  • Do in-depth market research to gather insights into your brand’s perception. This could involve analyzing customer reviews, running surveys, monitoring social media conversations about your brand, or holding focus groups. The more the merrier! 
  • Perform a competitive landscape analysis to see how your brand stacks up against others in your industry. What do your competitors offer, and what do customers think of them?
  • Identify your brand’s strengths and weaknesses through a SWOT analysis. This will help you understand what you’re doing well and where there’s room for improvement.

2. Identify your unique value proposition (UVP)

Your UVP is essentially what makes your brand unique. It’s the reason customers should choose you over the competition. 

  • Reflect on what sets your brand apart. Is it your innovative products, exceptional customer service, or perhaps your brand’s commitment to sustainability? Pinpointing this is crucial for defining your UVP. (Note: USP is slightly different and refers to one specific feature or benefit, whereas your UVP is about a broader value.)
  • Consider the benefits that your differentiators bring to your customers. It’s not enough to be different; your differences must add value to your customer’s lives or solve a specific problem they face.

3. Know your target audience

Knowing who you’re targeting helps tailor your messaging and product offerings to meet their specific needs. To get to know your target audience:

  • Segment your market to identify the most promising audience for your brand. This involves looking at demographic, geographic, psychographic, and behavioral characteristics to define your ideal customer profiles.
  • Get stuck into customer discovery. Dive deep into understanding the needs, preferences, pain points, and buying behavior of your target audience. What motivates their purchasing decisions? What do they value in a brand?

4. Analyze your competitors

A thorough competitor analysis helps you understand the lay of the land. Brand positioning map at the ready! 

  • Identify who your direct and indirect competitors are. Direct competitors offer similar products or services, while indirect competitors satisfy the same customer needs but in different ways.
  • Analyze their offerings, marketing strategies, strengths, and weaknesses. What can you learn from them? What are they missing that your brand can provide?
  • Look for gaps in the market that your brand can fill. This could be a unique product feature, a new way of delivering services, or a different approach to customer engagement.

5. Craft your positioning statement

Part of your wider strategic positioning strategy, your positioning statement is like your brand’s elevator pitch. It’s a brief statement that sums up who your brand is for, the needs it meets, and why people should believe in it. You’ll find a more detailed overview (with examples and templates) a little later on. 

  • Who: This part is about your target audience. Who are you trying to reach? This should be a specific group of people who are most likely to buy from you. It’s important to be as detailed as possible here because your brand can’t be everything to everyone. A user persona template will help you here.
  • What: Here, you define the problem or need that your product or service solves. What does your brand offer that your target audience needs? This should be something that they can’t get from anyone else.
  • Why: This is where you explain why your target audience should believe that your brand can meet their needs better than any other option. This could be because of your expertise, the unique features of your product, or even your brand’s values.

6. Test your position

Just like scientists test their theories with experiments, marketers need to see if their positioning hypothesis truly resonates with their target audience.

  • Use tools like surveys, focus groups, or social media polls to collect feedback from your target audience about your positioning statement. Ask specific questions that help you understand whether the message is clear and compelling.
  • As you analyze the feedback, look for common themes or concerns. This will help you identify any areas of your positioning that may need to be clarified or adjusted.
  • Based on the feedback, make necessary adjustments to your positioning statement. This might involve tweaking the language to make it more relatable to your audience or emphasizing different aspects of your brand that resonate more strongly with them.

7. Communicate your position

Good organizational communication is crucial for making sure your positioning sticks. This means integrating your positioning statement into all your marketing materials and ensuring consistency across all touchpoints. 

  • Revise your website, social media profiles, advertising campaigns, and any other customer-facing materials to reflect your brand positioning.
  • Make sure everyone in your organization understands the brand positioning and can communicate it effectively. This includes customer service representatives, salespeople, and marketing teams. 
  • Beyond just talking about your positioning, demonstrate it through your actions. This could mean highlighting customer stories or engaging in initiatives that reinforce your brand’s values.

8. Monitor and adapt

The market is always changing, and so are consumer preferences. That’s why it’s important to be ready to adapt as needed.

  • Regularly review what your competitors are doing and how they’re positioning themselves. This can help you identify new opportunities or pivot if the competitive landscape shifts.
  • Use customer feedback, social media listening tools, and market research to stay tuned into what your customers are saying. This can help you spot room for improvement.
  • If you find that your brand positioning isn’t resonating as well as you’d hoped, or if there have been significant changes in your market, don’t be afraid to revisit and refine your positioning strategy.

10 brand positioning strategies (with examples)

Selecting the right positioning strategy is important because it determines how you’ll differentiate your brand from competitors. Here are some of the main approaches.

1. Cost leadership

This strategy involves positioning your brand as the most affordable option in the market. It’s about offering similar or competitive quality products or services at a lower price than your competitors. The key here is to maintain profitability by achieving economies of scale, optimizing operations, or finding cost-saving measures without compromising quality.

Example: A retail brand that offers quality goods at lower prices due to cutting spend on fancy packaging. 

2. Differentiation

Differentiation is about standing out from the crowd through unique product features, innovation, superior service, or a compelling brand story. This strategy requires a deep understanding of your target audience’s needs and preferences, allowing you to offer something that is both valued and unique.

Example: A tech company that offers features that are not available from competitors.

3. Focus or niche

A focus or niche strategy involves targeting a specific segment of the market rather than trying to appeal to everyone. By specializing in a particular area, you can cater to the unique needs of a specific group better than competitors who have a broader focus.

Example: A clothing brand that specializes in high-quality outdoor wear for mountain climbers.

4. Quality positioning

This approach involves positioning your brand as offering the highest-quality option available. This doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive, but it does involve a perception of excellence and superiority in your product category.

Example: A luxury car brand known for its craftsmanship, durability, and performance.

5. Value positioning

Value positioning is about highlighting the excellent value your brand offers — combining quality, service, and price in a way that provides superior overall value compared to competitors. It’s a balanced approach that appeals to consumers looking for the best deal in terms of overall satisfaction.

Example: A supermarket chain that offers good quality products, competitive prices, and a pleasant shopping experience, making it the best overall value for shoppers.

6. Experience positioning

This strategy focuses on creating and delivering a unique, memorable customer experience. It’s about differentiating your brand through the way customers interact with your products and services, from purchase through to after-sales support.

Example: A coffee shop chain that offers a cozy, community-focused environment where customers can relax, work, or meet friends, making the coffee-buying experience as important as the coffee itself.

7. Sustainability positioning

This strategy focuses on positioning your brand as environmentally friendly and socially responsible. Brands that adopt this strategy are committed to sustainable practices in their operations, products, and services, appealing to consumers who prioritize environmental and social issues.

Example: A fashion brand that uses only recycled materials and promotes ethical labor practices, appealing to eco-conscious consumers.

9. Customer-centric positioning

This strategy focuses on placing the customer at the center of everything the brand does. It’s about tailoring products, services, and experiences to meet the specific needs and desires of customers, often involving personalized service or customization options.

Example: An interior design company that offers highly customizable solutions, exceptional customer support, and home visits to help every customer feel supported.

10. Convenience positioning

Convenience positioning focuses on making your brand the most accessible and easy-to-use option for consumers. This strategy emphasizes simplicity, time-saving, and hassle-free experiences, appealing to busy customers who value ease and efficiency in their purchasing decisions. Brands leveraging this positioning often highlight how their products or services fit seamlessly into the consumer’s lifestyle, reducing effort and improving their daily routine.

Example: An online grocery delivery service that offers a user-friendly app, allowing customers to shop for groceries from the comfort of their home and have them delivered at a convenient time. 

How to write a stellar brand positioning statement in 4 steps

While short, positioning statements require a bit of thought. You need to succinctly capture the essence of what you’re doing in just a few words. Here’s how to go about that.

1. Identify your target audience: Be specific about who your brand is for. Use the insights from your market research to define this group precisely.

2. Define the market: Clearly state the market or category in which your brand operates. This helps set the context for your positioning.

3. Articulate your brand promise: Highlight the single most important thing your brand promises to deliver to consumers. This should be something that is both relevant to your target audience and differentiates your brand from competitors.

4. Provide evidence: Back up your brand promise with a reason to believe. This could be a unique feature of your product, a notable achievement, or evidence of your brand’s commitment to a certain value.

Refining your statement

  1. Be concise: Your positioning statement should be brief yet powerful. Aim for no more than a few sentences that capture the essence of your brand’s unique position.
  1. Focus on benefits: Make sure the statement focuses on the benefits that matter most to your target audience, rather than just listing features.
  1. Differentiate yourself: Highlight what makes your brand different and better for your target audience compared to the competition.
  1. Make it memorable: It needs to stick in the minds of both your team, and your audience. 
  1. Stay true to your core values: This is no time to rock the boat. Your positioning statement should reflect what you do and stand for. Clarity and consistency has the added benefit of 

Creating a brand positioning statement is an iterative process. It may take several tries to get it right. 

Test your statement with your target audience/colleagues to see if it resonates and accurately reflects what your brand offers. Once finalized, your statement will serve as a guiding star for all your branding and marketing efforts, helping you stay clear and consistent in all of your messaging.

5 brand positioning statement examples

Here are five examples of brand positioning statements, each with different positioning focuses. 

A new gourmet frozen meal company: ‘For busy urban professionals (target audience) looking for quick and healthy meal options (market definition), Brand X provides a range of gourmet frozen meals (brand promise) that are prepared using only organic ingredients and designed by renowned chefs (reason to believe).’

A company specializing in fitness equipment: ‘For fitness enthusiasts who struggle to find time for the gym (target audience) seeking efficient and effective home workout solutions (market definition), FitGear offers a compact, all-in-one home gym system (brand promise) that combines resistance training, cardio workouts, and flexibility exercises, designed with input from professional athletes and physiotherapists (reason to believe).’

Sustainable fashion: ‘For eco-conscious consumers (target audience) looking for stylish and sustainable clothing options (market definition), EcoWear provides a line of fashionable, eco-friendly apparel (brand promise) made from 100% recycled materials and ethical labor practices, ensuring both environmental responsibility and high-quality design (reason to believe).’

Personal finance app: ‘For busy urban professionals (target audience) seeking to manage their finances with ease (market definition), FinSavvy offers an intuitive personal finance app (brand promise) that simplifies budgeting, investing, and savings, powered by AI-driven insights and personalized financial advice from industry experts (reason to believe).’

A specialty coffee company: ‘For coffee aficionados (target audience) in search of unique and high-quality coffee experiences (market definition), BeanMaster presents a selection of single-origin coffees (brand promise) sourced directly from sustainable farms around the world, each batch roasted to perfection to highlight its unique flavor profile (reason to believe).’

A company that specializes in educational toys: For parents of young children (target audience) looking for toys that are both fun and educational (market definition), SmartPlay offers a range of innovative toys (brand promise) designed to promote cognitive development and STEM skills, developed in collaboration with child psychologists and educators (reason to believe).

5 brand positioning statement templates

Crafting a brand positioning statement can feel daunting, but using a template can give you a helpful starting point. Below are templates that can be adapted and customized to fit your brand’s unique characteristics and market situation.

Template 1: Basic structure

‘For [target audience], who [need or desire], [brand name] provides [unique benefit/differentiator] because [reason to believe].’

Example: ‘For urban professionals who crave quick, healthy meals, QuickEats provides gourmet, microwaveable dishes crafted from organic ingredients because we believe in delicious convenience without compromise.’

Template 2: Focused on differentiation

‘[Brand name] is the only [market definition] that [unique benefit/differentiator] for [target audience] because [reason to believe].’

Example: ‘EcoWear is the only sustainable fashion brand that uses 100% recycled materials to create high-fashion designs for eco-conscious consumers because we believe in style without environmental compromise.’

Template 3: Emphasizing emotional benefit

‘[Brand name] helps [target audience] [emotional benefit] by [unique benefit/differentiator] because [reason to believe].’

Example: ‘SereneSpaces helps busy homeowners find peace and relaxation by offering minimalist home decor that transforms any room into a tranquil retreat. Because we believe your home should be your sanctuary.’

Template 4: Highlighting innovation

‘For [target audience] who are [need or desire], [brand name] is the [market definition] that [innovative feature] because [how it solves the problem].’

Example: ‘For adventurous eaters who are bored with traditional dining options, FlavorFusion is the restaurant that offers a unique blend of global cuisines in every dish because we bring the world to your plate.’

Template 5: Focused on value

‘[Brand name] provides [target audience] with [unique benefit/differentiator] at [price/value proposition] because [reason to believe].’

Example: ‘BudgetTech provides college students with high-performance, refurbished laptops at affordable prices because we believe in empowering education through technology.’

How to communicate your brand positioning to internal and external stakeholders

Once you’ve crafted your brand positioning statement, the next step is to get everyone on board. And a key part of this is communicating it effectively to all stakeholders

This includes not just your customers but also employees, partners, investors, and any other parties that have a stake in your brand’s success. 

1. Begin with internal comms

Run employee training sessions to help every employee understand the brand position and how their role supports it. This will help you achieve a consistent brand experience across all touchpoints.

Next, create and distribute resources like brand manuals, FAQ documents, and case studies that reinforce the brand positioning. Make these resources easily accessible to all team members.

Finally, invite leaders within the organization regularly communicate and endorse the brand positioning. Leadership buy-in can massively influence company culture and alignment.

2. Spread the word 

Make sure all marketing materials, from your website and social media to advertising and packaging, reflect your brand positioning. Consistency across these platforms reinforces your message in the minds of consumers.

Tailor your PR efforts, including press releases, interviews, and articles, to highlight your brand positioning. This can help shape public perception and reinforce your desired market position.

Then, design the customer experience, from initial contact through post-purchase support, to reflect your brand positioning. Every interaction should reinforce the unique value proposition and brand promise.

3. Spend time on external stakeholder engagement

Clearly communicate your brand positioning to partners and investors through presentations, reports, and direct communication for the best chance of buy-in. 

Establish mechanisms for collecting and responding to feedback. This not only helps you refine your brand positioning but also makes stakeholders feel valued and heard.

4. Work on consistency and clarity

Regularly review all communications to ensure they are aligned with your brand positioning. Be prepared to update materials as your brand evolves.

Avoid jargon and complex language. Your brand positioning needs to resonate with everyone, from the CEO to the newest intern. 

How to improve your brand position over time

Improving your brand’s position is an ongoing process. As markets evolve, consumer preferences shift, and new competitors emerge. Your brand needs to stay on its A-game to stay relevant. 

1. Stay attuned to market trends

  • Continuous market research: Regularly conduct market research to stay informed about trends, emerging needs, and shifts in consumer behavior. This can help you anticipate changes and adapt as needed.
  • Monitor competitors: Keep an eye on your competitors’ moves, including new product launches, branding changes, and marketing campaigns. Understanding their strategies can help you identify opportunities to strengthen your own position.

2. Engage with your audience

  • Collect customer feedback: Use surveys, social media, and customer reviews to gather feedback on your brand. Listening to your customers will give you insights into how people perceive your brand and where there’s room for improvement. 
  • Build community: Foster a sense of community through events, forums, or social media groups. Engaged customers offer feedback as well as advocacy. 

3. Innovate and differentiate

  • Product and service innovation: Improve and innovate your offerings to meet changing customer needs and stay ahead of competitors. This will reinforce your brand’s position as a market leader.
  • Unique brand experiences: Create unique brand experiences that help you stand out from the crowd. 

4. Strengthen your brand messaging

  • Refine your positioning statement: As your brand evolves, periodically review and update your positioning statement to make sure it accurately reflects your current brand promise.
  • Consistent brand identity: Ensure your brand identity, including visuals and tone of voice, is consistent across all channels. A cohesive brand is a recognizable brand! 

5. Leverage partnerships and collaborations

  • Strategic partnerships: Form partnerships with other brands or organizations that complement your offerings and can help enhance your brand’s visibility and appeal.
  • Collaborations: Collaborate with influencers, industry experts, or celebs who align with your brand values to reach new audiences and add credibility.

6. Adapt and evolve

  • Be flexible: Be willing to adapt your brand positioning in response to changes in the market or your audience’s needs. Flexibility can be vital to staying relevant in a fast-changing market.
  • Continuous improvement: View brand positioning as a dynamic process. Continually look for ways to improve and strengthen your brand’s position.

Collaboration tools make brand positioning a breeze

Collaboration tools are real assets when it comes to brand positioning. With Cacoo, you can grab user persona templates or map out customer journeys in just a few clicks. Better yet, you can share your creations not just with the wider team, but with internal and external stakeholders too — as well as brainstorm, present, and comment in real-time. 

Meanwhile, Backlog takes project management to the next level by streamlining tasks and tracking progress. Together, they empower brands to navigate brand positioning with ease while freeing up managers to focus on adapting, innovating, and thriving in an ever-changing market.



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