Simply put, brand positioning is the process of getting your target audience to know your brand and associate it with specific characteristics and attributes. One of the first steps to brand positioning is to create a company positioning statement that describes what you do, who you do it for, and what differentiates you from others in the market.
Developing a positioning statement helps you clearly define your company and your audience by articulating customer concerns and the unique solutions your company delivers. And once you’ve created your positioning statement, it can help align your organization on a single message, increase efficiency when creating content, and ensure consistency within that content.
Figure 1. A typical corporate positioning statement framework
Let’s get started creating your positioning statement: quickly write down a couple of sentences that describe the uniqueness of your company—not one of your products or services but your company—and what sets it apart from your competition. Don’t overthink it; don’t take more than a minute or two to write these sentences.
Reading your description, does your company sound unique or does it sound like other companies similar to yours? Was your description easy to write? Do you like what you wrote? Do you think others inside and outside your company would agree with what you wrote? Does it match what’s on your website? If you answered no to even one of these questions, your corporate positioning statement may need some attention. The following framework and brand positioning questions can help.
First, define the following elements of your positioning statement. We use this framework day in and day out at TREW and it is a very useful tool to guide you to the right words, phrases, and tone that will uniquely position our clients in the market. When you are going through these, be as specific and focused as possible.
- Who—your potential engineering and scientific customers
- Where—their industries or types of organizations
- Why—their application pain points
- What—your solutions
- How—the way you create those solutions and how they help your customer
- Unlike—the drawbacks of proprietary or competitor solutions
- Differentiation—what uniquely sets your company apart from the rest
Think beyond your current customers and projects when identifying these elements of your positioning statement. Brainstorm the applications for which you want to build products or deliver services with your ideal engineering customers in mind. Consider the following questions:
- What applications does your team know best?
- What do you and your team love to work on more than anything else?
- What are you better at than any other competitor?
- What unique market niche can you dominate?
- What are your customer’s biggest pain points and how do you solve them?
- What are the two or three most important future opportunities for your company (e.g., market segment, customer type, region, etc.)?
This requires plenty of introspection and sometimes outside research. Query your company stakeholders, including key customers if possible, via a questionnaire or short interviews to learn what others think about your company. Answers to these questions can serve as great conversation starters for your leadership team to delve into, debate, and ultimately use to create each of your positioning statement elements.
Going step-by- step through this positioning process leads to a well thought out, carefully crafted positioning statement that you can use on your website, in your content, and as talking point for your sales team. From that statement, you can create a shorter elevator pitch that all your employees can use to clearly describe who your company is, what customer pains you are solving, and how you are uniquely differentiated from competitors to solve those challenges. This will ensure that your company will be delivering the same message in every interaction with your target audiences, and will serve as a critical first step to establishing your brand.
Learn more about brand positioning and messaging development by downloading our free ebook, "Smart Marketing for Engineers: Build Your Foundation."
This blog has been updated from its original publication on September 2016.