In this article, we will blow away the mist of misconceptions and give you the plain facts about why you should be seriously investing in your brand position before doing any more marketing, digital or otherwise.
By understanding how to create an impact with your brand you will be in a position to develop a clear plan to grow your business through marketing. You will be able to create a brand that speaks to your customers and team while still maintaining a unique position within your market.
Why does my business need a brand position?
The most valuable asset on any companies balance sheet is their reputation. Not the machines, the real estate, or any of the physical assets.
In some cases, when companies have changed hands, up to 60% of the value is based on the brand or reputation. In cases like these, the investor or purchaser is buying the brand rather than the physical company. They are buying it because it has a value that is beyond the products and services the company offers.
So why would you not invest a proportion of your turnover into building 60% of your future business.
By spending creating a brand position strategy statement, you can:
Set yourself apart from the competition
Brand positioning will enable you to mark out unique territory and set parameters into which no competitor will dare venture because they will become labelled as a “me-too” firm, who want to be merely a follower rather than a market leader.
Focus on a specific target market
By proclaiming your uniqueness through positioning, you’ll be driven to focus your services accordingly. In turn, it will grow your reputation as an expert within your field building that brand reputation. It is true to say that a company that is a specialist will grow twice as fast and will avoid many of the pitfalls of business rather than a company that becomes more generalist.
Drive further service development and pricing
Through brand positioning, you can benchmark yourself against your competition, which in turn will help you to define and create new products or services to offer and how they should be priced. You will know and understand your place in the market and decide if you are a high-end boutique provider or a low-cost, no frills supplier.
Fuel more effective, creative decision-making
Understanding you core brand message will help you to make more effective decisions when it comes to when it comes to marketing and promotion. Having a clear position means you will be able to communicate it more effectively.
Help provide tools to win more clients
With a more focused sales / business development team, supported by a unique brand position which is giving your company stronger visibility and more Top of Mind Recall with your prospects. Brand positioning, correctly developed and deployed, can superdrive your sales and marketing. It can help focus your services, your marketing message, and your firm’s appeal to prospects.
So, what is a Brand really?
Before we can talk about Brand Position we need to be clear about what we mean when we say brand.
There is potential for confusion here, with so many marketing and creative businesses vying for your custom they all own a different spin on what brand is. Manufacturers and purveyors of corporate clothing and gifts will tell you it’s what they do. Graphic designers will tell you it’s what they do. To a point they are not wrong they play a part in helping to create an identity as part of a brand but they are only a cog in the vast clock that is brand.
In its purest form, it is about telling your story and it is your story that creates a bond with customers and clients and builds trust.
In fact, a great brand doesn’t start with a product or with an amazing business plan, it begins with a big idea, an audacious plan, a big goal, dream or a vision.
Every great and successful brand begins as a story.
The story might begin with the founder or owners frustration in their job, it might begin when junior is handed the keys to Dad’s sleepy business.
Whatever it is, the brand’s story is a unique tale all in itself.
So you need to know your story, you need to spend time thinking about it and weaving it into a tale that sits at the core of what you do, then you will really understand your business. And more importantly, be able to build a brand around that story.
Here are some great examples of story brands:
Airbnb is one of the most well known story brands. They market the brand in such a way that the people who use them to book hotels and rooms across the globe tell the story of why you need Airbnb. Even the people who own the properties become part of the brand in the way that they display the advantages of using Airbnb to advertise your property.
A recent campaign Belong Anywhere told the stories of people who advertised and stayed in the rooms like true locals. It was no longer about renting a room, it was about being able to experience a country in an authentic way.
Compared to other hotel booking services, the customers end up more loyal. They aren't deciding to book a room based on price or location, it suddenly becomes about the experience the room can give them in making their holiday as good as they imagined.
American beauty brand Burts Bees initially started in 1984 when its founders met hitchhiking and began to produce wax candles together. Orginally Roxanne was an artist and Burt produced local honey.
Their philosophy of "What you put on your body should be made from the best nature has to offer” has helped to grow the brand into a well known company, not only in America but throughout Europe.
Taglines on their site include “A full line of natural cosmetics that work because of how they’re made, not in spite of it” and “We harness the wisdom, power, and beauty of nature, to bring out yours”.
Once you have a story and have created a brand you can begin to build trust. Trust is by far the most powerful element that forms the foundations of brands today and in building an empire online. For Burts Bees, this was focused on ethics, aiming to plant wildflowers and encourage bee conservation. At the same time they were very upfront about the business itself and always aimed to be transparent with their customers.
Your audience or more accurately, your customers need to be able to see that you are exactly who you say you are and what you offer is exactly what they need, right now. No questions asked.
There are a great many ways to engender trust, but the overarching message you want to send comes from how you are perceived in the hearts and minds of your customers. Pure and simple this about telling someone you love them without words.
Because, “People buy from people they like, know, and trust based on a relationship cultivated over time.” Your digital marketing has to work exceptionally hard to attract people, fast. So you need to develop a message that not only appeals to people but rings true through every part of the relationship from the first meeting to the “I do” and “until death do us part”.
How do you do that and more importantly how do you maintain it as your enterprise grows?
Understanding the difference between Brand and Visual Identity
In the most simple terms it breaks down like this:
Imagine that your business was actually a small country; your brand would be the constitution that its founders would have laid down for all to follow in order to ensure it’s ongoing wealth and security.
Then in order to give that country and all that it stands for an identity, it raises a flag that tells everyone who they are. This flag becomes synonymous with the values and ideas of that country i.e. its brand.
Brand = the constitution
Logo and Identity = the flag
What is Brand Positioning?
Understanding and writing down your story or your constitution, based on an understanding of what makes your customers tick and discovering your OESP.
Put simply, brand positioning is the process of positioning your brand in the mind of your customers. Brand positioning is also referred to as a positioning strategy, brand strategy, or a brand positioning statement.
It only has to be a single page of A4 that outlines who you are, what your Owned Emotional Selling Point is in the minds of your customers and how you intend to deliver on your promise.
What will a brand position look like?
Typically your brand position statement will be 3 or 4 paragraphs that establish why you exist and what is your owned emotional selling proposition.
Here is an example of Warby Parker’s Brand Position statement:
Will I have to re-brand or get a new logo?
Not necessarily, unless you discover that your current brand and identity do not fit or align with your brand position. In fact, in the process of discovering your brand position, it may be wise to pretend your current brand doesn’t exist. Then when you reach the point of discovery with your new brand, you can see how well aligned you already were or not!
In many cases, businesses start with one idea in mind based on a skill or knowledge of a product or service. This entity needs a name, and in some cases, the business owner will set out what the means in his or her mind. As that business grows the owner employs more people with those skills and the skills they personally lack to meet the demand. Now the original idea is slightly different and Identity and brand are not representative of the organisation.
This is a natural process that nearly all businesses go through at some point in their evolution. It’s at this point that you may need to consider a brand position and certainly, if you are considering further or accelerated growth, then it is crucial. So you should expect a change to come at all levels. This may well be a change of visual identity, but it will definitely pay dividends if it fits with your brand position.
What outcomes can I expect from producing a brand positioning statement?
None immediately, this is about long term strategy for your business. From this point onwards, you and your staff/team know and understand what it is that you stand for. You all have a common goal to achieve and a mantra to follow in order to achieve it.
The real work starts now.
Now you can align all that you do and say about your business under this banner. You can set out how you demonstrate what it is you do or supply, you can clearly communicate who it is for and what it will give them and your team know and understand how to deliver it.
When applied to your marketing, you will start to attract the customers you have identified because they will find a synergy with you. They will know that you “get” them and that you have exactly what they want. And importantly, they will pay the right price for the things that they value.
What effect will it have on my business, my staff and my customers?
Branding Improves Recognition
With a strong, coherent and consistent brand you can start to grow and maintain a successful business. Brand is not just the way your business is represented visually but the way you are perceived in your market.
You know for instance that Apple doesn’t just make computers and phones but produces beautifully designed, creative, innovative hardworking technology that works straight out of the box. And therefore Apple’s brand position invites you to “Think Different”.
Creates a Stronger Workforce
If your brand is weak or uncompelling in any way, you shouldn’t expect your staff or team to be motivated by it. In fact, they will never have the passion for it that you do as a business owner or CEO. They’ll exist as long as you are paying them but they won’t be driven to feel passionate about your products and services, they won’t strive to hit targets, they won’t value your customers as you do and they won’t stick around to find out whether you make it or not.
Give them a strong brand, which has a great story and an inspiring mantra to follow and they will march, in uniform to the collective tune of your business. They’ll feel inspired to do more for your customers and in turn, your customers will feel special enough to keep coming back for more.
Makes Better Marketing and Supports Design
With a clearly defined brand position, marketing your business couldn’t be easier. By producing a document that states your intent and your message, you can then apply this to the visual identity and tone of voice for your business.
With a clear understanding of who you are and how you want to be perceived by the people that you sell to you can easily define what message, what words, what colours what look fits with your brand.
So designing a logo, creating a visual identity, creating really appealing and compelling content all flows from the brand position.
Branding is Valuable
In the long term, your brand will be your most valuable company asset. The products and services you sell may well be similar to those of your competitors but the brand you have created, nurtured and grown is the thing that sets you apart. And that’s why people want to buy from you and ultimately will covet you.
A strong brand that has been protected and perfected over time becomes the most powerful thing that a business can possess and the one thing that you can eventually leverage off when you want to move on.
But remember; With great power comes great responsibility!
The value of a brand can rise and fall and sometimes that fall can happen in a single moment.
Gerald Ratner can tell you all about that. So you need to find ways to ensure your brand and your reputation are protected.
This is where we come back to that single piece of paper that contains your brand position. If everyone in your organisation knows, understands what it means and more importantly believes it, then you are on the right path. If it remains at the core of your entire business and radiates out to the whole of your organisation, it’s products and services, then you may just be on to something big.
Examples of Brand Position Workshops
We have found that in order to get the best results for your brand, our expert brand consultant will spend a day with you and key members of your team at our office. Ideally, this is away from the distractions of your business, as the day will require your undivided attention.
We will introduce to you the concept of brand position in full and more importantly look at your business and draw out what it is that makes you unique. We will discover what, in the hearts and minds of your happiest customers, makes them come back to you and we will leverage this as the cornerstone of your brand position.
This is one of the main focuses of the workshop and much of the time needs to be invested in this area. At the end of the day, you will have a clear understanding of who your business is, what it does best and for whom.
You will walk away with a document that will underpin your entire business going forward. You can share this manifesto with your staff and customers alike and begin to build a truly effective and successful brand.
The RACER® team is here to support you with the implementation of this new brand and will assist you in driving your business growth harder, faster and further with a range of online and offline marketing products.
Let’s make business simple!
You know your business could not operate without technology, a platform of systems that work together productively, but you may have had bad experiences with previous attempts to ‘put in such a system.’ You could well have suffered from expensive delays and disruption only to be left with an outcome that doesn’t live up to expectations, causing as many problems as it addresses.
It seems everybody is offering plug and play “Software as a Service” that promises ‘silver bullet’ solutions to your issues, only to hear of businesses left floundering over integration and the inflexibility that ever-changing business demands.
With WorkSimple we offer a business platform ideal for SMEs based on “Software with Service.” We know that one size does not fit all and that change doesn’t happen overnight. Our approach is hands-on partnership from day one. We adapt our system to your business needs –not force your business to fit our design. We help you switch-over and support your team. We don’t expect you to make an overnight change. We keep providing updates and changes as your business grows.
We believe that technology can create a competitive edge for your business but only if it works, like a key member of your management team, on behalf of your business. We believe technology should empower and enable not frustrate and restrict.
We believe that technology – when it’s created with the needs of your business in mind - can unlock and release potential, providing you with the space, time and confidence to work on rather than in your business.
The key is in the name of our platform.
We believe that work should be simple. At WorkSimple ….We Make Business Simple…
Build something Beautiful
You’re proud of your home and want to improve it. It could be a new kitchen, creative use of storage space or an in home office. Or you’ve built a business and you want your office, showroom, restaurant or café to make a statement about you. You’ve got ideas – you’re that sort of person, but who do you turn to for help in turning your ideas into reality.
There are so many options, on line, in furniture warehouses and DIY chains – but you want something that is entirely individual, something that reflects your tastes, ideas and values. Something that involves you in the design and creative process.
So who can help? At Beyond Joinery we specialise in individual, bespoke creative joinery for discerning clients. We do all the usual stuff, but what we relish is the challenge of solving a client’s problems, working with them, envisaging, designing and creating their dreams. We know “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” so our first action with you is to listen – and then listen some more. Not until we are clear about what it is you want to achieve will we work with you, making suggestions, looking at alternatives, helping you with design. We’ll advise on materials and approaches - not resting until we have turned your ideas into reality.
So, if our expertise married to your creativity appeals –then we should we talking.
We’re Beyond Joinery working with you… To make a Statement