As part of our ongoing ‘How to market your local business’ series, we’ve covered:
- How to identify your target market and define your ideal customers
- How to create a marketing plan to get in front of customers
After our last chapter on creating a marketing plan, this week’s instalment is all about positioning your brand to ensure it stands out. Brand positioning is vital when it comes to marketing your small business and will be an integral part of your website design and digital marketing efforts.
How would you describe your brand? Could you sum it up in a few key words? If not, it’s probably time to reassess your brand positioning. If you can’t summarise your what you stand for clearly then it’s likely that your audience can’t either. Brand positioning forms the crux of your business and is relevant to every aspect from how you market your products to the culture your employees embody.
Therefore, in order for your product or service to stand out in the market you have to have a strong positioning. This will help your customers to build a connection and loyalty to what you stand for. To help ensure you get this right, we’ve put together the following guide together.
Start with your USPs
A large part of branding is understanding what sets your brand apart from the competition. How is your service different? Some businesses are founded on the USPs that they offer, others have them, they just might not be as obvious.
If you’re going to stand out in a crowded market, identifying your USPs is key. So, what do you offer that your competitors don’t? Excellent customer service? A family run approach? Make sure you clearly define the factors that set you apart.
Focus on your target market
It’s absolutely key that your brand appeals to the people you want to target. Your audience have to be on board with what your brand stands for in order to buy into the products or services you offer. The best way to get their insight is simple – ask them.
There are plenty of ways you can do this, from holding a focus group to simply stepping outside and chatting to people who fit your target demographic. When you do this, make sure you have a clear overview of your offering to provide some context, especially if you’re just starting out. Here’s an overview of the type of questions to ask to ensure you get meaningful feedback.
- What category would you place our brand in? (i.e. Technology, Food and Drink, Fitness and Wellbeing).
- How would you position our brand in that category?
- How would you compare the other brands in that category with us?
- What needs are unmet by other brands in this category?
These questions should provide you with some honest feedback that will help you to form a position for your brand in the market.
Have a think about some of your favourite brands. Do they ignite some form of emotion? A sense of happiness, warmth or that feeling of ‘home.’ We all associate certain brands with elements of our lives, be that a childhood memory or a favourite pastime.
By igniting emotions, brands form a resonance and connection with their intended audiences. This becomes an important bond that customers build and a sense of loyalty is formed. It’s therefore important that you are clear on the type of emotions you want your brand to trigger. This will help with all aspects of your marketing efforts and communications in general.
Write your positioning statement
Positioning statements guide your marketing activities and help ensure that your message is always consistent. This is not to be confused with a tagline such as Nike’s ‘Just Do It.’ Taglines are used in marketing materials whereas positioning statements are mainly for internal purposes and help ensure everyone is on the same page.
To write your statement, use the information you gathered in step one, two and three and create a list of the needs your target market has. Then, using your USPs, write down how your brand can uniquely meet those needs.
Once you have all these details, write down in a few words what you want your target market to think when they see your product or service.This will help you to position your brand in the market and ensure that all of your marketing efforts are ‘on brand.’
Tell your story well
Now you have your positioning statement, it’s time to tell your brand story. Every business has a story. Yes, some are more exciting than others but, stories are what build brand perceptions and help consumers to form a connection.
When you do this always think ‘feelings over facts.’ Statistics, numbers and facts don’t stick as people are bombarded with them everyday. If you want to stand out, you have to give them a ‘feeling.’
Nespresso do this exceptionally well. They not only ace storytelling but also excell at storydoing. The difference being is that their glossy ads featuring pro storyteller himself, George Clooney, sell an indulgent and exclusive lifestyle. A lifestyle that can be shared anyone buying into the brand. They then go a step further with storydoing by offering this indulgence and exclusivity in their physical stores.
Nespresso’s efforts have positioned them in the market so firmly and well that they have created a lifestyle for their consumers. Whether you’re a luxury brand or a small start-up aimed at students, be sure to tell a clear, believable story that strikes a chord with the people you are speaking to. This will help you to built that all important customer loyalty and firmly establish your position in the market.
To sum up
When positioning your brand it is important to set yourself apart from the competition, connect with your audience and be 100% clear on your positioning statement. When you are clear on what your brand stands for, this will echo through your marketing and become obvious to your target market.