Here are the cold, hard facts … your target customers have options and the more similar they believe your product or service is to what competitors offer the less likely they are to start buying from you.
But, that’s only half the story. Being different is important but it’s not enough. Being different alone MAY get their attention, but it won’t turn them into customers.
The most common problem we see when companies develop their brand’s positioning is a focus on writing a Positioning Statement everyone can agree on and not on creating a Positioning Strategy designed to win over customers. This has been true across hundreds of products and services we have worked on over the past 20 years.
What does that mean?
It means that the focus is often put on the words being used and not the strategy they are meant to define. It means that the positioning statement that was created is more of a statement of product differences and likely includes all the features that make the product or service different from competitors but does little to create real strategic differentiation or relevance for the customers they are trying to attract.
Let me say that again … loading up a positioning statement with a list of features that are different than competitors DOES NOT create differentiation! And that’s a BIG PROBLEM.
It’s a problem because the companies that contact us have typically created a positioning statement in this way and have gone on to spend tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, if not, millions of dollars on promotion for results that are minimally successful or even a complete failure.
When we dig into these brands the problem is frequently the same, brand management, company leadership, or the ad agency has identified product differences but hasn’t actually created the strategic underpinnings necessary to be competitive. In other words, the Positioning “Statement” is, essentially, a slogan or a creative message; it’s not the strategic framework needed to create and retain customers in highly competitive markets.
Positioning “Strategy” is making deliberate choices about your target customers and the specific features and benefits your product or service delivers to them that will create Relevant-Differentiation. A truly complete Positioning Strategy should include a plan for strategic implementation that enables you to create a series of activities designed to deliver unique value to these targeted customers.
If you’re still reading maybe you know exactly what we’re talking about. Heck, you may have even run up against it a few times and are trying to figure out how to fix it.
You’re probably one of the few who sees the evidence all around them, that the most successful companies in nearly every industry have gotten that way by developing a positioning strategy that creates extraordinary relevance for a target customer and makes sure every single customer touchpoint reinforces that positioning strategy.
Not one of the most successful companies, in any industry, achieved their current level of success by creating a simple statement of competitive differences. None of them!
We have worked with major corporations and brands around the world to do one thing … create positioning strategy that grows their business. And, since 2000 we have done exactly that for hundreds of clients in dozens of industries and categories.