We work with many brand teams that have unique positioning and strategic challenges, but one of the most common problems is that they cannot break away from the familiar ground they have covered before. They are looking for a way to bring some new thinking to their brand without losing the experience and perspective of the core team members. If you find yourself in a situation like this, it may help to consider a few ways to break the cycle and reignite the creativity you’re looking for in your positioning.
A great place to start is at the beginning. It sounds obvious, but a big hurdle facing brand teams is that they often try to start at the end; they attempt to develop positioning ideas by writing positioning statements. This is a difficult proposition since a final positioning statement is often built from complex ideas that may not have a linear path at the early stage of its development. Trying to start at the end generally results in positioning ideas that are obvious, basic, and non-differentiating. Start by developing ideas first, you can write the positioning statement later.
This is tied to our next point; forget the format. There are numerous ”templates” for writing a positioning statement and, as long as the core elements for strong positioning exist, the format you use doesn’t matter much; at least not at this point. The problem is trying to think within the confines of these ”templates”. Positioning development is a creative and strategic process. Restricting the creation of ideas to those that can be articulated within the ”template” puts unnecessary constraints on creative thinking and stymies new ideas. Explore new ideas based on the value of the idea itself and its ability to achieve your brand objectives. There will be time for making it fit the ”template”.
Another helpful approach is to consider asking someone to help moderate positioning brainstorming sessions. This has helped more than a few brand teams get out of the positioning rut. Not only do you get a different approach, you also get the benefit of different experience. This also means you can participate fully in the brainstorming, which is where your thinking is needed most. No one knows the brand, market, and competition like you do. You are most valuable working with your team developing new positioning ideas, not focusing on brainstorming exercises.
There are many other ways to get out of the positioning rut. We will cover more of them in future ‘Positioning Tips’. For now, try these and see if they help you generate the breakthrough thinking you’re looking for to revitalize your brand