Niche, shmiche. I am all about Positioning.
Positioning yourself in the marketplace is one of the most powerful ways you can develop your messaging. In order to form any kind of content strategy or marketing plan worth its salt, you need to be able to answer some key questions.
Who are your people?
What do they need?
Who are you?
What do you deliver?
Why are you The One?
Every successful outreach or communication game plan has a clear, concrete answer to each one of those questions.
How do you even know what to talk about, and to whom? How can you expect anyone to make a deep connection with your product or project if all of your stuff is just so #basic?
Luckily, some stereotypical suit – Don Draper vibes – has figured out how to smush all this into one, cohesive sentence. Lucky for me, my branding mentor taught me how to do it. And lucky for you, I’ma gonna show YOU how to do it.
Write a single sentence that encapsulates all the intersecting angles of your market position. Srsly.
First of all, you should know that the work you’re about to embark on is HARD. Even when I worked for an agency with big-name clients, it was rare to come across an organization that had already sat down and done this foundational branding work. (Which, I guess, is why they needed our help.)
I believe in the power of Positioning. I write a positioning statement for every single project, product, or promotion that I do. Every time I overhaul a client’s LinkedIn profile, it’s their positioning statement that’s front and center.” I write one for every client.
As a copywriter, it aligns my mindset. As a marketer, it gives me a north star. As a brand manager, it keeps me in my lane.
Fill in the blanks.
It doesn’t take a branding genius to plug in the values in your winning formula. But it does take some deep thinking, and it really helps to have a branding advisor (someone like yours truly) guide you through the process. The deeper you can go with it, the more profound an impact you will make on “your people”.
Just like anything else in life, you get out what you put in.
For :::BLANK::: who need :::BLANK:::, :::YOU::: are :::THE THING::: that delivers :::BLANK:::, :::BLANK:::, and :::BLANK:::, because only :::YOUR SPECIAL SAUCE:::.
Your Positioning Statement is for you and no one else. Elements of it will come through all over your marketing plan, but it’s not something you’re going to post in its basic form on your website or recite verbatim at networking events.
This is just for you, so ditch the gloves and get REAL.
Let’s break it down. Who are your people?
Think about it. Who is smack dab in the center of your target? You’d like a hundred more of them…. Visualize your favorite person to work for. Identify the things they have in common. (Remember, this is internal, so “grown ass women who are tired of the same old shit,” is perfectly acceptable.)
START to BUILD a POSITIONING STATEMENT
For big brands with deep pockets and large audiences…
For women and girls…
For associations, higher ed and small businesses…
For the 5-19yo…
For women with a burning desire to leave the shame and chaos of financial illiteracy behind them…
And if you are more committed to the craft of the “thing,” leave people out of the equation. My friends at SoundGround Productions realize it’s podcasts that are at the heart of their business, not necessarily podcasters. And for for the Interior Design Brains at Hudson & Crane, “Spaces are BAE.”
And what do they need?
Think beyond the products and services you want to sell people. What do they really need… apart from the initial sale. What are they seeking to improve?
Add NEED to your POSITIONING STATEMENT
…who need relevant and relatable content that inspires brand loyalty
…who need empowerment and education to achieve their full potential
…who need to demonstrate their awesomeness
…who are ready to discover who they are and find the freedom and support to become who they want to be
….who need a big sister to show them the way
We are THE.
This is no time to mince words— tell ‘em what you do. Only a straight shooting business model will frame this conversation. I don’t want to hear “business relationship manager” of some kind of jargon when I coulda heard “small business law firm.” If there was ever a time to just say what you are, this is it.
Add YOU to your POSITIONING STATEMENT
Livestream Universe is THE video marketing company…
Zonta Annapolis is THE local chapter of Zonta International…
King Productions is THE all-in-one video marketing company…
Fairhaven School is THE most established DC-area Sudbury school…
Second + Seven is THE financial strategy firm…
BEEP! BEEP! Special Delivery.
What are your products and services? What do you bring to the table? These are the things you’re actually delivering. Your service model. Is it blueprints and plans? Is it 1:1 coaching? Is it cookies and cupcakes? Say what you make/do. Don’t embellish, but don’t sell yourself short.
Add OFFERINGS to your POSITIONING STATEMENT
…that delivers turn-key online professional broadcasts
…that delivers advocacy, scholarships, and other support
…that delivers compelling video, brand strategy, and the plan to put it all in place
… that delivers civic-minded and self-aware individuals
…that delivers a healthy relationship with money through one-on-one strategy sessions, seminars and workshops
What’s Your Special Sauce?
Steel yourself for introspection, this work is not for the weak of spirit. You must try to visualize your business within the greater context of your “why,” rather than your “what.” What does the world gain because you are doing THIS work— and not spinning your wheels doing something else? The most powerful “because” I have ever seen was for a veterinarian: “Because every dog deserves to come back 110%”.It reminds me that it’s all about the problems you solve, not the actual products you sell.
Add YOUR DIFFERENTIATOR to your POSITIONING STATEMENT
…because only Livestream Universe makes brings the real people in your company to life through two-way conversations on social media.
…because no woman should have to walk alone.
…because only King Productions gets to the heart of your story and brings it to life.
…because only Fairhaven School lets humans be humans — all day every day.
…because only Second + Seven gives you the keys to your own life.
All together now.
Now put it all together in one cohesive sentence. It may be long, but trust me, it’s effective.
For students who think differently — but are saddled with the challenge of living in a neurotypical world — who need a clear path to a professional career in architecture and design thinking (that may have previously seemed inaccessible), Karim El-Araby is THE peer mentor who delivers strategies and skills to cope with the demands of the profession and the real-world connections that advance career development because only Karim El-Araby is smashing expectations that people with learning challenges have limited options in life.
Bask in the self-satisfaction of having established a position.
Dude. Congratu-damn-lations. That was no easy undertaking. Pour 3-fingers of your favorite libation and toast to the gods of entrepreneurship. Seriously!
Organizations with way deeper pockets (and sometimes even a dedicated marketing team) don’t often take time out to do what you just did. As a result, their brand becomes more watered down or scattered over time. They have a hard time talking up what they’re all about because they have never taken the time to come to a general consensus. As company culture evolves without strategic direction, even the most badass brands lose control of the conversation. You’re miles ahead of the game, champ.
Don’t start resting on your laurels, though – you’ve got miles to go before you sleep. Nailing down your positioning will bolster your marketing acumen tenfold.
By understanding your exact coordinates in the marketplace matrix, you can serve as a lighthouse to the very best customers, colleagues, and collaborators.