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Marketing Positioning Statement: How To Define Your Brand

A positioning statement is one of the most important documents for any startup or small business. It helps get everybody aligned and bring crystal clear focus to your business which can help guide messaging, strategy, future product decisions and much more.

Let's explore the ins and outs of positioning statements, why they're crucial early on in your business, and how to create an impactful one for your brand.


What is a Positioning Statement?

Simply put, a positioning statement is a brief, focused statement that helps simplify your brand down to its key elements. It outlines your:

  • Target Customer: Who your business is for.
  • Market Category: Industry or niche your business operates in.
  • Your Product: What your business is offering.
  • Differentiation/Benefit:  How your business is better and/or different.

Example: For teams who need a new way to communicate, Slack provides a real-time messaging platform because it's faster and better organized than email.


Why is a Positioning Statement So Important?

There are a lot of reasons that a positioning statement is important but I think most of them can be grouped into 3 main categories.

  • Focus and Clarity: It helps you get laser-focused on your core value and target customer.
  • Decision-Making Filter: It helps guide strategic decision - from product development to marketing campaigns.
  • Branding and Messaging: It ensures consistent messaging, making it easier to attract your target customer

All of these benefits help reduce wasted time and get everybody on the same page.


How To Write a Positioning Statement

There's no single "correct" formula for writing a positioning statement, however there are some core elements that every good positioning statement has. Let's explore some of the elements that make a great positioning statement.


Components of a Great Positioning Statement

  • Concise: Keep it short and simple, aim for a single sentence or two.
  • Focused: Emphasize the core benefits you provide to your specific target market.
  • Unmistakable: Your statement should leave no room for misinterpretation.
  • Differentiating: Clearly highlight what sets you apart.
  • Memorable: Make it simple and easy to remember.

Mistakes to Avoid When Creating a Positioning Statement

  • Trying to Be Everything to Everyone: Specific is terrific! Targeting a niche can be powerful. Don't try to please everyone; define your ideal customer.
  • Using Generic Language: Avoid vague, meaningless buzzwords and clichés. Aim for a statement that's original and specific to your brand.
  • Ignoring Differentiation: Without highlighting what makes you special, your statement will easily disappear into the competitive noise.
  • Confusing Features with Benefits: Sure, your product might have 10 whiz-bang features, but how do those translate into a better life experience for your customer? That's the benefit.
  • Being Afraid to Evolve: As your business grows and the market landscape shifts, don't hesitate to revisit your positioning statement to ensure it remains relevant and effective.

Positioning Statement Template

While there is more than one way to create your positioning statement, I find it's helpful to use a template when starting out. Here are a few different templates that you can use to get started.

  • For [target market] who [target market need], [brand name] is [market category] that [key benefit] because [reason for differentiation].
  • [Brand name] helps [target market] overcome [main challenge] by providing [unique solution] that [key differentiator]
  • [Brand name] is the only [market category] that [key benefit #1] and [key benefit #2], specifically designed for [target market].

Questions to Ask Before Writing Your Positioning Statement

  • Who are your ideal customers? Define their demographics, pain points, and aspirations.
  • What unique benefit do you deliver? What essential problem do you solve for your target market?
  • How do you differentiate yourself from competitors? What are your key advantages?
  • What is the benefit or key transformation you offer to customers?
  • Use the template to create an initial draft. Get feedback, revise, and simplify until you have a concise, clear, and impactful statement.

Positioning Statement Example

Here are some positioning statement examples you can use to help guide the creation of your own brand's positioning. Now while these are not the official positioning statements for these brands, these examples can serve as valuable examples of how you can start creating your brand's positioning statement.



For teams who need a new way to communicate, Slack provides a real-time messaging platform that is faster and better organized than email.



For small businesses who need to send better marketing emails, Mailchimp provides an easy-to-use automation platform because anyone can get started fast.



For environmentally conscious drivers who want luxury and performance, Tesla provides all-electric vehicles that are cutting-edge and better for the planet.



For music lovers who want a personalized listening experience, Spotify provides unlimited on-demand streaming that offers curated playlists and endless discovery.



For professionals who need seamless remote collaboration, Zoom provides a reliable video conferencing platform that offers HD video/audio and robust meeting tools.



For outdoor enthusiasts who value sustainability and quality, Patagonia provides high-performance clothing and gear that are long-lasting and ethically manufactured.



For athletes and dreamers who strive to push boundaries, Nike provides innovative performance gear and inspiration that empowers you to achieve your "Just Do It" moment.



For coffee lovers seeking a welcoming and revitalizing experience, Starbucks provides premium handcrafted beverages and pastries with unmatched quality and environment.



For discerning drivers who demand luxury and exhilarating performance, BMW provides precision-engineered vehicles that deliver a better driving experience.



For anyone seeking refreshment and a moment of shared happiness, Coca-Cola provides the classic, refreshing taste that brings people together as a symbol of good times.


Additional Tips for a Stellar Positioning Statement

  • Use Clear, Everyday Language: Complexity weakens a positioning statement; be easy to understand.
  • Focus on Benefits, Not Features: Emphasize the impact on your customers' lives, not just your product details.
  • Be Authentic: Your statement should reflect your genuine brand values and capabilities.
  • Evolve As Needed: As your business and market change, revisit your statement to ensure it remains relevant.

Maximize the Benefit of Your Positioning Statement Beyond Messaging

Your positioning statement is much more than just a tagline or slogan. Here are a few ways to to maximize its benefit throughout your entire business.

  • Inform Your Marketing Strategy: a good positioning statement can help guide your marketing strategy through your messaging, targeting, content creation, channels, and more.
  • Shape Product Development: Ensure new products or services enhance your brand's core promise/benefit and cater to your target customer's evolving needs.
  • Guide Sales Efforts: Equip salespeople with the knowledge to confidently articulate your brand's unique value and tailor their communication to individual prospect needs.
  • Support Customer Service: A strong positioning statement promotes customer satisfaction by clearly outlining the brand experience customers should expect.

Final Thoughts

Your positioning statement is a powerful tool that defines your brand's strategic direction. It's a compass that guides your internal team and helps avoid wasted time through better alignment. By investing time and care in carefully crafting a strong positioning statement, you'll gain clarity on your brand's unique place in the market, attract the right customers, and build a business that stands out from the competition.

Remember: Your positioning statement is a living document – revisit it regularly as your business and market evolve. By consistently communicating your unique value proposition across all touchpoints, you'll establish your brand as the go-to choice for your target audience.

Want to talk about your brand's positioning more in depth? Schedule a free 1 on 1 marketing consultation here!