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How to Nail Down Your Brand Positioning

One of the most important aspects of running a business is positioning your brand. You can't be everything to everyone, so you need to carefully choose what type of message you want to portray. The following steps will help you get clear on your brand positioning.


FIRST: To create a unique and successful positioning for your brand, you need to nail down the following statements:

· What do my consumers want?

· What are my company and brand capabilities?

· How is my competitor(s) positioning their brand?


SECOND: Once you’ve answered those questions, you will need to choose your positioning statement. Your statement should:

· Resonate with your consumers

· Have the capability to be delivered by your company

· Be different from your competitors

· How to define your brand positioning statement?

· Sum it up in three to four words. For example, “Protective, Fun, Functional.” Stay away from common words such as “expert, quality, unique, stylish”, or even “affordable” because this is the objective of many brands.


THIRD: Your remaining task is to then reflect this brand positioning message in everything you do: brand messaging, brand voice, packaging, creative, lifestyle images, products, service, identity and so forth.


Brand Positioning Example


An example of great brand positioning is Starbucks.


From the coffee chain’s inception in 1971, their objective was to offer quality roasted coffee in a cozy atmosphere. By the early 1980s Starbucks had opened four stores in Seattle that stood out from the competitors with their top-quality fresh-roasted coffees. By the late 90s to early 2000s, Starbucks was a household name, a daily obsession and recognized for its custom-made coffees and friendly staff.


Starbucks' “get it however you like it, no matter where you are in the world” coffee concoctions proved to be a winner for every person who entered a Starbucks store.

While Starbucks business model may seem complicated for other food retailers, it’s the main reason why they have been so successful. They offer a consistent, custom product, convenience, and a (nearly) guaranteed friendly experience.


For many coffee lovers, Starbucks set the standard of how coffee was consumed in America. They didn’t invent coffee, they just made it easier for everyone to enjoy –even non-coffee drinkers!


“Custom coffee, fast, friendly”


This is how Starbucks achieved its brand positioning:


Product: Starbucks entered the market with quality roasted coffee and coffee beans and later blew up its competition with blended fancy cappuccinos (branded Frappuccino’s®).

Name: Starbucks is just a fun name to say, it’s memorable, it’s easy to say, and easy to read. And for book lovers who typically hang out in cozy coffee shops, it means something that it was inspired by Moby Dick (Starbuck).

Visuals: The green and white provide a cozy aura where the mermaid is visually appealing and approachable.

Communication Strategy: Starbucks’ brand messaging is

“To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” Starbucks focuses on creating that personal connection between their customers, their baristas, and their organization.

Price Strategy: Starbucks isn’t the cheapest coffee in the world, but it’s proof that people are willing to pay a little extra for a friendly smile and exactly what they want (personalization). Offering Tall, Grande and Vente provide options for everyone.


Create a Brand Identity Prism

Once you have nailed down the overall brand strategy positioning, create a brand identity prism. See an example below:



In consideration of the questions above and the Starbucks brand positioning, think of your own brand; how you are positioning it?

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