Blog, Personal Branding, Profits

How to Create a Brand Positioning for a Small Business

Method 1

Do it with your employees (easier but less effective)


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    Block out three hours for the meeting and gather your key employees in a conference room.


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    Hire an outside consultant or nominate one employee to serve as the moderator and note taker to capture all the ideas the team develops.


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    Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm. Make separate lists of the way you want to be perceived by customers, investors, employees, and shareholders.


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    Create an honest assessment of your company’s unique value proposition. Think about how your competitors would attack this value proposition, if they were talking to your customers.


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    List the positions you wish to avoid. Do you not want your cookie store to be seen as the local bakery? Or vice versa?


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    Analyze how your competitors are positioning themselves. Is your business differentiated from them in a way your customers care about?


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    Synthesize the results of your brainstorming session a few days after the initial meeting. Use the results to develop your positioning statement and the associated corporate messaging it implies.


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    Test the new positioning statement on customers, employees, and investors to confirm you created a good positioning.


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    Create action items in establishing your brand in the marketplace for your team to accomplish. Start small with yellow page ad placement/copy, work towards a goal of propagating your brand’s position in anything that relates to your company, including collateral, invoices, etc.

Method 2

Do it with your clients (more complex but more effective)


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    Block out 4-6 hours in two days. You will need a conference room to meet with your customers and with your employees (in two different sessions).


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    Meet with your customers or prospects. Ask 6-10 customers to meet with you for a couple of hours to discuss about your product category. It’s even better if this session is managed by an outside research firm, but if you are short of time and budget you can do it yourself.


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    First question: Ask your customers to list the top brands they can think of in your category. They have to write down the brand they recall without help. Then they have to agree about the relative positions: who is the first brand, who is the second and so on.


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    Second question: Ask your customers to list the features that are more relevant for them in the category. Again they have to write them down and order them from the most important to the least important.


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    Ask them to match Brands & Features. This is the key and fun part: you ask your customers or prospects to match a brand with one and only one feature. In this way you can see which brand ‘”owns”‘ which feature. This will let you see if there are important features you can own.


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    In the next day meet with your employees. With the info you have gathered in the session with your customers and prospects you now have a “map” to evaluate potential positioning for your brand. It’s even entirely possible that you have no simple positioning strategy available and you have to think outside the box and revise your product offer


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    With the result of the employee session, write a Positioning Statement. You have actionable data to write the Positioning Statement that will guide all your marketing activities (see How to Write a Positioning Statement)

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Tips

  • Most of the world’s best businesses have strong brands positioned against competitors. But for small business and professionals it’s even more important to have an effective Brand Positioning because they have limited marketing resources and they have to use them effectively.
  • Brand positioning impacts everything, including the corporate culture of your small business. Make sure that the culture that you have within your organization is in line with your proposed brand identity.
  • It’s key that you devote your time and attention to this process before you spend any money in marketing.
  • Brand positioning consultants who have experience conducting this process with multiple companies can help a business develop the best possible positioning. Prices for the service can range from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars for the large consulting firms or PR and advertising agencies.

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