Positioning Equals Brand Distinction
Differentiation and positioning with regards to branding is all about making the prospective buyer discern value and distinction in what you are selling – as compared to competitive offerings. This so called marketing positioning is not easily crafted by most. Many organizations struggle with really standing out from the competition in a way that makes the sales prospect stand up and take notice. The main reason for this is a lack of real, verifiable differentiation. I liken “differentiation” to a hamburger patty that sits between the top and bottom bun. Without it you really have nothing but a bun. With it, you have a really nice sandwich. The meat makes the sandwich.
Having a “me-too” brand with little distinction (from other providers is like having the top and bottom bun without the patty). Not too many people would be interested in that.
You absolutely must distinguish your business or you are likely leaving sales opportunities on the table for your competition to win. I don’t know about you, but as a small business owner myself, I hate to think there is business out there I could have closed if only I better branded myself.
You may be asking yourself what you can do to identify your key differentiation. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you narrow in on your business’s distinction:
1. Is there a unique target buyer that only you cater to? For example: only healthcare providers, only banks or maybe only businesses with less than $5M in annual revenue.
2. What distinguishing characteristic sets you apart from other providers in your space? For example: your customer base, your revenue, your product portfolio, awards received, etc.
3. What business problem do you solve that others either don’t focus on or cannot address?
4. What characteristics of your service or product make you stand out? For example: speed, return on investment (ROI), cost, etc.
5. Is there a specific segment of customers/companies that use your offering? For example: 65 of the Fortune 100, 6 of the top 10 insurance companies, 40 percent of U.S. banks, etc.
These are just some of the many questions you can consider to help you figure out what makes your business special. Once you have identified this/these characteristics, you can begin building a differentiating positioning statement, key messages, proof points and value propositions.
Learn about the Brand Positioning Jumpstart Toolkit to help you craft these “messaging” statements.