The Value of Positioning: Defining Your Client’s Competitive Edge
Why do you need to think about positioning your client’s company as a part of branding? We’re designers, so why not just jump right to design?
If you’re like most designers, you don’t just want to “decorate,” you also want to help your clients be successful. And while you know the immense communication value of design, you also know that design alone can’t tell the entire story when helping your clients with their business objectives. Positioning gives the organization a competitive edge. It gives value to their brand and informs the design, so the design can become even more powerful as it reinforces and supports the positioning. Positioning the organization in the minds of your client’s customers, both business-to-business and business-to-consumer, is one of the most valuable things you can do for your client—and it’s the strategic element your client is the happiest to pay for.
What’s the business challenge?
It all starts with knowing your client’s main challenge. Are their sales down? Is employee morale flagging? Are they entering a new, unfamiliar market? Shoring up the brand can help all of these situations, and it all hinges on positioning, or differentiating your client’s company in the market.
The consumer has too many choices
There are just too many choices for consumers today. Why pick one company over another? What makes them different? Put another way, why should your client’s customers choose their company or product over their competition, and how can you help with that? Being able to have these conversations with your clients and prospects, and showing how your creativity, knowledge, and intuition can powerfully position them with strategy and design, can mean the difference between winning and losing the branding projects you really want. And with being able to really help your clients succeed.
With branding, you can’t create something totally new
Customers are smart. Not only do they know what they want, they also know, instinctively, what their favorite brands stand for—and why they don’t like other brands. It has a lot to do with being authentic. This is why it’s important to help your clients position and differentiate in alignment with reality.
In their groundbreaking 2001 book, Positioning, Al Ries and Jack Trout state:
“The mind, as a defense against the volume of today’s communications, screens and rejects much of the information offered it. In general, the mind accepts only that which matches prior knowledge or experience.”
“The basic approach to positioning is not to create something new and different, but to manipulate what’s already up there in the mind, to re-tie the connections that already exist.”
Hit the nail on the head with positioning, and the marketing and design that follow will be easy
If positioning is done correctly, it takes a lot of stress off of everything else your client does to market the company. Whether you’re involved in the marketing to follow or just the design, you’ll have a position to base it on. And it should be a position that will last for years to come, which means your client will not only be grateful, but he’ll also see the value involved in the process. A company that knows their position and works to communicate it has a definite strategic edge in their market.
Positioning is only part of the Brand Academy Process
Our Brand Academy Virtual Workshop teaches positioning in a way that works for designers, and it’s only one step in our 10-step process. Yes, there’s lots more great stuff to learn! Be sure to join us April 24 and 25 for our next Brand Academy Virtual Workshop—save $397 by registering before the March 24th Early Bird Deadline!
Overheard at the follow-up coaching call after the January workshop:
“This is the best thing that’s happened to my business.”
“In design, nobody uses this. Nobody uses positioning like this.”
“Eye opening across the board.”
“Exactly what I was always looking for.”
“So awesome, so concrete.”
“I knew some of this, but it was cloudy before. Now it’s so clear.”
“It’s a life changer.”