Do You Have a Positioning Statement? I Mean, A Good One?

A positioning statement in its basic form answers who you are, what you do and why people should care about you. A well-worded positioning statement is the theme to all of your content, what ties your content together and is the “logline” of your brand story. And, of course, it must include your value proposition.

There is a lot of interesting insight on the topic.

What follows are my thoughts on what it should include, a template for you to use to create your own positioning statement, or to refine your existing one, and an example of a great positioning statement.

Elements of a strong positioning statement include the following:

Target Audience. Who are your customers or constituents? Your target audience is who you have made your product or service specifically for. Be specific as possible here, such as including precise population demographics, the “pain” in which you are trying to solve, etc. To find the target audience is tough work. It takes a lot of research to find out who your key audience really is. Social Media has made that research easier. Thanks to Social Media, we have more access to people. But we have to be responsible with that access. Listening and engaging first is the key to great relationships down the road. After you have conducted research, then you can create your buyer personas which will lead to finding the “sweet spot” of your target audience. A great resource on buyer personas is my colleague Adele Revella’s blog. Another great resource is an e-book that OpenView Partners recently released. The research you have done will help you fine-tune your brand and the value proposition of your brand.

Brand Name, Product or Service. This is what you offer to your target audience to help them solve their “pain”. It is important to note here that your “what” can be your organization. You might also want to include what some have labeled “frame of reference”, which is the category in which your company competes.

Value Proposition. This is the why you do what you do. This is what sets you apart from your competition. This is where you provide your audience with the main benefit. Your value proposition has two triggers – there should be an emotional benefit – it resonates with your audience so they are compelled to connect with you; and there should be the tangible benefit – what do I get for engaging with you? How specifically are you going to help me? After communicating your value proposition, next comes the proof – communicate how are you delivering on what you are promising or proposing? This is called the “reason to believe”.

Use this baseline template to help you come up with your positioning statement —

For (target audience) who need a (category of product or service) to help them solve (pain, need or opportunity), (brand name, product or service) delivers (key differentiating benefit). (Brand name) is different because only (brand name) is (reason(s) to believe the key differentiating benefit).

So what separates a good positioning statement from a not-so-good one?

Do you trust it?
Does it resonate with you?
Does it make you want to take action and engage with the brand?

As for an example, I thought this positioning statement about Apple Peel was good to show how, using a template, you can arrive at a good positioning statement.

Note that the template above is meant as a guide. Create a positioning statement that resonates with your audience and your organization, which leads me to Apple.

This positioning statement about Apple spoken by former CEO Steve Jobs really gives you an idea of what a great positioning statement is supposed to be — it’s emotional, yet tangible — “It’s not about pop culture, it’s not about fooling people, and it’s not about convincing people that they want something they don’t. We figure out what we want. And I think we’re pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. We just want to make great products.” Steve Jobs

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