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New ideas in writing brand positioning statements

by Casey Schmidt  |  November 16, 2020

6 min. read
A piece of chalk drawing a circle.

At its core, a brand positioning statement maps out how a brand presents itself. However, in a more abstract sense, it also inspires and motivates all who read it.

How, then, should you build a statement that accomplishes the essentials while also furthering ambitions for your brand?

This guide answers this question and more. At the end of it, you’ll understand how to truly motivate with the help of a dynamic, descriptive statement. Let’s get started.

What is a brand positioning statement?

A brand positioning statement is a short, descriptive declaration distributed internally to provide standards to uphold brand consistency. It acts as a guide for employees to further understand brand goals. A brand positioning statement provides focus and clarity for a brand. It defines a target audience, categories and values.

An example position statement.

A brand positioning statement is similar to an instruction manual for building a desk. Each part of the desk is important and contributes to the overall function of the completed construction. A brand positioning statement is essentially a step-by-step manual on getting each part of the desk fitted correctly so the end result is correct.

Now let’s get to the heart of the positioning statement: its purpose.

The main objective of the statement

In a competitive crowded world market, it’s the well positioned brands that Stands Out!”– Bernard Kelvin Clive.

A brand positioning statement clearly defines a brand’s customers, audience and values by portraying its identity and other valued traits. It is a much broader statement than, say, the mission statement. However, it should still be focused in its own unique way.

A bullseye with the word 'audience' on it.

The goal of your brand positioning statement should be to clarify what sort of product, services or even ideas you provide and who you are providing them to. Include how you propose to deliver these to customers and why it makes sense to choose you over other brands.

Now that you know what a positioning statement is, let’s dig into some pre-statement concepts to ensure the process is correctly mapped out.

How to write; before you begin

When positioning a brand, aggressively avoid becoming a ‘me too’ by assertively being a “who else?” – Crystal Black Davis.

In order to have your brand positioning statement function correctly, there are some necessary steps to take before you start creating it. First, you’ll want to do some brainstorming to get a bigger picture of the concept, then map out a blueprint of the statement. This is similar to measuring something before putting a saw down on it to begin cutting.

The word 'brand positioning' in a blue background.

The main point of this preparation is to ensure that you understand the basic core of the positioning statement before getting bogged down in exact words and phrasing.

Next, think about the different fundamental categories you want included in the statement. This way the different concepts will build off one another and flow together nicely.

Writing a positioning statement is ultimately like buying a car. You can’t get caught up in worrying about things like radio quality and seatbelts before you know if the car even starts and runs. It’s important to start with the big picture and decide what’s most important before putting pen to paper.

Once you’ve considered what’s at the core of your brand, you can start developing those concepts into a statement.Here are some crucial components to include.

5 key tips to effectively develop your statement

The following five tips will get your positioning statement working effectively, and ensure that it is representative of your brand.

1. Pain point into solution

A pain point is a problem that consumers currently have. Your brand is the potential solution. A positioning statement makes that clear, and reminds everyone working on your brand to focus on that message.

Someone working on a Rubix cube.

Pain points are an important aspect of brands, and they often go unnoticed by the market unless everyone involved with your teams works to promote clear messaging that addresses them..

2. Dive in-depth into the target market

A brand positioning statement should help pinpoint exactly the type of audience you wish to attract. That way, every project and marketing campaign will have the statement as a sort of launching pad to aim in the right direction. The key is to be direct and specific about how you frame it.

The word 'target market' highlighted.

For example, instead of saying your brand targets ‘thirty-somethings who need a toothbrush,’ you could describe your audience as ‘millennials who want whiter teeth and fewer dental bills.’ The more detailed you make your statement, and the more it pinpoints the correct demographic, the better it will help all involved with the brand relay the main features and messages.

3. Bring out customer emotions

Believe it or not, many customers care more about how your brand delivers positive emotional improvements to their lives more than about the features you offer. Telling someone that your car will save their life is generally more impactful than pointing out it’s sporting a model T7432 airbag.

A group of emoji's.

It’s important to assure them that as long as they are connected to your brand, they’ll feel in control, be inspired and/or stay safe. To do this, make sure your brand positioning statement pushes an appeal to emotions.

4. Keep it brief no matter what

No matter how well-crafted or important the information inside, an overly-detailed brand positioning statement will not be as effective as a brief one. Those consulting the statement need to be able to quickly understand it well enough to apply it to their work.

A person holding a watch.

Of course, the statement should be impactful and powerful, but short and sweet is a philosophy that often brings impact and power. As such, keep your statement from expanding too much in length. Keep all parts of the statement brief and to the point. This will help the main idea of the statement be fulfilled.

5. Edit for clarity

Remember that your positioning statement will often act as a point of reference for your team. When someone is making a company judgment or completing some type of customer transaction or task, they should find your positioning statement helpful in making sure their approach measures up to it correctly.

An exclamation point among question marks.

That’s why it’s so important to be clear when crafting the statement, as it will be referred to during essential times. The idea here isn’t to restrict growth, but instead to act as an anchor that can be picked up and relocated when the time is right.

Final thoughts

A brand positioning statement doesn’t simply encourage optimized brand promotion,it demands it. Make absolutely certain that your statement reflects the right values at all times. The excitement and motivation it can bring to your team is worth the time and effort to get it right.

If you want to if you want to get a better feel for this concept in action, check out some brand positioning statement examples for inspiration

For more information about branding, check out our comprehensive branding guide.