How to: Write a Positioning Statement for Your Brand

This group exercise will help you engage others in your brand development activity and will help provide some of the confidence and clarity you’re looking for.

David Arneil
13/06/2019
What is a Positioning Statement?

A positioning statement is a concise sentence or paragraph that quickly communicates your brand’s unique value to your customers in relation to your competitors. It explains what your brand does, who you target, and the benefits of your brand.

Why do you need a positioning statement?

Over time, strong and consistent brand positioning will help you carve out your firm’s desired place in the market. In the short-term, when you’re looking to develop your brand it can be difficult to find the little bits of clarity that really allow you to assess the current state of affairs, make sense of the challenge you’re facing and make good decisions going forward.

Creating a positioning statement for your brand can be a relatively simple and risk-free way to start the process, engage the right people and help provide some of the confidence and clarity you’re looking for.

The core elements of positioning are what you do and who you do it for, and these two pieces of information should be expressed as clearly and simply as possible. If the way you communicate your positioning isn’t clear, potential customers are unlikely to spend much time digging for more.

In it’s most basic form, your positioning statement will read something like…

We do ____x____ for ____y____ .

Looks straight-forward enough, but ask 10 different people within your firm to independently fill in those blanks and… well, you can imagine how different the answers might be.

How do you create a positioning statement?

Having a positioning statement in place that everyone in your firm can get behind can be both a great starting point for developing your brand and a solid reference point going forward.

The simple workshop exercise below provides a simple guide to writing your positioning statement. It helps add a bit of detail and provides opportunities for discussion and insight.

Positioning Statement Exercise
Overview

This workshop exercise aims to help you create some clarity around your brand development work and engage the right people by working as a team to create a positioning statement for your brand.

Logistics

Get a mix of the right people together in a room and set aside round 2hrs for the exercise. Download the model, make sure everyone has a copy (keep a few spare) and a pen.

Activity

1. Introduce the concept of a positioning statement

2. Give each group member a copy of the model

3. Ask everyone to individually and independently fill in the blanks on the model

4. Share and discuss your answers as a group

5. Collectively agree on the most appropriate answers to form your basic positioning statement

6. Finesse the specific words and grammar (if you feel it is necessary)

Hints & Tips

Look for and interrogate common threads and themes. Where does the consensus lie? If you’re finding bits hard, don’t be afraid to dig into specific elements and open up further discussions - at least you’ll know why and to what end.

A good rule of thumb for a positioning statement is to be informative first and evocative second. Filling in the blanks of the model will make sure your statement is informative but, once you’ve done that, you can start to play with the words. After all, you want your positioning statement to provoke the right emotional reaction from those who read it.

An Explanation of The Positioning Statement Model

The basic construct of a strong brand positioning statement is:

[Brand Name] provides [1] with [2] than any other [3]. We do this by [4a], [4b], and [4c].

There are four key elements to the positioning statement model:

[1] Target Customers

What is a concise summary of the attitudinal and demographic description of the target group of customers your brand is attempting to appeal to and attract?

[2] Brand Promise

What is the most compelling (emotional/rational) benefit to your target customers that your brand can own relative to your competition? What unique value do you provide them?

[3] Market Definition

What category is your brand operating / competing in and in what context does your brand have relevance to your customers?

[4] Reasons to Believe

What is the most compelling evidence that your brand delivers on its brand promise?