The Positioning Platform
Brands compete to survive and flourish in an ever-increasingly-competitive world. It’s well known that the ability to influence consumer purchase behavior is the holy grail of marketing, but the path is filled with uncertainties, well-entrenched competitors, and that stick wicket, brand loyalty.
Since consumers behave based on beliefs, and beliefs are hard to change once formed, the softer target is to reach consumers at a stage and with tactics that can influence their perceptions; either before a strong brand loyalty is formed, or if that’s too late, at a time and in a manner that can de-position the competition. This is done through the art and science of brand positioning. But to actually get to a winning positioning, a brand needs first to craft a Positioning Platform which then informs its marketing elements.
Format For A Positioning Platform
A Positioning Platform is a very specific way to frame out your brand’s positioning statement. It’s important to know in advance that a ‘Positioning Platform’ is used as an internal guide to the creation of ALL marketing messages, promotional messages, website content, ads and more. You never actually use your Positioning Platform verbatim, but you adapt it for messaging as needed, and tailored for specific audiences.
A Positioning Platform should be cleanly expressed in the following format:
For: (insert definition of target consumer here),
Brand & Promise: (insert core benefit statement here),
Because: (insert reasoning and proof statement here).
For: families with young children,
Volvo: is the safest SUV on the market,
Because: it has more side air-bags and steel struts than any other SUV.
The FOR part defines and specifies your brand’s target audience — who you want to reach, and speaks to the implied pain point or need of your target.
The BRAND & PROMISE part defines your core positioning promise, which is derived once you craft your ‘Positioning Matrix™’ (more details in a later story). And (spoiler alert), your brand promise is likely NOT your ‘Unique Selling Proposition’ or what you think it is.
The BECAUSE part is how you support, prove and substantiate your brand promise. It’s a critical component of a brand’s Positioning Platform, and includes the essential component of DE-positioning your competition (or better yet, the entire category).
Once you’ve nailed your brand’s Positioning Platform, print it out 50 feet tall and post it on the walls of your marketing department. Every single marketing message, piece of content, social media post, ad creative, email, etc., etc., should follow (and definitely not conflict with) your brand’s Positioning Platform. Anything else takes you off the shortest, fastest and most powerful path to success, domination of your niche, and advantage over your competition.
Brand positioning has come a long way from the days I spent as one of the ‘Mad Men’ of Madison Avenue, as an executive for two of the world’s largest ad agencies, but it’s still the most critical element of influencing consumer buying behavior, and gaining significant competitive advantage. Without a well-crated brand Positioning Platform, derived from a well-thought-out positioning development process, brands are going to have a rough and expensive ride to overstep their competition. All the creatives and tactics and ad spend in the world is no substitute for a winning Positioning Platform.
Once your Positioning Platform has been properly crafted, it’s time to start deploying it across all branding elements and all marketing messages.
So, mind the gap, brands! Your competitors are.