April 4, 2011

Position Yourself For Success

Coming up with a name for your company or product, based on your knowledge of your target market, is just that – a name – but it’s not a brand until you start to build associations around the name.  Think of it this way – eggshell blue is just a color.  But an eggshell blue jewelry box is something else entirely.   And that eggshell blue box coupled with the name Tiffany & Co. brings to mind a series of associations.  Depending on who you are that may be things like quality, luxury, and happiness, whereas to others it may bring to mind dollar signs (especially if you’re the one buying said jewelry).  Regardless, to Tiffany & Co.’s target market their name is more than just a name.

In order to determine what associations should surround your brand you not only have to have a good understanding of who your target market is, but you should also develop a Positioning Statement.  This very simply exercise will help keep your brand narrowly defined, identify the meaning behind the brand, and enable you to create consistent messaging around your brand.  With a little time and a little luck that messaging will result in immediate associations when people hear your company name or see your logo. 

Classic marketing techniques recommend that every strong positioning statement contain a target, a frame of reference, a primary benefit, and a key attribute.   These four parts are combined into one sentance as follows:

  • To (target), (your company) is the brand of (frame of reference) that (primary benefit) because (key attributes).

The target is your intended audience or customers; your tightly defined primary target market.  Once again, as a small food company it’s not wise to try to be everything to everyone as that will just create a scattered and confused marketing message.   The frame of reference explains what your brand actually is and what niche it competes in.  The primary benefit should be the major benefit of your product.  Ideally, your target market should highly value this benefit.  And the key attributes explain why your brand can claim its primary benefit.

Taking our earlier Aunt B’s Jam example from this post, the Positioning Statement for that company might read something like:

  • To parents who value organic and handmade ingredients, Aunt B’s Jams is the brand of jam and spread that lets them feel good about feeding their children because Aunt B’s handcrafts small batches using locally-sourced certified organic ingredients.

See, not too hard!  Creating a Positioning Statement for your small food company doesn’t have to take a lot of time but is absolutely invaluable when it comes to making marketing decisions.  By comparing your marketing decisions to the Positioning Statement you can make sure that you are staying ‘on brand’ in all your messaging and communications with customers which in turn creates succinct and consistent associations with your company name and logo.  And that is what really creates a brand.