The Secret to Successful Brand Positioning

Why Brand Positioning?

Brand positioning is a strategy to create a memorable and unique customer impression. You want the customer to associate your brand with something specific and desirable that is unique from the rest of the marketplace.

Businesses who truly understand who wants, needs and buys their services and products are excelling fast. Gone are the days when a business could advertise their product and service as a necessity. Today, the purchasers decide if you are a necessity or not. As outlined in my previous post, “The Key To Attracting New Customers”,  successful business owners clearly and carefully determine their “customers”, “team” and “strategic alliances”, They then prioritize these audiences in order of importance to the business owner. With your defined customer personas in place, you are now able to determine the solutions you will be providing to these customers with your unique business.

The Customer Point of Need Difference

The personas you created give you a clear sense of your customer’s personality. You should be able to easily identify what your customer needs from you based on the persona work you completed.  It is important to understand the difference between what people say they WANT to do business with you and what they truly NEED to select your business. In a typical buyer’s journey and investigation process, the customer engages in research offline and online before even approaching a business. Your brand messaging needs to address your potential customer needs, not just their wants. In the next exercise, I will teach you how to extract your customer’s wants and determine their actual needs to do business with you.

Customer Persona Example

I will use an example to demonstrate the distinction between a customer’s wants and needs. Let’s assume Suzanne is considering purchasing a new car. She is 32 years old, university educated, a busy professional bank executive. She is an environmentalist with a young family. Suzanne travels about 20 kms to work and is financially stable. She was an early adopter of technology. She has a very large network of friends and colleagues. She is athletic and active in sports teams. When she is not working, she enjoys shopping frequently and is very fashionable.

From Suzanne’s persona profile, a car company would market to her “wants”…

  • Wants a car that is good on gas
  • Wants a modern car, but practical for family
  • Wants a nice looking car
  • Wants integrated technology in the car
  • Wants room in the back for sports equipment
  • Wants kids’ safety and entertainment features

All of these statements are appealing, however it is highly likely that the competitor car companies are all boasting these features and benefits and no messaging is standing apart to Suzanne.

Customers Needs vs. Wants

What would happen if we shifted our marketing focus to be more heavily weighted to her “needs” based on her stated “wants”….

  • Needs a car that leaves a smaller carbon footprint
  • Needs a car to transport kids that doesn’t make her look or feel old
  • Needs a stylish looking car at a reasonable price
  • Needs access to her networks, that is easy to use
  • Needs options for storage based on her busy lifestyle
  • Needs proof on safety features, education rich entertainment

The car company will want to create messaging that emphasizes and addresses Suzanne’s needs.

  • Carbon Footprint
  • Car does not make her look or feel old
  • Technology Access
  • Stylish Appearance
  • Easy to Use
  • Options for Storage
  • Proof for Kids Safety
  • Entertainment Education Option

Create Brand Positioning Statements

Key phrasing in the marketing messaging would take her needs into account and deliver a solution to her needs.

  • Help the Environment (Carbon Footprint)
  • Be Stylish (does not make her look or feel old)
  • Stay Connected (Technology Access)
  • Intuitive Operation (Easy to Use)
  • Multi Storage (Options for Storage)
  • Guaranteed Safety Testing Specifics (Proof for Kids Safety)
  • Car Tutor (Entertainment Education Option)

For your business, you will want to examine your customer personas and identify what they say they want, what they truly need and your product/service to deliver as their solution.

Never was this more obvious to me in my own business when small business owners used to connect with me and request a new website. They would reach out after seeing me do a presentation or reading my BLOG and request a meeting to discuss a new website. I would always do preliminary research before our first meeting to understand their current marketing platform, however, I would never make a marketing recommendation without taking them through the WANT/NEED exercise.

Effective Brand Positioning

To have effective brand positioning to stand apart and attract your desired customer personas, you need to utilize your solutions for your customers’ needs in your brand messaging. You need to clearly state what YOU do to SOLVE their problems.

You do not want to just list all the features and benefits of your business in your marketing messaging, you will want to emphasize the solutions you provide to your customers. What is the result of delivering what your customers need? What specifically are you empowering, engaging, igniting for your customers?

Once you finalize who you want as customers and determined what they NEED from you, it’s time to start working on your company tone and voice. Stay tuned for those tips in my next blog post.  In the meantime, if you need support framing your brand positioning, reach out to me and let’s connect to discuss what you need.


About the author

For over 20 years, Sandy Gerber has revitalized marketing and messaging for companies of all sizes, including some of North America’s most beloved brands. The author of two books, founder of three successful businesses, and visionary of the Emotional Magnetism™ communication technique and education products, Sandy is passionate about empowering individuals to become masters of effective communication. She offers Marketing Consulting, Communications Training and Coaching in “Emotional Magnetism” and is a professional, Vancouver-based guest speaker for businesses, events and organizations.