brand positioning

Peeling Back the Layers: The Process of Uncovering a Brand Position

By Communications

It happens pretty much every single time we work with a client on nailing down their brand position. Usually a client wants to start with a mission statement. It’s usually super long and somewhat hifalutin. If we’re able to start from scratch, we take them through a brand positioning exercise, which often still results in something loooooonnnnnnnggg.

We get it: your business is yours. You’ve put a lot of thought, energy and effort into it. THERE’S SO MUCH TO SAY. And sometimes, your business is complex; it’s not easy for other people to understand, so it takes lots of five dollar words and prepositional phrases to get your meaning across.

Or does it?

In every case of working through the finalization of a client’s brand position, we peel back layers. We clarify. We eliminate the jargon. We break down complex sentences. We remove aspirational adjectives. We narrow the focus down to what you do now; how it’s different, and why you do it.  In every case, the content we start with is BIG and what we end up with is tight, concise and exactly the message the client wants delivered.

What does your brand look  and sound like? How did you get there?

J.C. Penney Defines their Brand and How it’s Different from Kohl’s

By Communications

I caught the end of a J.C. Penney TV commercial this morning and a line stood out  . . .

Unlike other stores, J.C. Penney doesn’t make you return to save.

For regular shoppers, you know this is a direct hit on Kohl’s and Penney’s nailed it.  Kohl’s offers a program of “Kohl’s Cash” getting consumers to return to the store to spend dollars earned within a short time after their visit. Penney’s asserts in their advertising that they’re offering shoppers the savings up front, instead. Pretty savvy advertising.

It also struck me that the line is what I consider a critical element of a brand position — defining how your brand is different. It’s astounding to me how difficult this is for some brands to define. Take some time today and think about your organization and start with “Unlike other,” and see where the definition takes you. How can your company change the conversation about what you offer to your community through a strong brand statement? I’d love to see your results in the comments.

Defining your Brand Position: Hint; it’s Not About You

By Communications

A logo is a brand image; not the position or definition of the brand.

Ask five people in an organization what the company’s brand position is and you’re likely to get five different answers. Ask five of their customers and you’re likely to get the same answer all five times.

Why is that?

What your brand position is not:

  • It’s not your mission statement
  • It’s not your logo or your “look and feel”
  • It’s not your service or product offerings
  • It’s not what you think it is
My friend Ken Mueller of Inkling Media summed it up nicely when he wrote Word of Mouth is THEIR Mouth not Yours.  Similarly, your brand position is what your customers believe it to be.

Your Brand is the Promise you Make and Keep When Interacting with Your Community

First, let’s define your community. It is those you serve, those interested in what you do, your employees and by extension, often, the families and friends (and sometimes neighbors) of those employees. What’s the promise? It is what you do and how you do it. If the community values what you do, that’s part of your brand. If they think you’re awful at it, well, that’s part of your brand, too.

What’s your promise? Is it what you want it to be? If not, what’s your plan for making a change?