Developing a Positioning Statement

People often get a positioning statement confused with a tagline or slogan. What’s more, even some marketing professionals do it! But once you know the difference, it becomes pretty clear.

Quite simply, a positioning statement is a corporate statement that defines the benefit of your product / service to your target customer, and states how you’re different from your competitors.

Positioning Statement

In contrast, a tagline or slogan is a catchy advertising message about how you want to be perceived by your target customer. It succinctly delivers your core advertising message to your target through different media channels.

Typically, an ad agency will often use a positioning statement to develop a tagline or slogan for a company or product.

That’s the difference in a nutshell. Told you it was easy.

This section of the site is about developing a positioning statement. For information on developing a tagline or slogan, see the Advertising section of this site.

Crafting Your Positioning Statement

A well-crafted statement should provide clarity and focus, and is a fairly straightforward communication about how you are currently perceived in the minds of your target audience.

Without a lot of bells and whistles, it should answer the following:

- Who are you?

- What is your business / industry?

- Who is your target customer?

- What are the needs of your target customer?

- Who are your competitors?

- What is the key benefit of your company over your competitors?

- What is the unique benefit of your product/service, especially compared with your competitor’s product/service?

- Why should your target believe you can deliver the benefits?

In order to answer these questions and develop your positioning statement, it’s a good idea to brainstorm with a group of key people and/or advisors.

I’d suggest three sessions...

Brainstorming Session #1

Should be used to answer the above questions. Don’t edit yet…just get everything on the board. This will most likely be your lengthiest session since it will mean some pretty in-depth self-study.

To make the session shorter, you might consider sending out the questions beforehand to your attendees so they can be thinking about them.

Brainstorming Session #2

Will be where you will edit, refine and agree on the answers to the questions.

Brainstorming #3

Will be where you develop the statement. I have included a couple of simple templates below for use, or as thought-starters.

Positioning Statement Templates

There are many different ways you can construct your statement statement, but these are two of the most common:

Template #1:

(Product / Service / Company / Person) is the one (your category) that provides (your target customer) with (your key benefit) because (reason to believe you can deliver the benefit).

Template #2:

For (your target) who wants / needs (reason to buy your product/service), the (your product or service) is a (category) that provides (your key benefit). Unlike (your main competitor), the (your product/service) (your key differentiator).

Avoid Positioning Statement Mistakes

When you’re developing your statement, be sure to steer away from the following common mistakes...

Listing more than one benefit or differentiator. Don’t try to stuff as much as you can into it. Realize that simplicity is always better.

As one of my mentors use to say, “If you try to be all things to all people you’ll end up being nothing to no one.”

No matter how hard it is, boil it down to one.

Not defining your target properly. Take the time to do this right. For more information on how define your target, click here.

Not including the reason to believe or the reason to buy.

This helps keep you focused on the customer.

Including benefits that aren’t unique to you or sustainable over a period of time. There is little benefit in being an “also ran.”

At the same tine, if you’re going to tout a benefit that won’t be around long, you’ll just have to go through the entire process again.

Take time to do it right.

Positioning Statement Related Pages...

I hope this section has proven beneficial and helpful to you. For more information on any of the following information, just click on the links.

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