Positioning

logic. purpose. strategy.

 
 

Positioning matters

Why does positioning matter? At its core, positioning answers two crucial questions: “Who are you?” and “Why do you matter?” Done correctly, positioning is your North Star, guiding everything from your business strategy to your message architecture. Solid positioning aligns your team, amplifies your message, removes friction, and accelerates traction. It’s about discovering your corporate DNA, defining your superpower, understanding your market category and competitors, and identifying your true value. Articulating this strategy in precise phrases brings clarity to your team—thus creating alignment throughout your company—and informs aesthetic decisions, guaranteeing an authentic and sticky brand that will resonate with your target market. Positioning drives every aspect of your company and when done strategically, it’s your best asset.

 
I have come to understand that the single biggest reason so many brand strategy campaigns never make it to market or fail to make any headway if they do is that agencies skip past the rigor required for DNA-based positioning and head straight for branding,
— Andy Cunningham, CEO

Positioning ≠ branding

Positioning is the logical, strategic and purposeful articulation of your differentiated role and relevance in the marketplace. Branding is the emotional expression of your strategy through tone of voice, design and imagery. A strategic positioning strategy informs everything from writing your mission statement to hiring the right people. It is the glue that holds your marketing and business strategies together and the foundation upon which a good brand is built. To ignore positioning and dive straight into branding is like building a house before you’ve laid the foundation.

A company must position first to align business strategy with DNA and then do the sexy branding work to bring that strategy to life. If a company’s positioning in the market is wrong, any branding effort, no matter how creative or clever, is probably doomed to failure. The most successful companies understand the difference between positioning and branding and leverage both to maximize their dominance in the marketplace.

Positioning is what other people say about you. Branding is what you say about yourself. Own it.

Traditional positioning vs Aha! positioning

Aha! positioning is a DNA-based strategy that aligns your C-Suite and defines your brand. Generally speaking, it’s your North Star. More specifically, it’s an articulation of your differentiated role and relevance within a complex and specific landscape—concise statements capable of guiding leadership, branding, and communication. It begins with taking a thorough look at who you are at your core, what category you’re in, and what’s happening around you. We work with you—not for you—to formulate a marketing strategy and write an authentic message architecture that achieves genuine differentiation and distinct competitive advantage. Our step-by-step, inside-out framework aligns your positioning and business strategies with your true identity.

The result of that alignment? Marketing strategy that sticks. It worked for Apple when Andy launched the Macintosh 1983 and it worked for BlackBerry when we recently positioned it as a software leader. Focus and sacrifice—not spin—formulate Aha! positioning.

 
 

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