Many small businesses fail to define their brand positioning. Despite defining brand positioning being a key part of the strategic planning process, many small business owners make many mistakes when doing this.
Brand positioning is about differentiating your business from your competition and giving your business an identity that appeals to your customers. It helps you to understand how you want to position your business and why people should choose you over anyone else.
The purpose of doing this is to give your company an identity. It helps you understand how you want consumers to see your business and what makes it different from its competitors. This is important because if they are not aware of how you differ from the competition, then they will probably not choose your services over theirs.
What is brand positioning?
Brand positioning refers to the way customers perceive your brand, such as how they feel about it and what associations they make with that feeling.
The goal of brand positioning is to create a clear and distinct image in the minds of consumers.
For example, Apple’s brand positioning focuses on their products as being creative, innovative and stylish. This allows them to stand out from their competition because they are not just another computer (or phone) company; they are an innovator that offers more than just software and hardware.
There are a number of factors that contribute to your brand positioning:
Brand Voice: The way your brand communicates with its audience, and it’s crucial for creating a consistent image. Your brand voice should be clear, concise, and on-brand. For example, Nike uses a casual tone that emphasizes their products as being athletic but also stylish.
Visual Branding: The part of your brand that’s expressed through your logo, color palette, typography and imagery. Visual branding can be an effective way to communicate your brand positioning because it allows you to instantly convey what kind of company you are through the way that you look.
Pricing Structure: The way you price your products is a big part of how people see and value your brand. It establishes a precedent and culture for how you want your audience to interact with your company. For example, Apple uses premium pricing structures that convey their products as high quality and worth the money.
Target Audience: You can’t create a brand that will appeal to everyone. So, you need to figure out who your target audience is and what they want from a brand before you start making any decisions. This will help shape the positioning of your company and allow you to make decisions that will resonate with them.
Customer experience: The best brands have a strong customer experience that keeps people coming back, even if they don’t need anything. This means not only providing quality products and services but making sure customers can easily find them and feel like they belong in your space.
Brand Associations: This refers to collaborations and connections with others as well as the viewpoints they associate with your brand. When you choose to associate yourself with certain organization, another business, etc. you are sending a message to the world about who you are and what you stand for. These associations can be used to strengthen your brand or weaken it, depending on whether or not they fit with your values.
6 Common Mistakes small business owners are making when it comes to brand positioning:
1. Focusing on tactics without any strategy.
Strategies are the long-term plans that you have for your business. Tactics are short-term actions you take to move closer toward achieving those goals. If you don’t know what your long-term goals are, then it will be difficult to put together a strategy or plan of action. Failing to get customer feedback before launching a new product or service. It can be tempting to just jump right into marketing a new product without asking anyone first if they think it’s something they want or need.
2. Ignoring the importance of research.
Research is the best way to get a clear picture of what your customers want and how they feel about certain products or services.
It’s also crucial for determining whether or not your marketing strategy is actually working as it should be. Not making any changes when sales don’t improve quickly enough. It can be tempting to think that if you keep doing things the same way over and over again, then eventually things will change for the better. However, if your sales haven’t increased at all after a few months of trying new tactics, then it might be time to rethink what you’re doing altogether.
When doing research, a business should take into account market research (statistics on the industry or sector being studied), target market research (information about customers) and competitor analysis (data on other businesses in the same field).
3. You have the correct offer but the wrong audience.
You may have the right offer, but you’re targeting the wrong audience.
It can be tempting to think that if you keep doing things the same way over and over again, then eventually things will change for the better. However, if your sales haven’t increased at all after a few months of trying new tactics, then it might be time to rethink what you’re doing altogether.
4. Being too relatable which causes you to lose credibility.
It’s important to connect with people, but it can be easy to overdo it. If your customers feel like you are more of a friend, they may start to lose respect in what you have to say. This is especially true if you have a business that requires you to help your clients navigate challenges. Coaches for example.
5. Lack of consistency.
If you are not consistent with your messaging, it will be difficult for your customers to remember what you have said in the past. This can lead to confusion and frustration as they try to figure out what is true and what isn’t. It also makes it harder for them to trust that anything you say will be relevant or helpful at all.
*Note that consistency is not solely the frequency at which you're showing up. It also includes maintaining consistency in your messaging, positioning, and viewpoints.
6. Over complicating your offers.
This is a common mistake when trying to create an offer that will be both valuable and profitable. The problem with this approach is that it leads to offers that are either not valuable enough or too complex for your customers to understand or use. If any of these things are happening, then you may need to reconsider your messaging, positioning and/or delivery methods.
When you're trying to create your offers, it's important to keep things simple. The best way to do that is by focusing on a single message and delivering it consistently over time.
Elements of successful brand positioning
Genuineness. People want to buy from brands that are real, authentic and genuine. They want to know that you understand their needs and can help them solve a problem. By focusing on being genuine in all of your marketing efforts and content, you'll be able to connect with customers on an emotional level and build trust over time. And your content creation process will be a lot EASIER!
Clarity. You need clarity! Without it, you will struggle with consistency, which is one of the most important elements of successful brand positioning. This requires you to have a clear understanding of what your brand is and what it stands for, including: Your value proposition (why people should buy from you) Your target audience (including their needs and wants) Your unique selling proposition (what makes you different from the competition)
Consistency. How consistently you deliver your product or service, what type of experience you provide for customers, at which times and places—these factors all contribute to the way potential clients perceive your business.
Competitive Advantage. How you differentiate yourself from the competition is crucial to your brand positioning. Does your company offer a better product or service than others in its category? Can it provide more value for the same price? Is there something unique about how you do business that makes people want to buy from you, rather than from other companies in your industry?
As a result of following these 4 brand positioning tactics your business will have a strong brand identity that will help you attract the right customers. By understanding what your brand is, how to position it and what value it offers your customers, you can take control of your marketing efforts and see results faster.
Branding is one of the most important parts of your business. It helps you stand out from the competition and attract the right customers. It can be hard to know where to place your focus when running a small business but that's where I come in..
I've designed a very strategic framework that helps small service based businesses clarify their message, position themselves for impact and income, as well as establish your credibility as an expert in your industry.