Companies typically need more help repositioning than they do positioning.
We previously discussed in our post, The Brand Roadmap, that a brand’s Position is its unique and strategic place in a market or its industry.
The act of actively working on or toward your position is called positioning. Simple! You declare the niché you plan to occupy, articulate it in as few words as possible, and slap it on your website. Right?
Here’s what makes it not so simple.
We rarely work on positioning for a brand new company that can simply point to a spot and begin there. More often, companies have a history of products or services they’ve offered. Existing clientele they’ve worked with. Loads of brand messages floating around. A track record of success. And a history of expectations they constantly strive to meet. And a reputation that, if tarnished, leaves a lot of equity behind.
Turning on a dime might be possible, but immediately arriving at a new position does not happen overnight. Instead of having a eureka moment, repositioning is more likely an effort requiring inquiry, strategy, and a plan to arrive and occupy a new space.
And since we are focused on multi-generation businesses, we’d rather be repositioning anyway. Part of what we love doing is building incrementally on top of what already exists (brand equity). It’s more of a challenge and requires a unique mix of strategic and creative thinking.
Why and when to reposition a brand?
Historically, repositioning a brand or product offering is triggered by one or even a few of a shortlist of reasons.
- Maybe the brand is experiencing a measurable decline in interest or sales.
- Or a new similarly-positioned competitive brand is taking market share.
- Sometimes a big shift occurs within an industry or market, creating or eliminating opportunity.
- It could even come from within when, for example, your company comes out with a new, superior product or service.
- Finally, it is a way to generate a pivot point in a company’s history, requiring new energy and a new trajectory toward the future.
In all of these scenarios, the work is not done simply by declaring your new positioning. Like branding, positioning is a continuous effort, seeking to shape and mold people’s perceptions about your brand. It is not a one-and-done proposition. It needs to bleed into everything you do to market your company.
Because we have worked with many multi-generation businesses, the arrival of a new generation of leadership has been a major focus for our repositioning efforts. These moments happen rarely and offer the perfect opportunity to take a big leap in positioning toward a more invigorated and profitable company future.
Branding and marketing have become more sophisticated over the last few decades. More brands “get it” and are doing a better job at it. If you also take into account how today’s consumers select brands to engage with, one thing becomes clear:
A company with too broad of a position is actually a brand for very few.
Most people want a brand they can relate to. This means you need to be comfortable with many people NOT relating to you.
Repositioning, when done right, is going to feel risky. If it doesn’t, then you may not be narrowing your position enough. Your brand will remain watered down and won’t resonate with the target audience you most want.
How we go about repositioning a brand.
Positioning is more often an externally motivated exercise focused on your public image.
So, we don’t immediately pull out our full brand strategy toolkit. But certain aspects of your positioning, especially if they don’t already exist, need to be audited for relevancy and reworked.
Your brand’s mission statement should be something your employees know, understand, and believe in. This is why your company exists, so it is integral to your brand’s positioning.
Your vision statement also needs to be reviewed, as it describes how your mission will be accomplished. A repositioning might affect this and require a new aspirational vision to be cast and shared within your company.
Your brand’s Core Values also play an important role in positioning. They directly project your outward brand identity and are critical in making your brand relatable to your future customers.
A brand discovery workshop with your organization is time well spent. It will assure that you’ve checked the boxes for mission, vision, and core values. We also want to hear from key stakeholders in the brand to achieve full buy-in from the top levels down through the ranks.
At this point, we conduct market analysis to better understand your current brand position and how repositioning may be beneficial in differentiating your company from others that are already well-positioned in your market space. Generating a perceptual map makes this easy to understand and clearly shows where opportunities lie.
We study your competitors to identify the conditions of the marketplace and the strength of influence each competitor exerts on your desired target market.
Finally, it’s time to do the hard part. We work through a number of steps internally to develop a positioning strategy that perfectly sets you apart from all others. The end goal is to bring your organization together – narrowly focused on the consumers you truly desire and how you can uniquely meet their needs.
Once the new positioning is agreed upon, then begins the process of communicating it in various formats and mediums. This involves recalibrating brand messaging toward the new brand position. Repositioning requires brand realignment. Additional opportunities to express the brand’s new position certainly exist. Our team will explore these for further development.
Where does it all end?
The end result is a brand realignment with crystal clarity so your employees can jump on board, and your current and future customers can follow.
Consumers are drawn to brands that have a purpose. This drawing power does not happen accidentally. It is the result of intentional decisions that reposition your brand more narrowly to better resonate with the people who will most identify with your brand.
Sound like something your brand is in need of? We’re here to help. We’ve done it for other brands, as well as our own, and would love to discuss doing it for you.