Editor’s Note: As we move into the last two seasons of the year, we are answering questions people have repeatedly asked us about branding and marketing.
Like “authenticity,” “story” and the term “branding” itself, the concept of having a “market position” is one that causes business folks to lick their lips and lean in precipitously.
Most brands attempt some variation of a positioning statement, albeit lackluster or inaccurate. The concept of market position was introduced way back in 1981 by Al Ries and Jack Trout in their book “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind.”
The Ries-Trout positioning formula has held up well, but does requires some updating to modern realities.
What’s most glaringly different in the 21st century is how we go about gaining attention, addressing audience fragmentation and competing in the face of product-saturation. In other words, there’s more noise, more distraction, more competition than ever in today’s market. And none of these conditions will end any time soon.
Yet, everyone wants a strong, well-defined set of position differentiators that make them stand out in the marketplace.
Kind of like abs.
(And given the commoditization of marketing over the last decade, there’s this prevailing mentality that things like market position can be “got.” As if your director of marketing can just purchase a market position like she can buy a new CRM.)
Few players actually know what market position truly is — and how to effectively articulate it.
Modern positioning is clearly establishing the reason why anyone should give you their precious attention and money.
Contemporary positioning is three-part alchemy:
It’s no longer possible to have a solid market position without a solid brand. So we’d caution you not to fall into the trap of thinking you can buy market position — or a brand.
That idea is a relic of the ad age.
A market position is a result of knowing who you are as a brand and what value you provide to the people who invest in your offerings and then telling that story consistently over time.
**P.S. By rating yourself and your company on how consistently you practice the three aspects mentioned above indicate how well you are currently doing in creating and holding a unique market position.**
Part of our practice is guiding people along the journey to uncover the foundations of their brands so they can enjoy the benefits that come along with that — clarity of message, audience attraction and solid positions. If you’re curious to learn more, we conduct exploration calls weekly. If you’d like to chat, go here.