Paul Delfino




< insights home

Better Call Paul

Delfino Marketing Communications, Inc.

Establishing a Brand Positioning Statement

by PD   |   Posted Feb 18, 2016   |   branding


The creative process isn't just about generating ideas, it's about generating ideas that will succeed because they are based on sound thinking. If your agency or internal team isn't following a proven process for brand positioning, then good luck to them. It doesn't mean they might not strike gold (like my brother-in-law likes to say, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile), but it might be fool's gold.

So, what's best for your brand, selling the steak or the sizzle? Have you considered the points of reference the end user will be using to catalog your brand? Have you looked beyond the practical benefits and thought about the emotional end benefits of your brand? How about customizing your messaging for core users, occasional users and non-users?

For some, these are basic questions that you consider on a regular basis. For others, this can be a radically different way to think about branding. Over the years we have worked with a number of different tools designed to answer these questions and generate brand positioning that will be effective across a variety of demographics and target markets. In all cases, the basic format has revolved around these questions:

  •  Who are you talking to?  Your target audience(s) must be well defined. It seems obvious, but if you haven’t accurately defined your targets, you will struggle to develop sound messaging.
  •  What are you promoting?  Is it your corporate brand, a service line, your product family or individual products?  Objectively evaluate your brand equity before deciding how you will refer to it.
  •  What is the frame of reference?  Your brand means everything to you and you know it intimately. But you cannot always assume your targets understand your brands or are even aware of them. Consider where your brand belongs in the end user’s frame of reference.
  •  What is the justification?  Making a differentiating claim is easy; justifying it is not. A claim is much more powerful when supported by tangible reasons and/or examples. Think of this as the place where you deal with the concept of “because”, as in “my brand is different/better/unique because…”
  •  What is the emotional end benefit?  How does your brand make the user feel about the experience of using it or about how they will be perceived by others? Some of the great tag lines in advertising history communicate emotional end benefits.

In the quest to establish brand positioning, the steps above represent just the beginning. What comes next – the real challenge – is taking this information and formulating a message out of it. Whether it's a creative theme, a corporate tag line, a brand launch or an advertising campaign, the process outlined above is a proven method to create messaging that's based on sound marketing principles.

Happy marketing!