3. Positioning--First step, guiding light, ruthless taskmaster
...clearing up the difference between positioning and positioning statement. They're often used interchangeably, but there's an important difference:
- Positioning is the couple of words you want your customers thinking when they think about your brand. The best way to express positioning is with a short declarative sentence. The ten we reviewed in the last chapter are great examples. (We'll come back to positioning later, after we've dealt with the positioning statement that informs it...)
- The positioning statement is a tight, exacting, complex sentence that sums up a brand's most basic reasons for being. The best tell a short story that compels action, differentiates from competition, and is brief enough to be readily understood by everyone who touches the brand. Needless to say, this is a sentence on which much rides.
Here are six positioning statements, each deconstructed from the real-world communications of a well-defined brand:
- For middle-aged men at high risk of heart disease, Lipitor is the cholesterol-reducing medicine clinically proven effective at preventing heart attack and stroke. (23 words)
- For patriotic young men looking for adventure, Navy SEALs is the elite military unit that provides uniquely challenging experiences with missions that are hazardous, clandestine, critical to the nation's security. (31)
- For PC users in need of new equipment, Mac is easier to use and more reliable because it's the only PC with hardware and software designed exclusively for each other. (31)
A couple of observations:
Note the specificity of the first phrase, the one that identifies the customer target and their animating issue. Getting this right is hard, sometimes agonizingly so. After all, the size of your business relates directly to the size of your target. It must be big enough to make a difference, but not so big that it forces the rest of the statement into common denominators.