How to take a position and unleash your brand’s momentum

Monday, 9th January 2023

By Rob Gray – Founder of Squad

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once described a brand as: “what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” His definition captures the essence of what a brand is. It is the impression of any business, cause, person or place that exists in people’s minds. A strong reputation will drive growth and value, which is why the most successful brands know exactly what they want to be known for – their position. They consciously orientate everything they do and say around building this position. But how do they do it? The starting point is understanding that positions must be taken in both the market and the mind.

Differentiation starts with a position in the market
Where to position in the market goes to the heart of a business’s strategy. Successful brands need to find a space in the market that is different from that of their competitors. They do this by answering critical questions about the products and services the brand will offer and the markets it will serve. By identifying a distinct place in the market, brands can then focus their people, resources and activities on owning this territory. This creates differentiation and if the space the brand occupies is one that competitors struggle to emulate, it will have a sustainable competitive advantage. To unleash exponential growth, a position in the market is an important foundation, but a position in the mind must also be built.

A position in the mind creates an emotional connection
The other side of taking a position – the mind – is about perception. This is the world of marketing, communications and design. It requires a brand to move beyond thinking about where it competes in the market and convey why it competes there. As Simon Sinek famously says, “people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” It is important to not just focus on what the brand says (purpose) but also how it says it (personality). The language, imagery and style of the brand are critical. Or in the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” When brands do this, they connect with people on an emotional level. They move beyond having a rational position in the market and build a position in people’s minds. This motivates teams and attracts loyal customers who become evangelists for the brand.

Brands must align both sides of their position to unleash momentum
There’s a symbiotic relationship between the two sides of a position – like yin and yang, which in Chinese philosophy represent the two complementary forces that make up all aspects of life. When people’s perception and the reality of their experience align, a strong position is built. This gives a brand unstoppable momentum because every interaction someone has – whether it’s visiting a store or being exposed to advertising – reinforces other experiences they’ve had.
Achieving this is hard because it requires alignment between all the different teams within an organisation. Brands that build consistent positions in both the market and the mind do so by taking a position from the inside-out. They unite their business strategy with their brand strategy and drive both relentlessly through all aspects of their organisations. They are coherent in their execution, but also engaging, interesting and memorable.

Learn how to position from the inside-out at our upcoming event
At our upcoming Pro Manchester event, Rob Gray, Strategy/Managing Partner at brand agency Squad, will be sharing more about this inside-out approach specifically for professional service brands. Squad have used this unique method, which fuses their strategic and creative skills, for leading professional service brands as well as high-growth scale-ups to established global brands in a range of sectors. You’ll come away with the following:
• Knowledge of the three components needed to define your brand’s position, both in the market and the mind.
• Understanding of how to create propulsion by focusing all the brand’s activity on building its position.
• Practical examples from real-life case studies, including professional service brands.
• Tools and processes you can apply straight away for your professional service brand.

The event will take place on Tuesday 24th January 2023 at 8am – 10am. Please register here to attend: