How to give your brand unstoppable momentum by taking a position

How to give your brand unstoppable momentum by taking a position

24th March 2022, 11:38 am

Successful brands are built on positions. This means knowing exactly where you stand in the world and what you stand for. A position creates differentiation from competitors and is the source of competitive advantage. Positions motivate teams and give them direction. And positions attract customers then give them a reason to be loyal. Through ongoing actions that reinforce a position, powerful momentum builds, which powers growth.

Here are seven tips for how to take a position that will give your brand unstoppable momentum.

  1. Position in the market AND in the mind

There are two sides to building a position. One side concerns the decisions you make about your brand’s product, service and activities. All this relates to your business strategy and is how you build a differentiated position in the market. The other side of your position is about what you stand for in the minds of employees and customers. This is your position in the mind and it’s built through your brand and communications, as well as your actions and activities. To create growth you need to think about both sides of your position as one, interlinked whole.

  1. Work from the inside-out

Positions that are invented and transplanted into organisations never work. You cannot create a position from the bottom and push it up through the organisational structure. Positions need to be championed from the top and pushed out. Positions need to be rooted in the history, beliefs and ideology of the brand.

  1. Start with where your brand competes

The foundation for a position is identifying the brand’s space in the market. This can be found by answering two questions. First, what is the offer? Second, which audience is the offer for? A unique space is the result of answering these questions differently to anyone else. A brand could have the same offer as competitors, but target a different audience. Or a brand could serve the same audience, but provide a different product or service for them. Knowing where the brand competes will allow you to identify why it competes (see tip four).

  1. Find a word or phrase that defines why your brand exists

The most successful brands don’t just know where they compete, they know why they compete. This is the brand’s purpose. It’s a belief about why the brand exists. An opinion on why the brand is needed in the world. It gives the brand a role, a cause, a mission. Ideally the purpose should be boiled down to a single word or phrase. Here are some examples from famous brands:

  • Ben and Jerry’s – joy for the belly and soul
  • Disney – the magic of childhood
  • Nike – everybody can be an athlete
  1. Don’t get confused by social purpose

Purpose has become equated with social purpose. The phrase “purpose beyond profit” has become commonplace, as though purpose and profit are separable. In fact, the purpose of the business – it’s raison d’être that unites employees and attracts customers – is the thing that generates the profit. For some companies their purpose is a social one. Patagonia’s purpose is “to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis”. Not every company will have a purpose that’s social.

  1. Craft your personality

Armed with an understanding of where the brand competes and why it exists, you need to explore creatively how to convey this. At Squad we do this through a process we call creative scrapbooking. This often involves walls filled with all kinds of stimulus, references and inspiration. They’ll be quotes, film clips, music, poems, sketches and art. We might write a manifesto. Often, we’ll make a rough-cut film. All of this starts to create a holistic picture of how the brand should look and sound.

7a. Vision without execution is hallucination

It’s easy to think that cracking a bold vision for a brand will lead to success. The problem is that a vision, as the word suggests, is only a concept for the future. The hard part is turning it into reality. The brands every word and deed need to be aligned with the position you are trying to build. There are four broad areas to focus on. Identity – the way the brand comes across visually and verbally. Culture – the way employees behave and what they communicate to others. Experience – the reality for customers when they enter a store, visit a website or interact with employees. Promotion – advertising and other activities that reach out to new and existing customers.

7b. Try Squad’s Position Power Tools

If you want to start thinking about your own position, then our Position Power Tools are the ideal place to start – particularly our Calculator, which is a free self-assessment tool to measure the power of a brand’s position and assess its strengths and weaknesses. Squad’s Position Power Tools can be found at:

Next Article

How to deal with workplace conflict

ACAS estimates that workplace conflict costs UK organisations an average of £1,000 per employee and the CIPD reported in 2020 […]
Read Article