Brand Positioning: Easier than Mad Libs

In early May, Intelligent.ly kicked off this season’s schedule with “How to Tell Your Startup’s Story Effectively”. Taught by Mike Troiano, Chief Marketing Officer of Actifio (arguably one of our city’s greatest marketers), it was the perfect way to start off a summer of classes focused on startups and innovation. Last Thursday, Troiano was back in the house schooling Boston’s brightest with a proven framework for developing a winning brand positioning statement.

Brand Positioning

A successful brand positioning statement tackles two goals: first, it sums up what your business does, and next, it explains what makes your company or product special and unique. Competition among startups can often feel daunting, especially when you’re still just trying to get noticed. Taking the time to brainstorm and conceive a positioning statement that captures your business’s mission gives you an edge over the crowd, conveying a clear vision for you and your customers around the value you provide.

Positioning Statement Elements

  • Target: The actionable universe of buyers.
  • Segment: The key, predisposing attribute. Within the target audience there’s a segment of people with a specific attribute that makes your product or service appealing.
  • Brand: A name you call yourself.
  • Category: A competitive frame for the buyer.  Think about who you are competing against, and then separate yourself from them.
  • Distinction: What makes you unique, setting you apart from the competition.
  • Proof: A perceived evidence of truth to back up your distinction.

You can’t tell someone who you are and what you do without already having clear-cut definitions previously determined–at least not effectively. These six terms, once customized with definitions that represent your business most accurately, can form your positioning statement. The trick is organizing them.

“You’re betting on your livelihood in a value proposition you believe is significant… So you should write it down,” Mike said, referring to people losing focus on what they stand for, simply because they don’t have an unchanging, visible reminder. This next sentence is the backbone of your brand’s positioning statement and is applicable to any brand you might conceive in the future…so you should take notes:

“For target who are segment, brand provides the category with distinction because of proof.”

If you’ve ever completed a Mad Lib or color-by-numbers, you have the ability to create your statement. By taking your definitions of those six terms and plugging them into this sentence you have the most effective positioning statement style possible. The tricky part is getting the wording right. It’s key to keep it simple while including all crucial information that will convince your employees, investors, and customers that you have something unique and valuable to offer.

Winning Examples

“For drivers who value auto performance, BMW provides luxury vehicle that deliver joy through German engineering.”

“For people around the world, Coca-Cola is the soft drink that has been the real thing since 1886.”

Your final statement should follow the guidelines, while simultaneously manipulating the English language in ways that move people. To learn more, view slides from Mike’s class.


6 thoughts on “Brand Positioning: Easier than Mad Libs

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