by Michael Monahan, President & CEO, Moxē Integrated Marketing
Your company’s brand is one of the most important aspects of doing business. It directly affects the way consumers and stakeholders think, perceive and react to what your organization is offering.
Whether your company is starting from nothing or “building its brand”, here are three helpful questions for marketers and business owners to consider as they define or refine their company’s brand positioning:
1) What do you do better than anyone or any other organization?
This may be an easy question to answer for some of you. If it is, then congratulations on finding a clear niche area and specialty to offer in the marketplace. Ask yourself “what makes our organization unique.” Then identify three things that make you unique in the marketplace.
In his book, “Traction,” author Gino Wickman says “If you line yourself up against ten of your competitors, you might all share one of these uniques. Some of you may even share two, but no one else should have the three that you do.”
Wickman goes on to compare Southwest and Spirit Airlines as examples. Southwest and Spirit are both budget airlines, but are completely different businesses. “Low price” may be one differentiator, but it’s not the only thing that makes each airline unique.
2) What do your clients value?
Once you have decided what makes your business unique, compare that with what the market values most. Often, you’ll hear things like price, quality, efficiency or expertise, but that’s not always the case.
For example, did you know that early sales of Peloton bikes increased after Peloton raised the price of its bikes? In a 2019 interview with Yahoo! Finance, Peloton Founder and CEO John Foley said, “It was interesting psychology that we teased out,” he recalled in an interview last year with Yahoo Finance. “In the very, very early days, we charged $1,200 for the Peloton bike for the first couple of months and what turned out happening is we heard from customers that the bike must be poorly built if you’re charging $1,200 for it. We charged $2,000 dollars for it and sales increased because people said, ‘Oh, it must be a quality bike.’
I have also heard the old adage of “fast, good or cheap…pick two.” This is an example of determining what the market values most. How price sensitive is your target market? How much does your audience value your expertise? If the market does not value that particular offering, you should reconsider whether you should be doing it.
3) What are offerings your competitor(s) either devalues, or is not paying attention to?
Finally, compare the answers to the first two questions and compare that to the competitive landscape in which you work. If your brand positioning suggests the importance of relationships to your business, consider how that compares to the competition? Do they stress relationships as well? If they do, you may want to consider how you nuance your messaging around that point. Are you the low-cost provider? Do you want to be? Producing a product or service at the lowest price possible can be a race to the bottom and risk the commoditization of what you are offering.
Answering these three questions will enable you to pinpoint your brand’s sweet spot, as shown in the attached graphic. If you are having difficulty answering these questions, consider engaging with a marketing or brand strategist with experience in your space, who knows how to ask the right questions to help you best identify your businesses’ unique characteristics, what the market values most and what your competition might not be focused on. If you chose the right partner, you will end up with a powerful brand positioning and brand messaging statement that will help refine your messaging across your integrated marketing efforts.