With so much information coming at us these days – and as many ways to filter it, the stakes are high to get your brand’s positioning right. “Positioning” is the space your brand occupies in the mind of the consumer. It is the way you present what’s relevant, differentiated, and ownable versus your competition. Done well, a brand’s positioning separates it from the pack and communicates a message or story to the consumer that is:
- Meaningful in terms of how and why they use the product or service
- Unique to differentiate the brand from its peers
- Believable and ownable – its authentic and true to what your product or service delivers and defendable from competitors
- Enduring and consistent to last over time
Many brands do this well, appealing to the minds and hearts of their customers. Nike aims to inspire and innovate for every athlete. That ethos, encapsulated in “Just Do It,” has motivated consumers since 1988.
Then, there are those brands that connect on an even deeper level with customers. Harley-Davidson motorcycle devotees get the brand’s logo tattooed on them. Apple fans, some of whom have also gotten tattoos of the brand, line up outside Apple stores for days, just to be first to own the latest iPhone. The spin studio SoulCycle’s customers pay $54 for a T-shirt with the brand’s logo, but without sleeves, and there is a “Super Soul” option that gets you into the class of your choice for more than double the standard price. Brands like these not only have a position in the market place that is clearly defined from competitors, they also give consumers something to believe in, something so powerful that they are not only engaging with the brand, they want to share its message and broadcast it to others. They are brands with soul – and an incredibly loyal following.
How can well-positioned brands develop soul? It helps to have a strong set of guiding principles for the brand and to champion them at all consumer touch points, so there is strong sense of community and dialog with customers.
How strong is your company or brand’s positioning? What is the soul of your brand?