Features or attributes are tangible.E.g. My iPhone got 64GB space - that's a tangible feature of the product.
Bentley is a luxury brand - that's a tangible attribute of the brand.
Next, you layer on top of those features the corresponding benefits to the target audience.
If I got 64GB - what does this do for me? how does it benefit me?Well, it gives me a lot of space so I can capture every moment of my life without worrying about running out of space or having to limit pictures or videos.
Or it benefits me in a way that I can enjoy all the music I like with me everywhere without having to limit my myself.
Features are tangible, benefits are intangible.
What actually sell is benefits, not features - because people respond to emotions.
Then on top of those benefits, you identify a list of values the target uses to make purchase decisions.
And lastly, we put all of this together to create a positioning statement for a company or brand.
Here's how to write your own:
3. Positioning Statement Framework
People often ask me: How to write a positioning statement?
Every positioning statement is different, but we can distinguish a common framework.
Different brands have different positioning statements, but when you analyze most of them, we can notice some similarities.
Use this time-tested and widely-used positioning statement framework:
Remember that this is the place where you need to be succinct and make every word count.
But you also must to be sure that you capture everything you need to.
So in order to capture everything in a succinct way you must be selective with words, but you also need to understand all of the elements that go into it.
So let's break it down, step-by-step:
Define The Target Audience
First, you need to know your customers well - define your target audience.
Who are your customers? Describe their demographics and psychographics.
Demographics is all that that people in marketing always refer to: sex, income, age (all the facts about the users).
Psychographics are totally different and there are more valuable to us designers and brand strategists.
So we start with demographics, then we talk about opinions, activities, interests, and all the other behavioral characteristics.
Slogans don't inspire positioning statements (the opposite) but just to give you some understanding.
So describe your category and ultimately, you have to own who you are.
It can't be something that won't be able to back up.
Once we have that, then we describe what differentiate you from your competitors in the same category.
Your point of difference
Point of difference refers to the factors of products or services that establish differentiation.
Qualitative and quantitative research should inform this point.
What can your brand or product say that no one can say?
This is very difficult to write, it's your onliness statement basically.
Think about what your customers can positively evaluate and believe they could not find to the same extent with a competing brand.
For example: points where you are claiming superiority or exclusiveness over other products in the category.
An easy way to begin thinking about this is to imagine a consideration process where you had to evaluate and compare your client’s brand with others.
Try to find a way to sum up the point of difference with words that aren’t generic.
What makes you special? Find and claim a space.
What can your brand or product say that no other brand can say?
Others describe it as Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
The next step is the “end benefit”.
What is the end benefit
State what the brand or product does for the target that is emotional and intangible.
What does the brand do for the target audience?
Remember that features are not benefits.
What's the difference between them? - I described that in the “brand ladder” paragraph.
An end benefit is the advantage a consumer gets from a product.
Another way to look at it is that benefits answer this question: What’s in it for me?
You should go back and do that first because is hard to come up with enticing end benefit without understanding features.
Coca-Cola is all about happiness - that's end benefit.
Harley is all about freedom - that's a great end benefit.
Once we got all of this, the last thing we do is we articulate why should they (target audience) believe in your claim.
What is the reason to believe
Finally you need to back up your statement - why should I believe you?
Your reason to believe cannot be just an opinion statement.
The reason to believe must be rooted in the truth about this particular product or brand and its point of difference.
Reason to believe[/caption]What are the tangible details of your brand or product features?Look into those details to craft a solid reason to believe.
You have to back up your claim with qualitative and quantitative research.
What is it about what you've done so that you can back it up with data.
You can say something like “because we have X years of experience and we are determined to Z”
Now, let's look at some examples:
4. Positioning Statement Examples
Seems like it may take you some time to become comfortable with the process of articulating your brand/product in this way.
And that's ok, because a solid positioning statement will take a few drafts to get right.
Once you’ve got it, rooting your creativity in strategy makes for more successful solutions.
Write something first, and then you can judge it.
I may not come easy, but that's how you unlock the difference between one-time transaction and a long-term relationship.
Probably the best way to give you some idea of how to use this framework for your brand is to show you some examples of positioning statements of famous brands:
Nikon Positioning Statement
This is the positioning statement of Nikon:
“For (creative professionals with an eye for capturing and sharing beauty), (Nikon) is the (digital point and shoot) that delivers (a window to their world), so they can (experience deeper connections through a shared perspective), because (of Nikon’s 100 year history of developing new technologies that allow you to capture and share your experiences in their purest form, it’s as if you were there)”
Apple Positioning Statement
This is the positioning statement of Apple:“
For (individuals who want the best personal computer or mobile device), (Apple) is the (leader of technology industry) that delivers (the most innovative products) so they can (enjoy seamless experiences across all Apple devices & be empowered with breakthrough services), because (Apple takes an innovative approach to business best practices, considering the impact our products have on customers & the planet).”
Coca-Cola Positioning Statement
This is the positioning statement of Coca-Cola:
“For (individuals looking for high-quality drinks), (Coca-Cola) is a (wide range of the most refreshing beverages), that delivers (happiness unlike other beverage options), so they can (enjoy a Coca-Cola drink & make a positive difference in their lives), because (the brand is intensely focused on the needs of customers)."
Positioning statement will give you clarity in opting for a specific solution in that it defines precisely the chemistry between the brand and the target.
Positioning statement will help you justify the creative solutions your propose to the team.
Once you as a designer, art director, copywriter or other creative involved in the project have a sense of the specifics, it will drive your creative work and inspire your design solutions.
And that's why you should consider writing one, or better yet involve your team to write it together.
What that also means is that you will waste less time in conceptualization and executions phases.
So write a positioning statement for your brand (or the brand you're working on) and gain more clarity.
As a homework think about some of the brands you interact with on a daily and try to guess what'd their positioning be?
Remember: positioning statement is for internal purposes only - we don't see it.
What we see is some ad copy, tagline or slogan.
However, we're all creative people and we can uncover the positioning statement that drives those ads.
Did you do your homework? Was it fun? - Let me know in the comments below.
Learn how to write a positioning statement — check out the Market Research exercise from my Brand Strategy Guide.
I'm a branding expert and graphic designer based in NY. I specialize in the development of brands: brand strategy, identity & web design. Need help with your project?—Get in touch
Build a brand your customers will love.
Best Deals for Creatives
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we receive a commission.