12 Ways to Jumpstart your Positioning Strategy

1. Positioning Strategy – An End to End Story

Key positioning strategy considerations help highlight a radical truth –  your entire business is a story. To own your position, you need to define it then decide how it is translated into actions across your business end to end, so you can own your story. In owning your story, you have a chance to own your position. Why? Because your story is what your audience believes is the reason why they allow you to be part of theirs. Because defining your story is based on knowing why you exist and why others in that space are of no consequence because only you deliver x-y-z- ­(fill in the blanks) but in that gap must live concepts to create brand love and loyalty.

When you say one thing about your brand and do another in your transactions, your brand and therefore your position begins to be eroded. This is the point of knowing the relevant positioning strategy considerations – what it is, how you achieve it, claim it and reinforce it.

We will briefly discuss the thought process of brand positioning below but this truth should be internalised for those tools to lead to an effective strategy.


Positioning Strategy Considerations

Your entire business is a story – ensure it is YOU telling it!

2. Perception Persistence

So, if your entire business is a story, anchored by the perceptions of your brand and the efficacy with which the values publicly espoused are actually embedded and evinced by the way your business is run, the perception and the position of your brand cannot be sustained if your processes compromise any of the above. Therefore, we believe that owning your position is the sum of all the stories your organisation creates both at brand and business level. This belief underpins everything we suggest and do in implementing a positioning strategy.


3. A note on ‘Uniqueness’

Discovering ‘uniqueness’ and comparison to competitors in the current conditions are critical positioning strategy considerations. Company culture, communication and conviction must coalesce around the agreed positioning principles and a long term view is critical.

A quick note about ‘uniqueness’. Last week, I met with a marketing expert who argued, that USPs may not need to exist and that what really matters is ‘remarkability’, a la Godin. This is a good and relevant point. There are very few brand new or completely unique ideas BUT the ways, methods, embellishments and channels with which and through which deliver your offering, as well as the inimitable heart and purpose of the business that may derive from you, the leader/owner/entrepreneur, can impart uniqueness. Being ‘remarkable’ is not sufficient if it does not meet the other tests of resonance, part of which is that you are given emotional and relational reasons to choose one offering above another. More on that another time.


Remarkability is not always a sufficient consideration on its own to secure a solid positioning strategy

Remarakability is not sufficient

4. Clear Strategy

Your product in a competitive landscape will not reach the heights your business needs it to without a deliberate, structured and clear positioning strategy. This would have as its objective to create an ownable position in the mind of your segment and all the steps required to do so.

5. Research and Analytics

A market positioning strategy is built on business data and seeks to compose the precise chain of words to balance concepts of differentiation, distinction, and similarity in a unified brand narrative. It is a long-term effort to solidify the identity of a company, and its products or services, in a unique space within the minds of the target audience. It is an organized attempt for a brand to set itself apart from the crowd and influence the way its target audience perceives them. There is value in this process because it allows the maximisation of the segment and creates clarity on unmet needs.

6.  A territory to own – the story YOU tell

Creating the impetus for your prospective customers to carve out a position for your product in their minds, hearts and consciousness requires that messaging targeted at them hold meaning, reward and a heightened desire for the kind of fulfilment they would derive from your product or service offering. Words have meaning as well as power, so the sequence of the words that will create the right triggers and parse the correct connotations should be researched.  The ultimate objective is to differentiate and create a perception that the product meets the wants and needs your prospect might knowingly or unknowingly possess. This may be the most important positioning strategy consideration, especially in a very crowded marketplace.

7. Positioning Strategy Successes

The positioning strategy has several dimensions, rooted in competitive research and analytics. Many of the biggest positioning successes of the past 50 years have done well by repositioning the competition so effectively that the only option for the ‘anti-whatever the marketer sought to marginalise’, has been the very product being marketed. This required really understanding the competitive landscape of the product.


The Repositioning Magic that Apple pulled off - they repositioned all other phones as ordinary

Repositioning 101


Apple arguably repositioned all other mobile phones, relegating them to just ‘functional’ communication devices, Airbnb repositioned short term vacation accommodation to ‘just rooms’ by promoting the experiential ‘live there’ philosophy of Airbnb. Starbucks repositioned other coffee shops by making them ‘just coffee shops’ where Starbucks became a way of life, lifestyle choice and haven. Their coffee famously doesn’t always make the top grade according to taste tests, but their target audience isn’t just going for the coffee. This is the power of positioning even in a pure commodity segment, like coffee.

8. Pitching from Power

Your company’s positioning strategy considerations should include how you will be differentiated and compete in a market, thus, what position you will pitch from. It helps you isolate gaps that you can exploit to compete more effectively. Therefore consider the businesses occupying spaces in those broad areas.

Pitching from Power - Positioning Magic

Pitching from Power – The reason for positioning

9. Leading in a segment

Your business needs to choose a few key areas upon which to focus where your leadership or uniqueness in a feature, idea or benefit can be demonstrated.

10. Content Strength in Consumer Context

Consider your offering strengths, weakness and difference where possible in the context of the customers’ needs and the strength, weaknesses and attributes of competitors

11. Innovation as Strategy

The example companies above were able to separate themselves effectively and compellingly from their competitors through not just innovative products, in the case of Apple, but innovative strategies – reimagining and representing that category to meet other needs beyond the purely functional. They went from resolving a pain point to creating a real gain and creating delight through benefits the customer had never anticipated but now cannot live without.

So as well as the following dimensions, we should consider innovation as not just a separate dimension but a possible sub-dimension within other categories

12. Dimension X – Attribute Analysis that allows Synthesis of Positioning Gold

The following are dimensions upon which your positioning strategy research and planning should focus to help to collect insights that will help positioning:

  • Brand Positioning
  • Product Positioning
  • Competitive Positioning
  • Competitive Pricing Position
  • Positioning MESSAGE
  • Quality Positioning

The dimensions that a brand should focus on in their positioning strategy considerations can be driven by what type of brand they are.

Graham Robertson identifies 4 core strengths that people developing an offering or seeking to position an offering should identify as their primary strength, in order to determine what type of strategy to adopt and so, for example, experience-driven brands might tend not to focus too much on the cost dimension of positioning.


Misunderstood brands signal oblique and incoherent positioning are often a result of never attempting to own a position or identify the people for whom your product should be a first choice. You find them, communicate appropriately and then, they see you!

Positioning strategy considerations are complex, and targeting and positioning take time and commitment but is very much worth the investment to set your brand apart in your audience’s perception. This is an opportunity to show the needs and wants that only your offering can meet in a particular way. Defining your business’ purpose and identity provides a psychological hook for target customers about how your business can meet their specific needs. It allows you to make a promise that emotionally as well as rationally connects you to your audience.

Chinenye Ikwuemesi

You cannot copy content of this page

%d bloggers like this: