Column from Florida Trend's Business Coach
Why is the market lumping your company in with the competition? It’s easy to get frustrated. You’ve worked hard to give your customers the best product and services available. Yet, your message doesn’t seem to resonate.
Positioning is the most important part of the marketing and sales game. It creates differentiation between companies and instantly clarifies the unique value offered.
A brand needs to stand out and get noticed. When it doesn’t, many businesses often decide that a brand “refresh” will get their message heard and offerings better positioned.
But, many companies confuse rebranding with repositioning. A brand is a "symbol" that represents a promise that helps prospects identify you and the value you bring to the table.
Repositioning is all about identifying the right markets and redefining product and service offerings with the right positioning to create differentiation. On the other hand, rebranding is usually as simple as a logo and tag line remake that strongly suggests the new position.
In other words, repositioning goes deeper than rebranding -- repositioning is all about changing the way everyone thinks of a brand.
Here’s an example -- not long ago Old Spice introduced an updated image. Yet, it went well beyond the minor refresh of their logo. They repositioned the brand from a dull, old school aftershave to full line of cool “smell is power” men’s grooming products. It worked -- a new audience now loves them.
There is a fine line between rebranding and repositioning. Don’t agonize over it. Just focus on repositioning and all else will follow. Here are five questions to ask yourself to help guide your repositioning strategy:
- Laser beam focus. Does your position communicate one primary message?
- Perfect prospect relevancy. Is the position you’ve claimed truly important to the target audience and will they care?
- Differentiated and unique. Are your differences and strengths clearly contrasted against the competition?
- Defensible barriers. Is it obvious that competitors can’t easily move into your space and provide the same value?
- Believable and credible value. Is it evident and credible that not using your solution versus a competing service or product will cost them in some way?
The ultimate test is the positioning sweet spot triangle — it’s important to your prospect, unique to you, and defensible by you. Clarifying your brand’s market position allows prospective customers to place your business in the right box.
Is it clear that your company offers unique and specific benefits that are obvious? Is the differentiation so strong that prospects will always correctly perceive the wonderful benefits you provide? If not, it’s time to reposition -- and maybe redesign your logo too.
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Ron Stein is the founder and President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com). He has more than 20 years experience in sales, marketing, and business development, working positions ranging from salesman to vice president of sales and marketing to CEO of startups with industry leaders such as Motorola, VideoServer, Paradyne, and SercoNet. Ron is a member of the advisory team at the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, a nationally recognized entrepreneurial and startup accelerator for the state of Florida. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com