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6 Strategy Tips for Positioning Your Small business Brand

Brand positioning is simply how you are positioned in the minds of your customers. It’s what they think of when they see your brand or logo. A strong positioning strategy makes it clear to customers what sets your brand apart from competitors. This clarity comes from offering real value. And in today’s competitive market, that alone will help you stand out!

Effective brand positioning can help you win market share, develop a strong reputation and build long-lasting trust and loyalty with the people who matter most — your customers.

Here at Little Ghost Creative, we offer customized small business branding packages that can help communicate what you stand for.

But before we connect and build you a brand with a killer positioning strategy, let's walk you through six ways you can start differentiating your business from your competitors.

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What is a brand strategy?

We’ve already talked briefly about brand strategy and positioning, but let’s dig in a little deeper, starting with brand positioning.

Here’s what brand positioning is not:  your logo, brand name or services/products. It’s none of that.

Rather, it’s how you communicate and engage with your customers. It’s the experience you offer. It’s living and breathing your mission, vision and values rather than just telling your customers what they are. And that experience should be backed by a brand strategy.

So how do we define brand strategy? Your brand strategy is ultimately the roadmap you follow to communicate your positioning to your customers effectively.

How to focus your brand strategy

You can focus your brand positioning strategy on several different aspects of your business:

  • Price Point
  • Quality
  • Convenience
  • Customer Service

While you can also communicate a combination of these things, it’s more effective to hone in on one. Be the best in that category rather than offering just an OK experience in each one.

Let’s use Spotify and Apple Music as an example.

If you had to explain these brands to an alien, you might describe both as “online music streaming platforms.” But when you break down their brand positioning strategies, they’re actually quite different.

Spotify focuses on a price point positioning strategy. You can listen for free with ads or pay various prices for additional listening options. This positions Spotify as a brand that is accessible to anyone with access to the internet.

On the other hand, Apple Music focuses on a quality positioning strategy. Of course, it’s connected to the mega-brand Apple which comes with immediate prestige, but Apple Music focuses on communicating the high-quality and large quantity of music genres it offers.

Comparing Spotify and Apple Music shows us that even if you are competing in a saturated market, a strong brand positioning strategy can still set your business apart.

6 brand positioning tips to help your business stand out

Let’s make your business stand out with a few brand positioning tips. This is real advice we offer our clients to help their brands make a difference in their industries.

Here are 6 tips for better positioning your brand.

Tip 1. Establish Your Brand’s Foundation

Your brand’s foundation encompasses your purpose, mission and values. And while it’s easy to write these things out on your website’s ‘About’ page, what actually makes them impactful is living them out.

Take the popular clothing brand Reformation as an example. Their mission is “to bring sustainable fashion to everyone.”

They’ve lived this mission out by:

  • Repurposing vintage clothing
  • Using deadstock fabrics
  • Tracking how much CO2 is used in manufacturing
  • Publishing annual sustainability reports
  • And more!

Plus, they communicate these things in their marketing, which shows the customer the action they’re taking. Super impactful!

So while having a purpose, mission, vision and values for your brand is important, it will only be effective if you actually implement it through your brand positioning strategy.

Tip 2. Build Your Brand’s Personality

Think of your brand as a human. A person with a favourite colour, distinct personality traits and values.

Decide what those things are exactly. And then infuse them throughout your brand’s communication.

Your brand should have a distinct tone of voice that your customers can easily recognize.

Take the fast food chain Wendy’s for example. They’ve done an amazing job at building an online brand persona that is witty, sarcastic and honestly, pretty hilarious. It’s created a two-way dialogue with their customers and made them relevant again.

Tip 3. Determine Your Target Audience

If you’re going to do anything to better position your brand, start with your target audience. Really, all your marketing and branding efforts should be focused on the people who buy your products and services. There’s so much you can learn about your target audience—and building out ideal customer personas can help.

What to Include in Customer Personas:

  • Pain points
  • Location/regions
  • Income
  • Psychographics

Outlining all this will help you better understand your customers' buying decisions. And remember, rather than telling them what you sell, figure out what problem they need you to solve.

Tip 4. Learn From Your Competitors

To create a brand positioning strategy that sets your business apart, you need to analyze what your competitors are doing well and where they fall short. Identify the gaps in their strategy and find ways to fill them. This might sound simple, but it requires some thorough analysis and research.

So how do you learn from your competitors?

You can start by doing a deep dive into their owned channels, like their website, socials, locations, etc.. But I recommend actually reaching out to your customers and interviewing them. Because let’s face it, your customers are also likely your competitor’s.

So, conduct surveys, focus groups or one-on-one interviews to understand what it is that your customers do and don’t like from your competitor. Then, be better!

Tip 5. Decide How to Differentiate Your Brand

I’m confident your brand has many great qualities. And I’m sure you think so too! But what will be most effective is determining which of those qualities will be most valuable to your target audience. Then, focus on those to differentiate your brand.

How to Make Your Business Stand Out:

You can focus your brand positioning strategy on several different aspects of your business, such as:

  • Price point
  • Quality
  • Convenience
  • Customer Service

There are other ways you can differentiate your brand too. Maybe you prioritize locality, sustainability or the longevity and historical significance of your brand.

Build a sliding scale of all the different aspects of your brand. Then, determine where on that scale each aspect lies. If it’s price point that ranks highest, then the decision is clear on how to differentiate your brand.

Tip 6. Tell Your Brand’s Story and Engage With Your Audience

Your brand’s story is the narrative that encompasses the feelings and experiences your customers have when they engage with you.

Be authentic. Tell your story truthfully and cohesively through all your branded assets and channels.  An impactful brand story can help spark conversation with your target audience. It gives your customers something to relate to. It also helps humanize your brand.

So there you have it! Those are 6 ways to create a brand positioning strategy for your business.

What happens during a brand strategy workshop?

Now that you understand why a brand positioning strategy is so effective, let me walk you through how we build them for our clients.

First, we start with a brand strategy workshop. It’s one of our all-time favourite exercises to engage new clients in. It tells us who your brand exists for, what you want for your business and some of the tactics you plan to use to get there.

During a brand strategy workshop with Little Ghost Creative, we’ll collaborate to discover:

  • Your brand’s foundation or heritage
  • Your business goals
  • Your brand’s personality
  • Your target audience or niche

Here’s the 5-step framework of exercises you can expect when you enter one of these sessions with our team at Little Ghost Creative:

Exercise 1: The Golden Circle

This first exercise is all about serving your customers by better understanding your brand’s “why.”

We’ll search for insights about your unique brand story and the great purpose behind your business. You can expect questions like, “What drives you beyond making money?” and “Why should your customers care about your brand?”

This exercise lays the foundation for the brand messaging and communication we’ll later develop.

Exercise 2: Take a Stand

In this next exercise, we’ll work together to define your brand’s Purpose Statement, Mission Statement, Vision Statement and core brand values.

This is where we discuss the motivation behind your brand.

Exercise 3: Business Goals Timeline

Next, we’ll discuss some of your key business goals. We’ll build out a timeline, outlining which goals you’d like to achieve in your business this year, in 3 years and in 10 years from now.

These goals are typically broad and overarching, such as your revenue objectives or products/service offerings. But we make sure to set SMART objectives to ensure they are easily measurable once your brand launches.

Exercise 4: Brand Personality Pyramid, Table and Sliders

This is a fun one! In exercise 4, we’ll use several visual exercises to nail down your brand’s personality. This helps us build your brand’s identity.

We’ll discuss how someone might describe your brand if they were a human. Is your brand serious or playful? Light or dark? We’ll use imagery, colours and graphics to spark conversation and ideas.

Exercise 5: Nail the Niche

The last and final exercise is all about better understanding the category your brand exists in. It’s when we “niche down” to understand your unique competitive advantage.

You’ve likely heard the saying “When you talk to everyone, you talk to no one.” This is especially true for brands. You can’t possibly be a brand for everyone.

So during this exercise, we nail down your niche by defining your target audience. Together we’ll look at your target audience’s pain points, motivators and other elements of their persona.

A brand strategy workshop is typically the first step in any branding process we start with new clients.

After our initial workshop, we’ll then head into the research phase of the process.

This is where we analyze your industry, gather data and insights and see what other competitors are doing, along with any opportunities or gaps. Then, we develop and present a Brand Strategy before we move into the fun, visual work: your brand identity.

So there you have it!

We’ve covered six key strategies to help you create a standout brand positioning strategy.

By laying a strong foundation, building a unique personality, understanding your target audience, learning from competitors, differentiating your brand and sharing your story, you can make your business shine in a crowded market.

Ready to take your brand to the next level?

Contact Little Ghost Creative today to craft a killer brand positioning strategy that sets you apart from the competition and connects with your audience.

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