A positioning statement is a strategic tool used in marketing. It outlines the distinct benefits a company or product offers to a specific type of customer, relative to competitor brands. Though this statement isn't directly included in advertising messages, it provides the foundation for focused advertisements.
The positioning statement helps your business carve out its space in the marketplace. It establishes your brand's differentiation from competitors in a way designed to attract customers. There are three fundamental approaches to positioning -- user, benefit and competitive. With a user positioning theme, you emphasize that you specialize in catering to a particular type of customer. Thus, your statement is more about the audience than the product benefits. Benefit positioning means a compelling factor in your offering is central to your positioning. Competitive positioning is an aggressive strategy where you clearly point out what you offer that is bigger or better than what competitors offer.
Creating a Statement
Doug Stayman, the Associate Dean for MBA Programs and Associate Professor of Marketing at Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management, notes that a positioning statement is clear and concise, often no more than a couple sentences. Before composing your statement, break down its critical elements. Developing a list of your brand or product's primary benefits is a good place to start. Brainstorm your product's traits or qualities that make it stand out. An all-natural food, durable clothing material or second-to-none taste quality are examples. After your brainstorm, select one or two benefits that stand above the rest in significance.
Next, clearly define your target market if you haven't already. The more niche your product or its benefits, the more specific you should be in describing your target market, according to Entrepreneur. After you have a firm grasp on the main components to structure a statement, put pen to paper.
Here is an example of a positioning statement for a high-quality, all-natural juice brand:
"Juice X delivers the best blend of all-natural ingredients and elite taste quality for fitness buffs or athletes looking for a healthy thirst quench."
This statement identifies the key benefits of the brand. It carries more of a user positioning theme, as the compelling point is that the juice is made for fitness buffs or athletes. In highly competitive industries, a user-based positioning strategy allows you to carve out a niche. Even if your product is similar to other offerings, messaging targeting a specific group can cause those customers to view you as a specialty provider.
The Next Step
Your positioning statement is an important guide as your advertising team puts together a campaign. Copywriters and artists develop messages in line with the statement, so a clear consistent brand image shows through to your target market.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.