Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Brand positioning is critical to marketing success

Brand positioning is visual, verbal and conceptual. Your brand’s attitude, style and tone must be chosen to portray your positioning quickly to the right audiences. Don’t waste your time and money on branding without first defining your positioning.


Brand design without brand positioning is foolish

Positioning is the art and science of understanding the essence of who you are and what you offer, what makes you unique. At the heart of a rebrand is a deep dive into your reason for being, what brings delight to your customers, and where you can find and reach more of those people.

A rebrand is not simply a new logo and color palette, or new messages tacked on to what you’ve said for years. In today’s accelerated-pace, global-reach, online-driven culture, understand who you are and why your audiences choose you. Look out a year or five, too. What will you be known for? Is that what you’re known for now?

As they say, evolve or die.

How do you know if it’s time for a rebrand?

Yes, you can do a deep dive and set up a new direction without a rebrand.

rebrand-holistic-not-designBut look closer, does your brand (the messages and visual system, the marketing tools you use) fit who you are or how you want to be known? Does it resonate with the right people, the audiences you want to reach? Does the brand system reflect today’s audiences who expect more for less, faster response, a social media presence and online access?

Does your visual and verbal brand lift you above others in your category? Or have you slipped behind?

Yes, design matters. And the right words count even more. A powerful brand is both visual and verbal. The best brand will help your organization be seen and known for what you stand for, the value you provide.

Face it. We’re a culture full of impatient and selfish people.

We’re blitzed daily by words, ideas, pictures, videos, social memes … all demanding attention NOW … it’s tough to stand out and be seen. Global competition for attention, products and services tests us all, daily.

In fact, some say, “Attention is the new currency.”

And we’re selfish. We want to know, “what’s in it for me?”

How has your business altered to keep up? To grab attention? To quickly answer “what’s in it for me?”

Today’s marketing isn’t for the faint of heart

It could be another drizzly day in Oregon. A few years ago we broke records for the amount of wet stuff landing around us. This year it’s been dry, dry, dry and so hot. And yet the cherry blossoms bloom in the spring, and the vineyards are setting new fruit, preparing for another banner vintage.

What does this have to do with your marketing? Not much.

It’s just good to know the cycle keeps moving, despite unexpected downpours, glimpses of sun, or out-of-norm events. No matter how well we plan and schedule, stuff happens. Things change.

Your marketing program … what’s up?

If you’re a marketer … or wish you were … or want to be a better marketer … you have oodles of different tactics to choose between while you juggle information, deadlines and details from “where are the photos we need?” to “I need approval from you, fast!” Or … “oh no, they changed Facebook again?!”

If you’re a business owner or manager working with an in-house marketing team, or searching for a marketing firm or consultant, you have different issues to deal with. Who’s the best fit? What kind of results can I expect? What should I be measuring? How much involvement is needed from me?

Are you faced with any of these marketing issues and decisions?
  • Is our website working for us? How can we increase visits and inquiries?
  • How do we stand out in our industry and become known?
  • Should we be doing more in social media? If yes, which platform is right?
  • Our competition is nipping at our heels, how can we stay in front?
  • Where should we focus our time and resources to get the best return?

Then there are all those swirling questions about tactics … online ads, Facebook or LinkedIn, email, brochures, booth, print ads, video … etc., etc., etc.

There’s just one, only one, place to start.

Before you decide whether to build up social media, or redesign the website, or develop a new brochure, or rebrand … focus on people. Yes, that’s it. It’s that simple.

Don’t focus on what you do, your industry, who you are, or your list of goods and services. Don’t get lost in the story of why you think you’re better than the rest.

Market for your audiences. The ones who are your BEST customers and clients. The ones who love what you do, refer you, praise what you offer and share your story.

Not anyone and everyone

Your audience is not the whole world of people who MIGHT want your goods and services. Begin with those who are the best fit. When you understand them, you’ll understand how and where to focus your time, energy and marketing resources.

Profile who they are, how they find you, how they choose, what they expect, what they know or don’t know about what you do, what benefits/results they’re looking for, what problem they want to solve, what experience they’ve had with your competitors.

Remember … in marketing, perception is reality. You must look from THEIR point of view, not your own.

Look at your audiences as individuals, how they speak, how and where they communicate, their role in the decision process. Uncover the images and ideas which resonate with them. Pinpoint the specific details of your goods and services which elicit the most response. Listen, explore, question, probe. Find the “wow!”.

What, how, where or when don’t matter

What you’re marketing, how it’s made, where you’re located, or when you were founded really don’t matter. No one cares.

UNLESS those specific factors or features/benefits are important to your audiences. Is that why your people choose you over the rest?

I’ve been asked many times, “How can you market xyz if you haven’t worked with companies selling xyz before?” Because marketing starts with people, not with what’s being sold.

positioning-drill-holeA good marketer understands how to find the right people, the best target audiences–then profile how and where they choose, what’s important to them, what they expect, who they are, how they communicate. When that’s clear and matched up to your sales process, the marketing strategy is focused and effective.

That’s why WHAT you’re marketing is not the most important factor in choosing who to help you with your marketing.

Look for a smart marketer who “gets” people, whether or not they have experience in your industry. A marketer who can craft the right message to resonate with your people and call them to action. A marketer who digs into who you are and why people choose you over the others.

It’s simple … really. And it’s certainly not easy.

No matter who you’re marketing to, how you sell or what you sell, it still comes down to the first principle of marketing: reach the right audiences with the right message in the right place.

Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below.

And … You may be interested in our worksheet on positioning, you can download it below. I’ve also listed additional blog posts to expand on this topic.

Ready to talk positioning and how it can drive your marketing results? Contact me here. 


About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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