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Making sure every touchpoint — from content to sales — remains on-brand is essential. But when you have seemingly limitless decisions to make regarding a new product, marketing campaign, or anything else related to your business, it can be difficult to keep all the moving parts properly aligned.

Related: Elements of an effective brand promise

That's where a brand positioning statement comes into play. A brand positioning statement is a helpful point of reference whenever you need to make decisions about strategy, marketing campaigns or products.

What is a positioning statement?

A brand positioning statement is a short and concise description that sums up your brand. It includes:

  • Your brand promise
  • Your category or market
  • Your customer base (and their pain points)
  • A high-level description of benefits
  • Who you are

A brand positioning statement is designed to be used internally. That said, it can provide helpful context for any content being created by in-house writers, freelancers or creative agencies. And while a brand positioning statement isn't necessarily very long, you should still dedicate a solid block of time to crafting it.

In addition to creating a positioning statement, you should also write a value proposition. A value proposition should describe the beneficial features of your product, services, strategy, or approach. It includes:

  • The main benefit of your products & services
  • How you resolve customer pain points

The difference between a positioning statement & value proposition

The key difference between a brand positioning statement and a value proposition lay within the who, what, when, where, how and why. In theory, each statement should answer the following questions.

Brand positioning Value proposition
Who is your brand? What are the benefits of your products and services?
Who is your target audience, and what are their pain points? How does your company plan to solve (or resolve) your customers' pain points?
Which category or market does your brand fit in?  
How does your company benefit the customer?  

In other words, a value proposition illustrates a brief overview of the benefits that the product or service provides. A positioning statement focuses more on what your brand delivers to customers and how it's differentiated from your competition.

The importance of a positioning statement

A brand positioning statement is an internal aspect of your overall brand strategy as it defines your brand's identity and personality. It also doubles as a guardrail to help test any potential business decisions. Some businesses choose to have more than one positioning statement, perhaps addressing different market statements or brand personas.

Ultimately, a brand positioning statement is important because it helps you keep everything consistent and in line with your brand — no matter what you're doing. Every creative asset will be measured against your brand positioning statement, so it's essential to take time to craft it.

How to write a brand positioning statement

If you're ready to write a brand positioning statement, there are some essential elements for it to include. For example:

  • Personality — what is your brand personality and how do you want to depict it?
  • Audience — who are your audience and what are their pain points?
  • Market — which market category does your brand fit into?
  • Brand promise — what does your brand promise to provide customers with? What are the benefits that your brand offers?
  • Evidence — what efforts do you have that you can deliver on your brand's promise?

If you're ready to start writing your brand positioning statement, feel free to use the following template:

For [your target market] who [the primary need of your target market], [brand name] provides [the main benefit that sets your brand apart from competitors] because [the evidence that you can deliver on your brand promise].

Most brands will adjust the template to fit their taste, like in these two examples:

  • "For upscale American families, Volvo is the family automobile that offers maximum safety."
  • "Harley Davidson is the only motorcycle manufacturer that makes big, loud motorcycles for macho guys mostly in the United States who want to join a gang of cowboys in an era of decreasing personal freedom."

The result may be short, but you can easily spend days or even weeks getting this short statement to feel just right. And remember — while your value proposition focuses on the specific benefits your customers will receive from your products, your positioning statement is about why your brand is the right one for your audience. Be sure to include the unique value you provide and how that differentiates you from your competitors.

Tips & tricks to writing a brand positioning statement

When writing and evaluating your brand positioning statement, you need to double-check to make sure the statement is going to serve its purpose.

  • Will this statement inform your future marketing decisions?
  • How does this statement differentiate my brand against the competition?
  • Will I want to change this statement as my brand grows and changes? How often?
  • Is my statement unique, yet easy to understand?

By asking yourself these important questions ahead of time, you gain the clarity and groundwork needed to write a concise, compelling statement.

Keep in mind that you won't necessarily hit the nail directly on the head with your first draft. Once you've written it, go over it with a fine-tooth comb and ask yourself whether it answers all the questions mentioned above. Should you find glaring errors or gaps, you can edit and rewrite it as you see fit.

If ¬— or, rather, when — elements of your advertising & marketing change, your brand positioning statement will still inform them. You might have a new tagline or different messaging, but the same guiding principle is behind these decisions.

4 brands with strong positioning strategies

When you look at how some companies handle their branding, you can also clearly see the brand positioning statements that stand behind their advertising and creative assets. Here are some of the top brands that have strong branding – and even stronger brand positioning behind them.

Amazon

Amazon rapidly grew into an online retail brand that now dominates virtually all sectors. You can get just about everything you want from Amazon. Their audience is broad, with services offered to anyone who wants access to a large range of products all in one place — along with convenient delivery. Amazon differentiates itself from other e-commerce brands by putting its customers first, as well as being innovative and committed to operational excellence.

McDonald's

McDonald's offers affordable, quality food choices for families who want fast food paired with efficient customer service. They provide a consistent experience across thousands of locations worldwide, following tight standards at every location. They're set apart from other fast food restaurants because of their determination to continually improve both service and operations.

Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World is for families (and adults!) seeking unforgettable, magical experiences. Their goal is to help people of all ages make their dreams come true, and they work hard to create and promote a fun, exciting environment. As a company, Disney has been around long enough that it now inspires nostalgia in multiple generations. There's only one Walt Disney World, and many people have come to associate it with their childhood.

Whole Foods

Whole Foods was created and inspired by people who care about their health, as well as the environment. They provide healthy, sustainable food products, using ingredients that are closely connected to those who grow them — and to the earth. Whole Foods sets itself apart from competitors by holding itself and the food they sell to high standards so that they can always deliver on their brand promise to their customers.

Key takeaway

At the end of the day, your brand positioning statement should inform your business decisions for at least a couple years. It's worth taking some time to write it — instead of rushing it — so you have a statement that truly sums up your brand and what it has to offer. Once you've written it, make sure everyone at your company can access it, use it, and find creative ways to elevate your brand.

Ready to start building your brand? Learn about the 10 assets you need to effectively manage a brand online in our free ebook.

Brand management 101: Managing your brand in the cloud

Author Bio

Monique Seitz-Davis is the Sr. Content Marketing Specialist for Lucidpress. Her areas of expertise include copywriting, content marketing, and brand strategy. When Monique's not writing, you can likely find her trail running or rabble-rousing with her dogs.