Chapter 19 Putting together your competitive positioning (3 parts, 1 thought!)
The positioning statement has three parts – the core target (your audience), the frame of reference (your competitive set) and the benefit (what you offer).
So, how do you know if the statement you have is a good one?
Here are some criteria that can help you evaluate whether the statement that you have built does in fact work:
1. Is it cohesive? (Does the statement hang together?)
2. Is it credible? (Is it reasonably believable?)
3. Is it compelling? (Does it offer something worth buying?)
4. Is it capsulable? (Can it be summed up succinctly; can it be nutshelled?)
So overall, if you want to check the quality of your work, here’s a summary of the criteria we use:
Target Market: Meaningful Identity, Motivation, Mass
Frame of Reference: Significance, Simplicity, Scale
Owned Benefit: Desirable, Deliverable, Ownable
Reason To Believe: Plausible, Persuasive, “Put Away”
The Whole Statement: Cohesive, Credible, Compelling… and CAPSULABLE!
There are some problems that you might face in writing the statement. E.g. Don’t put selling language in your frame of reference – try to be as descriptive as possible without selling yourself in this area. Try to avoid circular arguments – for example, putting your benefit in to your target audience descriptor usually is not helpful. But generally, if you have really put your mind to the tasks so far, the positioning statement should really come together nicely now.
Chapter 20 What next? Product! (The tangibles Brand YOU always delivers!)
This is where your brand earns its positioning. Here we deal with those things that your “consumer” will experience with their five senses. So, how can you, the product, prove that you, the brand, are worthy of the positioning? Here are some useful areas to start considering:
1. What are some adjectives that come to mind when you and other talk about you? I.e. what is your product halo or Brand Firedance of Associations?
2. What is the “stuff” about you that other people “consume”?
3. What does your “packaging” look like?
4. What are some of the “symbols” or “signals” that you are known for?
Let’s do a creative exercise here. I’d like you to design a logo for your brand based on the brand positioning that you have built in the last few chapters. This should be as “good” as you can make it. If you can afford to work with a professional designer, then do. (BTW, this is not as expensive as you might think. There are quite a few web-based designers who will do a logo design for you for $100 or less.) If not, do it yourself; it’s challenging but fun. Put some thought in to it. Like anything else, the more effort you put in to it, the better the result is likely to be.
But be careful. It does need some thought ☺
Start with a good look at your name. Most people are comfortable with their names, but many people never truly come to terms with theirs. Certain names in certain contexts lead to generalizations being made about you that are undesirable but unavoidable. The sooner you figure out how your name adds value to, or detracts from, your Bank of Brand Equity, the better off you will be. Of course, if you do a good job of owning it, then it almost doesn’t matter what your name is – over time, or in an instant, it can become synonymous with what you stand for – or want to stand for.
But the product is YOU. Everything tangible about you – from your clothes to your makeup, your accessories to your personal hygiene, your preferred mode of transport to your degree of organization at work and at home. Anything that people can “experience” with their five senses. People say that 90% of communication is non-verbal (and that % may actually be higher than that). If that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what does.
How many of us actually take the time to ‘manage’ our ‘tangibles’? If you are an on-air personality, then of course you do. You have stylists and teams of PR people in place to manage the image of Brand YOU. But if you are Joe or Jane Professional trying to build a career, then generally you clean up as best as you can, and get out there hoping for the best.
If you agree that our first impression of people is made in the first few seconds of meeting them, then that approach is simply not going to cut it for Brand YOU.
Things that you need to take an objective look at, and evaluate through your own eyes, as well as the eyes of your ‘target consumers’:
1. Clothing / sense of style
2. Hair cut / hair style
6. Personal grooming & hygiene
7. Handshake (the initial impression)
8. Inter-personal skills
9. Listening skills
10. Speech patterns (tonality, nasality, pronunciation etc.)
11. And so much more…
It might seems obvious that if you aspire to be a part of the senior management team in a large multinational corporation, then you might consider losing the blue hair and various pieces of metal in your face. If you do decide to keep them, then you shouldn’t wonder why you never get promoted to management. I’m not saying it is good or bad – but you have to dress/act the part that you are aspiring for. You don’t see too many CEOs or CFOs with over-the-top expressions of their personalities in their personal tangibles – and there is a reason for that. The exceptions, like Richard Branson, have a good reason for being exceptions – and let’s face it, if you have decided that you want to model yourself on Branson, then that is a long and tough road that you have embarked on ☺. The maverick CEO is a much-desired Brand Image – and one that is notoriously hard to deliver on.