Picture this: You're preparing to launch your new product. You've likely spent countless hours, days, weeks, months, even years determining what sets the product apart from the competition and developing your brand identity.

But how can you ensure your marketing efforts are aligned with the brand? Branding plays an essential role in a business' development and consistent brand presentation increases revenue up to 23%. When consumers visit your company website, view an ad, or check out your Twitter page, each piece of content should clearly communicate the business' core values and brand.

This is where the positioning statement comes to the rescue. Its purpose is to be a guide for evaluating whether decisions about strategy, marketing campaigns, product design, etc. are in line with your brand.

Let's take a look at the elements of a positioning statement and learn how to create one.

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Positioning statements are used to describe how your product or service fills a need of your target market or persona. They're a must-have for any positioning strategy and create a clear vision for brand positioning.

Unlike a mission statement or vision statement, a positioning statement is not a public-facing tagline. At its core, it's a statement of how you want your brand to be perceived.

Value Proposition vs. Positioning Statement

The value proposition and positioning statement are both key elements in a business' marketing strategy, however, there are differences between these two. A value proposition is broader and describes what sets your product or service apart from competitors. It gives a big picture overview of the benefits a product or service provides.

Positioning statements are more focused, and they're created after you've developed your business' value proposition. It identifies only the primary customer benefits and points of competitive differentiation.

How to Write a Positioning Statement

Before you get started writing, make sure you've developed your business' value proposition. You'll want to identify your target audience, their pain points, and how your product can fit their needs.

What's the promise your brand provides customers? And how will your business deliver on that promise? This is the time to identify aspects of your product or service that are the primary differentiators from the competition.

Once you have a clear vision of the value your offering provides, it's time to create the positioning statement.

Tips for Creating a Positioning Statement

When writing and evaluating your positioning statement, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep it brief.
  • Make it unique and memorable.
  • It's true to your business' core values.
  • It includes a credible promise of what the brand delivers to consumers.
  • It communicates how your business is different from the competition.
  • It's clear enough for use as a guideline to evaluate whether or not business decisions align with the brand.

The positioning statement shouldn't be stagnant -- make sure your statement provides room for growth as your business matures and products change.

The template above can be used to help you form a positioning statement for your startup or small business. Plug in the details of your target market, company, and the main points that make your product or service stand out from competitors. Each business is unique, and it's alright if your statement doesn't fit the template exactly, but be sure to include the main points.

  • A description of the target market.
  • A description of the target market needs.
  • How your business will meet their needs.
  • What differentiates your product or service from the competition.
  • Why consumers in your target market should believe your brand's claims.

Positioning Statement Examples

Since positioning statements are meant to be kept from the public eye, I created example statements for real companies with recognizable brands and clear brand positioning.

1. Coca-Cola

Source: The Coca-Cola Company

Coca-Cola Positioning Statement:

For individuals looking for high-quality beverages, Coca-Cola offers a wide range of the most refreshing options -- each creates a positive experience for customers when they enjoy a Coca-Cola brand drink. Unlike other beverage options, Coca-Cola products inspire happiness and make a positive difference in customers' lives, and the brand is intensely focused on the needs of consumers and customers.

2. Amazon

Amazon branding shows an advertisement where a man receives an Amazon package

Source: Giphy, Amazon

Amazon Positioning Statement:

For consumers who want to purchase a wide range of products online with quick delivery, Amazon provides a one-stop online shopping site. Amazon sets itself apart from other online retailers with its customer obsession, passion for innovation, and commitment to operational excellence.

3. Nike

Source: Nike

Nike Positioning Statement:

For athletes in need of high-quality, fashionable athletic wear, Nike provides customers with top-performing sports apparel and shoes made of the highest quality materials. Its products are the most advanced in the athletic apparel industry because of Nike's commitment to innovation and investment in the latest technologies.

4. Apple

Source: Apple

Apple Positioning Statement:

For individuals who want the best personal computer or mobile device, Apple leads the technology industry with the most innovative products. Apple emphasizes technological research and advancement and takes an innovative approach to business best practices -- it considers the impact our products and processes have on its customers and the planet.

5. McDonald's

Source: Adweek

McDonald's Positioning Statement:

For individuals looking for a quick service restaurant with an exceptional customer experience, McDonald's is a leader in the fast food industry, with its friendly service and consistency across thousands of convenient locations. McDonald's' dedication to improving operations and customer satisfaction sets it apart from other fast food restaurants

Each of these company's targets a broad range of consumers and in some cases it can be a good idea to create separate statements for each segment you're targeting. Once your positioning statement (or statements) are fully developed, it's time to begin marketing your brand and developing a consistent message across all platforms. And if you want to learn more about starting a business and building your brand, read about growth hacking next.

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Originally published Nov 1, 2018 8:30:00 AM, updated January 02 2019

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Startups