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A winning brand positioning – What does it take?

Successfully developing and implementing a brand positioning requires strong leadership, collaboration, engagement and creativity, together with a structured process that allows enough time to do this important work properly. The homework before, and the operationalization after the brand platform has been defined, are critical to achieve sustainable business results.

As all successful companies have realized, their brand is a one of their most important assets. Not only does a strong brand create an emotional connection and inspire loyalty with as well as attracting new customers. It also provides employees with direction and motivation and, more importantly, it contributes to the business’ profitability with its ability to protect pricing margins and provide leverage in negotiations with distribution channels.

In today’s challenging business environment, it is more important and challenging than ever to build and preserve a strong brand. Rising inflation has created a higher level of price sensitivity among a broader target group, making it even more crucial to motivate a higher price. At the same time globalization and digitalization has led to an increasing number of competitors. A higher innovation pace and communication intensity also makes it more demanding to keep up and stay ahead.

Over my many years of working with brands I have learned a lot about what it takes to develop and keep a brand strong. This is outlined in more detail in the White paper “5 steps to create a winning brand positioning”, which describes the key steps that need to be taken, clarifies the terminology and provides examples and highlights pitfalls to avoid in the process.

The most important learnings for me in the process of creating a brand platform are:

  • It takes leadership and ownership
    Manage the process carefully and don’t abdicate ownership of the outcome to consultants. External partners can indeed provide a lot of value in structuring and facilitating the process, act as a neutral party and inspire and infuse creative thinking, but you need to own it.

  • Invest enough time
    This is not a one-day workshop! It requires preparation, ensuring every contributor’s common understanding of the terminology used in the brand platform (outlined in the White paper), gaining approval at critical milestones and participation of the relevant stakeholders.

  • Do your homework
    A very common mistake is to neglect this part. Thinking through and defining what is really your market, and understanding your target group is crucial to defining a positioning which is relevant as well as differentiated. In B2B in particular it is common to rely too heavily on the sales representatives and not take in the perspective of a wider group of stakeholders on the client’s side.

  • Don’t underestimate the operationalization
    In the words of Thomas Edison: “Strategy without execution is just hallucination”.
    Execution is everything! Making sure that everyone who has an impact on the brand experience truly understands what the brand is about is key (this is NOT achieved by emailing the brand platform to your agency partners).

    Evaluating to what extent your current and planned product and/or service portfolio delivers on the brand’s desired position is also key. It is not only about communication!

For more details including the 5 key steps to creating a winning brand positioning with best practice examples, pitfalls to steer clear of and terminology explanation I invite you to download the Whitepaper here.