How To Nail Brand and Product Positioning – Emma

We’ve been chatting to our Original Genius Emma Humphrey who explores brand and product positioning, including how to get it right, signs of when it’s gone wrong and what to do to improve. We cover this and so much more in this interview… 

Could you give us a brief introduction into the brand or product positioning and what that actually means? 

There’s a lot of misconceptions when it comes to positioning and people can get confused about it. Ultimately, it’s the combined story that you tell that enables customers to pick your brand or product over another one. One of the easiest ways to understand it is the difference in the price tag between a luxury item and a less luxury item. For example, what you’re going to pay for a Bugatti Veyron versus a Ford. People tend to think of it in those terms.  

However, what that does is it makes companies think, “I’ve got to I’ve got to build something that’s more luxury than everyone else, and therefore charge more for it.” That’s not necessarily what positioning is all about. Your positioning might be that you’re the best value option or the values you hold are aligned to your customers. There are all sorts of different aspects to it, but what it really comes down to is creating a compelling proposition that means that somebody’s going to choose your brand or your product over another, because it’s a better fit for what they’re looking for. 

So why is positioning important? For example, if I’m in marketing and I need to sell it to someone else, how can I do that? 

What we’re doing when we do a positioning exercise is we’re trying to make it as easy as possible for our target markets say “yes”, without fighting us all the way on, for instance, price. If you’re a marketer and wondering if this is something you need to do, well, yeah, if you want the leads to flow easily and sales to be happy then position is absolutely how you get there. It’s how you create space for yourself and make yourself the only choice as opposed to one of many. 

So, what is the worst-case scenario for getting your positioning wrong? 

The worst-case scenario is that life just becomes a fight. You can spot where positioning goes wrong and it’s generally down the bottom end of the funnel. You’re probably generating a reasonable number of leads, you’re going out there with a decent amount of marketing power and people are certainly looking at what you’ve got to offer. But once they start to look at it, they go, “Ok this feels very much the same as company A, company B, company C, company D” and then it’s the luck of the draw as to whether they get a quote from you. And even when they do, you end up in that awful position of, well, they all do pretty much the same thing, so we’ll just go with the cheapest one which is not something that any business wants. It’s not impossible, but it’s hard to create a profitable model where your sole differentiator is being cheaper than everybody else. You really need to be in a position where you are the absolute best fit and therefore not the cheapest. 

Ok so flipping the coin, are there any tell-tale signs that it’s working and you’re heading in the right direction? 

Absolutely. If the only thing that you’ve changed recently is your positioning, and you suddenly see all your metrics start to lift from clicks through to leads through to conversions, that’s definitely a good sign. 

The other thing you can do is go and talk to whoever’s on the phone to your prospective customers, whether that’s your sales teams, your customer service teams, and see what they say. Certainly, even in our own business, I knew that we’d got our positioning right because people suddenly started to say, “I got in touch with you, because you help tech companies speak human”. That to me was a sign that we’ve got something here. Previously, when our positioning wasn’t as tight as it is now, people would ring up and say, “I need a new brand” or “I need a new website.” It was very asset driven and they wanted a deliverable, whereas now they come to us because they like the way we work. They like our approach and what we do, and they feel like we can do that in a way that most agencies can’t. At that point, you know that it’s positioning driving it rather than… “you just happened to be at the top of Google” when they searched. 

So, to round it off, if you’re slightly off course, what can you do to get back on track without reimagining everything? 

I’d start by going and talking to the people that really matter in your world, i.e. your customers and your prospects. Find out which bits of your current positioning are resonating more than others and change the emphasis on those. So, for instance if I claimed to be the world’s most eco-friendly company but I’m not sure if my positioning is right, I could send a survey out to my most recent customers and ask what it was that really drew them to us? They might point out a particular aspect of what we’re doing that they really liked and that really resonated with them. Then I don’t have to completely change things, but I know what really matters to my consumers right now. 

A huge thank you to Emma for chatting to us and we hope you’ve been able to take something away from our chat. If you want to listen to the full interview, head over to The Genius Podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe and share!

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