As we prepare to celebrate another St. Patrick’s Day with festive events, for some a lot of beer, and multiple shades of green, I’m thinking how cool it is to make our competition green with envy. I know, I know. Perhaps you’re much too humble and nice for that (although you may want to read Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois P. Frankel to see how that nice thing typically works out). If so, you will have to forgive me. I’m not. I kind of like making my competitors at least a little jealous. Not have-their- head-explode jealous. A light shade of green will suffice.
One way to generate envy in your competitors is by leveraging a branding strategy that many entrepreneurs, small businesses, and leaders fail to do. If you do it, even if not perfectly, you will be ahead of most of your competition. If you leverage this strategy effectively, you will do something I help my clients to do: make your competition irrelevant.
What am I talking about?
I’m talking about brand positioning. Once you define your brand, you should determine the best way to position it. Positioning is an aspect of branding and marketing that tends to be misunderstood (that includes being over complicated). It is simply taking your best brand attribute(s) and leveraging it to most effectively position your brand in the mind of your prospective and current clients. Brand positioning typically occurs whether a business is proactive about it or not. Smart business owners know they have to be strategic and take the lead in positioning their brands.
Examples of brand positioning are: target audience, superior service, leader, and having a different process. If you feel your brand’s strongest attribute is who it serves, you can position your brand around that target group. This tends to work especially well for pretty niche groups.
Perhaps you created one of the best magazines around for millennials in the IT industry who aspire to be entrepreneurs. That could be how you position your brand.
Maybe you’re a photographer that has a special process for taking pictures outside or at night. Like me, you may have created a unique branded system. Your brand positioning could be based on that system.
It is super cool if you were the first to do something (this is tough these days but not impossible as innovation is alive and well). Or perhaps you took an existing product/service and turned it on its ear. You up-leveled that thing like crazy!
Can you say iPod, iPhone, iPad? Apple has had much success with positioning its brand around being a pioneer, an innovator, and anticipating the next hot thing before its customers even begin to think about it. This positioning was expertly supported with Apple’s “Think Different” marketing campaign. Remember that? “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.” How freaking cool is that?
Identify what makes your brand different, special, a leader, resonate with a specific group, or align with a major cause/movement. That is the awesome sauce, the sweet spot on which to base your brand positioning.
It’s not super complicated, but is not always apparent to the brand creator. It’s ok if you need some help. That’s what my company, SWAG Strategy Solutions is here to do. We help you get super clear and super strategic about your branding. That, coupled with taking an authentic approach to your brand leads to powerful results.
Want raving, loyal fans (kind of like Apple’s) and competitors so green with envy, they’re mistaken for spinach? Or you witness them drinking the green juice for yourself. Then do not overlook positioning your brand. You can still be humble in the midst of such jealousy…or pretend to be.