What is the first word that comes to mind when we think about Charmin bath tissue? Unless we have lived our lives without television or the Internet, that word is “soft.”
In the 1960s, Charmin began to run TV ads featuring its bath tissue and Mr. Wipple, a grocery store manager. Shoppers couldn’t resist “squeezing the Charmin” packages because the toilet paper was so soft. Mr. Wipple made it his mission to catch customers doing this and shout out, “Don’t squeeze the Charmin!”
Fast forward to the current century. Now, Charmin has a family of bears who only use this bath tissue because of its softness. They are all over TV, Facebook, Instagram, and more, with little story vignettes.
Charmin’s ad campaigns have changed significantly over the years in style, language, and tone of voice. What hasn’t changed is its brand positioning – that word “soft” and a secondary word, “absorbent.” It is what Charmin claims sets it apart from all other bath tissue brands. And this is exactly what “brand positioning” is all about.
Why Brand Positioning is So Important
First, understand what a brand position does. Fundamentally, it is a statement that describes what your company does, who it does this for, and how you are different and unique in the value you provide. No matter how large your audience is, you have one core value. Any secondary values support it.
Once you have this positioning statement, it will drive everything you do and publicly present – your website content, blogpost writing, social media presence, and marketing. Like Charmin, it is what you become known for among all of your target audiences.
If you are not certain about your brand positioning or whether you actually have one, it’s time to get clarity. And getting clarity means that you will get that positioning statement in writing. Thus, a brand positioning statement.
Elements of a Brand Positioning Statement
- Begin with Defining Your Target Audience
What is your core target audience? These are the consumers you are trying to reach. In some cases, this audience may be very specific and confined. In others, it may be quite broad.
Looking at Charmin, the original target audience was confined to housewives who did the grocery shopping for the family. Today, however, the audience is quite large, as adult lifestyles have changed. Single adults, male and female, have various living arrangements, but all must buy bath tissue. Still, as the bear family depicts, the core audience is still families, no matter who may do the shopping.
- Your Brand Name
If you have an existing business, you have a brand name. Companies that have been around a long time have a brand name that is familiar to their target audience (e.g., Red Bull, Geico Insurance, Rolex, etc.), so they will not change it. If a new business, you will want to think hard about a brand name for your product(s) or service(s). In fact, a new business may not want to establish a permanent brand name until it has developed its brand positioning statement.
Consider the example of Dollar Shave Club. The idea for this business was actually generated during a conversation at a cocktail party, during which founders Michael Durbin and Mark Levine were lamenting the inconvenience of remembering to stop at a store to pick up razors. From this discussion, the company was formed and launched. Developing a brand name involved looking at the target audience (men who use disposable razors) and providing a value proposition based upon their pain points – the need for a convenient way to get their razors and at an affordable price. The term “club” refers to a subscription service through which customers can have razors delivered to their doorsteps, eliminating the need to shop for them physically. These unique values were incorporated into the brand name.
- Category of Product or Service
Why is this an important part of your brand positioning statement? Because it will define how your target audience thinks of you and also what your competition is. If you define the category of your business in broad terms, your competition will also be broad. Consider these categories: clothing, women’s clothing, career women’s clothing, millennial career women’s clothing. Each of these categories gets narrower. You want the narrowest category possible so that you can hone in on your target audience as well as your competition. This is critical so that you can decide how your brand value is uniquely positioned in your narrow niche and for your audience.
- Your Unique Difference/Value
This is the “meat” of your brand positioning statement. You have to determine how you are somehow better than your competition. You offer some type of value or benefit that your niche competitors do not. Do some thinking here. Check out your competition and all that they offer. How are you different or better in some way? Consider Dollar Save Club as an example. When they launched, there were plenty of disposable razor companies that offered online ordering. But none provided a subscription service of automatic monthly delivery or the price that this new company offered. These were the unique values and benefits they offered, placing them apart from their competition.
Some Additional Tips
- Make sure that you deliver what you promise to be your “difference.” What you tout as your uniqueness must be what your audience/customers experience. Your brand name should speak to this and drive all of your marketing activities.
- Keep your core brand positioning statement, no matter how your marketing may change over time. Obviously, tones, language, images, and content, etc. will evolve over time. Underneath, your brand position remains constant.
- Make sure your copy is competently and well-written. Visit GetGoodGrade to get a professional help from writers.
- It’s about the target audience, not about you. When you define your category, it will determine how your audience both sees you and finds you. Simplify and target your language for that audience, not for what you would like it to be. For example, a branded link shortener in their language should be utilized. In short, keep your category name simple and use a URL that “fits.”
- Involve others as you craft your brand name and your positioning statement. Good ideas come from collaboration. Your team and other stakeholders may have contributions that you have not thought about.
Summing It Up
As you develop your brand positioning statement, you can use any number of short templates from online resources. Any of them will work for you. The basic elements are the same – what your company does, who it does it for, and what sets you apart from your competition. Once you have this clearly codified, everything you do must relate to that statement.