I love this line by Ted Morgan.
Positioning is like finding a seat on a crowded bus
Most brands sleepwalk onto the bus and sit on top of one another.
The smart brands look left, right, find an empty row, paint their logo on it and start singing sweetly like the Sirens.
Positioning is an easy thing to complicate so let’s keep it simple.
Your goal is to own a space in the customer’s mind. You do this by differentiating yourself.
Differentiation is not a dark art. It’s something you can learn. Here’s how you can achieve it.
1/ Through contrast
Point at the status quo and pit yourself against it. Contrast burns your brand into the customer’s mind.
• Hey pit themselves against mainstream email
• Lemonde pit themselves against insurance stereotypes
• The “I’m a Mac” ads pit themselves against the PC
2/ Through values
Think Patagonia and the environment, Ben and Jerry’s and social justice, Black Rifle Coffee and gun rights.
Some will hate it. Others will rally behind you. And that’s the point. Fence sitters don’t buy.
3/ Through category creation
Invent a new category and you haven’t got any competitors.
When Drift launched in 2016 they were just another startup in the mushy bucket of live chat software. How to stand out?
Well, they reframed live chat as conversational marketing and made it their mission to own this new category.
4/ Through personality
Turn yourself into the product and no one can compete with you.
Think Kanye’s shoes, Nigella’s cookbook, Wicks’s workout.
5/ Through limitation
Instead of trying to be everything for everyone go all-in on one niche or one feature.
Limitation makes you easy to sum up. Being easy to sum up makes you memorable.
Writing this made me think back to how I positioned Marketing Examples.
• Contrast – Marketing content was fluffy. My goal was no fluff
• Personality – Well, I write them all
• Limitation – Just examples. No agency, jobs board, etc…
One last thing
Positioning isn’t something you make up on a whim.
Behind great positioning is a story. Positioning is the one line summary. The story makes it memorable.
Look at Drift. Conversational marketing isn’t plucked out the sky. It’s the final bullet point in their story.
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That’s all folks. I hope you found this useful. If you’d like more case studies in your inbox, perhaps I can tempt you with my bi-weekly newsletter.
Thanks to this excellent article by Peep and Louis Grenier’s LinkedIn where I got some ideas from.
And to Ahrefs for sponsoring. I rely on them to grow my search traffic.
Over and out — Harry