At Rapport we do a brand positioning session where we ask clients a number of questions about what they actually do, their ideal clients, how they find them, their goals, what makes them different. We go through lists of words that describe them and settle on some top choices. From this we go away and work on a bunch of tag lines , present several options and collaborate. Then, work on the positioning statement.
The Purpose of a Positioning Statement
The positioning statement is meant for internal use. It’s the place where we at Rapport, the client and all key players agree on how the company is going to be talked about; the angles to take, the tone. It often reflects goals to strive for, if not already there. It’s the bedrock of everything going forward – the website, all design and marketing tools.
I find it really interesting when we do this exercise with clients and it actually leads to them rethinking their business and what they’re trying to do. It’s a snag for us in the project process when these revelations actually stop things in their tracks, but it’s definitely the right thing to do.
Uncovering What You Really Do
We had a client who’s in the business of buying and selling. When we started this session he was focussed on the buying aspect, so much that the URL he bought which he wanted us to brand had “buying” in it. Not just that, it was all based around people finding him with Google. Once we went through the session we discovered two things that stopped the process. First, although buyers are more likely to be looking for him through the internet, the real money-maker is selling and that’s the part of his business he really wants to grow. Second, he doesn’t meet his clients through Google. He’s in a business that is personal, based on face-time and trust.
We changed the plan and decided to base the branding and tag line on him as the key face of the business. Meanwhile, he’s digesting the revelation and rethinking what he really wants to do. We’ll be working on how to market him soon. In the meantime he needs business cards.
Clarity in Larger Organizations = Unity
It’s also a great process for partners, new or not. Sometimes they aren’t aware at all until they start talking that they haven’t been on the same page for years. “I tell people we do this.” “I thought our ideal client was manufacturing, not service industry.” or “W e’re not warm and compliant, we’re no non sense and straight-forward.” At the very least, it can be harder to agree on the basics I listed above. At most, the partners need to go away and reassess their relationship, come to agreement on major issues.
Wow. We don’t mean to throw a monkey wrench into anyone’s plans, but these kinds of issues are best resolved before getting too far, wasting money on branding or marketing that doesn’t work. We’re just glad we could help.