Stay in the Lead with Brand Positioning
In marketing, one of the biggest traps to fall into is complacency. When you’re at the top of your industry, it’s easy to put your brand on autopilot and continue doing what you’ve always done in the past.
It’s an easy decision, but also a dangerous one. As marketing and industries evolve, it takes more time and effort to protect your market share. Whether you’re the owner of the top professional services firm in your city or the CMO of a dominate consumer packaged goods company, your brand positioning is increasingly important. To stay in the lead, you have to put the time in to continue connecting with your customers.
Marshall Goldsmith wrote in What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, “People only change their ways when what they truly value is threatened.”
If you have the top spot, the threat is real – someone is always vying for your position.
What can I do?
Think strategically. Whether you’ve been thinking about the future of your brand for years or are new to a marketing team ready to shake things up, making big changes requires a strategy.
Before you get to work overhauling your brand, you have to take stock in who your company is today. With an understanding of where things stand, you can create a game plan for where you want to be tomorrow. Because without first figuring out what’s broken, it’s hard to know what to fix.
Where do I start with brand positioning?
Good question. Simon Sinek is known for his advice, “Start with Why,” which means answering why you do what you do. Often times, when we ask clients why their company exists, we hear “to make money.” While true, that’s not what we’re looking for – we want more substance. (And so do your customers.)
To get to the heart of your brand, you have to think about why your company is different. About why you’re the leader in the industry. And why customers should keep choosing you, even as competitors gain ground in your rearview mirror. It’s not because you’ve always beat the other guys by a penny or have an a slightly better rating. That’s not what being an industry leader is about. Or what brand positioning is about.
It’s about understanding the greatest impact your company has on people’s lives. If there’s such a thing as “marketing magic,” this is it. Figuring out why your company does what it does and building a message around that.
What’s next for my brand?
Look ahead. After you’ve studied your company internally, it’s time to look to what’s next. The insight of knowing the why behind your brand is vital. It does more than ease the decision-making process, it helps you know what and how to change. This is another major trap in marketing: making changes without thinking about the impact first.
Is it time for an overhaul? Possibly. When your brand positioning doesn’t line up with who you are or the products or services you offer, it’s time. Time to make a major change to your brand and the way you market it. (Think Old Spice. The playfully viral brand of today is nearly unrecognizable when compared to the classic, nautical-themed company of the 90s. But it matches who they are today and what they sell.)
What if I don’t need an overhaul? You still have work to do. As the market changes and your company evolves, it’s important to ensure that your brand follows suit. While small changes to your logo or tagline can take the same amount of work as a rebrand, it allows you to make course corrections over time. (Take Starbucks, for example. From the original logo at the first Seattle location to the ones on every street corner, the brand keeps evolving to represent the modern coffee giant of today. But it’s all distinctly Starbucks.)
Now what should I do?
Now, almost every industry recognizes the need for better websites, social media efforts, and meaningful brands that make an impact. This kind of marketing isn’t just for big consumer brands anymore. It’s for everyone.
That means now is the perfect time to start thinking about the road ahead. But we know that change is hard.
Before you hire a marketing firm or rally the troops internally, it’s important to have a clear picture of who your brand is and where its headed in the future. When you’re the industry leader, it’s even more difficult to make changes to your marketing. With your current brand recognition and equity, you have to think about how every (r)evolution will change how customers see your company. By first taking a long look at the why behind your brand, you can confidently make a more informed decision to make necessary changes.
WATCH: Ken discusses complacency – one of the most dangerous traps market leaders fall into – and how brand positioning can help businesses keep competitors in the rearview mirror. Watch below or on YouTube: