How to position yourself?

… How to rethink the potentials of your company so that you could present it in the most appealing way to your clients?
What would you like your target market to think about You, your company and your services?
What words, what feelings should come to them when they see your logo or your name?
What differences would you like them to see most between you and your competition?
And the cold shower: what do they REALLY think about you?
What comes to their minds first when they think of your company?
What would they answer if you asked them about the most distinct difference between you and your competition?
Positioning is the exercise that brings these two together and without which you’re not the one positioning yourself on the market but you’re positioned by chance or even worse: your competition.
Nowadays most companies have a lousy positioning. In most cases it’s nothing but the loud or clumsy formulation of the details of their offerings or self praising empty nonsense.

What kind of questions do you have to ask in order to start developing a strong positioning?
These are not easy questions, you know. All of them enquire into subjects that also expose whether your business strategy is a healthy one or not.
But you have to answer these questions dry and straight in order to be able to position your company correctly on the market.
  1. Who is you target market?
Who benefits the most by buying from you? Who can you reach the most with your marketing message? I wrote this down several times, but I can’t tell you enough times: you can’t have “everybody” as your target audience. Focus and formulate clearly your target market. In case you have more target markets, do separate positioning for each of them.
  1. What essential advantages do you provide your target market?
What are the advantages – attention, I’m not talking about characteristics - provided by your products or services? Why would it be good for the buyer to buy from you? Would that make them more beautiful or richer? Would they be able to save more money, or would they be more secure?
  1. Who are your biggest competition / alternative?
How would your clients solve their problems for which you provide solution, if you didn’t exist? Which of your competitors would they turn to? What other solutions would they have to choose from?
  1. What’s the biggest difference between you and your competition / alternative?
What’s that important aspect that makes you a better choice than one of your competitors? Does that aspect indeed characterise you? Does that aspect represent a unique difference that would be hard to imitate?
Let’s put the sentence together then!
Based on the previous four questions, the first version of your positioning should look like this:
You’re offering the <target market> this <advantage, maybe two>, because in comparison to your competition/alternative there is this big <difference>.
This sentence may sound awkward at first, but this will make your most successful, most clearly communicable slogan, which will be a great way for you to acquire new clients.  
What else do you need for your positioning to be real and operational?
Remember that the goal of this exercise is to make a well formulated promise to your target market, which discusses the subjects that are most important to them.
And for this you’ll have to ask them!
You might intuit these aspects but it’s worth making sure every time. Call your current, your lost and your potential clients and ask them the following questions:
  1. What is that problem that’s solved by Your cooperation with them? Don’t try to guess it: listen to the words they use, the way they formulate the answer. These words will be the most effective for your positioning.
  1. When they were looking for a solution for this problem of theirs, which were the 3 most important aspects based on which they chose you?
  1. How do they see it: what’s the biggest difference between your company/services and the competition’s? (If there is one!). Once again, wait to hear the formulation of your clients, don’t try to guess or influence them. The best is to ask simple questions, then to stay quiet and let the client think and express themselves!
First of all formulate it carefully, formulate it in many ways. Experiment with it, show your initial versions to your best and most trusted clients.
Add to it, remove from it, until you get a phrase that You like, is attractive to your target market and sounds striking as well.
It doesn’t have to be funny nor poetic, because its purpose is not to entertain but to communicate clearly the advantages offered by your company to your target market and to distinguish you from your competition.
Once you have it, communicate it wherever you can:
- Post it on your website
- Write it on your business card
- Display it on each one of your brochures and advertisements
- On the front pages of your offers
- Include it in the signature of your company of every sent e-mail
- On the company cars, on the wall of the office, on the company shirts
If you do all these, sooner or later it will start to get absorbed into the mind of your target market and you’ll know: you have laid the foundation of your company’s successful marketing!
How can you spice up the positioning?
Problem-oriented formulation:
Using the good old Central-European mentality, as in formulating your positioning describing the problems the client could avoid or solve with the help of your company, instead of just chasing only the positive things (advantages), might prove to be just as an efficient way.
Many people care more about not losing a hundred dollars as result of a solution than gaining a thousand with another one. That’s something you can exploit with the problem-oriented formulation.
The positioning of the competition:
Positioning is like Judo – the more powerful your competition’s positioning is, the more known his slogan is, the easier you can use it against him.
Once he’s engraved in his clients’ minds that HE is the guru of Real Estates, it’s time for you to declare that “You are the guru of Real Estates without hidden costs”. On one hand this provides you with a good image and on the other hand it raises the suspicion in the clients’ minds that your competition has hidden costs in store for them. Maybe not but you have planted the doubt!
Service or company positioning?
If you have more products, each of them targeting different markets, then you need to position every one of them separately. That’s what big companies do too: Procter & Gamble is one of the country’s biggest spenders in matter of advertising, they position each of their products depending on which advantage does the target audience find to be the biggest and on the features that distinguish their products the most from the those of the competition’s.
In case your firm offers only one key service, then it can be linked to the name and positioning of the company.
Although the principal of positioning is about 20 years old already – it was introduced by Al Ries and Jack Trout in their book called Positioning - only the big companies use it, the small and medium ones do only rarely.  
Although it’s important: I’ve noticed that as the competition gets stronger, more companies start positioning themselves. And they have to, because a small company cannot afford itself huge campaigns and wrong radio ads.
With a well positioned ad, you can save a lot of money and obtain many clients!
I wish you great positioning and advertising!


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