How To Write A Great Positioning Statement | Template + Examples
When a consumer looks for a new service and is faced with multiple options from different companies, how do they decide between them? This problem is as old as commerce itself, and is solved (in part) by how each company positions itself in the market. One company may position themselves based on price, targeting richer customers who aim for quality. Another may position themselves as delivering the very best customer service in their industry, or as the only true ethical choice in a sea of scoundrels.
Whatever unique position you choose for your brand, it can be a helpful way for customers to choose you over a competitor. Which is why a brand position statement is such an important internal document for you to create.
What is a positioning statement?
A positioning statement describes how your company fills a consumer need in a unique way. It defines the “position” that you take in the marketplace, and how that position serves your target customers in a way that is different to your competitors (differentiation). It’s also known as a brand positioning statement because it describes how your brand has differentiated itself in the market, and a unique selling proposition (USP) for the same reason.
If you already have an established business, there’s a good chance you’ve already differentiated your brand, and are using the position to successfully sell to your market segments. You may have differentiated on pricing, product quality, product features, customer service, delivery speed, ethics, or some other way. If that’s the case, you can clarify your position with a concise statement that helps to guide your company, and to make good decisions that align with your identity.
Every good brand positioning statement includes:
- Your target customers, and a problem they are trying to solve
- Your solution to the customers’ problem
- Why your solution is different (and ideally better) than your competitors’
A positioning statement has a variety of benefits (see below), but its main purpose is to guide the decisions of your business. If marketing wants to launch a new advertising campaign that doesn’t align with your position statement, it should probably be reconsidered. If your sales team is targeting customer segments that sound nothing like the audience described in your statement (or your buyer personas), they may need to justify their decision. The statement should help you to stay on track for every area of the business, and can be used in conjunction with your mission statement and value proposition to give an accurate picture of what the company is all about.
As you might have guessed, a positioning statement is usually created for internal purposes, but it can also be used in marketing materials like slogans and advertisements if appropriate (it usually needs to be tweaked before doing so). The statement can also indirectly reinforce the brand image you have chosen for your business, and in fact, if the two seem to be at odds with each other, you may want to revise the statement (or your identity!).
Because a positioning statement is based primarily on a target market and how you are uniquely servicing them, if you have multiple target markets, you may need to create unique statements for each. Again, when this is the case, it’s important that the statements stay true to your brand’s identity, to prevent it from becoming muddled. Statements should also evolve as your company evolves, and may need to be revised if major changes occur, such as mergers, acquisitions, or big directional changes. Amazon certainly doesn’t have the same positioning statement from their early book-selling days, and if your company has also evolved into something bigger and better, neither should you.
What are the benefits of a positioning statement?
A positioning statement has a variety of great business benefits, including:
- It clarifies your target audience, the problem that you’re solving for them, and how your product solves it. This encourages a clear, focused target, which helps with prioritisation, planning, and making key business decisions. It can be especially helpful for your marketing team, who can identify the best promotional channels, and use the right messaging in adverts, social posts, and other marketing materials.
- It reminds you of how you differ from your competitors, and why you should continue operating within your specific niche, and getting better at it each day.
- It can be used as a communication guide for departments like marketing, support, and sales, to ensure that your positioning matches what you are saying to customers, which helps to solidify your brand’s identity.
- It can help you to set pricing based on your target market and the quality of your products, e.g. budget, regular, premium.
- It encourages you to review your research. If you plan to run a successful business, you should have already completed research for the three vital areas—your market, customers, and competitors—and creating a positioning statement is a good opportunity to revisit (and perhaps refine) them. Reviewing good research helps to strengthen your knowledge of the business and what makes it work.
Positioning statement examples
Here are some fake positioning statement examples from a variety of industries, to give you an example of how they should read:
Air conditioning company
Ducted air conditioning is highly desirable but expensive to run. That’s why we only install the most efficient ducted air conditioners, so that our energy-conscious customers can stay comfortable in their homes and in their wallets. This not only helps our customers, it helps the environment too. We guarantee that every system we install is 5-star rated, which is unheard of in our industry.
Employee clashes are no fun for anyone. They can infect the mood and culture of a company, and be tough to deal with. We are a HR consultant who specialise in these kinds of disputes, with a proven track record of bringing resolution and lasting peace to combative employees. Unlike our competitors, disputes are all we deal with, which is why we’ve become so good at handling them.
Our customers know good wine when they taste it. They know that it’s made with the finest grapes, expert techniques, and a touch of art, which is why they are our customers and not our competitors’. We put an inordinate amount of work into our wine production, which makes it one of the premium wines in the Hunter Valley, winning awards year after year. Wine brings joy, and we are proud to make the lives of our customers a little happier.
Small business owners struggle to find people who are great at creating budget websites. They often turn to cheap templated sites that look good on the surface, but regularly break and fail to rank in major search engines. That’s where we come in. We specialise in creating budget websites for small business owners, so that they can have a high-performing site that helps them to grow their company, without breaking the bank.
As you can see, a positioning statement can be written in a variety of ways. But it should contain the necessary ingredients to make its point. Here’s how to write one for your brand.
How to write a brand positioning statement
As mentioned above, a brand positioning statement should contain the following key elements:
- Your typical customers and a problem that they have
- Your unique solution to their problem. You can also specifically talk about how it’s different from your competitors’ solution.
- An (optional) aspirational element that talks about why you are in business; i.e. the values that drive you
If you struggle with writing long-form sentences off the bat, we recommend starting with bullets for each element, and then trying to combine them into a solid statement. The length of the statement should be between 50 to 200 words, and use simple language that can be easily read, understood, and recalled. This helps to drive the points home to staff members, and improves the likelihood of the statement guiding and influencing their work.
The positioning statement is usually written by a company director or high-level marketing staff, but it can be written by anyone who knows the business well. It may be useful to write the statement as part of a team exercise, where you write headers for each component on a whiteboard, and ask team members to contribute. Five to ten heads are better than one!
If you’d rather avoid writing the statement from scratch, you can try writing using our template below. Or even use a ghostwriting service, if that helps.
Positioning statement template
This positioning statement template provides every key element you need, laid out in logical paragraph form. You can try swapping a few of the sentences around if you need, or just use it as is.
[target customers] struggle to [target customers’ problem]. We provide them with [solution]. This differs from our competitors, who [competitors’ solution and why yours is different]. We created our approach because [why you created the solution—aspirational].
Here’s how we might use this template for our own business, Media Heroes:
Small to medium-sized business owners struggle to grow their companies through digital marketing. We provide them with tailored digital marketing strategies based on their growth targets, and then execute the strategies for them. This differs from our competitors, who often sell individual, disparate services like SEO and advertising which can work in the short term but fail to look at the big picture. We created our approach because we see the value of a healthy economy, and want to help businesses do better.
Once you’ve completed your positioning statement, it’s usually a good idea to get some feedback. Try sending the statement to staff in a survey, and getting their (possibly anonymous) thoughts. Or do the same with customers, or on social media. Requesting feedback often results in good insights or points that you may have overlooked.
Positioning yourself in a market gives you a clear niche to operate in, and helps to distinguish your business from your competitors. When you’re comfortably settled, a positioning statement can help to clarify your situation and encourage good decisions across the company, surging you towards your most important goals.