I’ve worked on positioning or repositioning assignments for a wide range of clients, DHL, TSYS, VantageScore, EK Guard, MC2, and PALAZZO among them. Some are large, some are small; some are well-established, some are new; some are known, some are obscure.
All of them had one thing in common: the need to find exactly the right language that is meaningful, motivating, differentiating, and, above all, credible and believable to the audiences it targets. Done well, and embraced by the firm’s employees, a positioning statement can serve as a kind of shared “elevator speech” on the company.
I start the process with some homework, looking for client guidance on the firms most likely to be competitors, and seeking articles and news stories that are useful and illuminating.
Once the homework is complete, I arrange for a series of in-depth, one-to-one client interviews, guided by a series of questions prepared in advance. As part of the process, clients also will facilitate meetings with key players – people who do business with the company, prospects, suppliers, partners, others—in order to gain insight into what they are thinking, feeling, and saying about the firm.
From these meetings I synthesize the material into one of two possible positioning constructs. The first follows this “architecture:”
For: the target audience you define
Company name is: the company definition
That: the key differentiator
Because: the reasons to believe
The second construct follows more of a “compare and contrast” approach:
In a world where most firms are X,
Company name is Y.
Using one or both of these constructs, I create a range of positioning drafts, then work in close collaboration with a client to revise and refine the one that clearly articulates what the firms stands for and what it aspires to be.