“Positioning helps establish your product's or service's identity within the eyes of the purchaser.” – Entrepreneur
See how it says “helps”? That’s because even if you’re executing a full-blown positioning strategy, you can’t completely control how individuals position you in their minds. But it is better to have some control over how people see you than none at all. That’s why if you don’t already have a positioning strategy, now’s the time to start positively influencing those who come across your company. Here’s how to get started.
First, Let’s Get the Positioning Juices Flowing with Virgin America
If you’ve ever been on a Virgin America flight, you probably clearly remember your first experience. The neon pink and purple lights welcome you inside the very modern cabin, and I’m pretty sure there’s upbeat music playing as you walk to your seat—making you think this is… different.
But the best part is yet to come. You take a seat, buckle in and the safety video starts. This is no regular safety video. This is art.
Virgin America’s 'About Us' calls out that they’re a “California-based airline that is on a mission to make flying good again, with brand new planes, attractive fares, top-notch service, and a host of fun, innovative amenities that are reinventing domestic air travel. The Virgin America experience is unlike any other in the skies, featuring mood-lit cabins with WiFi, custom-designed leather seats, power outlets, and a video touch-screen at every seatback offering guests on-demand menus and countless entertainment options.”
But they didn’t have to tell me that. I felt it the moment I stepped foot in their aircraft and I experienced it throughout the duration of the flight. They delivered on their positioning promise. And that’s the goal with positioning. To make it easy for you to find a happy place in the consumer’s brain—without having them read your About Us description.
Determining Your Company’s Positioning Strategy
So how do you get to Virgin America positioning status and execution even if you’re a small/medium B2B company? Start with a strong positioning statement. Determine your company’s “it” factor. What qualities differentiate your business? Here are some questions to answer that will help you nail it down:
- Why do people choose you over a competitor?
- What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT)?
- What drives your passion as an organization?
- With what area in your industry do you have the most experience and expertise?
- What audiences, groups, or types of customers do you understand best?
- How do you approach working with each client that may be different from other methods?
- How do you price your services?
- What is your company's story, and how can you tell it in a way that sets you apart?
Another way to formulate it is by using the template below — created by Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm.
For (target customer) who (statement of the need or opportunity), the (product name) is a (product category) that (statement of key benefit; also called a compelling reason to believe). Unlike (primary competitive alternative), our product (statement of primary differentiation).
Ready? Now Execute!
Once you have a strong positioning statement, you’re ready to execute. Your positioning should lead your content development, digital marketing efforts, social media presence, customer service and company culture. In short, it should involve absolutely everyone and everything you do at your company. That’s how your prospects and customers will take notice.
If you need more positioning prep, it will definitely help to first create your buyer personas. These are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on research and real data about your existing customers. Developing your buyer personas is a great way to figure out what your customers think your “it” factor really is!