A few weeks ago in our Branding 101: How to Define Your Audience post, we shared about the importance of choosing a very specific person to serve.
Today we want to take that concept a step farther by talking about your brand’s position statement.
A brand positioning statement is a short statement that explains what your brand does, who you do it for, and the benefits of your brand. Ours is “We help creative service-based businesses build a brand that books.” Publicly, we just use the phrase “Build a Brand that Books” (our tagline).
Positioning statements tend to be internal. They express the business’ purpose and are known and lived by employees, whereas slogans are more geared towards the public. They’re easier to remember, benefit driven and crafted to influence buyer behavior.
Disney’s positioning statement is something along the lines of this: “Disney provides unique entertainment for consumers seeking magical experiences and memories. Disney leads the competition by providing every aspect of related products and services to the world and appealing to people of all ages.”
But their tagline is much shorter and easier to remember: Where Dreams Come True.
Just hearing that slogan may already have you considering what your dreams are and if Disney could actually help them come to reality.
Great brands tell a story in which their clients are characters. Stories have five essential parts: characters, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution.
If we continue with the Disney example, we might break down their brand like this:
Characters (Ideal Client): Middle aged parents with children who still live at home.
Setting: Suburban home.
Plot/Conflict: With kids in school + various activities and two working parents, this family sometimes feels like ships passing in the night. Their lives can be a bit stressful and they feel disconnected from one another. Choosing a vacation spot that makes everyone happy has always been a struggle. The kids get bored at the beach and quickly turn to devices. Dad wants a trip that has a bit of luxury. Mom wants a break from cooking and doesn’t have to worry about entertaining the kids all week.
Resolution: The family books a vacation to Disney World and enjoys the best vacation of their lives. The parks contain a little something for everyone. They leave the park with happy memories feeling as though life really is a bit magical.
You don’t need to sell a product or be a major brand to have a brand positioning statement. Any business can create one (even if it’s only something they share internally).
If we use a newborn photographer as an example, this is what our story might look like:
Characters (Ideal Client): Soon-to-be mom in her late twenties
Setting: Her home in the Richmond, Virginia area.
Plot/Conflict: Her first baby is on the way and she wants to make sure it’s captured beautifully. She knows she’s not skilled with a camera and she wants photos that will capture this season (she knows it’s going to go quickly!)
Resolution: She finds the perfect photographer, someone who understands all the anxieties she has about being a new mama and makes her feel at ease. Even though she’s not quite feeling herself post-birth, the photos are more beautiful than she could have imagined and they’re hanging in frames on her walls before her baby is out of the newborn phase.
And our brand positioning statement might be something like: I turn stories into photographic art for new families in the Richmond area.
And her tagline might be something like: Capturing Life’s Sweetest Moments
“Capturing,” tells the audience that this business is either a photographer or a videographer. “Life’s sweetest moments” communicates that she captures memories—not products or interior design. The tagline is benefits-driven and it immediately gets her audience thinking about the kinds of memories they value and what might be worthy of being documented.
If you’re feeling a bit stuck when it comes to your brand positioning statement, it might helpful writing out a short narrative using your ideal client as the main character. Who is he/she? Why is she looking for someone like you to solve a problem for her? What resolution do you provide? Have fun with it!
Here is an example:
Melissa is a soon-to-be mom in her late twenties. She lives in the Richmond, Virginia area with her husband of three years. They met through friends shortly after college and tied the knot at The Boathouse. Although she works for an environmental protection agency, Melissa is incredibly creative and their wedding was filled with beautiful details. The walls of their home are filled with images from their wedding, abstract art and photos from their travels together.
Melissa’s first baby is on the way and she wants to make sure that both her pregnancy and her baby’s first year are captured beautifully. She knows she’s not skilled with a camera and she wants photos that will capture this season (she knows it’s going to go quickly!)
She has friends who have warned her about how cold or traditional some photographers can be, so Melissa puts a lot of time and energy into finding someone who is the perfect fit. Someone who understands all the anxieties she has about being a new mama and makes her feel at ease. Someone who isn’t afraid to answer all of her questions.
She come across [your business name here] and immediately falls in love with your images and the voice of your brand. After a quick chat, she books you for maternity photos, newborn images and a family portrait session later down the line.
Even though she’s not quite feeling herself post-birth, the photos are more beautiful than she could have imagined and they’re hanging in frames on her walls before her baby is out of the newborn phase. She shares several of your images on Instagram and immediately sends a few more of her friends your way.
So what do you do once you know who you want to serve and you’ve put together your brand position statement? We’ll chat about that in the next post when we discuss brand voice!