Today, many companies are fighting an uphill battle of achieving their marketing and sales goals. We are all busy with day-to-day responsibilities. So, pausing to look at your brand positioning and how effectively you are competing with your competitors requires time you just don’t have.
Here at our agency, we frequently use the phrase “Failure to plan is a plan to fail”. If a company’s strategic plan hasn’t been evaluated in the last two years, most likely it would be beneficial to invest time to ensure it is still relevant and producing results. Trying to continue pushing an outdated strategy can be the reason goals are not being met.
The thought of revisiting your strategy can be daunting, as it could lead to a change in direction and shifting the brand messaging. Not only that, your annual budget may not include this investment. You then would have to weigh the options of your time and budget investments versus maintaining status quo and hoping for the best.
If your brand’s positioning is not relevant with the audience set or doesn’t convey anything unique among competitors, or both, it could be detrimental if it is not addressed head on. Yes, it would require an internal strategy meeting. Maybe even an offsite meeting, so that everyone is focused on the objective at hand. This would need to include your marketing and sales team in addition to any internal subject matter experts (SMEs).
The way I like to describe a brand’s positioning is by using the analogy of a three-legged stool. Should any one leg break, the stool would fall over. Each are dependent on the others. Here is how the stool works:
Leg one: Your audience. What is their biggest need when it comes to your company’s offering? What is their decision tree? What will get their attention, and why? You need to understand your audience need-states well.
Leg two: Your competitors. How do your top competitors position themselves – from both messaging and branding? Is it a sea of sameness among them? Are you included in this sea of sameness? Do any of those stand out from the rest and do you feel they better resonate with your audience? If either of the last two are yes, you may be losing market share.
Leg three: How are you positioned today? Is it accurate to what you do or how you now do it? Is it authentic to who your company is? Does it look and sound different from your top competitors? Do you know why they go with other competitors? And most importantly, does it resonate with your audience?
If any one of these three legs don’t pass the test, your brand is not relevant and your stool may be falling a lot – without your knowledge.
Spending the time to re-evaluate your brand positioning is healthy, but doesn’t always mean you need to make huge shifts. Sometimes it is affirmation you are still on course, but may require you to make some slight modifications to messaging. Lastly, it may require a total positioning overhaul. But it would be for the better in the long run.