Splendid Marketing in 30 Days: Brand Positioning

Thursday, November 17, 2011

After you've articulated your core values, you can decide what you stand for as a company or what makes you unique.  When you are determining what you stand for, evaluate the adjectives you use to describe it. Do the words you use represent the same concepts that everyone shares? If so, come up with another description. If you've been in business for a while, revisit your unique selling points and see if they are really unique. Here are a few examples:

We plan stylish weddings. 
This is not a good selling point, because the word "stylish" lumps you in with every other event planner on the face of the planet. Think about it: is there any wedding planner out there who claims to plan ugly, outdated weddings? It doesn't matter if their weddings are ugly or not and yours are incredibly stylish. If they are not claiming they are ugly, your marketing sounds just like theirs. Using this as a descriptor of your services shows that you are one of the crowd, not that you stand apart from the crowd.

Our team of photographers is fun!
Again, this does not set you apart because no company's 'about page' says, "We are so boring and tedious and after working with us you will want to read the encyclopedia to add some spice to your life." Using the word 'fun' only sets your company apart if other companies are branding themselves as boring.

My company is unique. 
You may be, but claiming to be so is not. No one is claiming to sell unoriginal products or services.

The good news is that you ARE unique, because there is literally only one of you walking the earth. You just have to determine a way to tell people what you stand for as a company. When you do this, focus on what makes you unique, not on what makes you different.

Different is temporary and easy to duplicate, unique is who you are. For example, using film to shoot weddings is different, not unique, and if enough photographers think that film is what is making you so successful, you will soon be one of many using the medium.

In an age of fast, quick, cheap, a wedding photographer can set theirself apart simply by purposefully positioning themselves as slower than everyone else. Sound counter-intuitive? Exactly. In a world where many people are connected to two phones -- their work-issued Blackberry and their personal iPhone -- at all times, standing for slow stands out. For example, the photographer that stands for slow could say something like this: "We take the time necessary to notice emotional moments. We do things right the first time and never cut corners. Your wedding photos may be delivered in 12 weeks instead of the industry standard 8 weeks, but they will be worth the wait. We may be slower, but we are not lazy: we return all phone calls and emails in less than 24 hours." If your values of quality and excellence mean that your process and end result takes a little bit longer, embrace it.

One of the ideas that sets Splendid Communications apart from my competitors is my statement, "social media is a return to old-fashioned conversations, not a race to keep up with next big thing." This idea is something my company stands for because it is something I really believe. Many other digital marketing consultants focus on the tech aspect and the next big shiny platform, while I firmly take the stance that social media is all about people and harkens back to a day where people in town would gather around the coffee counter in their local drugstore to catch up, swap stories and deepen relationships. This may be the long, hard, stupid way, but it is where I believe the true value in digital media resides.

Look at the brand positioning statements you use in your marketing, including your tag line. Do they sound the same as everyone else? Do they represent what it is unique about you or do they convey that you do the same thing as everyone else?

wedding marketing articles
Splendid Marketing in 30 Days: Articulating Values
Splendid Marketing in 30 Days: Setting Goals
The full Splendid Marketing in 30 Days series

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