Whether you’re launching a new brand or product, opening a new store, or creating a new property, you’ve got to know who you are. The inability to share exactly who you are and what makes you special—in one succinct sentence—is one of the biggest reasons that new brands, products, businesses, and licenses fail. Consumers have dozens, sometimes hundreds, of choices. Why should they choose you? What is the real benefit to them? What makes you better than the competition? You’ve got to be clear so that they can see you as the best choice. But how do you cull all of your passion into one single sentence?
In marketing speak, X marks the spot, as in “XXX is the only XXX that can XXX.” So how do you fill in those Xs and create an effective positioning statement? Let’s start with a list of questions and answers:
- What are you selling?
- Why would someone need or use this kind of product?
- What is the benefit of using your product?
- What special features or characteristics does it have?
- Who else sells this kind of product?
- What is different and better about your product?
Answering the first four questions should be simple. The last two may require a bit of homework, such as a visit to your local stores and some online research, but having a clear picture of your competition is vital. You need to know how they market themselves and what claims they make in order to know how to make your brand stand out in the consumer’s mind.
After doing your competitive research and answering the above questions, you probably feel pretty clear on who you are. The next step is to make sure that what you came up with is actually meaningful to the consumer. Do they care? Are your special qualities important to them? There are probably lots of special things about your idea, but you need to make sure that the ones you bring to the forefront of your marketing strategy are the ones that consumers will actually care about. The best way to find out is to ask them. Ask your friends, stop consumers in the aisle at your local shop, or conduct a survey online to get the information you need.
Once you’ve got confirmation that your positioning statement is clear and meaningful, pat yourself on the back. You now have more than a sentence. You have a stake in the ground. You’ve made a commitment to who you are and what you have promised your consumers you will be. Use this sentence as a check point when coming up with new product ideas for your brand, new promotions for your store, new licensing partners for your property, and new marketing campaigns. Do they fit with your promise?
What makes you so special? It sounds like a hostile question, but I mean it sincerely. Your idea is special enough for you to do the work it takes to get to market. Get clear on what it is that makes you special and commit to consistently delivering to consumers and you can build a lasting brand.
Amy Opheim is the owner of C3, a consultancy helping toy industry partners create clear, concise, and compelling marketing strategies. For more information on C3’s marketing and copywriting services, call (562) 972-1855 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.