If you don’t choose your business’s position, who will? Position, or be positioned.
Positioning happens – whether you actively shape it or whether you let the market do so. Don’t leave it up to the market. It doesn’t care about your position.
Laissez faire doesn’t work in building a valuable business, and it doesn’t work with brand. If you don’t define the meaning of your business for your customer, then those customers are less likely to pay attention, and even less likely to bond with it.
Position with Intention
Take the route of action. To reap the value creation that only brand brings, be intentional about defining yours. Create an ironclad brand strategy that pinpoints your optimal positioning.
An ironclad brand will occupy the single best position in the minds of your customers. Precisely identifying this prime position enables you to create value, maximize scale, and lead with purpose.
Choose with intent and brio, but exercise humility and empathy, too. Adopt a service mindset. It’s not what your customers can do for you, but what you can do for your customers. Think big. Beyond product and service, what is your mission? How can you serve your stakeholders? Differentiate not only for profit today, but for longevity, depth, and substance tomorrow.
Building an ironclad brand strategy gives your brand its most durable competitive advantage. It strengthens your business in the short term, the long term, and the forever term.
In the short term, brand enables you to create value quickly, because a strong brand position creates a high ROI marketing machine and a high willingness to pay a premium. It also lays a fertile, inviting foundation for loyal customers.
In the long term, an ironclad brand can’t be copied, while most everything else can. Brand creates value over the long term by enabling your company to rise above petty one-upmanship and tit-for-tat feature wars. Instead, you deliver on a promise to your customer that is big and meaningful.
Why are you even in business to begin with? When you can define that purpose genuinely, truthfully, and precisely, you create meaning, and your employees and your customers will follow you. In the forever term, brand gives you enduring purpose. It articulates why your business deserves to exist.
Brand to the Rescue
An intentional, precise brand is like a good friend. It’s there when you need it most, especially in times of crisis. When Tylenol suffered its cyanide poisoning crisis in 1982, it reacted decisively and boldly in the consumer’s best interest, recalling 31 million bottles from shelves, offering free replacements of the safer tablet form, and swiftly creating a tamper-proof package. Why? Because leaders looked to their brand, their mission, to guide them, and the answer was unequivocal.
This is a dramatic example, but an incisive and bold brand also helps with the business decisions you make every day. Do we participate in that trade show again? Should we branch out into this adjacent category? Do we partner with that other distribution company? Does this creative reflect who we really are? When your brand is your North Star, you decide in alignment with the brand rather than making decisions according to the flavor of the day, or the most vocal voice in your ear this week.
Look Closely at Your Brand
Have you built an intentional brand strategy with clear, unassailable positioning? What are some decisions you have made that might have been different had you run them through the filter of a robust strategy? Any life-and-death company decisions, a la Tylenol? What about those routine decisions? Those decisions accrue, and over time reflect and build the meaning you own in your customer’s mind. What’s something you are deciding right now where brand can be your litmus test?
Internalize that brand can serve as your North Star. It creates value, scale, and purpose. It can be your most faithful leadership tool.
Choose it with intention.