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What the heck is a brand positioning strategy?

Lindsay Says

Pure and simple, a brand positioning strategy is a tool of business strategy.

Leaders want and need to grow their businesses. Smart leaders want to grow with intention. They want to eschew brute force, and let the physics of focus do some of the work for them. A brand positioning strategy is a focusing mechanism.

These leaders want to be at the precise intersection of what’s best for their business and what’s best for their customer. They know that the enemy of focus is being all things to all people. They see that a brand positioning strategy is a radical tool for focusing their business.

Where Brand and Business Intertwine

My background is in consumer packaged goods (CPG) brand management, where brand and business are considered to be synonymous. In this world, marketing is about P&L responsibility, about driving the bottom line. The brand manager is the CEO of the business, which means her neck is on the line to drive P&L growth. From marketing to demand planning to supply chain to innovation – it all falls under the brand manager.

This is why we let marketing involve all four Ps, not just the glitzy, overhyped, promotion P. When your neck is on the line, you use all tools available to you, not just the most “fun” of the four. (Find more on this in my white paper about the Forgotten Three Ps.)

Since I am trained as a P&L owner who views marketing as one’s most essential lever for growth, I consider brand positioning strategy to be the heart of marketing and the heart of the business itself. Every decision flows from this North Star. When you have one guide to every decision, you can’t help but be focused. Your marketing activities work in concert, supporting the overall strategy.

But Isn’t Brand Fluffy?

Some people consider the entire concept of brand to be frivolous. There’s evidence to support this opinion, given how many companies have shallow brands – brands that don’t work for them, and often even work against them.

Leaders who decline to harness the power of their brand positioning have to use brute force, rather than physics, to grow, because shallow brands don’t grow intentionally or sustainably. They don’t help you focus.

What Makes a Powerful Brand?

Ultimately, your brand is a cluster of associations. A shallow brand has no coherent set of associations. It is not purposeful or meaningful. It is not hardworking. It will not force focus. It may be pretty on the surface, but under the hood, it’s empty.

In contrast, a powerful brand positioning strategy runs deep. It shines through everything a business does, starting with all 4 Ps. It is specific, consistent and distinctive. It is clear, believable and memorable to your customer. It helps you grow your business with intention, focus and clarity.

There are infinite potential positionings for your brand, but there is only one best position for your brand. There is a single position that is optimal given your business’s objective, target customer and market space. Here at Ironclad Brand Strategy, we call that one position your Ironclad Brand Positioning©. That positioning is the heart of your marketing strategy – and your business strategy.

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