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        地乌龟

        地乌龟

        It’s one thing to discover your brand positioning, that brilliant, single-minded, salient idea that compellingly distinguishes your brand from the competition. However, it’s quite another to get that idea through the gauntlet of management, employees, stakeholders, over-thinkers and technocrats before it gets to “real-life exposure."  There are many pitfalls all along the way and this will help you to spot them.

        地乌龟What is brand positioning?地乌龟

        A brand’s positioning is the single-minded, compelling idea from which all aspects of the brand emanate: systems, culture, values, products, services as well as communications.

        地乌龟Positioning: It's not what is, it's what could be.地乌龟

        It is not an attempt to capture everything that the brand is.  The positioning statement exists to clearly and succinctly state, 地乌龟in one sentence, 地乌龟what the brand could and should be.  A brand positioning statement is about where you want to take the brand.

        地乌龟Why is positioning important?地乌龟

        Branding is about efficiently establishing favorable images, thoughts and associations in consumers' minds.  The more focused the brand is, the more successful it will be in creating those impressions.   The benefits of positioning are as follows:

        • Enables consumers to quickly discern what makes your brand different.

        • Creates an efficient communications development process.

        • Creates a more aligned and cohesive organization. Shouldn't everybody responsible for the brand be able to quickly and succinctly state the brand's positioning?

        • Imbues the brand with an aura of strength and confidence. People like brands that know what they stand for.

        • Provides a reason why. Products and services have greater perceived value when tied to a higher purpose.

        地乌龟Brand Positioning is Simple But It Is Not Easy地乌龟

        The positioning idea should by definition be simple. We are trying to penetrate the consumer's psyche. Thus, the simpler the idea, the easier it is to remember.  The process of developing a brand positioning is in theory quite simple.  You explore what the brand is all about, you develop hypotheses about what makes it distinct and compelling and, last but not least, you test these ideas in some fashion with your target audience to see what resonates.   The mechanics of the process are somewhat straightforward but what can make it difficult are the egos, opinions, and the general resistance to change you encounter along the way.  And, if you attempt to please everybody along the way you will most certainly fail.  When it comes to brand positioning, "people-pleasers" need not apply.  

        Think about it: you are asking brand stakeholders to distill the essence of what they are into a single sentence.   Trying to get any group of people to agree on a simple, single-minded idea is no easy task.  Far too often Magnet, Inc. comes across clients that have worked with so-called "branding experts" who have, after a protracted and expensive process arrived at a turgid, long-winded, uninspiring brand positioning statement that conveniently covers multiple thoughts. I will ask brand stakeholders to tell me what their positioning is at which point they look searchingly toward the ceiling and at each other to find the words.  Someone attempts to recite it, another corrects him and, finally, the senior most person asks the junior most person to get the document containing the sacred sequence of words that is supposed to drive all facets of their brand.  Not only should a positioning be simple, everybody in your organization should be able to snappily recite it with ease. 

        With all that said, here are 15 things to think about in the development of a brand positioning:

        地乌龟1) Leadership must be involved.地乌龟  Positioning is how you plan to face the world. If the leadership is not on board, forget about making any sort of meaningful change.

        地乌龟2) The brand is not about the client.地乌龟 Clients want to impose their agenda, which is more often than not the same as the consumer's agenda.  If you find that your positioning is remarkably convenient to your needs, then I can bet that it's not compelling to your audience.

        地乌龟3) Spread out when exploring.地乌龟 The best ideas come from the most unlikely places. Try the loading dock. Seriously, if your exploratory phase is limited to the marketing department, then you are missing the bits and pieces that makes branding interesting and real.

        地乌龟4) Explore the absurd and amusing ideas.地乌龟 You know the idea that at first blush seems absurd and elicits laughter?  Explore it. There’s usually something there.

        地乌龟5) Include the consumer in the process.地乌龟 "Internal strategizing" is a contradiction in terms. Give your brand to your audience and they'll tell you what you need to know. If you think you are going to find the answer without including your target audience, youare mistaken. 

        地乌龟6) Pull back the camera. 地乌龟A rigid quantitative survey instrument will not give you the "emotional pay dirt." Use lots of divergent thinking techniques and open up the dialog with focus group, in-depth interviews and ethnographic research.  

        地乌龟7) Listen for noises.  地乌龟Positioning is about sparking interest. Listen for the ideas that make you go “oooo,” “ahhh,” and “aha.”  Use that as your gauge. If your not making people go "oooo" then you're probably missing the big idea.

        地乌龟8) You need more than research. 地乌龟 Positioning development is a science and an art, perhaps more art. It’s the random odds and end and bits and pieces that lead to the big idea.

        “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” - Einstein

        地乌龟9) Inspire.  地乌龟A great idea put in the wrong hands is a painful thing to watch.  Make sure that whoever is driving the process can stir hearts and minds. Be dramatic.

        地乌龟10) Tell it like it is.地乌龟   Too many "branding experts" have neither the chutzpah or integrity to tell the client when their ideas are pure folly.  地乌龟It takes courage to be simple.地乌龟

        地乌龟11) A positioning statement is not a Christmas tree. 地乌龟 Too many "positioning statements" cover too many thoughts because the branding expert invites everybody to hang an ornament on it.  Positioning by committee is easy to approve but no one can remember the statement. 

        地乌龟12) The idea must have heart地乌龟.  Make people feel something. Scientific research shows that people act upon ideas that create a “felt shift.”    The positioning statement should be as evocative as the creative that follows. Take it from Carlos.

        “Look at every path closely and deliberately, then ask ourselves this crucial question: Does this path have a heart? If it does, then the path is good. If it doesn't, it is of no use.” - - Carlos Castaneda

        地乌龟13) The idea must have creative firepower.地乌龟  When people start building on the idea, you know you are there. Conversely, if people cannot readily see how the idea would come to life, you probably need more work.

        地乌龟14. Execution is everything.地乌龟  Positioning is like a combination shot. It all needs to line up just right.

        地乌龟15. Don't take your foot off the gas. 地乌龟 Even the smartest, sharpest idea needs some force to penetrate people’s minds. If it’s the right idea, invest in it.  It will pay you back many times over.

        地乌龟

        Perhaps the outcome of the 2016 presidential election serves as an excellent example of why we should not lean too heavily on quantitative research. Alternatively, why we should give qualitative more of a role in analytics and decision making. Sure, quantitative analysis plays an essential role in any researcher's arsenal, but sometimes, maybe even often, we become too reliant on the "math," which can be deceptively comforting. I say this as someone who holds a degree in economics and mathematics and conducts a lot of quantitative studies.

        I started out last night's election-watch with Nate Silver's fivethirtyeight.com giving Clinton a 75% chance of winning. The charts, the stats, and the incredibly cool info-graphics made it all seem so sure. FiveThirtyEight prides itself on using "hard numbers and statistics to tell a compelling story." Several hours into the vote count, the probability had completely flipped with 538, now giving Trump a 75% chance of winning. In direct contrast to "predictive analytics," the math was continually readjusting to catch up to the reality - "reactive analytics."

        It seems like the Clinton campaign should have done a little more deep listening and a lot less "scientific" polling from a distance. So much for the digital marketing experts and statisticians who relied more on their algorithms and data collection techniques than they did on good old fashioned listening.

        The Donald kept saying that the reality he was experiencing was not consistent with the polls. "It's amazing; we're getting tens of thousands of people at my rallies." "I don't need Beyonce." "You should see the crowds." Trump was out there with the people in the thick of it while the Democrats were tweaking algorithms and cocooning in the comfort of their "hard numbers."

        So, when clients ask whether we need to do some qualitative research, I'll be using the 2016 presidential election as an excellent example of why it pays for researchers and branders to dive into the thick of humanity and do some deep listening. Counting is not the same as listening, and "hard numbers" do not tell the whole story.