Brand positioning: Do you believe in love at first write?

November 19, 2012

Call it a brand positioning, a brand promise, brand essence or brand idea. Whatever term your branding consultant uses, the Big Idea is ultimately what a client is buying. But how do they know if it’s the right idea? How can they be sure that their employees, leaders and customers will fall in love with it?

A brand positioning is the internal foundation for a company’s communication and actions. The business-wide conventional practice of creating a brand positioning typically starts with interviews with a company’s leaders, employees, customers and influencers. After diligent discussions, competitive audits, internal workshops and external research, and a dash of creativity, a succinct and inspiring brand positioning is born.

A little science, a little art
In spite of all the preparation and research and fact-finding, there is still a powerful element of artistry that goes into crafting a brand positioning that is expected to do everything from differentiate the company from its competitors, rally its employees, raise its stock price, illuminate design and make the world fall in love with the brand.

However, depending on the culture of the company, its communications professionals often require more reassurance that their proposed brand positioning statement is “right” before they can love it.

One client may require quantitative research to determine if their positioning statement is both believable and preferred by their key audiences. For some clients, qualitative research that shows preference for one brand positioning statement over an alternative is enough for them to embrace it. And for others, if it all adds up and leads to the Big Idea, they’ll trust their gut and jump.

The creative leap
Think of it this way. Remember the scene in the Indiana Jones film, The Last Crusade where Harrison Ford’s character must cross a seemingly impassable chasm? All he had to reassure him was a riddle that told him to take a “leap of faith.” Nervously, he steps out into what appears to be thin air to discover that there is a solid stone bridge that was seemingly invisible that could take him over the deep drop.

Trusting in the “rightness” of a newly created brand positioning can require Indiana Jones’ leap of faith. All the research, interviews and message points help establish a foundation to inform a brand positioning statement. Uncovering the insights that lead to the “aha” moments that inspire the Big Idea is the first step. This solid grounding can narrow the gap between what is factual and what is inspirationally creative. But at some point, no matter how wide or narrow the gap, it takes courage, trust and faith in the diligence and expertise of a branding firm’s ability to create a powerful positioning statement. Isn’t that what love is all about?

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