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  13th December 2012

Brand Positioning #2

Now we understand how important it is to position our brand correctly in this social media driven world, how do you go about setting up your brand positioning project?

Nowadays, as advertising becomes less a dark art and more popular culture, it is correspondingly important to scope ideas in the broadest possible way. The best ideas can come from the most unlikely of places and if you don’t believe me, just try this simple exercise.

When you are searching for a new strategy to move forward, or a marketing idea for your brand, call a meeting with all your employees, the receptionist, even the cleaners. Present your requirements, without jargon or embellishment to the audience and ask for ideas. The results will blow your mind and you will get a host of brilliant left field strategies and ideas that you on your own, or even a crack creative team couldn’t hope to match. At the very least you will get a many sided understanding of your proposal that you didn’t have before and a better idea of the soundness of your proposal. This can be an incredibly rewarding, not to mention useful exercise.

Powerful brand positioning, in a similar way doesn’t have to be the work of a lone creative genius and this is even more true as we move into the 2020’s.

Once we have our bevy of brilliant ideas we can get to work sifting through them. As we opened the debate to all and sundry, does that mean everyone votes for the most popular idea? Er nope. Positioning by popular vote (indeed anything be popular vote) can be messy, painful, ineffective and very often lowest common denominator material. Once we have gathered as many ideas as possible the way to choose them is to get the best idea not the most popular.

So who chooses which ideas are the best? At this stage if you haven’t already, put together your Core Team. Between 5 and 15 people with the best understanding and experience of the brand, they don’t have to be high up the chain of command although they may be. Most importantly these people should care the most about the brand, you will generally find they won’t let you down and you are also creating a strong set of brand advocates that feel involved in it’s success. Building a new brand or idea in secret and then unveiling it on everybody in a surprise move (traditional advertising agency) “look at our sooo cool new logo” is a nasty strategy in a world where social media has given everyone powerful tools of public ridicule. A lot of hard work can go down the tubes. A broad set of supportive brand advocates will work tirelessly for a brand they feel a part of, but when they feel manipulated they can destroy even powerful brands.

An excellent example of this is the debacle of the “GAP” re-brand. You can read about that here.

So where are we? Brand positioning has four phases.

1. Research
2. Positioning
3. Initial Rollout
4. Continuing Engagement

The bottom line is brand positioning is an on going process that lives by the old adage “short and often”. So release stuff in short bursts and do it often. Why? So you can gauge the response and respond accordingly.

In the next blog we can look at How to Research your brand position.

Material reworked from Chris Grams Ad-Free Brand

Article by: Nigel Grimshaw-Jones - Creative Director


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