If your marketing team is developing a new alcohol beverage or is repositioning an existing one, a good market position statement is a crucial component.
At the onset of every project I walk my clients through a comprehensive creative brief before beginning design. A good portion of this brief is devoted to analyzing and visualizing the market positioning goals of the brand so that we can develop a design solution that is not only aesthetically beautiful, but appropriately positioned in relationship to the target market. Once you’ve developed your brand’s essence, a succinct positioning statement is the next important step. If you’re a brand owner and you can’t define your positioning in 3-4 sentences, it’s time to refocus
What is a positioning statement and why does it matter?
A good positioning statement will include a succinct description of your target market along with a clear picture of how your target market will perceive your brand. In other words, it’s how your brand essence, or core attributes, are presented in the market to the target consumer in relation to their lifestyle.
Developing a market positioning statement is an integral exercise to be done with your marketing team. This will ensure that everyone understands and shares the proper vision for the brand – ideally before package design, marketing plan development etc. The last thing you want is to develop the brand only to discover at launch that everyone has a different vision for the brand and its direction or worse your packaging is not in alignment with your positioning.
A good positioning statement has 4 key components:
- Target Market – A specific group of consumers at which your alcohol beverage is aimed.
- Point of Differentiation – A description of your competitive advantage.
- Frame of Reference – The category in which your brand competes.
- Reason to Believe – The evidence that supports your claim of differentiation.
Guidelines for developing a great positioning statement:
Doug Stayman, Associate Dean for MBA Programs at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management highlighted these 6 guidelines for a good positioning statement in a recent article. My words follow his:
- It is simple, memorable, and tailored to the target market. Leave product descriptors such as flavor profile and flowery adjectives for back label copy and marketing materials.
- It provides an unmistakable and easily understood picture of your brand that differentiates it from your competitors. . Remember, all your competitors have many similar attributes and a delicious product – focus on your unique value proposition.
- It is credible and your brand can deliver on its promise. Make sure you can deliver on the brand promise or risk alienating your core consumers with disappointment. Authenticity is crucial in the alcohol beverage category. Consumers today are more research savvy than ever before. If you “fake it” – they’ll know.
- It sets your brand as one of the very few or sole occupier of a market position. Consider whether your brand fills a specific void in the market, has a specific attribute that sets it apart from competition, or fits your consumer’s lifestyle and tastes in some unique way.
- It helps you ensure that marketing decisions are consistent with and supportive of your brand. The positioning statement is the litmus test by which all brand activities are evaluated for their purpose. Your brand essence, package design, brand story, and the beverage itself must align with your positioning.
- It leaves room for growth. Alcohol beverage brands must inevitably evolve over time to remain relevant. A focused positioning statement doesn’t mean you have to pigeon hole yourself – as your brand evolves, so will your positioning.
Once established, every subsequent product and marketing decision made should align with and support your positioning statement. If done well, your positioning statement becomes a compass to guide your efforts and to help you stay focused on your brand promise.
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