It’s safe to say, “one stop shops” are not our specialty and many clients walk in our door with brand positioning we would define as a “generalist.”

As the saying goes, if you do everything then you do nothing well.

We’re firm believers in this. These days, everyone wants the best of the best. Every small purchase is searchable, and users are up taking Google’s magic ability to deliver them the best everything more and more. 

What’s the best toothpaste for gum health? I found myself feverishly typing into my phone, while standing in the toiletries aisle of my local supermarket a few days ago. Purchases that used to be made without a second thought can now be consulted on in real time. 

Some people might want toothpaste that moderately cleans, sort of whitens, and fights gum disease once in a while, but we bet there’s a much more engaged audience who wants the best of all three. Colgate figured this out a long time ago, that’s why there’s toothpaste specialising in each of these areas for sale, rather than just one super toothpaste (plus that would be a lot of writing to fit on one little tube).

This approach doesn’t mean that you can’t serve people outside of your brand positioning, it just means it’s not the focus of your business. 

Ready to give it a go? 

Below we’ve highlighted four steps to narrowing your brand positioning to get you started.

Identify your competition 

Take a good hard look at the competition. This is a great place to start when assessing your brand positioning in the market. Ask yourself, who are your main competitors? What are they good at? What are they not good at? Why might people choose them over you? Keep track of your findings so you can compare the results over time.

Conduct market research

It’s important to keep an eye on what’s being said about you, your competitors and your industry. We recommend all businesses track brand perceptions and sentiment, which can be measured using the tools below:

Social Listening: Monitor what’s being said about your brand & your competitors online using social listening tools. Hubspot has a good round up of social listening tools here.

Customer Feedback: Your customers are a powerful resource that many brands overlook. Consider a few important metrics that you and your competitors could be scored on, and reach out to your target audience with a survey. 

Tip: Also ask people who aren’t your customers, sometimes what potential customers have to say is even more important.

Set up Google Alerts: Track what’s being said about your business and your industry by media outlets in your area.

Pay attention to what your customers are saying and identify opportunities to meet their needs. From this research you should be able zero in on any gaps that may exist in the market that your business could fill. 

Define your target audience and then define it again

The more specific you can be when it comes to defining who you’re speaking to, the more directly you can speak to them. Take the time to really get into the psyche of your target audience. What are their emotional wants and needs? What pain points do they have? Consider how this might affect your product delivery. 

Find what makes you unique

Be tough on yourself. Businesses come to us all the time, and when we ask them what makes them unique, they’re quick to spout off carefully curated brand statements that could have been written by any number of their competitors. 

What do YOU have that no one else has? This could be a patented product offering, or a point of view that sets you apart or simply a unique perspective. Figure out what you’re the best at, what you can offer that no one else can match, and focus on that. 

“Marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products.”

Al Ries

Defining a narrow brand position is hard. But so is starting a business and a successful business at that. If you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and put in the hard work to really narrow your brand’s positioning, you’ll find that you no longer have any competitors. 

Kim Whitelaw's avatar
by Kim Whitelaw
Digital Director