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The Positioning Statement: The Centerpiece of Your Brand

According to Wikipedia, contemporary Thanksgiving in the United States and Canada consists of a large meal, generally focused around a large roasted turkey. Like a celebrity, everyone “oohs” and “aahs” as it makes its way to the dinner table, dressed to impress and presented on a large white platter, glistening in pride. This isn’t just an entrée, it’s the centerpiece, and an icon for the Holiday itself.

The turkey has its whole cast of characters too. There’s the “chef” (every year my Mother says, “I hope it’s not too dry.”); the “carver” (only my Dad is brave enough to be the first to slice into this annual masterpiece); the “first dibs” (goes to my sister – the first born); the “leg man” (consumes my brother in-law’s plate); and the “gravy boat girl” (that would be me).

After a huge meal, the football game, and a tryptophan-induced nap comes leftovers. This is where my Mom will carve up yet another round of turkey and place it in containers for my siblings and I to take home and enjoy over the next week.

So what would Thanksgiving be without the turkey? It would be nothing more than a bunch of high carbohydrate side dishes. The turkey provides the substance as well as memories to last all year long and sometimes, a lifetime. Can you say the same about your brand?

Does your brand have the “meat” it needs to succeed, or have you simply surrounded yourself with filler and decoration? Although there’s nothing wrong with mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, their value is dramatically diminished without the turkey. Without the centerpiece, they aren’t an integral part of a Holiday tradition, they’re just merely tagalongs. Likewise, creative solutions such as logos, brochures, websites, and social media pages don’t mean much if they aren’t ground in something meaningful and support the organization’s core positioning.

Before you set your brand table, make sure you consider these vital ingredients:

  • How do we, as a company/organization, perceive ourselves?
  • What do we have to offer?
  • Who would benefit most from our products and services?
  • Why should customers buy from us instead of our competitor?
  • How can we prove that we are the best choice?

If you think you already know the answers to these questions, think again. In today's competitive marketplace, resting on overused phrases such as, “full service” and “quality customer service” as your points of distinction aren’t going to cut it.

You only have one chance to make a great first impression, and even the greatest sales person has to deliver on what he/she is pitching. A consistent positioning statement, targeted to each intended audience, will improve the results you get from your marketing materials. It will improve your close ratio and provide a far better return on investment.

In other words, before you fill your plate with tactical, potentially disparate tools, make sure they work to support the centerpiece of your brand — your positioning statement.

Dina Wasmer is President of Incite Creative, a marketing and graphic design firm that provides brand-building services for financial services, insurance, education and non profit industries in Maryland, DC and Virginia. For more information, log onto www.incitecreativeinc.com or contact dina@incitecreativeinc.com.

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