How to figure out your Brand Positioning Statement to differentiate your brand

The Brand Positioning Statement defines how your brand shows up in the market. The biggest difference is that I give you a logical approach to get more emotional. Most importantly, we have cheat sheets for you to find the ideal functional benefits and the ideal emotional benefits. Start by matching what consumers want with what your brand does best. Many brands are negligent in failing to define and differentiate themselves. If you don’t position your brand the way you want, your customers and competitors will do it for you. And, you might not like how they do it. In this article, we will show you a brand positioning process that can work for you. At the end of the article, you will 20 different examples of brand positioning statements. 

Essentially, we have brand positioning statement examples for a type of brand that is close to yours. Consumer packaged goods? Retail? Restaurants? Tourism? B2B? Cars? Beer? Healthcare or Pharma? We have it covered. The material you find here comes from our Beloved Brands playbook that you can find on Amazon

Brand Positioning

To find your ideal brand positioning statement, you want to find the space that is most motivating to consumers. And, find the space that is most ownable for your brand. Our brand positioning statement process starts with a defined consumer target your brand will serve. Then, we focus on the emotional and functional benefits that differentiate your brand. Further, we use support points to help differentiate your brand from competitors. 

We have created a Brand Toolkit that includes every slide you need to run your brand. If you are looking to build out your brand positioning work, you can engage our Brand Positioning presentation template. If you are looking to find the right brand positioning on your brand, we do run consulting workshops with teams to help come up with the ideal solution.

To illustrate our brand positioning process, click on the diagram above.

Where your brand can win

Brand positioning is the conceptual space that a brand owns in the consumer’s mind. It’s what they think of you. As you dig in on creating your own brand positioning statement, look for the space to play and then the ideal space can differentiate your brand to win in the market.

I introduce a Venn diagram, with three circles:

To illustrate how to use brand positioning to differentiate.

It’s all about how to differentiate. To start, the first circle comprises everything your consumer wants or needs. Next, the second circle includes everything your brand does best. Finally, the third circle lists what your competitor does best.

Your brand’s winning zone  (in green) is the space that matches up “what consumers want” with “what your brand does best.” Most importantly, you can own and defend this space from attack. Essentially, you can satisfy the consumer needs better than any other competitor can.

Your brand will not survive in the losing zone. (in red) This space matches the consumer needs with “what your competitor does best.” Consequently, you will fail to differentiate, and your competitor will beat you every time.

What happens when there is a tie?

As markets mature, competitors copy each other. It gets harder to be better with a definitive product win. Many brands play in this risky zone  (in grey). Here, you and your competitor meet the consumer’s needs in a relative tie. You can win the tie with emotions and innovation.

If you only focus on using product features to differentiate your brand, you will fail. As the market matures, competitors copy each other. And that winning green space gets very small. Instead, you can carve out a winning brand positioning space when you focus on the emotional benefits. In this article, I will show you our logical way to engage with our Emotional Cheat Sheet that has 40 emotional benefits to play with.

Avoid the dumb zone

Sadly, I always have to mention the dumb zone. (in blue) Here, two competitors “battle it out” in the space where consumers do not care. One competitor says, “We are faster,” and the other brand says, “We are just as fast.” However, no one bothered to ask the consumer if they care about speed. Both brands end up failing to differentiate and playing in the dumb zone.

Position statement example

There are 4 elements that make up a brand positioning statement. Start with the definition of who will you serve. Then, lay out where you will play, and where you will win. To sum up, use support points for why consumers should believe you.

1. Who is the consumer target?

To start, define a slice of the population who is the most motivated by what your brand offers? However, don’t just think about who you want, but rather who wants your brand.

2. Where will you play?

Next, consider the competitive set that defines the space in the market your brand competes in. Brand positioning is always relative to who you compete against. For instance, a brand is never fast. But, it should be faster.

3. Where will you win

Most importantly, what is the main promise you will make to the consumer target? It should differentiate your brand to stand out as interesting, simple, unique, motivating, and own-able. Do not talk about what you do. (features) Talk about what the consumer gets (functional benefits). And, talk about how the brand makes them feel. (emotional benefits)

4. Why should they believe us?

Finally, lay out the support points and features needed to back up the main promise. Moreover, these support points should close any potential doubts, questions, or concerns the consumer has after hearing the main promise.

Brand Positioning Map

Before you get started on the details of your positioning statement, you can sketch out where brands currently play. A brand positioning map allows you see the most cluttered space, and the open space. The brand positioning map provides some direction on where you could establish a unique positioning for your brand. But it doesn’t provide much detail. Our process will help narrow in on the specifics of your brand positioning statement. 

Pick two dimensions that matter to consumers

Below, we can assess the market for sit-down chain restaurants in the US. First, we look at price; high verses low. Then, we might add in flavors; traditional American vs International. 

We see two gaps in the market; high-end International and upper-mid American. And, we see a cluttered mess in the lower end American. 

For example, click on the above brand positioning map to see details.

Consumer target

Focus on those who are the most motivated by what you do. There is this myth that a bigger consumer target will make the brand bigger, so scared marketers targets ‘everyone’. For instance, there seems to be an irrational fear of leaving someone out.

Spreading your brand’s limited resources across an entire population is completely cost-prohibitive. While targeting everyone “just in case” might feel safe at first, it is riskier because you spread your resources so broadly. You will never see the full impact of what you want to see. 

Moreover, a broad consumer target gives your brand a lower return on investment and eventually will drain your brand’s limited resources. Please focus. Below, you will find a consumer profile that sets up Gray’s Cookies as an example of brand positioning we use. We include consumer insights to give flavor to the target.

Building a Target Profile

For example, click on the above consumer profile for one of our brand positioning examples.

Start by defining your ideal consumer target

Instead of thinking about who you want, turn it around and ask who wants us. Decide who is in the target and who is not in the target. Find those who are already motivated to buy what you are offering. 

If you have the world’s best soup, go find those who love soup. Don’t try to convince people who hate soup to buy your soup. 

If you have the world’s longest golf ball, sell to those who already hit it 300 yards. Don’t sell to people who hate golf because it’s expensive, it takes six hours to play, has funny clothes, is too quiet and embarrassing. A longer golf ball will do nothing to counter those who have already rejected golf.

One of the biggest mistakes I see marketers make is picking a target that is far too broad. There seems to be an irrational fear of leaving someone out. While targeting everyone “just in case” might feel safe at first, it is riskier because you spread your resources so thin you never have a full impact on anyone. 

Your fear of missing out (FOMO) on any consumer causes you to miss out on the ideal target. Spreading your brand’s limited resources across an entire population is completely cost-prohibitive and gives your brand a lower return on investment. and will drain your brand’s limited resources.

Focus, focus, focus!

Let’s sort through the difference between a selling target and a marketing target. A selling target is anyone who comes in the door and wants to buy. A marketing target narrows in on those consumers who have the highest likelihood of responding positively to your brand positioning, advertising, and new product innovation.

consumer target

It is fine to sell to “anyone” who comes in the door. No one is turning down a sale. But when it comes to your precious marketing dollars, be afraid of wasting your money that you only spend on those you are confident will bounce back to you. That’s payback. 

Before you dig in on the brand positioning, you want to understand the needs of the consumer. We use 12 different functional needs and 12 different emotional needs. Knowing your consumer target, start thinking about what you think makes sense for them. These needs will come up later as we explore which consumer benefits to stand behind. 

Identifying gaps in the marketplace

To identify where you have opportunity, you can use market research to help plot your competitors. Plot each brand based on the functional and emotional benefits, and you will begin to see space where there may be opportunity for you to win. Below, you can see how Gray’s Cookies and Oreo match up when it comes to functional and emotional benefits. The farther from the center, the stronger that brand plays on that element. Oreo wins on sensory appeal, experience, comfort, and feel good. Gray’s has the opportunity to win on healthier, smarter, and stay in control. 

Use our consumer benefit ladder to find your differentiation

Turn your brand’s features into consumer benefits. Stop thinking about what your brand does. And, start thinking about what your consumer gets. As a result, your brand positioning statement comes alive.

The 4 steps to build a Consumer Benefits Ladder:

First, leverage all available consumer research to brief the team. Above all, define the consumer target profile with consumer insights, need states, and the consumer enemy. Second, brainstorm all possible brand features that your brand offers, plus any brand assets. Focus on the features that give your brand a competitive advantage.
Next, move up to the functional benefits. Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and for each feature on your list, ask “if I am the consumer, what do I get from that?” Keep asking with answers that differentiate and move into a richer zone.
Finally, move up to the emotional benefits by looking at each functional benefit and ask “so if I am the consumer, how does that make me feel?” Most importantly, keep asking the question until you see a deeper emotional space that you can play in, that will help differentiate your brand.

Avoid ph-at words in your brand positioning

Ph-at Words are vague words that mean so many things, they mean nothing at all. The best examples I have are nice, interesting, or quality. It is interesting that interesting is such a boring word.

Consumer Benefits Functional Benefits Emotional Benefits Brand Positioning

When you define your brand positioning, the specific words you choose must matter to your consumers. Most importantly, your brand positioning statement should leave zero room for interpretation.

This type of thinking is part of our Beloved Brands positioning process. To help, keep reading below, to see how we provide two consumer benefit cheat sheets with 60 functional benefits and 40 emotional benefits to help you write with much more specific words that differentiate your brand.

Brand Positioning video lesson

Our brand positioning statement video shows how to use our functional benefit cheatsheet and our emotional benefit cheatsheet to help build the ideal brand positioning statement. 

Play Video about Brand Positioning Statement examples that differentiate

To view, use the ▶️ controls to play or volume buttons 

How to write a positioning statement

Functional consumer benefits

To help brand leaders kickstart their brand positioning work, I have created 12 functional zones that expands to over 50 potential functional benefits. As you look through the list, gravitate to the functional benefits you think will fit the needs of your consumers and differentiates your brand by looking for words where your brand does it better than competitors. Start with our words and then layer in your own creative language with the specific category or consumer language.

Use our functional benefit cheatsheet to determine where you can win

To illustrate, click on the diagram to zoom in how to differentiate using functional benefits.

Emotional consumer benefits

Below is a list of 40 potential emotional benefits help build an emotional brand positioning statement that differentiates your brand. Most importantly, you want to own one emotional space in the consumer’s heart as much as you own the rational space in the consumer’s mind.

Use our emotional benefit cheatsheet to determine where you can win

To illustrate, click on the diagram to zoom in how to differentiate using our emotional benefits.

The emotional benefit zones include optimism, freedom, being noticed, being liked, self-assured, comfort, be myself, be in control, and knowledge. To own a space in the consumer’s heart, brands should own and dominate one of these zones, always thinking relative to what zone your competitor may own. Therefore, you should not choose a list of emotions from all over the map, or you will confuse your consumer. Use the supporting words to add flavor to your emotional brand positioning statement.

Gray's Cookies benefit clusters

To start, look at the two cheat sheets and narrow them down to potential clusters of the functional and emotional benefits. Match what consumers want and what your brand does best. Take three of the zones from each cheat sheet and add 2-3 support words per zone to create a cluster. Below are key benefit words we will use to set up Gray’s Cookies as one of our examples of brand positioning statements.

To illustrate, click on the diagram above to see brand positioning example.

To illustrate, click on the diagram above to see brand positioning example.

Consumer benefit cluster

Once you focus on the main benefits, you will see a cluster of benefits come to life for your brand. I call this the brand thesaurus. Use these choices to build out a brand positioning statement. Also, you can hand this cluster to your execution team and tell them to stick to these words as they build out their day-to-day communication.  

Turn benefit clusters into benefit statements to differentiate your brand

Next, for each cluster, use the words to inspire a brainstorm of specific benefit statements that fit your brand, using the specific brand, consumer, or category words. For example, we’ll use Gray’s Cookies, which is a fictional cookie brand that combines great taste and low calories. Concerning functional benefits, I have chosen to build around functional clusters, such as healthy, sensory, and experiences, and emotional clusters such as control, knowledge, and optimism.

To illustrate one of our brand positioning examples, click on the diagram.

How to find the winning space that differentiates your brand in the market

I have created a 2×2 grid to help sort through the potential benefits to find the winners, according to which are most motivating to consumers and most ownable for your brand.

To illustrate how to judge the example of brand positioning options, click on the diagram above.

 

You will see the same four zones from the Venn diagram are now on the consumer benefits sort grid, including the winning, losing, risky, and dumb zone.

First, you can see the “guilt-free” consumer benefit is highly motivating and highly ownable for the brand, landing in the winning zone. This space is the best to differentiate your brand from others in the market.

On the other hand, the consumer benefit of “new favorite cookie” is highly motivating but already owned by the major power players, so it falls into the losing zone. Then, the “feel more confident” benefit falls into the risky zone. Finally, the benefit of “more comfort in choices” is neither motivating nor ownable, so it falls into the dumb zone.

Reasons to believe in marketing

I took one logic class at University and the only thing I learned was ‘premise-premise conclusion’. Easy class, but the lesson has stuck with me:

  • First, all fish live in water (premise)
  • Next, tuna are fish (premise)
  • Therefore, tuna live in the water (conclusion)

In a brand positioning statement, the main consumer benefit is the conclusion, with a need for two support points as the premises. The reason to believe (RTB) should never be the conclusion. If pure logic teaches us that two premises are enough to draw any conclusion, then you only need two RTBs. 

Brands that build concepts with a laundry list of RTBs are not doing their job in making focused decisions on what support points are needed. With consumers seeing 5,000 advertising messages per day, having a long list of support points, risks having a cluttered mess in their brand communications. Claims can be an effective tool in helping to support your reason to believe.

There are 4 types of claims you can use on your brand: 

Process Support

  • To start, look at how your product works differently.
  • Then, showcase what you do differently within the production process.
  • Finally, what added service/details do you provide in the value chain.

Product Claims

  • First, what is the usage of an ingredient that makes you better?
  • Then, look at the process or ingredient that makes you safer.

Third-person endorsement

  • To clarify, who are the experts in the field who can speak on your behalf.
  • To sum up, look to past users/clients with the proof support of their stories.

Behavioral Results

  • To help, look at clinical test results.
  • Most importantly, assess the in-market usage study.
  • Finally, look at before and after studies.

For example, click above to see how claims can help differentiate your brand.

Our marketing programs What type of marketer are you?

We believe that marketers learn best when they see our marketing concepts applied to brands that look like their own. We have come up with specific examples – consumer, B2B and healthcare – to showcase our marketing tools. Click on the icon below to choose your interest area.

As you narrow in on the main benefit, look at it from the consumer’s vantage and see if there gaps you need to fill in with support statements. Use four types of claims, whether linked to what you do differently in the process, how your product works better, third-person endorsements, or behavioral results. 

For process support, you can explain how your product works differently, showcase what you do differently within the production process, or talk about any added service you provide in the value chain. 

To use product claims, highlight the usage of an ingredient that makes your brand better, different, safer, or cheaper. 

Use third-person endorsements when you have access to experts in the field who can speak on your brand’s behalf or a strong collection of past users/clients who can demonstrate proof of performance based on stories or reviews. And, explore recognized awards, such as J.D. Power or whatever is recognized in your industry. Reach for behavioral results when you have a clinical test, in-market usage study, or before and after studies.

Example of a brand positioning statement

Consumer packaged goods brand

In conclusion, here is our Gray’s Cookies case study which serves as one of our examples of brand positioning statements

For example, click on the brand positioning statement example above to zoom in.

Brand positioning for B2B brands

We use the same process, but we have changed the functional zones to work for B2B brands. Most importantly, there is plenty of room to differentiate B2B brands. So, looking at this list below, we have adjusted our cheat sheet to include two different zones, which are “drives business results” and “helps you execute.”

B2B Brand Positioning Functional Benefits

B2B Brand Positioning Emotional Benefits

We have also adjusted our emotional zones to include “fit with the company” and “feel recognized.”

As you did with Gray’s Cookies, start by looking at the two cheat sheets and narrow down to potential clusters of the B2B functional and B2B emotional benefits. Most importantly, match what customers want and what your brand does best. I recommend that you take three of the zones from each of the two cheat sheets that will best differentiate your brand, and then add 2-3 support words per zone to create a cluster. Below are the benefit clusters that set up our Gray’s Stage Lighting brand as an example of brand positioning.

Customer benefit clusters for B2B

Taking the clusters and brainstorming brand positioning benefit statements

B2B Brand Positioning example

Most importantly, we use Gray’s Lighting as a B2B case study that serves as of our example of brand positioning statements. If you are a B2B marketer, we have created a unique page to help explain what you need to be successful: B2B Marketing

To illustrate, click on the diagram above to see brand positioning example.

Brand positioning for healthcare

For Gray’s QuitFix, the three functional benefit zones include works better, sensory appeal, and helps you be healthier. 

Next, take the supporting words within each zone to build a cluster. 

Using the “works better” zone, we include powerful, details, and performance. For the “sensory appeal” zone, include the words subconscious, taste, and touch/feel. When using the “helps you be healthier” zone, include the words reduces, prevents, weight, and mental health. Take each of the benefit clusters to inspire a brainstorm of various benefit statements. Start each functional benefits statement with “I get.” 

  • For the “works better” benefit cluster, an example of a functional benefit statement is, “I get a smoking aid that successfully delivers the performance for me to quit smoking.” 
  • And, for the “helps you be healthier” benefit cluster, a functional benefit statement is, “I get to control my mental health while quitting smoking.”

Then, explore the emotional zones

The emotional zones I have selected are staying in control, a sense of optimism, and feeling myself. For the emotional benefits, start each statement with “I feel.”
  • Using the emotional benefit of “stay in control,” the emotional benefit statement would be, “I feel in control of my weight and health to help me successfully quit smoking.”

For Gray’s QuitFix, the winning consumer benefit statements are staying in control and the optimism to be successful in quitting.

If you are a Healthcare marketer, we have created a unique page to help explain what you need to be successful: Healthcare Marketing

To illustrate, click on the diagram above to see brand positioning example.

Brand Positioning for a technology brand

This same process can work with technology or service brands. With GrayTech, the main B2B benefit to differentiate with is to “make your business more valuable.” 

To illustrate, click on the diagram above to see brand positioning example.

Brand positioning template

Use our brand positioning presentation PowerPoint template to showcase your thinking to your boss. 

Brand Positioning template

Brand positioning examples

Most importantly, we know that our brand positioning process works on any type of brand. To illustrate, click on any of the brand positioning examples to explore new ways to differentiate your brand. 

Brand Positioning Skills

Our marketing training program takes participants through every stage in defining the brand positioning. We teach your marketing team the four elements of brand positioning: who you serve, where you play, where you win, and why consumers should believe you. As a result, these four elements make up the consumer target, marketplace definition, consumer benefit, and support points. 

Too many times, brands try to be everything to anyone they end up being nothing to everyone. Without a clearly defined brand positioning, the brand never establishes an ideal reputation with consumers. This allows competitors to define the brand. Essentially, the team who executes lacks direction, so the brand messaging appears random and confusing. 

With our marketing training, we start by determining the ideal target market. Participants learn to add flavor to the target market definition with moments of accelerated needs, consumer insights, and the consumer’s enemy. Most importantly, the deeper understanding marketers can gain about the consumer, the easier know how to address their needs. 

Engaging our consumer benefit cheat sheets

Next, we show how to turn product features into consumer benefits–a balance of functional and emotional benefits. Uniquely, we introduce our “Benefit cheat sheets”  to allow participants to play around with 60 different functional and 40 emotional consumer benefits.

Brand positioning will be stronger if summarized it in a space that is highly motivating to consumers and highly ownable for the brand. In addition, claims and support points help finalize the final brand positioning statement.

Your marketing team will learn how to come up with a brand idea that can organize all stakeholders who work with the brand. Also, we provide tools to turn your brand’s unique value proposition into a brand concept. We also show how to build a brand story or credo to help steer the culture and operations behind the brand.

The brand positioning skills we build through our marketing training

  • First, the best marketers define an ideal target market (consumers, users, shoppers) framed with accelerated need states, insights and enemies.
  • Next, marketers must take a consumer-centric approach to turn product features into functional and emotional consumer benefits.
  • Then, know how to find the winning brand positioning space that is own-able for the brand and motivating to your target, summarized with a positioning statement.
  • Finally, be able to develop a brand idea that can steer how the brand shows up to every touchpoint, and organize everyone who works on the brand so they deliver.

Click on any of the models below.

Learn about Brand Concepts

Only a fool would start writing a brand concept without doing the necessary homework. I will show you how to write a brand concept that uses the brand idea, consumer insights, functional and emotional consumer benefits, and support points. Our brand concept process can also work for product concepts. Furthermore, I will provide a few different brand concept examples. Think of your brand concept as you would a 30 second TV ad or a digital billboard. Most importantly, stay focused on your most essential messages. If you start with a blank piece of paper, you will end up with a random chance at success.

Brand Concept process

Brand positioning statement reading

Brand Management Mini MBA

Invest in your future. If you are an ambitious marketer, looking to solidify your marketing skills, our Brand Management Mini MBA will teach you about strategic thinking, brand positioning, brand plans, advertising decisions, and marketing analytics. 

Have a look at our brochure on our Mini MBA program

Use  >  to move through the brochure or  x  to see the full screen. 

You get 36 training videos and our Brand Toolkit ($200 value) that has over 120 PowerPoint slides you can use for presentations on brand plans, brand positioning, and business reviews. We provide key chapters from our Beloved Brands Playbook, and a Brand Management Workbook with exercises to try in real-time. Earn a certificate you can use on your resume or LinkedIn profile. 

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Graham Robertson

Email: graham@beloved-brands.com

Phone: 416–885–3911

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Our marketing programs What type of marketer are you?

We believe that marketers learn best when they see marketing concepts applied to brands that look like their own. We have come up with specific case study examples for each type of marketing, whether you are focused on consumer, B2B, or healthcare brands. Click on the icon below to choose your marketing interest area.

Brand Toolkit