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How to conquer strategic positioning: 4 steps to take your startup from zero to hero

We live in an era where you can open a business during your lunch break. No kidding, if you’re an e-Resident, establishing a startup takes about three hours which gives you plenty of time to sip your frappuccino and nom on some bagels while you’re at it. 

But with a booming startup industry comes an increasing failure rate with the main reason being a lack of knowledge about the market. According to a study by CBInsights, 42% of startups failed because there was no market need.

Now, we believe that there’s a chance to save some of those lost souls with the magic of strategic positioning. Using the distinguishable features of their business to its advantage and creating a plan of action on how to stand out within their industry will help the growth immensely.

That is exactly what we decided to do with one of our newest clients, Framework Studio. They’re a top tier interior architecture and design studio that had already created an image for themselves but needed some guidance when it came to positioning their brand. In late March, they decided to organise a workshop with us where we sat down with their crew, mapped out their thoughts and ideas on the brand and many post-it notes later, helped them reflect on their identity and find their purpose.

Because the workshop was such a hit, it felt like a no brainer to share some quick tips with our own audience. Following these four steps, any newcomer can get a kick-start into painting the image of their brand and then positioning it appropriately.

1. No one is you and that is your power

The lovely thing about companies is that just like fingerprints, zebra stripes and Dr Phil episodes, no two are alike. Businesses might focus on the same community, area or audience (we will get into this soon) but their brand identity will still differ immensely due to the internal factors. 

So, how do you find out who you really are?

Unlike your own identity, brand identity is actually fairly easy to figure out thanks to The Kapferer Brand Identity Prism. It breaks it down into six elements, divided in half with three of them being external and the other three internal factors. All of those together will help you to use strategic positioning to build a brand that reflects your core values to your followers. 

Let’s take a closer look at the questions you should be asking to nail the prism:

  • Physique – What is the visual representation of your brand?
  • Personality – What is the character of your brand?
  • Relationship – How do you communicate with the audience?
  • Culture – What are your brand values?
  • Reflection – Who is your audience?
  • Self-Image – How does your audience see itself?

As an example, we made our own prism using our client PAUSE Fashion Hub. Marketing professors, eat your heart out!

2. Find Your Pack

There’s a tiny piece in all of us that secretly wishes to be liked by everyone and that will most probably translate through to your startup as well. Don’t listen to that voice, it’s lying.

Finding your target audience is a crucial step towards a strategic and successful branding plan, as a matter of fact, 70% of brand managers believe that building an audience is more valuable than direct sales. Fortunately for you, there should be a good understanding of your own identity by now which will make pinpointing your follower group much easier.

We briefly touched on the subject of finding your audience while discussing the Brand Identity Prism, but now it’s time to dive into the topic a little deeper. Here are some questions by Ellory Wells that will surely push you in the right direction:

  • Who do you want to work with?
  • Who needs to hear what you have to say?
  • Who will benefit the most from your message?
  • Who do you relate to?

3. No pain, no gain

Imagine this, you’ve done some soul searching, found your better half, somehow figured out what they like about you… and now you have to start intentionally looking for problems. Sounds awful, right? 

It’s not as bad as it sounds. Doing research on what your audience wants, and more importantly, needs, will help you put together a kick-ass strategicCustomer Profile.

Broken down into three categories, the Customer Profile identifies your audience’s deepest wishes and fears that come in handy when developing your brand as well as your product.

  • Gain – What kind of an outcome are they hoping to achieve and how would they benefit from it?
  • Customer Jobs – What are they trying to get done in their work and personal lives when dealing with a problem?
  • Pains – What are the bad outcomes or risks that they are afraid of?

4. Deliver the Solution

This is where the fun starts. Finally, you get to start creating your strategic value proposition using content, PR, marketing – all of that thanks to the knowledge you’ve just accumulated about yourself and your audience. The wishes, missions and pain points that they have will help you improve your product and branding to create a strategic and consistent message that will help you in the long term. 

A good way to start off this process is to create a Brand Positioning Statement. Now this is not a tagline to preach to your followers but more of a mantra that you need to remind yourself when making marketing decisions for your business. It depicts your promise to your target audience within your market, created from their needs and the company’s own values.

Knowing your brand identity will take you far, but remember, startups, their market and their followers all evolve. In order to keep generating returns in the future, you have to stay alert and see how those changes influence your identity.

Forget about “why?” and focus on “how?” by asking the questions we’ve shown you and keep educating yourself on the topic. If you need a more hands-on approach, get in contact with us to get your brand positioned by the PRLab Hub professionals. 

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