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Commencing with ‘C’


That’s my adjective of choice around brand positioning.

I know, it’s melodramatic. All that evoking admiration and inspiring conviction.

But the drawing-people-in, getting-them-to-act. That’s the nub of it. A sense of promise.

Then again, you can’t just ignore 'competitive'. All positioning is relative. You might have found the perfect spot on the map, but if another brand’s already there, you’ll have to keep on searching.

And what about 'credible'? Does the positioning grow out of your product’s features, your brand’s story, your company’s values?

Above all, is it true? If your positioning is built on a social purpose, this could well be the killer question. Is your purpose really your purpose?

Of course, there are a million and one ways to describe a positioning. Different models with different boxes. Stories with beginnings, middles and happy endings.

Both of those options can lead to waffling. So it’s important to be 'concise'. What do you stand for? What’s your position? Make it 'clear'.

Popular at the moment is to define your positioning as a set of associations. That’s a good reminder that positioning doesn’t happen on a Powerpoint chart, it happens in somebody’s mind. They see this, they think or feel that.

But how many associations? Five, four, three, two, one? You have to choose.

And if you want more than one, what’s the link between them? There has to be a common thread.

I could go on with the 'C' theme.

Some would remind you about 'character'. It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it.

Others would argue positioning’s all about 'context'. Like the marketing culture vultures. Mind you, they seemed to have stopped saying daft things like advertising’s job is to create culture. Ads rarely, if ever, do that.

Then the red Ehrenberg-Bass lorry would trundle into town to the tune of "Availables Are Coming" and insist this positioning malarkey is unimportant compared to being easy to mind and easy to find. Don’t get hung up on the meaning of it all.

And it’s tempting to agree with them. Just know your brand’s assets and make sure they stand out, they’re 'conspicuous'.

But it isn’t that simple. That’s Ehrenberg-Bass's position. All marketing thought leaders have one. You can’t be one without one.

So I suppose 'compelling' is mine. I’ll always have ‘competitive’ and ‘credible’ in my back pocket, but 'compelling' is my thing.

That’s why the company’s called Closer to Brands. And why I bang on about 'moments of CLOSENESS'.

It’s because, for me, marketing starts with the customer, the consumer.

You can ask all those smart strategic questions of your brand like "what do we do?" and "how do we do it?" and "why do we exist?".

But the thing is, it’s not about you. It’s about the people who might choose you. Marketing is about satisfying their needs, at a surface and a deeper level. The job for a brand positioning is to make a connection with them.

'Connection', that’s the word.

What is it about C’s?


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