Your Guide to Creating a Positioning Template for Your Startup

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TARGET MARKET SCREEN CONCEPT.
TARGET MARKET SCREEN CONCEPT. Source: Depositphotos

11 out of 12 startups fail because they cannot make their awesomeness obvious. Worse, as much as 20% of small businesses fail in the first year itself.

Even if you have a truly remarkable solution, it’s of no use if customers don’t understand their value. So, how do you then make your customers aware of what you’ve to offer? 

By creating a positioning template first, of course. 

Writing note showing Brand Positioning. Business concept for creating a unique impression in the minds of the customers Color Tablet Smartphone with Screen Handheld Back of Gadget.
Writing note showing Brand Positioning. Business concept for creating a unique impression in the minds of the customers Color Tablet Smartphone with Screen Handheld Back of Gadget. Source: Depositphotos

Why does the Traditional Positioning Statement Not Work?

Positioning statements essentially paint a picture of how your consumers are supposed to perceive your business. It identifies the target market and helps businesses to focus on their brand and create a value proposition. 

Yet,  traditional positioning statements aren’t great when it comes to analyzing. 

Here’s why:

High Competition

New enterprises/startups often fail to place their offerings in a market filled with well-established rivals. Carving out a niche in a wide and dynamic market can be challenging for small companies and newcomers. 

You need to build a solid strategy for your brand by researching your competitors and your target audience. Your brand voice and brand story also play a vital role here. 

Research your target market, interview customers, know their pain points, and tie it all together and build your brand identity. So, your first step is building a brand strategy, then your brand identity, and the final step involves marketing your brand. 

Concentrating on a relatively specific sector at first, and creating brand identities before venturing into broader competitive arenas can prove to be effective.

Inevitable Change 

Inevitable changes in the market and the economy as a whole make it difficult for brands to maintain a competitive position. 

Consumers may find the brand offerings monotonous after a point. To combat this, you will need new strategies, like introducing new products. 

This is made all the more difficult by increasing competition in the market. Many other changes can arise, ranging from economic distress to drastic technical transitions, both of which tend to disrupt the company’s otherwise effective positioning strategies.

But as the market evolves, your marketing strategies should evolve too. You need to constantly experiment and see what works best. Currently, major brands include trending events in their advertising to gain traction and to stay on top of the market. It’s an effective method to keep up with your customers and the inevitable change. 

Steps to Create an Effective Positioning Template

Before moving to the steps to create a powerful positioning template, here is a table that describes each one of them:

Product/Offering Name:                                                                                     Date: 

What Does Your Brand Do

Summarize who you are in short     – Keep it concise

Your Target Market 

Explain the niche you’re entering into

Your Target Audience

Describe who your customers are

Current Pain Points

Explain what is lacking with the current products

Your Competitors

Describe who your competitors are 

What Differentiates you

Explain how your brand intends to stand out

What Value You’re Providing

How does your product benefit customers 

Competitive Substitutes

Explain why and who would your customers go to if they stop using your brand

Your Product Features

Explain how your product is different and, what new features are you bringing to the table

Startup Positioning Template 

What Does Your Brand Do?

This section is about your brand and your main vision and mission. Within a couple of sentences, you need to portray who you are. 

Brand Branding Marketing Commercial Name Concept.
Brand Branding Marketing Commercial Name Concept. Source: Depositphotos

To come up with the final solution:

  1. Start by creating a whiteboard or vision board. It needs plenty of market research to build a unique brand identity. 
  2. Include videos, images, web pages, and everything you come across like a swipe file. 
  3. Review the samples and build your brand voice and come up with a tagline preferably in three words.

If you take Nike, it goes by the tagline “Just Do It,” and Coca-Cola’s slogan is “Taste the Feeling.”  

Your tagline defines your brand, and your brand voice should be customer-oriented. Including these in your positioning will help you stand out and help others understand your brand well. 

What is the market category?

A target market can be segmented into more defined categories, narrowing down the customer base based on various indices. Your target market should be specific. The four types of market segmentation are:

  1. Demographic Segmentation

Based on indices such as age, gender, income, location, and ethnicity.

2. Psychographic Segmentation

Based on indices such as personality traits, attitudes, values, lifestyles, interests, and so on. If your product is a luxury brand such as Chanel Beauty, your audience varies from other beauty brands. It’s essential to keep their lifestyles and interests in mind here. 

3. Behavioral Segmentation

Based on indices such as purchasing habits, spending habits, and brand interactions. 

4. Geographic Segmentation

Based on indices such as country, city, and ZIP code. Your products should be unique to each location. 

Who is the product/service for? 

Your positioning template needs to define the group of customers your product/service is for. Taking Amazon as an example, they have amazon. in for Indian customers and amazon.com for US customers. The products are different for both countries owing to the geographic location and customer purchasing habits. It’s essential to define who your customers are. 

Nike’s mission statement goes this way, “Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” Looking at this, you understand that their brand mainly focuses on runners and athletes, but their tagline below the mission statement, “If you have a body, you are an athlete,” sets them apart. It makes their brand reach everyone and not only athletes. 

You need to carefully research your target market and define who your customers are. 

What are the pain points of the customers?

You need to examine your customers and understand the core problem areas. Coming up with a solid solution and building a brand on the product depends on how well you’ve understood the pain points and designed your product to solve that. 

If you look at Amazon, it revolutionized the shopping industry totally. The pain point of customers was going all the way to the stores to buy something. But with Amazon, you get it at your doorstep with just a single click on your smartphone. That’s what made Amazon the best e-commerce company in the world. 

What is the primary differentiator for your product/service?

Why would customers go for your product over that of your competitors? Your specific product or service must have a competitive advantage to stand out in the market and retain its position. The best way to find out is to conduct customer surveys and get the answer from the source. 

Why is McDonald’s the best fast-food company when there are plenty of other fast food joints? Their friendly customer service, affordable price, and taste set them apart. 

It would help if you found that one factor that differentiates your brand from the rest, and your start up positioning template must include that. 

What value you’re Providing to your Customers?

Determine why customers should buy from you, why and how your product is unique, and the benefits of using your product. 

Let’s take Hootsuite as an example here. If you’re trying to build an online presence using all social media platforms, logging in to multiple accounts now and then and interacting with the audience may not be ideal every time. That’s where Hootsuite comes in. 

With this, social media management is easier than ever. You can create content calendars, schedule posts, and engage with your audience on just one platform. You can access all your social media accounts on one dashboard using Hootsuite. That’s a huge benefit for social media managers. 

That’s precisely what your brand should do – to provide value to your customers. 

What are the competitive alternatives?

This step focuses on finding out who your competitors are. You can do this through Google searches, social media, market research, and taking into account real-world competitors. 

You should be one step ahead of your competitors even though your products or services might be similar. 

If your customers stop buying your services, you need to research where your customers are going and why. Analyze your competitors and what better they’re offering. 

What are the key benefits of your product/service?

The next step is to analyze the key benefits – and the value on offer, which can be of three types:

  1. Functional-

It is focusing on what it does for the consumers. It is how each feature benefits your customer.

2. Economic-

It is focusing on what it means to the consumers in monetary terms. While your products might be similar to your competitors, the price you set for your product might differentiate you and gain more customers. 

3. Emotional- 

Focus on how it makes your consumers feel. Having a brand personality and tapping into the customer’s buying behavior by understanding its psychology is essential. Brands like Dior and Tiffany & Co. know their customers well and have set a brand value for their products. 

Don’t Forget to Focus

The last and final step is to focus on the implementation of strategies by:

– Setting goals, 

– Determining roles and responsibilities, 

– Delegating work, 

– Executing plans

– Monitoring progress, 

– Taking corrective action when necessary.

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