Brand Position: Promises, Promises

“Promises are like babies: Easy to make, hard to deliver”—unknown

“It’s not about pop culture, it’s not about fooling people, and it’s not about convincing people that they want something they don’t.  We figure out what we want.  And I think we’re pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too.  We just want to make great products.” Steve Jobs

That’s quite a positioning statement from Apple.  And it is intrinsically tied to the personality of CEO, Steve Jobs. Apple’s tagline has been “Think different.” This position statement appeals to the changing trends in technology and consumer tastes. Once the iPod and iPhone took off, that tagline took on a life of its own. The Apple brand makes a strong promise about its products.  Their customers are extremely loyal because Apple backs up their brand promise with great products. It’s the promise that is the key to a good positioning statement.

Your promise: The Foundation of Your Position.

What is your organization’s promise? Most associations and nonprofits offer a service for a specific purpose. If you’re in travel, you’ve got a niche. If you want to build a strong brand, then you should focus your communications on a promise that sticks in your member’s mind. That promise should be relevant to your values and ideals and is member driven. That promise creates a position that separates you from your niche competitors and gives vision to your offering.

Positioning breaks through obstacles and creates new opportunities. It defines who you are and the perception you want members to have. Apple’s iPhone became a home run because it created a way for people multitask right from their phone. The app extensions make that function easily customized. There’s an app for just about anything that of interest to the user, including dieting, exercising, buying groceries, checking bank accounts and finding a place to eat.

If you’re a health-oriented association, you can have a lot of competition. You must clearly announce what benefits you’re offering and your audience must find them believable. Colleges and universities often sound alike with their offerings of small classes, beautiful campuses and student testimonials. One school, the University of Dayton boldly announced they were not for everyone, and suddenly their admissions shot up over 33%.

Here are some important questions to ask when examining  your positioning:
  1. Messaging: Are your core values clearly understood across your communications platforms? In our social media world, things change at the twit of an eye. If you’re not clear, then someone’s going to challenge it, dilute it, twist it or ignore you all together. You don’t want the wrong message sent across the universe.
  2. Design: Is the look and feel and consistent with the values you state? Design can differentiate your position. Notice that Target and Walmart fight for the same retail category space. However, Target’s focus is on good design while Walmart focuses on price.
  3. Uniqueness: Is your content based on what you know about your members and what’s important to them?
  4. Trust: Do your constituents really trust what you’re saying about your mission? Do you thank your members? Do you ask for feedback and really listen to their needs?  Social media is a great tool to enhance this capability.
  5. Relevance: Are your services relevant to the needs of your community?  The last 18 months have seen tremendous changes in communications. Make sure you’re reaching your members where they’re at. Perhaps you’re only doing email blasts and never considered setting web communities that segment your audiences based on specific interests.
  6. Inspiration: Are your stakeholders enthused by your promises? Are they led down the right path with a believable story?

Your stakeholders’ buy-in could be practical or it could be emotional.   What might that look like?  We’ll talk about that next as we look at things through your member’s eyes.

Dick Rabil is President and Creative Director at Slice.  Dick leads the SLICE team’s collaborative efforts to find solutions to your interactive and digital needs. For more information, visit our website at: https://sliceworks.coydhea2-liquidwebsites.com

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