What the newspaper you read can teach you about the importance of brand positioning

 

A few years ago I made the conscious decision to stop watching the news on TV. Perhaps it was the groundhog day formula of ‘international war, opposition says the Government made a stupid mistake, sport, sport, sport, heartwarming kitten story’ or that it was increasingly easy to find news from other sources – online new sites, Twitter and opinion blogs that provided a sense of balanced perspective on the news.

 When we were working with The Guardian I became even more aware of how every news site has an agenda, a predictable perspective that they take on a news story – for many reasons of course – but often by the mere fact that if you tried to write a truly balanced story about any one event it would be the length of a documentary and most of your viewing audience will have left in search of more jaffas.

 

It’s a problem for the media:

How do you get people to care about important stuff amidst the avalanche of content we all face each day?
— Peter Koechley, Upworthy co-founder

 And it’s a problem for business:

How do you get cut through when on average, 8 out of 10 people will read ad headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest?
— Copyblogger

 

And the answer for both, is to know your brand positioning before you start.

Knowing the position the newspaper takes makes it easier for increasingly time-poor journalists to know how to write a story that sells. It makes it easier for readers, who can quickly skim the headlines as they wait for their takeaway coffee and feel like they have a handle on what’s going on.

I’ll bet you have a preferred paper you pick up to browse through when you’re waiting -  because you know you’ll agree with its perspective on news and current events, you like its writing style and because it’s most reflective of your own values.

 

A brand positioning provides a shortcut in much the same way for businesses

As a business thinking about marketing itself, knowing your position is equally as important. From blog articles to ad headlines, the more clear you can be about how you can help your customer and the more relevant you can make this, the better it will perform.

You can’t make a stab in the dark about this stuff (well you can, but you can guess how successful that is likely to be). But if you spend the time going through the brand positioning process, you benefit in 3 major ways:

  • Your target audience will know instantly who you are and why they need you
  • You’ll have a platform on which to build an efficient marketing machine
  • You’ll have parameters by which to evaluate communication and product decisions.

 

So what is the brand positioning process? Here it is in black and white. (And aqua. I like aqua).

brand process

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Image via Flickr CC/Matt Gibson