Brand Strategy

Brand Positioning in the Digital Age

The Increasing Importance of Brand Positioning in Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Is your brand positioning relevant in the digital age? In this fast paced world we live in, it often feels like a race.  A race to push out content, to be the first to market with a new product or service, to post status update after status update in an effort to increase awareness and engagement, etc.  A lot of information is exchanged between brands and their audiences every day (and for some, every minute!).  Every touch point someone has with your brand is an experience.  And every experience someone has with your brand forms their perception of you. 

Smart marketers recognize the importance of this, and before 140 characters are tweeted, status updates are posted, live videos are broadcast, or content is created… they begin by defining their brand positioning.  Brand positioning is at the heart of any solid brand strategy and should be the guiding element for shaping the experiences that your customers have with your brand.  This is even more important in the digital space, where the opportunity for brands and audiences to engage is at the forefront.


Back to Basics: What is Brand Positioning? 

Your brand positioning is how you want to be perceived in the eyes of your key stakeholders, relative to the space you are in and the value you provide.  A strong brand positioning clearly identifies your core target audience and what specific needs they have (that your brand can fulfill).  Your brand positioning identifies how you compete, based on alternatives available to your target audience and highlights why your brand/product/service stands apart and provides value like no other.  It is not a promise.  It is not a tagline.  Your brand positioning is an internal statement that gives guidance to your overall marketing strategy and how you put your brand out there in the public eye.  It is the roadmap to where you want to uniquely reside in the minds of your target customers. Purposeful and strategic brand positioning is what sets successful brands apart from all the rest.  These brands don’t try to be everything to everyone.  Instead, by crafting a unique positioning, they are able to focus on what is most important to their business, their brand, and most importantly, to their target customers.


How Your Brand Positioning Impacts Your Digital Strategy


Once you have established a brand positioning, everything you do from that point forward should be in support of this, including your digital marketing efforts.  You cannot force someone to think about your brand in a certain way.  Someone’s thoughts and perceptions of you are created through the unique interactions and experiences they have with you. So what you can do, is provide your audience with the experiences that will help to form those positive impressions.  Again, every interaction someone has with your brand is another piece of the puzzle that forms their overall perception of you… and will determine whether or not they find your brand valuable, relevant and unique.  If you want your audience to perceive you as being the best in customer service, for example, this behavior needs to transcend across your entire business, including your digital channels.  Ensuring that your digital content strategy is in alignment with your positioning will keep you in check with your overall marketing goals and objectives as well. zapposA great example of this is Zappos, who has established the positioning of “the online service leader”… setting themselves apart with the absolute best customer service.  They do a fantastic job of reinforcing this throughout their digital marketing strategy, including their social channels.  Just take a look at the Zappos Facebook page and you will see this in action as they reply to almost every comment, delighting customers again and again.  They are consistent in their pursuit to establish their brand positioning and as a result, have continued to enjoy explosive success within the industry.

Your Brand… Their Experience 

How someone perceives your brand is controlled by them… but your brand has the opportunity to influence this perception through engaging brand experiences.  Social media provides a prime forum for this type of influential engagement.  In social media though, it’s not about selling, it’s about storytelling.  Your story should speak to your brand positioning consistently and effectively.  Every touch point you have with your audience on social channels should support and reinforce the brand image you want to exude.  Not just once or once in a while.  Each and every communication you have impacts your brand perception.  Thus, everything you post, share, write, tweet, reply, etc. on social media should be purposeful and in alignment with your brand positioning… and more importantly it should always be of value to your audience

Key Takeaways: 

Your brand positioning should never be an afterthought.  It is the element of your brand strategy which connects everything you do and everything you say.  It helps to identify key experiences that will support how you want to be perceived in the minds of your audience and allows you to shape those experiences in everything you do.  It is the ultimate place that smart brands should strive to uniquely dwell within.
Thanks for reading.  Does your brand have a cohesive brand positioning statement?  Is your digital strategy in alignment with your positioning?  I welcome your comments below!

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Darcy Schuller is the Chief Digital Marketing and Brand Strategist at Suvonni, an innovative boutique digital marketing agency in Chicago. As a leader in the digital marketing space, Darcy is passionate about helping clients build stronger brands through elevated customer engagement, social media marketing, content marketing and dynamic web experiences. Darcy is a respected marketing thought leader, speaker and consultant.