This section of the tutorial takes you through the final stages of our step-by-step guidance for creating your Unique Positioning Statement.
In these steps you identify your most compelling competitive advantage for your primary target customer. You are given a checklist for defining your customer's buying criteria. It's vital to deliver your competitive advantage in a way that aligns well with your customer's buying criteria.
The section then concludes with a template to use in formulating a Unique Positioning Statement that encapsulates your description of your competitive advantage and your definition of your target customer.
Author: Mike Armour
What Makes Your Business Unique?
Branding Yourself in the Customer's Eyes
Part 4 of a Four-Part Tutorial
Rank Your Competitive Advantages
With this primary target customer in mind, turn next to the sheet of paper on which you have listed your competitive advantages. Work through this list one item at a time. Below each item jot down whether this advantage is of high, average, or low value to your target customer. Your goal is to isolate the one or two competitive advantages with the highest customer value.
If none of the advantages carry high value for your primary target customer, you may have identified the wrong primary target customer to begin with. Either that, or you may need to re-profile your business so that it has competitive advantages that make it more appealing to your primary customer.
Consider Your Customer's Buying Criteria
You should also assess whether the way you deliver these competitive advantages aligns most effectively with your primary customer's buying criteria. To do this, you must first spell out these criteria.
On a separate piece of paper develop answers to these questions.
- What motivates my primary target customer to buy the kinds of products or services that I offer?
- How would I rank the following in terms of their importance to this customer?
- Customer service and support
- What other considerations shape my primary customer's buying decision?
- What expectations does my primary customer have of a business from which he or she buys?
- What would it take for this buyer to become a repeat customer?
- What would it take for this customer to endorse me voluntarily to others?
The answers to these questions highlight the way that you should package and deliver your competitive advantage. It also dictates the way that you should word your UPS. If your customer buys primarily on selection, you don't want to construct your UPS around your stellar customer service.
Isolate Your Primary Competitive Advantage
This then moves you to the third phase of the UPS-development process, identifying the competitive advantage that will form the heart and soul of your Unique Positioning Statement. Reviewing your list of sustainable competitive advantages, and looking at them through the prism of what you now understand about your customer, which of them stands out as the most promising?
Make an effort to select only one item from the list. But if two are closely tied in your mind, select both of them. In no case, however, should you extend the selection to a third or fourth item.
If indeed you find that several items deserve top ranking in your judgment, they may be worded too specifically. Group them under some larger heading. You might ask yourself, "How could I express my competitive advantage with a single term or phrase that embraces all of these advantages.?" Or you could ask, "What are all of these advantages an example of?" This second question, in particular, should move you toward a more comprehensive way to describe your primary advantage.
Draft Your Unique Positioning Statement Language
After isolating the one competitive advantage on which you will center your UPS, you are ready to begin formulating its final language. The statement itself can follow a variety of formats. But here is a template that might help you with the first draft. (From each series of bracketed words or phrases, select the one that best serves your purpose.):
[Your business name] is [the, a] [choose a singular distinctive from this list or add your own: leading, top, premier, preferred, most respected, most innovative, most experienced, high-volume, low-price, high-quality, first, only, oldest, largest, best stocked] provider of [your primary product or service] for [your primary target customer] who is looking for [your singular competitive advantage].
If you have two competitive advantages, look for a way to blend them together in the last element of this statement
Now that you have a rough draft of your UPS, work at smoothing up the language. The components of your statement do not need to follow the order in which they appear in the template. The template is just a simple mechanism to get you started.
In constructing your Unique Positioning Statement, don't overlook the significance of the word "unique." Your UPS should not include benefits that are commonly available from your competition. And it should not include a laundry list of benefits. You are seeking to identify the singular key benefit which customers will find with few, if any, of your competitors.
You Have a Unique Positioning Statement, Whether You've Stated It Or Not
Just because you've never spelled out your UPS does not mean that you don't have one. You've merely settled for letting your positioning be determined by default. You've allowed others to fashion their own sense of your positioning without you being intentional in shaping their perspective.
Once you become more purposeful in articulating your UPS, it serves as foundation on which you build marketing materials, web sites, sales presentations, and casual conversations about your business.
A well-crafted UPS is more than a mere slogan or tagline to describe your business. It is the anchor statement for all of your marketing efforts.