How do I position my brand for success? What is the most compelling story I can tell about my business? Those are two of the most substantial questions marketers and entrepreneurs have to answer when running their business. In fact, the answers will determine whether their brand will gain traction in the marketplace, grow, and get shared by consumers—or not.

An analysis of over 1,000 case studies from around the world of successful brand building has found that there are 26 different "approaches" to telling a brand story, each representing a different but proven opportunity to positioning your brand and telling your brand story. Each approach can be summarized by a key question (or set of questions), which I share below.

Tapping into this collective marketing intelligence by answering those 26 questions will help marketers sharpen their brand positioning platforms and tell better brand stories.

Setting the Stage

The first 10 questions deal with the context in which the brand can be positioned. They set the stage of the brand story, if you will.

1. Redefine your business: What other categories satisfy a similar need or provide the similar emotional reward that yours does? And what opportunities would this new perspective offer for building your brand and your portfolio? (Example: Cirque du Soleil)

2. Claim the gold standard: What is collectively understood and accepted to be the "ideal" your category has to offer, and how can your brand claim, utilize, or position itself against this ideal and its associations? (Example: DiGiorno's "It's not delivery, it's DiGiorno.")

3. Be a part of culture: What cultural movement or subculture (and associated set of values) could your brand fit into or position itself against? (Example: the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty)

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image of Ulli Appelbaum

Ulli Appelbaum is an international brand strategist and the founder of First The Trousers Then The Shoes Inc., a brand strategy and research boutique that helps brands achieve their business potential by creating compelling positioning platforms and brand stories.

LinkedIn: Ulli Appelbaum