Pursuing, attaining, and maintaining a competitive position in the market is at the heart of an effective marketing communications plan.

A well-crafted positioning statement defines your company's direction. It answers two essential questions from the customers' point of view: "What's different about your business?" and "What unique benefit is derived from your product or services?"

Surprisingly, few companies exist where management is in total agreement on those answers—or even where the answers can be found.

The basic reason for answering those questions is to carve out turf that your brand aims to hold against competitors. That's differentiation. The difference between what you offer and what others offer is important to customers.

Ideally, you'll discover the important, single difference through research and strategic thinking.

Standing Out From the Competition

How can we win against competitors? What can we do that they are not doing, or cannot do or say, that's important to customers?

The statement should be defined in a clear, simple communications strategy that covers the two questions above. It can be a very short paragraph defining the differentiation claim with no more than three key messages that powerfully support the claim. Then it has to be consistently applied across the organization, which absolutely includes "walking the talk."

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image of Ford Kanzler

Ford Kanzler is principal at Marketing/PR Savvy, a public relations and communications firm.

LinkedIn: Ford Kanzler



image of Athol Foden

Athol Foden is president of Brighter Naming, a company specializing in the name development process.

LinkedIn: Athol Foden