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Differentiation and Positioning: What Does Your Business Stand For?

by Ford Kanzler, Athol Foden  |  
May 27, 2015

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

LinkedIn: Ford Kanzler



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

LinkedIn: Athol Foden

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  • by Barry Chandler Wed May 27, 2015 via mobile

    Some interesting points, but to be clear Apple's differentiation is not in computers, there are many computer manufacturers. Their differentiators are in design, UX and individualism. Waterford Crystal differentiated itself from other crystals around the world because it was all hand made by generations of the same family in a small town in Ireland to an exacting standard.

    Differentiators need to be a layer deeper than the product or service to truly live up to their name.

  • by Malek Wed May 27, 2015 via web

    Today we have a problem about market structure which affect the positioning strategy and brand image.

    With a high competition level and a market fragmentation increasingly greater, it's hard to find a "real" unique positining.

    It need more and more innovation to find the right place and to convince the customer by your brand unique values

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