Clear brand positioning is the hallmark of every successful marketing strategy. It’s defined as a space that you confidently occupy in the market and the minds of consumers.
Think of it like a flag in the mountain; something you can use to actualise and measure success. As advertising guru David Ogilvy explains in his book:
"In Norway, the SAAB car had no measurable profile. We positioned it as a car for winter. Three years later it was voted the best car for Norwegian winters."
He makes it sound easy. But the key to attracting and retaining the right customers - whether that's through marketing campaigns, your website or your sales efforts - is to communicate your brand's purpose and position as a whole, from the second anybody engages with you.
But how do you achieve this branding ‘oneness’ with your sales and marketing efforts? Start with a marketing mantra.
It might all sound a bit new age, but that’s where we’re heading when it comes to consumer trends anyway.
So, what is a marketing mantra?
A mantra is a core thought; something that captures and aligns other thoughts. It brings clarity, and keeps us focused on the present goal. Right?
Your marketing mantra is your brand positioning statement. Just the same, it’s a core thought that aligns your brand and business goals, and all of those fragmented blog posts and email campaigns floating around.
We write marketing content for a living, so we know that distilling your brand down to its essence is a complex task. But it’s doable. And every business should be doing it.
Marketing mantras are also:
Short and simple
‘Om.’ - Everyone trying with the Headspace app
There’s no hard-and-fast rule on how short or simple your brand positioning statement should be, but a common strategy is to fit it into one sentence: ‘for X we are X because X.’ But you might prefer to use a few phrases, words or bullet points. Every company is different.
An internal thought
‘Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.’ - Buddha
A mantra is internal core thought - so your positioning statement is internal to your business. Some like to think of it as ‘the big idea.' Others call it your brand 'soul.' Whatever it is, don’t worry about making it customer-ready. It just needs to be honest and understood by your whole team.
Completely unique to you
‘Not the usual yada yada.’ - What we say at Articulate
Your statement needs to reflect what you do better than your competitors, that little something-something you’ve got down to a T.
Motivating and repeatable
'Om…… Om……Om.’ - Trying a bit harder with Headspace
We’re not saying you need to get your employees chanting it around the office, but a marketing mantra should be something that sticks. You need to be able to return to it - we’ll explain why in a bit.
What is it not?
A marketing mantra is not:
- Good content - Your mantra will be reflected in good content. But your mantra is not the content itself.
- Cheap content - If you’ve hired a cheap writer, you won’t ever find inner peace. People break faith with a brand if it’s not properly reflected in their writing.
- Slogan, tagline or tweet - There will be hints and traces of your mantra here, but these are part of individual campaigns and are externally focused.
- Keyword or metadescription - The same as above, if you’re SEO savvy.
- A jingle - For the love of marketing, don’t ever do a jingle; these really scare your customers off.
The lesson? Your marketing mantra is bigger than all of these things.
How do I find it?
To find your company’s core, you need to ask yourself a lot of questions. But here’s the kicker: it’s not really about you, it’s about who you are to your ideal customers.
If you don’t have a clear image of who your ideal customers are yet, then stop here. Read this article. Switch back.
When prospective customers encounter your brand, you’ll have to pass a series of tests. In an age of plummeting consumer trust, people will prod and probe you before they even think about buying from you.
Here’s what they’re thinking:
1) Who, in the world wide web, are you?
Your customers are people, and they want to be treated like people. More and more people are now are seeking good cultural-fit in business relationships and want more personalised interactions based on mutual benefit and trust.
This is why it’s important to be authentic. You can’t be everything to everyone, so just be yourself.
2) Why are you here?
You haven’t won them over yet. You need to dig deep for a shared purpose. Why are your customers here? And not just on your website, but here? On Earth? Right now? Successful marketing is always about making an emotional connection. So work with that.
3) Why do I care?
Think about your current customers - why are they with you and not somebody else? How does your product or service enhance their lives?
You need to think about this not just in a functional sense (although this is important: sell value and benefits, not features!) but in a wider sense too. How do you help your customers reach their deeper purpose or goals in life?
If you’ve thought hard enough about these three questions, you should have a clear brand positioning statement. This can now be used as something to return to when executing your strategy, and will act as a contextual filter for marketing decisions in line with business goals.
Of course, your brand positioning statement can - and should - change and develop with the market and consumer behaviour. But for now, it’s enough.
Inner peace is a process
Your marketing mantra will help carve out a path to attain good-fit customers. But true inner peace will come when you’re consistently producing great content for them. This takes lots of persistence and trying and testing. But stick at it and you’ll see results.
And maybe, as FastCompany say, the bigger marketing mantra is: ‘have a big heart, play nice, boost the bottom line.’
(Hat tip to Antonio Escobar for the image!)