A brand positioning exercise you can do in under a week

Everyone needs to know their brand’s sweet spot. It’s where you meet customers’ needs in a way that rivals can’t. It’s where you succeed.

The famous HBR exercise (depicted below) helps you to locate it. All you need is to define these 3 things: your own company’s capabilities; your customers’ needs; and your competitors’ offerings.

“But Chris,” I hear you say, “this is old news. We’ve been there. Done that. It’s sorted.”

But here’s the rub: when did you last update it?

Strategic sweetspot

Now markets change faster than ever, and new product development cycles have accelerated. Apple release at least one new phone every year. Samsung release at least 10. It’s the same story in FMCG. It seems more and more that if your product isn’t new, then it’s already old. So, how does your strategy keep up?

Language, as always, helps. Language reveals thought. And consumers now talk freely on social media, review sites and surveys. They are telling you their needs, what they think of your competitors and what they think of you.

When we worked with an online retailer recently to reassess their strategy, we had a tight deadline. We were able to combine conventional interview techniques with very rapid and widespread data gathering from social media, online forums and reviews.

We identified their brand’s sweet spot in just a few weeks, and they were able to invest and launch into their new retail offering more quickly and with a greater deal of confidence than they ever had before.

Logically, your brand strategy needs to be reassessed as soon as your market changes. The moments of change are typically when a competitor launches a new product or a significant new campaign; when a new challenger enters the market, or your own company comes under new control; or when the market conditions change – perhaps because of new trading laws, for example.

Recently, we’ve helped a high street fashion brand with their brand positioning; we’ve defined the brand values of a successful international brand for the UK market; and we’ve helped a fintech start-up in the city to build their brand identity. If you think now’s the right time for your brand to review its strategy, and then bring it to life through a mission statement, brand guidelines, or team workshops, then email Chris.