Positioning Your Brand to be Unforgettable by Using the 4 C’s Test
“Unforgettable”, is the song to sum up what I want all my clients’ brands to be. Made famous by Nat King Cole, it’s powerful, heartfelt and of course…unforgettable. All the things you want your brand to be.
Positioning any brand to be “unforgettable” is a tall order. We can no longer just spend a lot of money and simply “buy” awareness for our brands. Today’s consumer is too proficient at ignoring our marketing messages.
So, your brand must have ONE overarching idea behind it to establish and protect your position in the marketplace. This ONE idea can also be distilled down into your brand essence and feed your brand promise.
In my case, as Brand Mentoring, my brand is positioned on being a leading teacher of brand building so that my clients can successfully build their brands and master their marketing.
The teacher position ties back to my company name, Brand Mentoring, and is reflected in my customer experience. My brand archetype and voice are based on the sage or guru archetype. And this all ties in well with my personal background as a daughter of two teachers and my enthusiasm for teaching clients.
What is brand positioning strategy?
Positioning strategy is based on how you intend for your target audience to see your product, service or cause relative to competing alternatives. That last part is key— RELATIVE to competing alternatives. Think of it as establishing your “stake in the ground.”
Committing to a positioning strategy means having a focus. And by focusing, it means admitting that your branded product, service or cause is not intended for everyone. This can be scary because we fear leaving out a critical audience. But when we don’t stand for something, we end up standing for nothing. We end up being quite forgettable.
Where is your brand now?
Recently I moderated focus groups for a client who is evaluating what to do with a newly acquired brand. I used a car metaphor question to get a quick thumbnail on how the participants perceived my client’s brand relative to competing organizations. If there’s one thing most focus group participants seem to know and relate to, its car brands.
The car question goes like this, “If X organization/brand were a car, what brand of car would it be and why?” This question ignited a fury of excitement for the participants and client. And the answers solidified for the client where their brands (old and new) really stood in the marketplace, what they really symbolized. It’s now the jumping off point for us to refine their positioning strategy.
Evaluating your strategy using the Four C’s
When forming (or evaluating) potential brand positioning strategies, I use the four C’s test to vet and eliminate the weaker options. The four C’s are…
Does the desired positioning strategy make sense to the audience? Is it singularly focused? Can they easily and accurately repeat back the main idea— or is it more like a game of “telephone” where the idea exponentially deteriorates as it passes through more and more hands?
Is the desired positioning strategy based on something your target audience truly cares about? Or is it based on something safe, vague or “me too”? Try adding the word, "leader" behind your positioning idea to help determine if that strategy sounds compelling.
Does the positioning strategy come across as believable coming from your organization? Remember you can’t be all things to all people. Don’t give consumers yet another thing they can roll their eyes at.
Does the positioning strategy contrast you enough with your biggest competitor? Since consumers are not especially good about sorting out shades of gray, it’s very important to be as opposite of a competitor as possible. By the way, being opposite should not stop with the positioning statement, it should also inform other brand decisions, such as brand personality, color palette and your desired brand experience.
Using the four C’s test will help you challenge and narrow down to an unforgettable positioning strategy. And once you get the positioning strategy right, you’ll have a north star to follow for your marketing. I’ve learned that great marketing usually begins with a great brand. When you know your brand, it’s much easier to make good marketing decisions.
If you have thoughts about market positioning, leave them in the comments area. There are many paths to success and we love to discover new ways to get there. Wishing you all the best as you build your brand and master your marketing.
About Claire Eby, MBA
After many years as a marketing director, CMO and advertising agency executive, Claire Eby, MBA founded Brand Mentoring, where she helps clients build their brands and master their marketing.
Claire’s clients include small business owners, nonprofit organizations and credentialing organizations like associations.
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