Every business ought to have a differentiating and succinct brand positioning framework (or platform). Unfortunately, the majority of today’s businesses do not have such a messaging construct and leave their brand positioning up to chance.  This is a dangerous way to navigate the tumultuous waters of business.  I liken such a situation to a professional quarterback who has no set plays in mind or an explorer who does not have a compass.

This powerful tool (a brand positioning framework of messages) consists of a positioning statement, supporting key messages, proof points and customer- value propositions.  A business armed with such a dynamic and powerful mechanism has what it needs to prime its sales and marketing engine for true market distinction and success.

An effective brand positioning platform not only helps to guide your organization forward and to further distinguish you in your marketplace, but it also helps keep everyone in your organization on the same page in terms of key messages and sales/marketing rhetoric.

Below is the structure of such a framework of messages:

CORPORATE POSITIONING STATEMENT

KEY MESSAGE

PROOF POINT

PROOF POINT

PROOF POINT

PROOF POINT

VALUE PROP

KEY MESSAGE

PROOF POINT

PROOF POINT

PROOF POINT

PROOF POINT

VALUE PROP

KEY MESSAGE

PROOF POINT

PROOF POINT

PROOF POINT

PROOF POINT

VALUE PROP

CORPORATE VALUE PROPOSITION

Positioning Statement (aka “Elevator Pitch”)

As you can see, the brand positioning platform should start with a powerful positioning statement: a memorable, impactful, concise, approximately 35-word statement that tells people what you do, how you are different and what value you will provide to them.  If your salespeople are not able to deliver this top-line sales pitch – and have the recipient understand it in the time it takes to go up two floors on an elevator – it is not effective and needs to be redeveloped.

The particular components of this critical over-arching statement include:

  1. Type of business/organization you are
  2. What products/services you offer
  3. For whom you deliver these products/services
  4. The value these products/services provide to your customers
  5. How you are different from the competition

This is an example of a very effective, positioning statement:

Medical Software Provider is a technology company helping specialty physicians and medical billing companies increase revenue up to 40%, productivity up to 20%, and regulatory compliance as much as 10% by streamlining and enhancing the patient-billing process.

Following is an example of a poorly-constructed positioning statement (same company):

Medical Software Provider develops revenue cycle management and practice management services for health care providers using an internally-developed and scalable technology platform.

Key Messages

These impactful, targeted and succinct differentiation statements are designed to dovetail the positioning statement and further validate its claims.  Key messages typically expound upon one or more of the power words contained within the positioning statement.

Using the same effective positioning statement, note the highlighted and underlined words below.  These are the power words that should be the genesis for supporting key message development.

Medical Software Provider is a technology company helping specialty physicians and medical billing companies increase revenue up to 40%, productivity up to 20%, and regulatory compliance as much as 10% by streamlining and enhancing the patient billing process.

Each of these underlined word sets warrants its own key message that further brings the concept to life.

To illustrate, let us take the keywords “increase revenue” and construct a key message around it.  Below is that example.

Medical Software Provider helps organizations better track and collect on outstanding balances through the automation of its billing and auditing process.

Proof Points

These supporting statements help to substantiate the claim(s) made in a particular message.  Both key messages and the positioning statement need proof points.

Taking the same key message we just highlighted above, let us look at some potential supporting proof points. As the name implies, these statements must be factual.

Key message: 

Medical Software Provider helps organizations better track and collect on outstanding balances through the automation of its billing and auditing process.

Supporting proof points:

XYZ Company recouped $258,000 of outstanding revenue in year one following its installation of MSP’s software.

Following installation of the software, ABC Company increased its revenue 18 percent by raising its collections 49 percent over the first 12 months.

Value Propositions 

Each key message should be supported/backed-up by its value proposition, which states the “what’s in it for me” for the customer.  Therefore, your positioning statement and key messages should all contain a follow-on value proposition.

Using the same key message as above, following is an example of what an effective value proposition might be.  Again, the value proposition is a clear, value-driven statement that explains to the buyer what the benefit is to him/her, per the claim(s) made in the key message.

  • Key message 1:
    MSP helps organizations better track and collect on outstanding balances through the automation of the billing and auditing process.
  • Value proposition 1:
    Your business will improve its bottom line by minimizing revenue loss.
  • Key message 2:
    Our XYZ product is used today by 67 of the Fortune 100 companies.
  • Value proposition 2:
    You can feel assured that our technology is proven and will work as described.
  • Key message 3:
    Each member of our management team has successfully launched an initial public offering (IPO).
  • Value proposition 3:
    Your money is being put into the hands of a company led by entrepreneurs with a history of success.

With a complete, effective and differentiating brand positioning messaging platform established, an organization has the messages needed to differentiate itself effectively from the competition, in the form of powerful and distinct sales and marketing tools – including presentations, brochures, articles, press releases, website copy, booth messaging, email blasts, and data sheets.

Successful utilization of your brand positioning platform helps to ensure increased success for your business in a number of ways, including:

  1. You are effectively differentiating yourself from your competition.
  2. You are continually communicating your differentiation throughout all of your communication tools and channels.
  3. You are building brand consistency among customers and prospects.

These are all critical success factors in business today – especially during times like these, when customers have so many choices and you need to do what you can to stand out from the competition.

Kevin Levi