What's Your Positioning Message?
There are many ways for a business to be unique, from
small pricing, packaging, and service differences to significant
feature and benefit contrasts with the competition. In
all cases, your business's uniqueness has to be examined
in relation to other products and services that your target
buyer is currently using (i.e., things that your business
hopes to replace with its own offerings). Differences
really don't matter unless they are important enough to
the customer to influence his or her purchasing decision.
In some cases, there may be little or no difference between
your product or service and that of your competitors.
Or, the differences may be very difficult to communicate
(think of the difference between Coke and Pepsi.) In that
case, it's up to you to create some differences.
For example, granulated white sugar is essentially indistinguishable
from one brand to another. Physical product features are
the same for each brand. Product benefits and usage are
identical. However, even plain white sugar can be differentiated
with pricing, packaging, and quality image supported by
You've already started the process of thinking about
your positioning if you've constructed a unique selling
proposition (USP) for your product or business. Rosser
Reeves is the author of the phrase "unique selling
proposition," or USP, which is a unique message about
itself versus the competition that each business or brand
should develop and use consistently in its advertising
and promotion. For example, if you provide free delivery
service to your customers because no one else in town
is doing it, you've constructed a USP based on service
that you are communicating to the intended target buyer.
If, however, you offer free delivery service because everyone
else in town does so and you need to provide it to keep
up with the competition, it's not something that sets
you apart and should not be the focus of your USP.
"Differentiation" is the collection of differences
in features and benefits versus competitive products.
The key is to determine how important these collective
differences are to the buyer. Communication of important
differences is the basis for a successful positioning
"Positioning" is adding brand value to this
collection of differences in the mind of the buyer. In
other words, you must solve the problem of how to communicate
a meaningful difference about your business idea to the
people who are most interested in buying it.
Meaningful differences in your product or service, compared to
that of your competitors, should be created and communicated to
your target buyer via packaging, pricing, features and benefits,
product design, colors, advertising and promotion mediums, public
relations events, and even spokespersons. Everything should work
together to promote a consistent image for your product or service.
Source: fiducial - CCH Business Owner's Toolkit