Many of you would have very likely seen the Albert Einstein quote that states: ‘Any fool can make things complex. It takes a touch of genius to move in the opposite direction.’ The very same mastermind also said ‘if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.’ This is a powerful fact that I am exposed to, almost daily. And it is a truth that every business should sit up and take note of.
As a copywriter, it is part of my legacy to help businesses craft content that will clearly make them SEEN, HEARD and UNDERSTOOD by their target audiences. Point of departure to accomplish this; should be to create a well-articulated positioning statement. Simply put, a positioning statement is no more than one to two lines that tell your target audiences EXACTLY what needs or desires of theirs you fulfil, and why you can do it better than any of your competitors. Here are a few words to the wise on how to go about it.
The four cornerstones of a solid positioning statement.
A good positioning statement should comprise four main elements. It should firstly express with no uncertainty who you are speaking to, or who you wish to appeal to. Secondly, it must be crystal clear what product or service you offer. Your reader should not need to use an Oxford dictionary to decipher it or do additional research to grasp it. It should then demonstrate the benefits you offer and what sets you apart. This will have little or no impact though if it is just another cliché and if you are not able to substantiate what you say with real facts or examples. Lastly, you need to illustrate your credibility. Your target audience needs to see if and why they can trust that you will be able to deliver.
An uncompromising approach to clarity is key.
Once you have compiled your positioning statement, it is always a good idea to first bounce it off your colleagues and a number of other trusteds. One of the most important elements that you need to test; is whether the message is perceived as intended, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, a classic writer and outstanding representative of the Enlightenment era said it best: ‘For me the greatest beauty always lies in the greatest clarity.’ Sadly, too often after reading a company profile, brochure or website, one is still left with the question: ‘So what is it that you DO exactly??’ Based on the feedback you get, keep on refining your positioning statement until there is no confusion about your company offering.
Repeat the same message and people will remember it in no time.
Your positioning statement should be central to any and all of your communication. Every member of your organisation should also know it off by heart. If a potential client asks any of you: ‘Tell me about your business,’ they should – without exception- get the same answer. If you keep on stating the same message consistently and repetitively, people will start to remember what you’re about in no time.
Putting it all together
In summary, you could simply follow these few guidelines to craft your positioning statement:
- Understand its purpose.
- Know your target market.
- Keep it simple, memorable and specific.
- Make it easy for the average reader to digest.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat!