We don’t talk enough about positioning.
It’s not as sexy as branding. Not as attention grabbing as the latest growth hack. And the positioning statement definitely hasn’t done it any favors.
But it’s a noisy, cluttered world out there. No matter the size, shape or category of your business, you’re in a heated battle to try and break through.
And good positioning remains your best chance at victory.
So this post is my attempt to talk about it and offer some features of effective positioning strategy along with examples of what it looks like in action.
I started my digital marketing career in 2008, as the Web 2.0 revolution was well underway. MySpace was on life support, Twitter was in its infancy and Facebook was still figuring out how to be a profitable business.
The practice of marketing was evolving in real-time and no one knew for sure where it would ultimately lead. It made the work exciting. You felt like you were in the right place at the right time getting to do things that had never been done before.
But then it got weirdly fanatical. I admittedly, like a lot of people, got a…
I’m a sucker for great hero sections. Having battled through a few of my own, I appreciate the thoughtfulness and restraint involved in getting them just right.
They are also a brand’s most consequential piece of digital real estate. Because in about the time it takes for a page to load, users have already begun forming judgements about the credibility of a product and it’s relevancy to their needs.
The hero section’s job is to make the kind of first impression that convinces the right people to stay a while. …
If you’ve been to see a behavioral therapist in the last 50 years, chances are you’ve been exposed to the work of Albert Ellis.
But long before his pioneering work in Psychology, Albert Ellis was an awkward college kid, desperate to overcome his social anxiety around the opposite sex.
At some point, young Albert discovered the work of the stoics (before the bros made it ‘cool’) and began to see his fears for what they were: irrational, self-perpetuating and something he had agency over.
But actually overcoming them would require more radical measures.
So Albert gave himself an assignment.
Most of the traditional methods for defining a brand are based on the idea that a brand is made up of a collection of attributes, among which include; a brand’s purpose, positioning, values, vision, personality, voice and visual identity.
The use of these attributes helps us to make sense of what is an inherently amorphous concept. They provide us with a set of tangible traits from which to start building the intangible.
While these concepts have their value, the process of compartmentalizing brands into standardized parts doesn’t typically lend itself to breakthrough brand strategy.
And when we’re too invested in…
The first year into launching my practice as a freelance brand strategist was filled with mistakes and lessons. Among them was assuming I could simply copy and paste what I had learned about brand building in the context of big agencies and consumer brands, onto my much smaller, mostly Midwestern clients.
What I discovered in the process was that branding had a bit of its own branding problem.
And despite an infinite array of expert-coined definitions, there is still a lot of misunderstanding about what branding actually is.
Also pretty pervasive is the belief that it isn’t applicable “to our…
In Praise of Small Things (Notes from Spain)
When we’re chasing growth, the tendency is not towards the small or incremental. We want big results, so we assume it takes big, sweeping actions to get there.
But often times the biggest difference makers are much more nuanced. Thoughtful touches that might seem insignificant in isolation, but cumulatively can add up to the kind of growth that money just can’t buy.
On a recent trip across Spain, I encountered several dozen tour guides, restaurants, shops and accommodations through the course of our two week visit. …
There has never been a better time to be civically engaged. Citizen access to information and infrastructure is transforming the practice of democracy. From our social networks to our smartphones, we are more connected, more informed and more empowered than ever before.
But with so many ways to exercise our voice, it can be overwhelming to know where/how to start — especially after an election that left so many of us feeling immobilized.
And while technology has brought scale to organizing, real change still requires that we show up — with our bodies, our voices and our wallets.
Inspired by a Holstee piece on getting curious about where you are, I recently visited a neighborhood art gallery located just a few blocks from my apartment. But this wasn’t just any gallery. It happened to be located inside of one of Atlanta’s most notorious homeless shelters.
I’d driven by countless times, and was always curious about it’s contents, but never had the nerve to go in. How did this creative refuge spring up from what many considered to be an inconvenient symbol of the city’s lingering disparities?
Finally one Thursday afternoon, I scrapped my obligatory errands and decided to…