A Behind The Scenes Look At Developing A Positioning Statement

A keynote conversation with Danny Schuman and Susan Silverman

Photos from the Sales and Marketing Bootcamp at the Polsky Exchange North on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, in Chicago. (Photo by Matt Marton)

During the Fall Quarter, the Polsky Center continued its successful bootcamp series with a two-day deep dive into the world of sales and marketing. These two days featured a variety of talks and panels intended to provide strategic and tactical advice to Chicago’s entrepreneurs. Furthermore, both days provided attendees the opportunity for networking and one-on-one mentoring.

Starting off day two of the bootcamp, which focused on marketing, was Danny Schuman, founder and head twister of Twist Your Thinking, and Susan Silverman, founder of Argentum Strategy Group. Their keynote discussion titled “Brand Marketing from Both Sides of the Brain!” provided attendees insights and advice from the wide array of experience the two both have with marketing.

Both Schuman and Silverman emphasized the importance of brand positioning for a business of any size or scale, and emphasizing the need for a strong positioning statement. The two described how a positioning statement should be a tight story with simple, clear, and understandable language.

According to the keynote speakers, crafting an excellent positioning statement not only serves as the key to any investor pitch, but will serve as a decision filter for the types of advertising with which your company will engage.

They broke down the main points of a positioning statement to:

  1. Target, or who it is for. For many business owners there is a temptation to make the target audience as broad as possible to reach the most people. While a business can have a broad audience, at a certain point it is nearly impossible for businesses to try to be everything for everyone. However, at the same time, you don’t want the target audience to be too narrow. According to Shuman and Silverman, the trick is to make your target as broad as you can while still forming an emotional connection to the people you want to connect to most.
  2. Frame of reference, or where does your product or service fit in the world. Who are your competitors as of right now? Silverman and Schuman described how this should be super simple and something you shouldn’t spend more than 30 minutes crafting.
  3. Unique/differentiated benefit, or what it does for the world. This part of the process aims to answer what your business’s  core purpose is, and how it’s  better or different than any other product or service out on the market. This is the biggest part of your positioning statement
  4. Reason to believe, why people should believe you. This section emphasizes what sets you apart from the competition — the rational and functional benefits of your product or service. This can be done by presenting ingredients, how the consumer will feel, or by creating a vision of how you, or your business, will change how the consumer is perceived. One reason at a minimum; three reasons at a maximum.

These four key points of a brand positioning statement can then be turned into a clear, concise sentence. Both Silverman and Schuman stated how the resulting statement will be essential to any internal or external needs by laying the groundwork for your elevator pitch, messaging efforts, and creative briefs.


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