The word “positioning” gets tossed around almost carelessly in corporate documents, and I often feel as if the word is misunderstood (that’s foreshadowing). Positioning isn’t what we say, it’s what people think and to that end any “position” that is coveted by brands has to be plausible, or anything brands say will be misaligned.
Gartner positions vendors in its Magic Quadrant reports along four categories: leaders, visionaries, challengers and niche players. Positioning as a “leader” is generally a difficult proposition because every company claims to be a leader. If everyone is a leader, then leadership as a point of differentiation has lost its luster.
PR pros, however, know it’s entirely something different when someone else calls us a leader, which is what makes the upper right hand corner of a quadrant so magical. It’s the simple notion that nothing we say about ourselves is as powerful as someone saying it about us. Better still when the concept is aligned with preconceived notions; it’s hard to create new notions.
Here are several timeless PR positioning strategies:
- Positioning as a niche. A niche is a unique need where a product, service or brand is especially well suited. The key to niche positioning in PR is proving that the niche is worth attention because it has some broader implication. By definition, a niche does not meet the needs of the masses.
- Positioning as David vs. Goliath. Brains over brawn is classic marketing strategy. Everyone wants to root for the little guy, and better still when the little guy does it with ingenuity over brute strength. What often goes unsaid is the re-positioning of the competition without saying it aloud.
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