How do you build a brand positioning that doesn’t just influence communications, but get people to consider and buy what you're selling?

I'm going to share the exact formula we used to re-position Formula E Racing and Al Jazeera with real, measurable results (you can see case studies with impact metrics here and here)

But first - why don't most brand positionings convince people to buy?

The problem is that positioning exercises are usually glorified communications briefs built to create brand ads, and the purpose of brand ads is to shift brand perceptions.

But instead of influencing perceptions, you must aim to influence purchase and consumption.

This subtle broadening of the frame of reference leads to powerful results.

Here’s why.

There are many factors that influence a customer's decision to do business with you - and brand is only one of them.

Equally (if not more) important factors include your product and its qualities, pricing, customer experience and customer service.

All factors that go beyond the marketing department.

So the most powerful positionings must be built to influence those factors.

How do we do it?

First, there are few cross-department initiatives inside an organization that take a cohesive look at how all the consumer facing parts of a business (or factors) come together in a coordinated and competitive way to influence purchase.

A brand positioning is one of them.

So as part of a brand positioning exercise we look to create a central organizing thought that defines how a brand competes.

We call this an organization’s hidden advantage.

For Al Jazeera, we defined their hidden advantage as the plurality of people and perspectives inside the network. Said more plainly, their diversity made the difference.

With Formula E Racing, we defined their hidden advantage as the ability to race in the city centres of the world capitals (thanks to zero tailpipe and sound emissions) whereas Formula One (for the majority) could not.

Second, we operationalized those advantages through one of the least sexiest, most often overlooked components of a brand framework - the brand pillars.

When we wrote the brand pillars, our audience wasn’t potential customers but employees inside the business.

For Al Jazeera, their brand pillars were written for newsroom staff, guiding programming choices and serving as a filter for editorial decision making.

Al Jazeera brand model

This led to new range of diverse content, like morning shows and business and science-based programming.

For Formula E, the brand pillars were written for race directors, with the aim of shaping the race experience both on and off the track.

Formula E brand model

This led to a range of new rules and innovations, like racing in city centres, and Attack Mode, where drivers are allowed to temporarily boost their power by driving through certain track zones.

The result?

  1. A brand positioning that goes beyond the marketing department
  2. Shifted perceptions of the brand team from logo police to revenue driver
  3. A central organizing thought that brings cohesion across business units and teams

From the brink of bankruptcy, Formula E's most recent evaluation crossed $900m USD. And Al Jazeera saw a +313% increase in subscriptions following the re-positioning.

When done right, positioning can be the lever to unlocking the next phase of growth.

Give it a try... or get us to do it for you, pain-free and guaranteed.

The way we work, works

We’re a flexible, fast-moving, group of strategists and creatives. We work as an extension of your team, relying on evidence not hunches to deliver real results, fast.
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