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Valuable Advice: Best Practices for Positioning


 A few factors conspire to frustrate small business owners about branding. The first is the idea that an elaborate, creative logo is needed and the second is that anyone can write a winning slogan. Both of these misconceptions bog down marketing and create unrealistic expectations. It's why at Dog Star Media, we always emphasize positioning.

The Valuable Advice: A small business will never have the funds (and will rarely have the time and discipline) to establish mass public awareness of a specific brand. A great small business brand must be broadly understandable at first view.If you have to think about it or explain it, you're embarking on a wasteful strategy.

You've grown up watching and hearing major advertising campaigns on television and radio.In a broadcast ad, you hear a slogan and see a logo. When this happens over and over again, it is the company building brand awareness. The goal with sustained mass media advertising like this is to get the public to immediately recognize and identify with the brand or product. This is how fast food chains can make you think of their food with a symbol or identity, the way major international brands like McDonald (Golden Arches), KFC (The Colonel) and Taco Bell (the Bell Ringing) do it. The same goes for slogans like Nike's "Just Do It" and Wheaties' "Breakfast of Champions." You've heard it a million times, and what they are saying makes sense to you.

As a small business owner, this makes you think, "I need my unique symbol that everyone will recognize and I need my catchy slogan that people will remember." The problem with this thinking is you are comparing business apples and oranges. When you try to do it yourself, or some you hire doe it without the process of positioning, however, the slogan or logo is rarely effective the way it can be. Conversely, the large corporations have huge budgets to spend on establishing their logos and slogans on mass media over time.To make such an investment sensible, they have also invested greatly in a positioning strategy. Then, when you use mass media, you target a mass audience for your product, so all the investment makes sense.

So, how does positioning affect your advertising? Positioning is a concept that begins with what the listener knows, not what you want to teach them. Then you work within the listener's general understanding (of everything, not just your product or service) to come up with a way of associating your product with what they know.Once you do this, you connect your value to that idea or understanding with language. This is where the creative language of slogans come in and, for logos, symbols come from that same connection. You can certainly wing it on slogans and logos, but without positioning, it's likely to not hit the mark.

Sound difficult? It is.It takes experience and a lot of discipline to create a positioning strategy. That is why for major corporations it yields successful mass media ad campaigns and for small businesses, it creates easy to understand brands. The scope and tools are different depending on the scale of the business, but the process of positioning is the same.

If you have questions about branding and positioning, please contact us here.

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