A strong brand positioning is the foundation for a successful organisation. Brand personality, brand values and a brand promise usually determine how a company positions itself in the marketplace. It also defines which features are emphasised to express a clear image of the brand.

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The moment of truth comes when the brand positioning is finally implemented in the organisation. This is a more difficult task than developing the brand position itself. So, where to start? Simply communicating a new positioning is not enough to realise the brand promise. A strong brand adopts the positioning in everything it does, not just in marketing communications. It includes the characteristics of the products or services too, and ultimately determines how the brand is perceived when and wherever you encounter it. To achieve this goal involves reaching out to the whole organisation and not just the marketing teams.

In this blog, we’ll take you through a step-by-step approach to implementing your brand positioning.

The preparation

A successful brand positioning begins with good preparation. A brand positioning indicates what a brand stands for, but in most cases, it’s still too complex and abstract to apply immediately to all parts of the organisation. To prepare for the actual implementation, it helps to first make the brand positioning tangible: specifically, define what customers can expect from the brand in each of the contact moments. In five steps, we’ll explain how this process can be done in a structured way.

1. Determine the main brand touch points and/or channels

Start by determining which brand touch points are the most important for your organisation. Choose up to five. Not sure which channels are best for your organisation? Here’s a tip: find out what the moments of truths are in the customer journey. This should provide you with enough data to choose the most appropriate channels. For each of these channels, decide what the positioning means for the experience in that channel (see Step 5 below).

2. Merge the brand positioning into four distinct promises

A good brand positioning comprises several elements. In most cases the brand personality and brand values are the key components. The other elements we frequently come across are: the target groups, the brand essence, the brand promise and the benefits. It’s important the positioning is translated into a few key descriptions which embody the brand. These descriptions should explain the central brand promise. Choose up to four to create a clear picture of your organisation.

3. Investigate the gap between promise and proof

The next step is to determine to what extent the promise is being met. It must be determined where and in what way this can be improved. The gap must therefore be investigated. Start by collecting this information with internal stakeholders. Select a diverse group of people from across the business who can act as brand ambassadors at a later stage, and who can also play an important role in expanding and furthering the brand positioning.

4. Identify the needs and expectations of potential customers

With input from the brand ambassadors, you will have a good basis to map the experiences, expectations and needs of customers. Do you know how customers currently experience the brand? Is this in line with the brand promise? And with the promise in mind, what do customers think the brand can deliver for them? What are their expectations? This kind of information is invaluable to making the brand positioning specific and relevant to your customers.

5. Determine how the positioning is expressed in the most important brand touch points

The research stage undertaken with employees and customers will provide a lot of information, possibly a little too much data. The best ideas should be set down to help inform the transition of the positioning to more tangible features of the main brand touch points and/or channels of the organisation. Together with a group of brand touch point owners from the most important contact moments (determined in Step 1) you can now decide how each promise can be verified in each channel. The objective is to put together global principles, which can be specified in the actual implementation for departments and employees.

The implementation

The positioning affects everyone within the company. The roll-out should be cascaded top-down: from business units, to departments, through to individual employees. Each part of the organisation can determine what the positioning means for his/her responsibilities, and in turn ensure that the change is implemented. By actively galvanising the entire organisation and determining what this means for the daily work routine, the positioning can be realised throughout the business. It helps to keep track of this cascade to ensure momentum is maintained. This is an important task for the brand manager and brand touch point owners. Both are good go-to references to field/answer questions around the brand. They also test to what extent the strategy is in line with the original idea.

Finger on the pulse

The implementation is not a snapshot, but a continuous process. So, keep the brand performance monitors at the ready. Is the brand positioning reflected across all brand touch points? If not, find out why this is not happening and adjust your approach accordingly. By keeping your finger on the pulse, adjustments can be made in a timely way and the experience will remain optimal for customers and employees. This is how to develop a strong brand, and in so doing, a successful organisation.

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