So let’s start off by getting the obvious misconceptions out of the way.
It’s not a vision statement.
That’s part of the internal brand and represents the brands’ aspirations and what the future brand looks like.
It’s not the mission statement.
That’s also part of the internal brand and represents the brand’s commitment.
It’s not a tagline.
That’s a customer facing distilled message, which encapsulates the differentiator.
It’s not a USP (Unique Selling Proposition).
That’s an internal outline, which focuses only on the differentiator.
It’s not a Value Proposition.
A value proposition focuses on the functional and emotional benefits of the experience.
It’s not an Elevator Pitch.
The elevator pitch is a collection of punchy sentences that summarises the brand and is designed as an engaging conversation starter.
So… now that we know what a brand positioning statement isn’t, what is it?
The last four of the above (the Tagline, the Value Proposition, the USP and the Elevator Pitch) all attempt to:
Summarise what the brand does though the summaries have different jobs and are intended for different stakeholders.
(“Stakeholders” is just a fancy word for anyone with an interest in the brand including customers, employees or shareholders)
The Positioning Statement is not intended to be “customer-facing” statement, which means customers shouldn’t see it.
It’s designed as an internal document to provide clarity of position to the brands leadership team (from the CEO to the customer service reps).
Its job is to provide clarity and direction for all brand representatives (especially the decision makers) around:
Who it helps
What it helps with
The outcome or experience
The competitive alternative
The point of difference
The “Competitive Alternative” is the unique identifier of the positioning statement as it aims to identify its position in comparison to the alternative.
This clarity in direction guides the brand with the end goal of establishing a position in the mind of the brands’ customers.
So the brand positioning statement has the job of guiding the brand into the mind of the audience.