When my kids were young, I would watch them play sports. I’d tell them they could be more successful if they just positioned themselves more strategically on the field. They didn’t need to be worried about how talented they were to all the other players. You can’t control that. You can control how you position yourself to give yourself an advantage. Any player of average talent can be exceptional by holding their position with the competitor within the field of play. Those that position themselves well can negate much of the natural competitive ability of their opponent.
Since it’s March Madness, let’s look at basketball.
1. Getting back on defense reduces the competitor’s field goal percentage by 60% up to 100%
2. When you post up on offense – positioning is key to getting a chance to score
3. Focus on a particular skill (3-point shooter) or one thing (driving to the basket) to be “the player” the coach needs in an appropriate situation
By specializing and focusing on what a company can do best (not trying to be all things to all people), a business can position itself as the leader or the expert for a particular industry or service. For a small company, this can provide the strength they need to win an account and compete against the big guys.
It’s the same for branding. Answer these questions; What is your one thing? How do you want to be known? What do you want customers to remember?
Some principles of Positioning to consider
1. A company can position by the numbers (how many in a particular industry or type) or by the quality of life (the types of projects you love). What is common about those that you love? Don’t focus too much on the past. Put your focus on where you want to be in 10 years.
2. Positioning is attached to the thinking (strategy), not the doing (implementation). The doing can be copied and duplicated.
3. Tightly-Defined expertise always wins out. Quit trying to be all things to all people. Build down and not across.
4. Don’t combine two diverse services that confuse the prospect. Use a term to describe yourself that your prospects will self-identify
5. Make the focus meaningful. Your clients must care about hiring an expert. It needs to be a meaningful distinction.
People engage with what they understand. People trust things they can identify with. Keep your positioning simple and relatable.