What is a Positioning Statement?
A Positioning Statement, also known as a slogan, should communicate the benefit or difference that separates your specific business, product or service from your competition. The Positioning Statement is the rudder of your advertising and marketing, setting direction for your outreach efforts and keeping you on course.
An effective Positioning Statement:
a) Is Quickly understood, whether “seen” or “heard”
b) Provides a consistent theme that ties all of your advertising together
c) Builds consumer memory through repetition
In the world of advertising, recall of your product or service at the time of a buying decision is the key. If your business, product, or service is not the first or second one that comes into the consumer’s mind at the time of a buying decision, the chances are great that you won’t be the selected supplier.
Never infringe a known registered mark
Most Positioning Statements are born from commonly used phrases or words, and so we often see similar slogans (or slogan elements) used by more that one advertiser. Even in the national arena, both Coke and Wal-Mart (use or have used) the Positioning Statement, “Always.” In the case of these two huge corporations, both can use the same line because they are not in competing fields and there is little potential for the consumer to be “confused” by their use of similar slogans.
There are many occasions, however, especially with national products, when a Positioning Line has been “Registered” either as a service mark or trademark. In these instances, normal procedure is to put the public “on notice” with an “R” in a circle after the line or an “SM.” If a positioning line is already being used in your space, you should strive to be sure your own slogan is completely different.
NEVER use a line that you know is some other party’s intellectual property. The law protects those who have been granted “ownership” of a line. (On the other hand, it is very difficult to be granted registration for common words or phrases. Many times the only way a registration is granted is when the words are accompanied and combined with a unique graphic logo.)
A Slogan is Not Forever
In advertising, it is usually best to stay the course. You want customers to remember you for a long time, and you don’t want to confuse them with ever-changing messages or positions.
That said, positioning statements CAN and DO change. Over the course of years, Mc Donald’s has used a variety of slogans. “You deserve a break today”; “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun”; “We love to see you smile,” and “I’m lovin’ it” are just some of their slogans. They have the advertising budget to create and maintain evolving product awareness … and they apparently have had the need.
For local advertisers without McDonald’s budget, however, we always advise that you should only change for a sound reason.
Is there a new development in your business, product or service?
Is the new thing what you want the consumer to concentrate on and remember about you?
Is the new thing the thing that really and truly sets you apart from the competition?
Then it’s time to create a new line that reflects the change.