Monday, May 17, 2010

Communicate the Position

Armed with a clear idea of how the company’s product or service is positioned in the market and a compelling customer value proposition, you are now ready to begin promoting your offering. The ideal messaging will help your customer understand how your company’s brand delivers on its promises at all levels in the brand-promise hierarchy as follows (starting from the bottom):

  • Product or service features are tied to specific under-served functional jobs and outcomes that they address

  • A link between what the customer is trying to get done and how they want to feel or be perceived as a result of getting a job done is effectively made

  • The customers’ values, personality, and lifestyle are taken into account to understand their frame of reference when selecting solutions and executing the job

A great example of this type of communication comes from PNC.  Their Virtual Wallet product was created to address unmet customer needs when managing money.  They are targeting younger savers who do not think managing money is fun and have better things to do with their time.  To compensate, they created messaging that is upbeat and straightforward, connects with their target audience’s lifestyle, and explains what jobs and outcomes they are helping customers satisfy.

To achieve your desired market position, your marcom team needs to formulate a communication plan by connecting the functional and emotional needs of the target audience.  This includes making a number of decisions:

  • What are the objectives of the planned campaign? What do you want to happen as a result of your marcom activities?

  • What message are you trying to convey? What do you want your target audience to know?

  • Which communication medium(s) best convey your message?

  • At what points in the customer buying process do you want the message to be released?


Customer Buying Process

Figure out needs

Identify options

Evaluate options

Choose an option


Modify the choice





As a result, a detailed communication plan can be prepared that allows you to develop a winning winning market position that resonates with customers, align internal and external stakeholders on the value of a brand so that messaging is clear and consistent, and own a repeatable and sustainable process for developing focused and effective marketing campaigns.

1 comment:

  1. Great thoughts regarding how to best communicate positioning and messaging! Another piece that I hope you address in a future post is how companies should most effectively evaluate their messaging on a regular basis to ensure that it still resonates with customers as well as how it compares to what the competition is saying. For example, in my world of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, companies have deployed large sales forces to try to persuade physicians to write scripts for their products. They do this mainly by presenting clinical data that fits their messaging. In theory this messaging is intended to convince health care professional that a particular drug will help them get their "jobs done" such as treating anemia in chronic kidney disease patients while achieving their "desired outcomes" such as resulting in acceptable efficacy and safety. However, the competition continually tries to counter-message each other in order to convince the physician that they have the superior product. This counter-messaging usually occurs along three key dimensions: 1) clinical outcomes, 2) cost, and 3) operational/organizational impact on the patient, provider, and/or payer.

    Do you think business wargaming where competitor messaging is role-played with multiple teams in a simulated environment is an effective way for companies to systematically evaluate whether their messaging needs to be refined and how best to do this? Or, do you have other specific suggestions on how best to systematically refine product messaging in the face of intensive competitor counter-messaging?