Positioning Statement

Developing a positioning statement for your product is as important (well..almost) as developing your product.

Professor Gretchen Dobie believes that a positioning statement must define the following three components:

  1. Who is your target customer?
  2. What is your product?
  3. Why should your target customer buy your “competitive advantage,” meaning your “point of difference?”

Let’s look at a few positioning statements.

For Quaker Oatmeal Squares, Professor Dobie suggests the following:

To Female Heads of Household seeking a wholesome breakfast (Target Market), Quaker Oatmeal Squares is the only wholesome ready-to-eat cereal (The Product) that offers all the traditional benefits you associate with the Quaker Man (Point of Difference).

While studying IKEA in class we arrived at the following positioning statement:

To cost conscious young adults looking to buy furniture (Target Market), Ikea offers inexpensive, good quality, stylish, contemporary, ready-to-assemble furniture (The Product), sold in an engaging, fun and attractive setting (Point of Difference).

In another class we studied the case 4 of a French cookie company Michel et Augustinwhich developed the following positioning statement:

“For young adults who want a sweet indulgent snack (Target Market), Michel et Augustin is a brand of sablé cookies in small packages that provide a tasty snack (The Product) and the invitation to be part of an authentic gourmet adventure unlike everything you know because they are made with natural ingredients by Michel and Augustin, childhood friends with a mission to make the world smile (Point of Difference).”

The last positioning statement is a bit wordier (it is French after all) than we would recommend, but it captures the “bundle of value” of the brand. Don’t you want to eat the cookie right now and join the adventure?

Think about your product and develop your positioning statement keeping the three pointers in mind.

Verinder Syal, Author: Discover The Entrepreneur Within

Written by Verinder Syal
Verinder is the Principal at Thoughtful Simplicity, an award-winning teacher at Northwestern University, and the author of Discover The Entrepreneur Within.