What The Heck Do You Do?

Marketing communicationI have borrowed this question from Vincent Tricomi from DFI Displays.

He commented on The Importance of Knowing Your Brand’s Attributes.

When I asked him if all companies that briefed him provided the details of their positioning, Vincent said they didn’t.

As the marketer of your brand, if you don’t know your positioning you are complicating your marketing.

Unfortunately you can’t just sit down with your copywriter or designer and work it out during a briefing as it takes time and thought.

Whether you want more customers or to keep your customers buying, brand positioning is one of the key elements of your marketing strategy.

That said Vincent mentioned one thing he does at trade shows that got me thinking of a simple exercise which could help.

Too often when some businesses try and work out a brand’s positioning they do it by themselves and in isolation.

This is the difficult path to follow.


Sometimes looking at what you are promising to deliver versus your competitors can simplify the whole process. It has been done in research for decades as part of the process and takes some of the subjectivity out of it.

It is no good developing your positioning in isolation and find out afterwards your competitors are saying and showing the same thing as you.

This only confuses customers and doesn’t do justice for all your hard work.

Get help

To make this easier get someone who will give you an honest assessment as it can be easier than doing it on your own. Ideally it should be someone from your target market or who has experience in this area.

Show them your communication and a couple of your competitors and simply ask what is the promise and point of difference.

Getting your positioning right is not always an easy task especially if your market is competitive. However it is necessary if you want a thriving and profitable business.

One thing to note is don’t take it to heart if they don’t say what you want.  Instead see it as an opportunity to review and refine as your positioning is not static. Above all having a positioning that is different from competitors simplifies the buying decisions for your customers.

Did you or have you got feedback or help when you developed your brand’s positioning?

Want to use simplicity to grow your business? To find out more simply Click Here


13 Responses to What The Heck Do You Do?

  1. Good article that I fully agree with Susan. And Dennis, what you do is commendable.

    We are all tired of all the platitudes that are used that makes you look like everybody else, regardless of what they produce.

    To ask someone on the outside to take a look at your brand and offer suggestions is essential. If not, companies may keep on displaying platitudes.

    • Hi Catarina,

      It certainly takes the subjectivity out of it. Unfortunately not all are willing to do it and I guess it means that there will still be many look a likes around.

  2. Hi Susan…This is a big help especially in brand positioning…I am not totally aware with this but you helped me…

  3. My brief is laid out into sections and some of the sections have an explanation for why the following questions are important. I still get questions about it. It can be frustrating sometimes, but part of what I do is educating the client. Here’s an example:

    What copy (text) and pictures are needed?

    Tip: The copy and pictures used in a design are as crucial as the design itself and you should clearly state who is going to be providing the copy and pictures if needed. You may need to look into getting a professional copywriter / photographer – ask your designer for some recommendations.

    • What copy needs to be included in the design? Who is providing the copy?

    • What pictures / photographs / diagrams etc need to be used? Who is providing these?

    • Thanks for providing the example Dennis. I guess it is like most things we don’t know until someone explains and even then it can take a few times. Thinking about my first ventures in marketing and creative I really didn’t understand but was lucky to be taught by working in a large mutli national.

      Thanks for the discussion.

    • So true and I think part of the problem is lack of understanding why each element such as budget and competitors is important. One further question when you give them the brief do you have any explanation for each section as to why they need to give this to you and the reason for having it? Sometimes just a simple explanation can help especially if they haven’t done anything this this before.

  4. 1. It’s never happened. And that shows that they don’t think in terms of the brand. They’re more concerned with the way it looks.

    2. Sometimes they do. They’ll ask “what do my competitors have to do with anything?” or “Why do you need to know my budget”? You’d be surprised. Nothing surprises me after 13 years, Susan. 🙂

  5. Susan one of the first things I do before starting any design (especially branding) is give the client a design brief. It’s a series a questions that give me an overview of the client’s competitors, budget, target market and goals. With that information it’s easy to design a strategy that will maximize their brand positioning.

    • I am sure they appreciate getting the brief Dennis. A couple of questions for you. 1. Do any give you a brief when they approach you for a design? 2. When they fill out the brief do they have any trouble completing it?