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Developing a clear and unique position statement which outlines who you are focusing on and what you do can help you secure some die-hard fans. This loyal core can be enough to sustain your business if not propel it into something beyond what you could even imagine.

Everyone wants to be liked.

When it’s obvious someone doesn’t like you, it takes a healthy amount of self-respect and confidence to say you know what? That’s fine. You’re certainly entitled to your opinion. If it’s all right, I think I’ll hang out with these people over here who like having me around.

For businesses,

being liked is a matter of survival. Clearly, if not enough people like what you do they’re not going to give you money, and then you don’t have a business.

So it takes a lot of guts to say, “If you don’t like what I have to offer, that’s totally fine. It’s not for you. If it’s all right, I’ll focus on the people over here who really like what I have to offer.”

Starbucks cultivated

die-hard fans and now teenagers who don’t even drink coffee beg for their product. How? They decided to be different. According to their website, Starbucks set itself apart by bringing the Italian espresso bar culture to America in the eighties. Back when coffee, for the most part, was just coffee, especially from a commercial perspective, Starbucks was pouring the first lattes. Now, customers are shelling out $5-7 for a sugary drink with a green straw.

Illustrator, podcaster and speaker Andy J. Miller compares standing out in business to trying to get the attention of the t-shirt gun at a raucous sports game. Hundreds or thousands of screaming voices all meld together and unless you have an atypically loud voice, you’re not going to stand out. Andy’s solution as a kid? Make a different noise, like a high-pitched “eeeeeeee” that will cut through the clutter. When everyone’s trying to be louder, you need to do something different. Better service and better quality when it comes to business are often just “louder.” Unless you provide the absolute best service or the absolute best quality, it doesn’t matter. What’s different about what you do that will attract a customer’s attention? And not just any customer, but the customer you want?

Ryan Holiday, former Director of Marketing for American Apparel, chose a slightly different route to grab attention. When he didn’t have the funds for expensive print ads in big publications, he put up a cheaper billboard. Not the most original idea until he paid someone to deface it. He took a picture of the defaced billboard through the window of a car to look like a snapshot, and “leaked” it to the press who published it for him. His idea was to make the ad so interesting it was newsworthy, and people talked about it for him. His idea was the high-pitched “eeeeee” in the overcrowded advertising industry, and he stood out.

Sometimes, a brand’s position statement is to simply be unique. Take for example, Old Spice. Roundpeg’s Sam Von Tobel wrote a great post detailing the extremely weird, memorable, campaigns that you can check out here. Old Spice’s unconventional approach is a fantastic demonstration of how defining (or redefining) your brand’s goals, target audience, and market position can set you up for viral marketing success.

Man on horse holding Old Spice and diamonds on the beach

From Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign

How is your business different from your competitors? What makes you unique? What is the thing that grabs people’s attention and turns them into die-hard fans? Dig in to what sets your business apart and dare to be different.

Position Statement

This post was updated on May 26, 2019