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May 5, 2021

Episode 008: How to Define & Communicate Your Brand Position with Nathan Holritz

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When there are countless others out there who offer the same product or service that you do, how can you stand out in the marketplace?

According to Photographer’s Edit CEO and Bokeh Podcast Host Nathan Holritz, one of the most effective ways that your business can stand out in a saturated market is by crafting a unique brand position statement and strategically including this statement on your website, on social media, and in your other marketing materials.

If you’ve read Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller (which Nathan and I highly recommend that you do), you may already be familiar with this concept.

However, determining your brand position can be easier said than done. I mean, it was for me anyway!

Because Nathan knows how powerful brand position statements can be, in this episode of Priority Pursuit, he breaks down exactly how to define and communicate your brand position so you can stand out in your market and increase sales!

What is a unique brand position, and why is it important for creative entrepreneurs to determine what their unique brand position is?

According to Nathan, a brand position statement (also commonly referred to as a unique value proposition) is simply a statement that explains what makes you and what you have to offer unique so you can stand out in the marketplace.

In a technology-driven world, it’s arguably easier than ever before to start a business. As a result, many creative markets are saturated. This isn’t a bad thing and is wonderful for building community, but with so much competition, it can be hard to stand out. And, when you don’t stand out, you will likely miss out on business—income.

A unique brand position or a brand position statement clearly explains what makes you and your business different and how you can meet your ideal client’s needs.

What are examples of good and bad brand positions?

According to Nathan a “good” or “effective” brand position statement:

  1. Clearly states the service being offered
  2. Shares the variation of the service or the unique value (why what you have to offer is different than your competitors)
  3. States who the product or service is for

For example, if you check out the Photographer’s Edit website, you’ll see that their brand position statement (listed at the top of their website) is, “Custom Editing for Professional Photographers.”

This statement clearly explains what’s being offered (editing), the variation of the service (custom), and who the service is for (professional photographers). As a result, when prospective clients visit Photographer’s Edit website, they can almost immediately decide if Photographer’s Edit is what they’re looking for and how Photographer’s Edit compares to other editing service options.

A “bad” or an “ineffective” brand position statement, on the other hand, would be a statement that is “unclear,” “vague,” “cute,” or “cliche” according to Nathan.

For example, Nathan argues that photographers especially tend to try to be more creative than clear when crafting their brand statements. As a result, they use statements like, “Capturing memories to treasure.” While this statement might sound nice to a creative, it’s cliche; it leaves room for questions; it’s unclear; and it ultimately would not help a photographer stand out in the marketplace.

Essentially, a strong, effective brand position will clearly communicate what makes you and your business different.

How can you determine your brand position?

Now, I think it’s safe to say that determining your brand position is easier said than done, but Nathan provides some practical steps to help you determine yours.

1. Establish a big picture view.

First, you need to take a step back and look at your business from afar. For example, what’s the goal of your business? What do you want your brand to represent? What kinds of clients do you want to serve? What’s most important to you?

Your brand position will define nearly every aspect of your business, so it’s important to truly think about what you want your business to be.

2. Look at the market & find a gap.

More often than not, creative entrepreneurs tend to mirror their businesses after other similar businesses that they admire. However, Nathan contends that this can be a mistake—especially if you’re mirroring your business after a direct competitor’s business.

To stand out, your business and your brand position statement need to take a unique approach. With this in mind, Nathan recommends looking at the market and finding a “gap” rather than going where it’s already “crowded.”

If you’re looking to start a brand new business, this tactic could certainly help you launch something successful if there’s enough demand.

However, if you already have an established business, this step is where you need to determine what makes you different. What do you do that’s different from your competitors? How do you solve your ideal client’s specific problem?

If nothing comes to mind right away, don’t worry. Talk this out with a peer or even a client. Or, simply determine what little change you could make to your business to fill a gap in the market that would set you apart.

Now, as you work on this step, it is important to make sure that you stand out within your specific service area. Chances are, when your ideal client is looking at your products or services, he/she is also considering working with or buying from your competitors. To make sure you stand out in your area, check out their websites to make sure that you’re differentiating yourself and bringing something unique to the table.

3. Develop a business model around this messaging.

After you’ve determined your unique brand position, arrange every aspect of your business around this statement. In other words, look at your client experience, products, services, and systems and make sure that they all hold true to your unique value proposition.

This step is important, because it isn’t enough to simply slap a statement on your website. To truly define your brand and establish yourself well in your marketplace, you more or less need to practice what you preach. Otherwise, there will be a disconnect between your brand statement and your customers’ experience with you. And, unmet expectations are never good for business.

Keep your brand position statement short.

The steps listed above will help you brainstorm and establish your brand position. Once you’ve completed those steps, you need to make your brand position into a concise brand position statement.

We’ll talk about what you’re going to do with this statement in the next step, but it’s important to make your brand statement short, because we live in a world of short attention spans. As a result, unless people can quickly read and understand your statement, it won’t be able to serve its strategic purpose.

According to Nathan, your brand position should be no longer than eight words. If you need to use more than eight words, Nathan contends that that’s okay; however, you want to keep your statement as concise as possible and short enough that it can easily fit in a heading on your website.

Once you know your unique brand position, how can you practically communicate it?

After you’ve crafted your brand position statement, it’s time to share it with the world! Here are a few places you’ll want to incorporate it:

On the Top of Your Website Above the Fold

In Marketing Made Simple, Donald Miller argues that the most effective place to include your brand position statement is on your website above the fold (the portion of your website that you can see before your scroll).

This will help your website visitors immediately know what you’re all about and if they should continue looking through the other content on your website.

On Social Media

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and just about every other social media platform give you space to include a description for your page or account. Take advantage of this by including your unique brand position at the top of these sections. This way, those who find you on social media will immediately know what you have to offer and if you can help them.

In Conversation

Like we’ve repeatedly mentioned, creative markets are full. As a result, it’s hard to stand out and easy to be dismissed.

So, when you’re at networking events or meeting someone new, rather than simply saying, “I’m a photographer,” or “I’m a ___,” share your brand position. This will keep people engaged and help them remember you.

Basically, defining & strategically communicating your brand position will help you book more clients & make more sales.

In the midst of doing all the things you need to do to run your business, it can be hard to find the time to think about your brand position. But, friend, here’s the thing. Your brand position is your secret sauce. And, simply taking the time to craft a statement explaining what makes you different will help you stand out, book your ideal customers, and even make more money.

So, what are you waiting for, friend? Get to crafting your brand statement!

Want to hear more from Nathan?

This blog post is a brief breakdown of everything Nathan covers in this episode, and I highly recommend listening to the entire episode—which you can do at the top of this page or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

And, if you want to hear even more from Nathan and connect with him, subscribe to The Bokeh Podcast, check out his website, and follow him on Instagram. He’s a wealth of knowledge and serves the photography and creative community so well.

Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Writing Your Marketing Guiding Statements. 7 videos to help you clarify your messaging so that your marketing will actually work!

Leverage Kelly’s marketing experience, insights, and leadership to grow your business.

As the founder and chief marketing strategist at Treefrog Marketing, a co-host of the Priority Pursuit Podcast, a StoryBrand Certified Guide, and fractional chief marketing officer, Kelly Rice has spent more than two decades helping small businesses take their companies to the next level by providing trustworthy leadership and building effective marketing strategies and systems.

She has dedicated her career to helping small businesses succeed because she knows, firsthand, how hard they work to make their communities a better place. 

Still, many people undervalue the strength and ingenuity of small businesses, but not Kelly. She believes they deserve to have a marketing partner and strategy that works as hard as they do.

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