Building a great product isn’t enough to stand out in the market. What you need is a compelling message—one that speaks to your audience and is unique to your brand.
How do you make sure you’re telling the same story to every customer across every touchpoint? One key tactic is writing a positioning statement.
What is a positioning statement?
A positioning statement describes your product and target audience and explains how it fills a market need. Marketing and sales teams use this statement to guide their messaging and make sure all communication is consistent.
Positioning statement vs mission statement
A position statement is sometimes confused with mission statements and value propositions, but there are a few key differences:
- Positioning Statement: Used to align messaging on internal teams, though a good positioning statement is often versatile enough to use externally, too. Describes a product and its target consumer and explains how it fills a need in a different way than its competitors.
- Value Proposition: Explains what benefits your product provides to your customers. The value proposition is often used as part of the positioning statement.
- Mission Statement: Public-facing tagline or statement identifying your brand strategy
Positioning statement examples
Not sure how to write a brand positioning statement? Start by reading successful positioning statement examples from other companies to get ideas for writing your own.
“Payhip is an e-commerce platform that enables anyone to sell digital products or memberships directly to their fans and followers. You can embed Payhip directly into your website or you can use our storefront to sell your work. Payhip takes care of everything. We’re an all-in-one e-commerce solution for creators.”
Ecommerce company Payhip has cornered the e-direct sales market with clear messaging on how easy it is to sell products with the platform. The company’s positioning statement guides this communication by outlining the features that make Payhip so easy to use. It frames Payhip as an all-in-one, do-it-yourself e-commerce platform that works well with any website, a message that resonates with the company's target market.
We’re Wistia. We make marketing software, video series, and educational content based on the belief that anyone can use video to grow their business and their brand.”
Video marketing service Wistia likes to experiment with new products, but they’ve always been driven by one goal: help people build their organizations through video. To stay true to this mission, Wistia’s positioning statement highlights their core belief that “anyone can use video to grow their business and their brand." The company’s language around product offerings is broad, so they aren’t bound to specific offerings, which is a great positioning strategy.
“Airhouse helps direct-to-consumer companies get orders from factory to front door. Sync your shop, send inventory, and you're all set.”
All-in-one fulfillment company Airhouse’s e-commence platform has a very specific market focus: direct-to-consumer (D2C) companies. Their positioning statement names that audience, so Airhouse’s team knows exactly who their messaging should be targeting. To help employees describe Airhouse’s value, the statement covers the software’s key use cases—syncing shops and sending inventory with the software.
4. Sapphire Ventures
“Startups—whether enterprise or consumer-focused—face similar challenges when they get to the expansion and later stages. They need the support of experienced, focused and deep-pocketed investors who can help them stay competitive for the long haul. That’s where we come in.”
Startup investment firm Sapphire Ventures is in the hypercompetitive space of venture capital. To make a dent in the market, it’s critical that the firm understand and clearly communicate their investment niche and who their target customer is. Sapphire’s positioning statement makes their investing focus clear: startups. It explains how difficult scaling can be for these businesses and how Sapphire’s funding can help by keeping these startups competitive. That's a brand promise that clearly lays out service's unique benefit to up-and-coming businesses.
"At Nike, we're committed to creating a better, more sustainable future for our people, planet, and communities through the power of sport."
Nike's positioning statement focuses on its purpose of incorporating sustainability and innovation into its activewear. It also underscores its commitment to breaking down barriers for athletes.
You can see how Nike's positioning statement differs from its mission statement here.
"Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. Apple’s five software platforms — iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, and iCloud. Apple’s more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it."
You'll often find a brand's positioning statement at the end of a press release. Apple references its history to underscore its credibility and summarizes the common customer value of all five of its platforms.
“RingCentral is a leading provider of cloud Message Video Phone™, customer engagement and contact center solutions for businesses worldwide. More flexible and cost-effective than legacy on-premise PBX and video conferencing systems that it replaces, RingCentral empowers modern mobile and distributed workforces to communicate, collaborate, and connect via any mode, any device, and any location.”
There are plenty of business phone and video chat companies on the market today. Cloud communications platform RingCentral clearly defines what sets them apart in their positioning statement. It highlights how flexible and cost-effective their software is compared to on-premises competitors. And to distinguish itself from technology that isn’t cloud-based, RingCentral states how their tool can be accessed anywhere on any device.
“Alexa.com is a trusted source of insights into digital behavior that marketers use to help win their audience and accelerate growth. Subscribers to the Alexa Marketing Stack leverage rich competitor and audience insights that help them better understand their audience, discover opportunities for growth across multiple marketing channels, and manage the day-to-day workflows of planning, creating, optimizing, promoting, and measuring the effectiveness of their content marketing.”
After reading this statement, web traffic analysis company Alexa’s employees know that specificity is the key when describing the tool’s value. It covers target customers’ main goals in using the product, along with Alexa’s core features and the benefits users can expect. For a data-heavy product like Alexa, sharing these details plays a huge role in building prospects’ trust.
“RateGenius connects people, products, and technology to find consumers the best auto loan rate. We do this by using our innovative origination platform together with our network of over 150 lending institutions nationwide to shop multiple offers and present the best option for the customer.”
Online auto-refinancing marketplace RateGenius knows consumers have lots of options when it comes to finding car loans. To differentiate itself, the brand stresses how large their network is by citing a concrete figure—"over 150 lending institutions." RateGenius’ statement also promises that the company will find the "best auto loan rate." Using this language in its brand position, the company’s employees can create messaging that sets RateGenius apart.
“Parse.ly is the new measure of content value. Its industry-leading content analytics system powers content strategy for its 300+ enterprise clients. Parse.ly is installed on over 3,000 high-traffic sites. Through its network data, Parse.ly can provide insight into the aggregate content habits of over 1 billion monthly internet users.”
As a content analytics solution, Parse.ly eats, sleeps, and breathes data. It’s no surprise, then, that their brand positioning statement is filled with hard-hitting data points. Highlighting their 300+ enterprise clients, 3,000 high-traffic sites, and 1 billion monthly users positions Parse.ly as a powerful enterprise software.
“Mailchimp is an all-in-one Marketing Platform for small business. We empower millions of customers around the world to start and grow their businesses with our smart marketing technology, award-winning support, and inspiring content.”
All-in-one marketing platform Mailchimp positions itself as a friendly, approachable one-stop shop for small businesses. Instead of specifying features, their statement highlights evergreen business qualities—"award-winning support" and "inspiring content." This broad framing keeps Mailchimp bound to larger goals but gives them room to explore different marketing products.
“Slack is the collaboration hub that brings the right people, information, and tools together to get work done. From Fortune 100 companies to corner markets, millions of people around the world use Slack to connect their teams, unify their systems, and drive their business forward.”
Business communication company Slack demonstrates its scope and flexibility by describing two very different target markets: huge enterprise companies and mom-and-pop shops. Regardless of who the user is, they enjoy the same benefit—seamless connectivity. Slack’s internal team will use this positioning statement to build messaging around collaboration in many different markets.
How do you write a positioning statement?
- Look to other companies as a starting point
- Lead with empathy
- Gain a clear understanding of who your customers are
- Keep it concise
- Look to your brand values
- Be transparent
Your company won’t benefit from copying other brands’ communication. But when you’re first framing your messaging, it helps to look to other companies as a starting point. Consider tactics from other brands to brainstorm how you might want to frame your own positioning statement.
According to our 2021 Customer Experience Trends Report, nearly half of customers want the brands they interact with to be empathetic. Put yourself in your customers' shoes.
Writing an effective positioning statement is next to impossible without understanding your customers. Not sure what your customers need? Sending your customers surveys and looking at your support data is a good place to start.
The best positioning statements give a lot of information clearly in a few words. They're brief but comprehensive.
Our Trends Report also found that 54% of customers want to buy from companies that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in their communities and workplaces. 63% want to buy from companies that are socially responsible. Beyond your product or service, a positioning statement should give customers a taste of your brand values.
A transparent positioning statement is an honest one. Be authentic and don't make promises you can't keep.
Positioning statement template
Once you’re ready to write your own statement, we have another resource to guide you—our free positioning statement template.
Download this resource, and you’ll be ready to write your company’s positioning statement today and enjoy a more aligned messaging strategy tomorrow.