Identifying and establishing brand positioning is one of the first things a company has to accomplish in order to begin launching and selling a product or service. Once established, a B2B brand positioning becomes your company’s north star and guides your overall messaging, outreach techniques, website presence, and the core of your content marketing strategy.
But getting your brand’s name out there and clearly stating your value to potential customers can be challenging, especially in today’s crowded SaaS industry where many other brands are also publishing social media, blogs, and video to compete for the same audience’s attention.
How can you stand out from the crowd and get your audience to know why your brand is special? B2B podcasting. It’s as if the medium was designed to build brand awareness. The intimate conversational nature of a podcast lends itself to not just clearly showing your audience how your brand can relieve their pain, but it also humanizes your brand, your messaging, and your employees like no other content marketing channel can.
This article examines what brand positioning is, why it’s important for B2B companies, and how using podcasting for marketing your positioning can amplify your company’s mission and value like nothing else. Plus we’ll get insights from one of the most accomplished experts in brand positioning and leadership, April Dunford, Founder of Ambient Strategy and author of the business-growth must-read Obviously Awesome. April discusses positioning, podcasting, and B2B growth strategies on a recent episode of The Casted Podcast.
The Importance of Brand Positioning
Brand positioning is the culmination of market and audience research and gives your company a roadmap for how you can get your messaging and value proposition in the minds of potential customers. Or to boil it down a little more, it’s how you connect your brand’s offerings to an idea, typically that you can reliably solve pain points for your audience.
The challenge can be twofold:
- Your positioning has to be unique and discernable from the competition.
- Your positioning must be visible in the marketplace.
Let’s look at how you can achieve this by crafting a positioning statement, understanding the different kinds of positioning you have to choose from, and developing a positioning strategy that will drive B2B growth faster with effective brand awareness.
What Is Brand Positioning?
Brand positioning is the process of succinctly setting your brand apart from the rest of the competitive field with a focus on persuading your audience to prefer your offering over everyone else’s. It’s central to launching a business and going to market with your offering, but it also contributes to long-term brand growth and may involve getting potential customers to associate an idea or a particular category with your company.
Ultimately, you will encapsulate your messaging in a brand positioning statement that will serve as the go-to definition of why your brand exists. First, you’ll need to answer some important questions.
Brand Positioning Strategies
Positioning is central to your specific go-to-market strategy and requires you to answer questions about how you’ll attract customers and grow your business.
- What is your company trying to achieve? (Your overall business goals.)
- What does your target audience want or need? (The solution to their pain points.)
- What do your competitors offer to this audience?
- What differentiates your brand from your competitors? (Business goals + audience/market research reveals the unique value your brand offers.)
When you answer these questions, you’re ready to create your brand positioning statement where your differentiators become the core of your brand’s story, competitive advantage, and value proposition.
Pro tip: According to a study by Hinge, brands that have a thorough understanding of their audience and their competitors are more than twice as likely to achieve high growth (at least 20% growth year over year).
Creating Your Brand Positioning Statement
Everything you did in the positioning exercise above will now form your positioning statement. Traditionally, the statement is a single paragraph (sometimes boiled down to one or two sentences in daily use) that your brand will use internally to align all departments and create messaging around and content for sales and marketing to use in outreach.
You have some options when it comes to positioning frameworks. Typically, you start with a positioning statement that includes:
- Your brand’s name
- What your brand does (perhaps including your brand’s category)
- The audience you serve
- The reason customers buy from you (your product or service benefits)
- Proof and examples that support the things you say in your positioning statement (testimonials, customer stories, and use cases)
This is an okay place to start (it’s where most of us have been taught to begin), but positioning expert April Dunford has her own very effective framework that revolves around your uniqueness and stresses keeping an open mind:
Step 1 — Let Go of Where You Came From
Weak positioning often comes from getting stuck in a historical, traditional, or default market position based on an existing definition of your product, service, or category. Instead, April encourages you to have no preconceived notions: You have to allow yourself to think outside of your own box to explore and discover your best positioning.
Step 2 — Isolate Your Uniqueness
This is the most important part of your positioning where you answer why your brand’s offering is better than the competitors. Again, April advises that you keep an open mind when doing this step. Make a list of everything you think makes your offering unique, and don’t get bogged down on whether each point is a plus or a minus in terms of value.
Step 3 — Value: What Can Your Uniqueness Do for Customers?
Do not spend time talking about your unique features or services. Customers want to know what those features or services are going to do for their brand, so talk about the value that your brand alone can deliver to them.
Step 4 — Who Cares?
Here’s where you need to identify who cares the most about what you have to offer. The general audience might not be your target, but within that audience, you’ll find niches and segments that really love how you can help solve their pain points. Understanding how to find these brands is the key to maximizing ROI on your marketing efforts and driving revenue. This step is also extremely critical if you’re a startup with limited resources and budget.
Step 5 — Choose Your Best Market Frame of Reference
At this point, you should know why your offering is unique and who is likely to care the most about it. Now it’s time to choose your market frame of reference. As April warns, this might not be the market you thought you were in back at the beginning of this exercise, which is so much better to know before you implement your GTM strategy.
“When you declare what market you are in, you set context for your prospects that should help them understand what you do,” April says. “If you say my product is a type of CRM or a database or a game or a training tool, your prospects immediately place you in that market. They will make assumptions about your value, your competitors, your key features, even your pricing, based on what they already know about that market.”
Types of Brand Positioning
Depending on your business, there may be several applicable types of positioning to choose from, but for our purposes here, let’s look at how April Dunford simplifies positioning into four main areas (all from her excellent book Obviously Awesome).
Just like it sounds, this positioning type is about a head-to-head battle with the present market leader in your industry. However, it can also be about becoming the leader in a well-established category when there is no obvious market leader yet.
The clearest example is how Coca Cola and Pepsi have wrestled with each other for decades to proclaim themselves as the market leader. The pro to this style is that the audience you’re battling over already understands what the product being sold is, but the challenge is that this approach requires a sizable investment of money and time to win.
Big Fish in a Small Pond
This is essentially a niche positioning approach where your brand concentrates on serving a smaller segment of an existing market that has been underserved. Your positioning research should help reveal customers whose needs are not being met, creating an incredible opportunity for your brand to specialize in a product or service.
Like Arm Wrestling, the audience already has a basic understanding of the existing market, but unlike the previous positioning type, you are carving out your own niche rather than having to invest resources to battle the current market giant. The challenge is that if you successfully market to that niche, the giant could simply duplicate your offering and try to take the leader position away from you.
Reframe the Market
If the existing market your brand is entering has gotten stale and the market leaders no longer have a strong bond with the audience or their big idea has become watered down over time, you could position your brand to revolutionize the way this audience will be served. Normally, this involves some kind of innovation in the way your product or service delivers value, but it can also be impacted by larger economic changes or shifts in the market which then create different demands from the audience.
Tesla and Apple are two huge examples of successfully executing this approach by highlighting how their offerings are different from the existing market leaders. They have the same technology and solutions as others in the market, but what sets them apart is the way in which the audience perceives the brand, preferring Tesla’s style and driving experience over other car manufacturers, or preferring Apple’s style and perceived exclusive status over other computer manufacturers. The challenge here is that the market leader could try to knock you down by mimicking your features or offerings, but if your brand positions itself as a unique company with a unique community and experience, you’ll establish a strong and memorable bond.
Change the Game
This is the rarest of April’s four types of positioning where no market leader exists because the market category doesn’t even exist. Brand positioning here is all about your brand being the first to serve a new market. Perhaps your product-market fit wasn’t aligning well with existing markets, or an entirely new demand from customers surfaced.
The most recent example of this approach is Uber, a rideshare company that supplanted traditional taxi service and even spawned other businesses around restaurant and grocery delivery services. Using this positioning approach, a brand can quickly dominate the emerging market, as long as your audience truly demands what you offer and other companies (sometimes already well-established or well-funded) don’t simply try to copy what your brand is doing.
Benefits of Brand Positioning
Brand positioning is the first step in creating your go-to-market strategy. How can you build out and grow if you don’t know what you’re building for? Here are some of the benefits you’re working toward and should keep in mind as you develop your positioning:
- Your brand focuses on your specific target market. For example, if you’re using niche positioning, you know you’re serving a segment of a larger market, and by narrowing your focus to that segment, you can more quickly and effectively become the market authority.
- Your brand clearly differentiates itself from the competition. This allows your content marketers to create better content that resonates with your audience, and it arms your salespeople with data and best methods for outreach.
- You’ll be able to effectively choose your pricing strategy. Depending on your GTM strategy, you’ll have different pricing structures for a niche segment compared to trying to be the brand with the lowest cost.
- You drive product or service development over the long-term by always orienting with your positioning statement. Continual customer feedback (say through your customer success or experience team as well as your marketing channels) strengthens positioning over time. Your positioning should be iterative. The needs and market evolve, and so should your positioning. You really need that qualitative feedback on a regular basis to identify prospect and customer trends.
- You learn how to best win new business. All the research and feedback around brand positioning fuels your revenue team contributors and keeps them all on the same page and educated about current audience needs as well as more adaptable to changes in the audience or market at large.
- You are strategically guided in creative decisions. Since your positioning and messaging are at the center of your brand’s growth strategy, every decision that your brand makes — in sales, customer success, marketing, product development, and leadership — will tie back to your positioning and be more likely to drive the business results you want.
Podcasting for B2B Brand Positioning
With your brand positioning in order, now you’ll put it to work through all of your brand’s communication and marketing channels. In addition to your website, email, social media, blogs, and other marketing channels, a brand podcast should be your primary content format for communicating your positioning and promoting brand awareness. Here are a few reasons your brand should join the B2B podcast wave:
Brand awareness is the entry point for any audience getting to know your brand, and podcasting is extremely effective for top-of-the-funnel marketing.
According to a recent BBC study, brands using a podcast for brand awareness see the following advantages:
- 89% higher awareness
- 57% higher brand consideration
- 24% higher brand favorability
Firstly, a podcast is more often one of the first touchpoints a potential customer comes across, and secondly, the topics your show covers draw your target audience into the conversations you’re having around your brand and your positioning. But a podcast can also take your audience further down the funnel as you expand your coverage and include customer stories and use cases.
Establish Your Brand as a Credible Authority
Content is the way a brand delivers its thought leadership to the audience, and thought leadership is the best method for educating your audience and proving that your brand is the expert authority in your industry. Building credibility and trust is the most pressing imperative for a startup, and by intentionally and strategically inviting podcast guests who can articulate a particular topic better than anyone else shows your audience how seriously you take their interests. Your show host also plays a great role in promoting your brand’s positioning in clear terms but also in humanizing your brand in an honest and reliable way that helps connect trust and authority with how your audience views your brand.
Engaging and Convenient to Listen To or View
The omnipresent availability of a podcast, whether it’s audio or video, lends itself to the preferences of your audience. They can consume your show whenever and wherever they want, while commuting to work, taking the dog for a walk, or cleaning the house. That convenience alone makes a B2B podcast more powerful than written content and more likely to attract an audience member to engage when no other marketing channel can.
Consider these benefits:
- 75% of podcast listeners turn to podcasts to learn new things (Statista).
- Listeners experience 16% higher engagement and 12% higher memory encoding with podcast content compared to the other surrounding content (BBC).
- 80% of listeners finish nearly every podcast episode they begin streaming (Podcast Insights).
A Source of Content and Amplified Marketing
When your B2B podcast is the main channel for your positioning and brand awareness strategies, you aren’t just creating high-quality podcast content — you’re creating a renewable source of content marketing material for all the channels your audience prefers as well as generating a wealth of educational and enablement content for every team in your company.
At Casted, we apply amplified marketing to our own business growth strategy. With The Casted Podcast sitting at the center of our content marketing strategy, every episode is full of valuable insights our audience is interested in, and using the Casted platform, we can easily cut up that content into short bite-sized clips (audiograms, videograms, and embeddable podcast players) that can be used in blogs, social media, and email to promote not just our show, but our brand’s positioning overall.
How Podcasting Drives B2B Brand Positioning and Growth Strategies
Using a B2B podcast as the primary delivery mechanism for your brand positioning in the early stages of a company can actually accelerate growth. Here are three big insights about how podcasting can serve B2B brands in whole new ways from Brand Positioning for B2B Growth with Ambient Strategy’s April Dunford.
The Importance of Positioning & Elevating Marketing Beyond Tactics 🔥
Positioning is foundational. You can’t build and grow a company without it, but while you might think brand positioning is a one-time task, the reality is that markets are always shifting, and industries are always changing a little bit at a time. Over time, a brand’s positioning can get overlooked as a growing company simply rushes to produce content and drive leads.
To April, the problem with that is: “If what I've got is a positioning that basically... value propositions that my customers don't care about, a product that appears to be completely undifferentiated, I can be doing a perfect job at tactical marketing stuff, and it is going to produce nothing.”
As she discusses in the episode, brand positioning is such an ongoing, ever-present challenge and something founders, CEOs, and business leaders were asking her about so often, that she decided to create a resource about it and wrote Obviously Awesome.
Harness the Power of Your Podcast and Fuel Your Growth 🗝️
B2B podcasts aren’t just a nice-to-have marketing channel anymore. Because they can be used in so many ways to drive growth, podcasts are the primary engine a brand can leverage to communicate its positioning over and over to its audience while taking deeper dives into the topics that the audience is most interested in. Apart from the way it can drive brand awareness, podcasts can serve any level of your funnel, depending on your expert guests (subject matter experts and customers) and the topics you cover (that sales and marketing can then turn into use cases for outreach).
Standing Out & Staying Ahead: Navigating the Competitive Podcasting Landscape 🔮
Differentiators are a key part of a brand’s positioning, and in the competitive SaaS industry, a podcast is one of the most effective ways for a brand to show how it’s unique. However, as April advises, you have to be very intentional about your strategy and know exactly why you’re doing a show. After all, there are a lot of podcasts out there to compete with, but that’s not a reason to avoid podcasting. Instead, it’s a reason to really focus on what sets you apart from your competitors.
Brand positioning isn’t just a one-time exercise a brand does to launch a product or service and drive their go-to-market strategy. It’s the well of brand truth that the entire company should come back to over time, adjust if necessary, but always keep at the center of all creative and revenue decisions. The keys to creating a strong brand position include:
- Identifying your target audience with research
- Understanding and building messaging around your audience’s pain points
- Using this knowledge to build a unique and preferred buyer’s journey for your audience.
- Leveraging podcasting to clearly deliver your positioning to your listeners and viewers.
For more on brand podcast strategy for your business, download The Marketer’s Complete Guide to B2B Podcast Strategy. If you’re ready to see the Casted platform in action, reach out to us. And if you’d like to see how a podcast can help grow your business, subscribe to The Casted Podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.