Hampton's creative director, Scott Hunter, talks about the power of brand positioning and the valuable role it could play in repositioning the North-east of Scotland region.

Positioning power

What immediately springs to mind when you see the following brands?

  • Disney
  • Volvo
  • TED

As an educated guess, you might have answered something like:

Disney = Happiness, Volvo = Safety, TED = Ideas

Powerful brands are deliberately positioned to create an instant emotional response.

David Ogilvy, 1950s advertising legend and original founder of global agency, Ogilvy and Mather, was a positioning pioneer.

I could have positioned Dove as a detergent bar for men with dirty hands, but chose instead to position it as a toilet bar for women with dry skin.

–David Ogilvy, Ogilvy on Advertising.

Ogilvy’s decision in the 1950s to position Dove as a luxury, skincare product, rather than a standard bar of soap, meant that the brand stood out and sold at a premium price. Ogilvy’s positioning legacy is still alive today, with Dove’s brand value sitting at over $5 billion U.S. dollars. When done right – positioning creates brand value that lasts decades.

Positioning for a new energy future

Brand positioning is as relevant to the energy sector as it is to luxury soap brands.

The Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, 35th Energy Transition Survey alongside Paul de Leeuw from RGU’s, Making the Switch Workforce Review emphasises the importance of the North-east of Scotland achieving its energy transition ambitions. According to 'Making the Switch', missing the net zero opportunity could result in a 40% reduction in regional offshore workforce numbers by 2030.

...missing the net zero opportunity could result in a 40% reduction in regional offshore workforce numbers by 2030.

RGU, Making the Switch, Workforce Review.

Creating a leading brand position in the net zero space is a strategic goal for the region and its energy companies. Growing your customer base, recruiting the best talent, and attracting future investment will rely upon it.

Five steps to positioning success

Five Steps: Define, Discover, Create, Deliver, Manage

From launching a new service to retaining and attracting the best people, brand positioning objectives can vary. The best process is modelled around the specific needs of the project, but as a guide, the following five areas are a good place to begin.

1. Define (the brief)

A clear and focused brief provides the foundation to build from.

The brief should look to address the big questions, referring to the business's strategic objectives. Try to keep it simple and summarise on one page. Most positioning briefs require research and consultation with the business to complete:

  • Background (why we are doing this)
  • Brand audit (how we are currently positioned)
  • Customer persona (who we are talking to)
  • Products and services (what we are offering)
  • Competitors and marketplace (the brandscape we are competing in)
  • Measurements for success (brand goals)
  • Positioning objectives (business strategy)

2. Discovery (the direction)

Discovery is an opportunity to explore the brief, discuss the research findings and answer the strategic questions.

Sessions can range from small groups featuring key project stakeholders to larger sessions with employee groups – face to face or virtual.

A discovery report provides us with the direction that the brand design and narrative builds from.

3. Create (the story and visual brand world)

A brand is more than a logo. An engaging narrative should simply and clearly communicate your values, personality, purpose, and mission. This is supported by the visual brand world; a design toolkit containing typography, imagery, colour palette, layout examples and logostyle.

  • Brand story and positioning statement – who, what and why
  • Brand narrative – purpose, mission, vision, values and personality
  • The visual brand – colour palette, tone of voice, typography, image style, layout examples
  • Brand in application examples

4. Deliver (the activation)

The final positioning is captured in brand guidelines – this can be distributed as a PDF document or on a web platform with supporting brand templates and assets. Consider presenting the new brand internally first – your people are your brand and their input and buy-in are critical.

  • Brand toolkit (guidelines, narrative, resources, templates)
  • Brand activation plan and launch

5. Manage (the measurement)

Branding is being as meaningful as possible to your customers, employees and stakeholders. This should be a shared brand – always in conversation with your audience. Invite feedback, start a conversation on your website and socials, keep the business informed and always look to improve and develop your positioning.

  • Celebrate and build on successes
  • Constant dialogue with customers and stakeholders
  • Adapt and evolve from learnings

To find out how we can support your brand positioning, contact Pete McIntosh on 01224 620562, or email pete@hampton.agency

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