If you’re a man of marketing or you own a business, you might know what brand positioning is.
According to Wikipedia:
Positioning refers to the place that a brand occupies in the minds of the customers and how it is distinguished from the products of the competitors.
You have fought with all your forces and strategies to get that little space in your customers’ minds.
You competed against the biggest names in the industry and, somehow, you won against them! It’s been amazing how you inspired your audience to listen to your ideas, buy your products, and talk about your brand to their closest friends.
You had the privilege to build a 1-to-1 relationship with them and now they’re not simply a number anymore. They’re real persons with the same struggles and dreams you have.
Do you know why you’ve been able to do it?
It wasn’t just a matter of product or service quality, price, features or design. You made it because even if you weren’t aware of it, they identified with you and your values.
And then, you failed them.
So, WHY do you do what you do?
It was 2009 when Simon Sinek shared his thoughts on How great leaders inspire action at a local TEDx. His talk is now one of the most viewed TED talks ever with over 49M views.
He shared a damn simple and yet game-changing concept:
“People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.”
Having a clear and focused why is not as simple as it seems. It involves a deep understanding of your inner self and a clear vision of your dreams and struggles. Your aim and key values.
Knowing your REAL why is way harder than simply knowing that you work because you need money or that you eat pizza because you like it — on a personal note, if you don’t like pizza, we can’t be friends. It means understanding what moves you out of the bed in the morning, what inspires you to challenge the status quo, and launch your startup, what leads you to fight your boss because of your convictions or, on the contrary, what makes you work harder and better than your colleagues.
It’s not a marketing strategy to be built upon your desires or your dream target audience.
Your why is YOUR superpower.
It’s through your why that you will attract or turn away your audience. Your brand will rise and shine or die because of it. You can’t fake it.
Can you see it?
Uncle Ben told it a long time ago:
“Remember, with great power comes great responsibility”
You have gained a responsibility toward your audience.
Stop neglecting it. Now it’s time to honor it and win the business game.
Farewell, op-positioning. Welcome home, awareness.
I lied when I told you that you can’t fake your why.
Well… it’s not completely true and, actually, it’s one of the things that are assassinating your brand.
Faking your why can work, for a little while, but failure is inevitable in the long-term. You can’t pretend to act as you were someone else and neither can your business.
Your audience will notice it sooner or later and they will walk away from you or from your brand. They will give their trust and loyalty to someone else which is more capable and inspiring.
Someone with a clearer why that resonates with theirs.
I know, I know.
You may be thinking: “Ok dude, cool stuff. But if I wasn’t aware of the importance of that fancy voodoo why, how could I know about the risks of working against it?”
Quite often your opposition to your why is unwanted. But it’s not something that you should accept now that you know it, because it’s kinda easy to change the odds and take concrete steps towards the solution.
We all have a little something inside ourselves that “helps” us staying safe and comfy.
Yes, you got it.
It’s your comfort zone.
That little bastard is one of your worst enemies.
Lying quietly in your comfort zone drinking your favorite drink won’t get you into business and most of all won’t get any of your dream customers to know about you and become your new most loyal true fan.
While writing this article I’ve asked a close friend of mine (who is not a marketing expert) what he thinks can lead a person to work against her why and her brand positioning.
His answer was perfectly aligned with my thoughts: fear.
Fear of what, you may ask.
Fear of failing, for sure. Insecurity about your own skills and chances.
I know how you’re feeling about this now.
I’m going through it as well. I have to fight against my comfort zone on a daily basis and I’m the very first that need to stop op-positioning against my why and my brand.
But actually, op-positioning it’s not the result of your fear of failing.
Op-positioning is your fear of succeeding.
Timo Cruz, a character in the Coach Carter movie, reaches full awareness of his chances and opportunities when he shares one of the greatest quotes ever:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”
If positioning is the result of a specific set of actions apt to place your brand in your customers’ minds, op-positioning is the set of actions apt to destroy it and that you execute every single day while looking at your drawer full of projects. Perpetually sealed.
Op-positioning is your fear to accomplish the extraordinary.
Op-positioning is your fear to acknowledge that you have the necessary skills to carry out the task.
Op-positioning is the fear that took you away from writing for months or years or that stops you to start that YouTube channel.
Op-positioning is the fear of charging what you feel is right.
Op-positioning is following trends.
Say “Hello!” to a deeper and greater awareness.
It’s time to spark a new light. Yours.
Thank you for going through this! It’s amazing knowing that you took your time to read and evaluate my thoughts ✌️
It would be a pleasure to hear what you think about this topic and which steps do you plan to execute (or you already have) to fight against op-positioning.
I coined this term a few months ago (the note on my iPhone is dated November 2019) and, to be honest, I can’t really remember how and when it came up.
Well, I hope it all made sense for you.
Until next time! 🤙
If you never had the chance to watch Simon Sinek TED talk, you definitely should now. It will open your eyes once and for all.
To dig deeper into this topic, you may also consider reading his book, Start with why. It’s an insightful analysis rich of tips and of great inspiration for nowadays entrepreneurs and marketers.
Enjoy the show!