What Is Positioning?

I have a bit of a confession to make. Yesterday during a meeting I was asked "what is positioning?" and I am embarrassed to say that I couldn't explain it without using the word "position." 

So today I am going to give you a bit of 101 on what is positioning, how it shows up in your marketing, and why it matters.

Positioning is the intensions, image, and story you weave around your product, services, and brand. It's how customers know that your product is for them and not someone else.

Let's compare two examples from our client base.

Example: Two photographers, One Market.

1) Colson Griffith Photography: Colson is a wedding photographer here in San Francisco. He is THE wedding photographer for couples who want their wedding to be an epic party.

Some screenshots from his website:

You can see by the images he chooses to highlight that he's for people who want crazy, fun, and spontaneity, while having a luxury experience at their weddings. I mean there's a guy wearing a kilt and showing his undies on the website — that's on purpose, and it's making a statement.

Some of the words he's using:

"I believe your wedding should be a BIG ass celebration because hosting a great party is the best way to show your friends true love." ---> Using casual words like "ass" show that he's approachable. He's also stating a specific belief that his brand holds. It shouldn't be a surprise that it's the same as his target clients.

"You've planned the day to maximize laughter... You've got a playlist guaranteed to make people dance, and your damn straight that you'll be the first one out there! It's not just a great party... It's your way of showing how much you love the ones closest to you." ---> Using the second person "you" wasn't on accident either. He's talking directly to them and describing their actions. This couple is probably thinking 'Yes! That's exactly what we're doing.'

3) Buena Lane Photography: Buena Lane Photography is also a photography company here in San Francisco. But they are passionate about intimate gatherings, destination weddings, and elopements.

Some screenshots from this website:

You can see that Buena Lane, not only has a totally different photography style — but the images convey a completely different type of couple. She's showcasing quiet moments between a couple, a small intimate reception, and a same sex couple. This is also not on accident.

Some of the words she's using:

"Welcome to Buena Lane Photography. We partner with couples who are fans of the non-traditional, the natural, and the intimate. Your love, your way." --> She's calling out couples who want smaller weddings or want to do something with a non-wedding vibe.

"We revel in capturing weddings as comfortable as the love you're celebrating. If you're asking, 'Do I want to do that whole wedding thing?' you're in the right place." --> She's using thoughts that her target customers actually think. This is not on accident.

Both of these photographers offer the same service. They offer it in the same city. They even charge similar price points. So what makes them so different?


By deeply understanding who their customers are, they are able to leave a breadcrumb trail for this person. It's in the images that they showcase on the website. It's in the copy they use to talk to them, and in the voice and tone that they say those words in. They are whispering into the ears of their customers "We get you. We are for YOU."

So I leave you with this: If you don't know if your positioning is working for you, you need to go back to your target customer. You should be just as clear on who that person is as Buena Lane and Colson Griffith Photography.

If you're not clear on your target customer, here is an article on crafting that dream customer + worksheet to get you started. 


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