When an organisation’s positioning in the marketplace is right, and done well, it’s a powerful business development tool that can give companies a significant boost.
Not only does it help attract new opportunities and draw customers and potential talent to you, it can pave the way for better margins.
Good businesses build a good reputation by consistently being good at what they do over time; it’s the key to their success.
Eventually, though, this ceases to be enough and a company that wants to reach a new level will begin to recognise that, for a number of reasons, it needs to be able to enunciate what it is that it does differently in the marketplace and how it adds value to clients.
Most SMEs aren’t naturally good at communicating this – and many find the task of uncovering what they should be saying both daunting and challenging.
Typically, SMEs do need external help with this job, which is more complicated than it may appear.
The first step
The first step to figuring out what it needs to be saying to the marketplace, which most organisations overlook, is to talk to those within the company’s ecosystem, because the most essential information about the reputation of any business lives predominantly in the hearts and minds of their stakeholders
The vital first step includes speaking with:
- The people who know the business best – those who started it and those who live and breathe it today (if they’re different) – to get their input on what it is the company specifically does that makes all the difference.
- Staff – both those who’ve been part of the organisation for some time and those who’ve more recently joined – to get their insights.
- Suppliers, especially those with which the business has good, established relationships, are critical in articulating what makes an organisation successful.
- Customers – to ascertain (in their words and from their perspective) what it is they see they’re buying from the organisation.
A crucial process
This process takes some time because it involves multiple moving parts.
It also requires skill and a non-judgmental mindset to legitimately understand and make sense of the different perspectives coming from all the stakeholders of a business.
The second step
After gaining these stakeholder insights, they need to be synthesised and distilled into a succinct narrative that is true and accurately reflects the organisation.
The language used needs to make sense and should not be seen as ‘over-selling’ or ‘over-promoting’ the business.
Critically, it must genuinely resonate with those who come into contact with the company. In particular, it needs to make sense to clients and customers.
This part of the process requires some breathing space and time to get right.
The third step
The final piece of the puzzle is looking at how the business should best communicate this new narrative.
Organisations need to ensure their staff members are communicating this in the way that best represents them when interacting with customers, as well as within their own networks.
They need to think about how it’s communicated when they’re selling to existing clients, when finding new clients or growing the business, and when new recruits are brought in.
This is an internal change project that requires thoughtful management.
The process also has an external focus, as the new narrative will need to be rolled out across an organisation’s digital and physical touchpoints. This may include updates to logos, websites, internal and external documents (proposals, presentations etc) ads and brochures, for example.
Not only does the fresh message need to be brought to life in a truly engaging way visually, it also needs to be consistent. This requires a special skillset and creative input.
Many businesses aren’t used to dealing with creatives (advertisers, designers, photographers etc) and there often exists a gap between what creative agencies want to do and what a company is actually comfortable with and can realistically do.
At David Reid Group, we act as a conduit between businesses and creatives, helping ensure this part of the process is managed to get the best result for our clients, and that the creative work is in line with the narrative that’s been developed.
In a nutshell
Positioning is a crucial and specific process that needs to be done correctly – and it’s a process we’ve refined over many years because we understand its power.
Perfecting a business’ positioning is a key part of business development that will help motivate customers to take a step towards your company, often with less effort on your part in the medium to long-term.
And when your clients clearly understand what you do and the value you add to them, it provides the opportunity to secure a better margin for your critical goods or services.