First Things First

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When you’re starting a company, one of the first things you should do is create a Website and a brochure. Right? Not exactly.

While it is important to announce your existence to the world (not to mention your target market) a lot of new companies make strategic errors when doing so. They’ve earmarked all kinds of money for Web development and brochure printing, but they’ve neglected something far more important: a sound competitive positioning strategy and a coherent and cohesive core message.

A Website or a brochure without sound positioning and messaging can expose a lack of knowledge about your target market and your competition. You don’t want to give that impression, and you certainly don’t want to waste anyone’s time: not yours, and certainly not that of potential investors, customers, or partners.

So how should you proceed? First things first.

  1. Gather information about your target market, your audience, and your competitors. If you’ve received funding, chances are that you did this exercise as part of your pitch to investors. If not, the easiest place to start is, of course, the Internet. Take a look at local, regional, national, and international competitors. What do they offer that you don’t? What makes you different, and better? What kinds of companies make up your target market? How much are they growing? How much are they spending? What kinds of people work at them? Scientists? Technologists? MBAs?
  2. Decide how to position your company in the market. Where does your company stand in the market now, and where do you aspire to be tomorrow? A strong position is a strategic stance—in the context of the competitive marketplace—that prepares you to meet your business objectives.
  3. Create a solid value proposition that your entire team can rally around. A great value proposition is your company declaration; it defines what you do, who your customers are, what benefits your product or service provides, and how you’re different from the competition.
  4. Develop your brand identity. And that means much more than creating a logo – it also means determining what your brand personality is – how you say what you say, and how your company is visually portrayed.
  5. Make your message count. The right messaging starts with your position, your value proposition, and your brand voice. The right messaging ends with a document that can be used as the basis for all marketing activities – from Web sites to pitch decks.

Of course, if your staff is stretched too thin, this can seem like a mountain of work. Which is where we come in. Posit Partners specializes in positioning and messaging for companies like yours. And we’d love to talk to you.

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