Positioning for a King

Happy new year folks. I hope you all enjoyed the break. Here’s to a 2013, filled with happiness and joy.

During one of the quieter nights of the break. I was looking for a DVD and decided to watch ‘The Kings Speech.’ Apart from being a wonderful tale of the Kings battle to overcome his stammer, there was a part of the film that served as a wonderful reminder to me of the art of positioning.

At the height of the Kings despair with his speech problems. His wife, the duchess of York, visits a small, self-assured therapist named Mr Lionel Logue. In the introductory scene, what impressed me the most was the way, in which Mr Logue held his position and dictated the terms to his supposed superiors. Regardless of who they were.

Yes, he could fix the Kings speech but only in the solace and safety of his own office, they would work in complete privacy and he would not accept calling the future king his ‘Royal Highness’ during treatment. Just ‘Bertie.’ A privelidge offered to few.

“My house, my rules!”

I couldn’t help but thinking I was watching a positioning masterclass. Who gets away with talking to the future king in such a way?

Mr Logues ability along with the Kings desperation undeniably played a part. But the way he set out his stall was magnificent.
He stood his ground. And the rapport he eventually develops with the king over a long time is one that is founded on mutual respect not of master and slave.

Too many businesses continue to undersell themselves. Not only in price but also with their terms. Not everybody has the unique ability to solve distressing problems like in the film which has a clear emotional value. But those with a more valuable proposition should consider whether they have a stronger hand.

Brand communication has a lot to do with it but brand behaviour is even more critical. Does your actions befit the brand that you work for? If I go into a McDonalds restaurant, I expect to be given precisely everything I want for that price.

Its what I am paying for.

Go into a Michelin starred restaurant and I need the chef to take the lead. To educate me and to blow me away with the quality of food and service. Anything short of that is going to be a betrayal of the business, the brand and its accreditation. Its where branding begins to fail. Similarly if I walk into a tailor in Saville Row, I fully expect them to use their expertise, skill and experience to know what works for a man of my height, proportions, skin colour, etc, etc. There is no way I should be dictating terms to them. I am paying them a premium for their valued expertise.

With that in mind, two big positioning trends to look out for this year. Particularly with today’s economic conditions…

Seeing past the want and into what consumers need is already important but it will become even more so as just about every traditional trade/service from website design to accountancy to plumbing reaches a saturation point with premium/specialist brands being FORCED to further differentiate themselves from more commoity based offerings.

Secondly and in a similar vein, information is cheap. With the internet it’s as much a commodity as anything else. However, there is a demand for bespoke assistance. For example, selling generic ‘social media training,’ with every social site from LinkedIN to Youtube sharing the main info on the website themselves for free, is a hard sell. Bespoking that advice for your clients does have value.

Changing tact slightly…

I dont like ‘nice.’ It’s dull!

People can get ordinary, convenient and nice in abundance, anywhere. But where there is value (and healthy profit margins) to be had is in the exceptional, special and outstanding.

The special business’s get paid more to do what they do best. But they first need to position themselves accordingly. It means not appealing to everybody, being picky about who you work with and remaining true to your position.

Before doing that, dig out the Kings Speech and watch that first scene I mentioned.

Positioning brands to succeed in the marketplace is one of our core services. If you want to know how to do it better?

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About the Author

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Benedetto Bordone

Creative Director of the loft.

Benedetto runs the creative design consultancy, the loft. Based in the centre of Glasgow, the loft creates emotionally engaging brand identities.

Benedetto began his design career aged 9, sketching cars in the loft bedroom of his parents house. Even then he realised some eternal truths. Alfa Romeos are infinitely cooler than Ferraris and always have been. Time has only hardened this opinion. Since then, he has been on a journey taking him from his hometown in Kilmarnock to Coventry, studying car design aged 17, three separate spells in Italy followed where he interned, worked & freelanced for distinguished design companies – BeeStudio, Alfa Romeo, Honda Advanced design & Stile Bertone.

Setting up his own business was a natural step for somebody as independently minded as Benedetto. The loft was set up in 2008 and offers a comprehensive branding and communication service to its clients. The company combines a deeply analytical approach into the clients culture and commercial targets before engaging in creative design work to build emotive brands.

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