Positioning statements: cracking the category

When crafting a positioning statement, one of the most challenging items is the category. When done well, new categories feel obvious. Here’s one of my favorite examples of a company that forever changed the way we watch television.

You can capture a strong position in the market by creating a new category and naming yourself number one. After all, there is no point in launching a new product or service in a new category unless you can be first in that category. With that in mind, the first question to ask yourself is, “first what?” The search for a unique product or service category offers the opportunity for creative thought.

The RCA 35" Home Theatre. So real, it's scary!

The RCA 35″ Home Theatre. So real, it’s scary!

Here’s one of my favorite examples from the archives. Back in 1992, marketers at RCA launched an ad campaign with the headline: “The RCA 35″ Home Theatre. So real, it’s scary.” This was the first time that I ever saw the words “home” and “theatre” used in the same sentence. Understand that at this time, televisions were typically 20″ or 26″ wide. They sat on table tops and dressers and offered only a small window to the world of news and entertainment. While each of the words (home, theatre) were certainly common, the new two-word phrase offered a new thought and a promise of a new experience. One has only to look at the famous RCA dogs tilting to the side as they watch and experience the roller coaster on the screen. A new category was born.

What’s your category?

For more information on how to build, critique, and defend your own positioning statement, I invite you to check out my book, The Marketing High Ground: the essential playbook for B2B marketing practitioners everywhere. This book contains examples, case studies, templates, and techniques to up-level your marketing game.

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