By Adrian Ryan - CoFactor Managing Partner; and communication and reputation management specialist
Whether you deliberately manage it or not, your organisation and its leadership has an identity and perception in the minds of people that matter.
Just as brand positioning is the process of positioning your brand in the mind of your customers, strategic positioning is the deliberate act of creating a favourable, credible perception with your company's key stakeholders - be it employees, investors, partners, regulators, media, wider society and of course customers.
Why positioning matters
Organisations today face an increasingly complex operating environment and are more accountable to their stakeholders than ever before. The online environment and media coverage of crises and corporate scandals has made people much more aware of the behaviour of organisations. The rise of social media has created new stakeholder groups and virtual communities of interest - along with a platform to get their opinions heard. Increasing regulation and intervention from governments has had a material impact on many businesses, their licence to operate and their ability to confidently plan for the future.
Against this backdrop, it’s critical for companies to actively position themselves and build a perception among their stakeholders that serves the company’s purpose and objectives. Afterall, you have a reputation with your stakeholders whether you actively cultivate it or not.
The purpose of positioning
Positioning influences the place that a company or its brand or leader occupies in the minds of stakeholders and how it is distinguished from competitors. Positioning is a mental space in your stakeholder’s mind that you can own with an idea that has compelling meaning to the recipient. It’s in this mental space where your company, its purpose, actions, products and services and the stakeholder’s needs, meet, and hopefully form a meaningful relationship. Positioning is like story telling. Effectively done, it can engross your audiences and quickly tell them how and why they should care about you.
You might be a financial services organisation reinventing itself and looking to position itself as an employer of choice, a construction company seeking to position itself as a leader in innovation delivering greater efficiency for its clients or a heavily regulated entertainment company positioning itself in the minds of regulators and policy makers as a leader in consumer protection.
A key success factor
A considered positioning strategy is a big success factor in helping the organisation advance its interests, drive value and differentiate itself from competitors. This is achieved through creating and nurturing the relationships and campaigns that help shape the internal and external environment in a way that creates more favourable operating conditions.
We've written about some of the ways to think about positioning your company here.
Interested to learn more?
CoFactor builds strategic positioning and engagement programs to create a favourable, credible perception in the minds of key stakeholders. We help organisations and executives, strengthen relationships, enhance social license and proactively build reputation.