Positioning: Choose one

Recently, a major research firm tested three positioning scenarios we’d developed for a new energy company. The results? Test subjects (who represented potential customers and business partners) felt all three were viable. Going further, several participants asked if the scenarios could be combined in some way.

The good thing about these test findings is that the company knows it can move forward with any of three possible positionings. The temptation to avoid is to try to combine them. In isolation, each of the three scenarios is crisp: a clearly defined value proposition that stands to set the company apart from the competition. To the contrary, any combination of new, hybrid scenarios almost certainly risks being muddy.

And, in fact, the scenarios will be combined—just not in the way the participants are thinking: One will be elevated to the company’s brand positioning and the other two will become supporting strengths. Put another way, one will drive the story and the other two will enrich it.

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