the second step in building a brand plan

Trust me when I say the hard part is over. All of your research is about to pay off in the form of a carefully crafted positioning statement. Before you begin writing your statement, it’s important to understand its structure. I like to break it down into two parts:


  1. The Frame of Reference: the landscape in which you are comparing yourself.
  2. The Point of Differentiation: your brand differentiator.


For example, a positioning statement for someone like Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson might break down like this:


FRAME OF REFERENCE: The professional football player…

POINT OF DIFFERENTIATION: …that is a role model on and off the field.


Wilson’s frame of reference is broader than most, covering the entire National Football League’s roster of athletes. The scale of his reference point is based on the elite stature of Wilson’s personal brand and the success he’s achieved in his career. For others who have yet to reach his level, a more focused frame of reference is appropriate. That might mean concentrating on a specific position (“The professional quarterback…”) or even further narrowing to within a conference or division (“The professional quarterback from the NFC West…”). Start with a narrow frame of reference and broaden it as you grow your brand.

Wilson’s point of differentiation on the other hand is based entirely on his own day-to-day behavior and brand positioning aspirations. The former Wisconsin Badger is consistently striving to make a difference in the lives of children in his community. Giving back is genuinely part of who Wilson is, and it’s reflected in the brand he portrays to the public. As a result that generosity is also reflected in his ultimate positioning statement.

After combining Wilson’s frame of reference with his point of differentiation, the All-Pro quarterback’s brand position looks something like this:


Russell Wilson is a role model on and off the football field.