Today’s Volusion blog post discusses the concept of positioning your online business in the minds of customers. Positioning is how your company is perceived in comparison to others. You’ll learn how to determine your position, build a positioning statement, and work with a brand matrix.

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If you’ve been keeping up with the blog this week, you’ve been inundated with ways to perform basic business analyses, including SWOT analysis, “The 5 C’s of Marketing,” and competitor analysis. But why so much focus here? Today’s post explains why – this analysis is critical to forming the positioning of your online business.

So what exactly is brand positioning? Think of it as the perception your business takes in the minds of customers. In other words, positioning is how you want your brand to be perceived by others. Just think – Ford, Lexus and Bentley are all car manufacturers, but they're all perceived in a different light. Those differences in light serve as the brand’s position in the marketplace.

The first step of this process is to build your positioning statement. This is a sentence that defines the core of your company’s brand. But before you can begin crafting this statement, you absolutely must spend adequate time performing preliminary analysis - this is HOW you determine your position. (See why I’ve been beating everyone over the head with this the past few days?)


Using the results from your findings, here’s a template to build your brand positioning statement:

  • For (insert customer base), (insert company name) offers (insert product and key benefit) to provide (insert competitive advantage).
    • Example: For economical fashionistas, Sally’s Fashion Shop offers affordable, trendy women’s apparel to provide ultimate comfort.
    • Example: For high-tech gadget lovers, Johnny’s Store offers the newest electronic products to provide the latest offering to customers.
One final note: your positioning statement should remain an internal guide to craft your overall business strategy. You can spice up the key features of the statement to use for sales and marketing tools.


Now that you’ve got your position defined and summarized in writing, the next phase is to see how it compares to others. This can be achieved by using a brand matrix. Think of this matrix as the coordinates where different businesses are in your mind, based on two different values.

Check out this personal example (please don’t judge me on artistic merit) that illustrates the positioning of four hamburger chains in my mind, based on quality and price. Please note that you can base your matrix on ANY combination of values (price, quality, leadership, respect, product offering, etc.)

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Again this matrix is personal and only indicates how these companies are perceived in my mind. It also doesn’t mean that I like one brand more than another. For example, if I’m on a budget and looking for an inexpensive meal, I’ll head to Jack in the Box. But if I want to treat myself, I’ll head to Wendy’s. Make sense?

In order to build a similar matrix for your online business, reach out to your customers to learn what they think of you and the competition. Basing this diagram on your personal beliefs means nothing – your customers’ perceptions are ultimately the ones that matter. Try sending out a survey or simply reaching out to people over the phone or email.

To sum up, by putting together all of the ingredients: analysis, positioning and matrix, your recipe is ready for cooking up all the innovative strategies needed for online success. And feel free to lick the spoon – a little extra analysis never hurt anyone.

Happy Selling!
-Matt Winn, Volusion