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The Fool-Proof Positioning Statement
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By Dan Janal

Do people remember you and your key messages?

The best messages are the ones that are remembered easily. After all, if people can't find your message or remember it, then all is lost. Unfortunately, many would-be marketers don't adhere to this simple truism. They simply don't get the point across. People don't want to spend a second more time than they have to read messages. If you want to get your message across, it must be memorable. Not surprisingly, the best headlines in newspapers are short. Consider: War! Peace
Declared! Kennedy Elected!

Pithy messages are essential because people have short attention spans, varying abilities to discern differences between products and a great need to put ideas, people and products into neat pigeon-holes. People love to be mind readers. That is, when you tell people you are, say, a writer, one could think you write novels. Another person could think you write computer manuals. A third could say you work for a newspaper. Therefore, you must be specific and not leave anything to chance. If you give people the chance to read your mind, chances are they will get the wrong answer every time!

One great way to create a memorable message is to compare one product to another. For example, the movie Speed is like Die Hard in a bus. Here's an exercise I use in seminars and classes to help marketers get to the point quickly and accurately. Since the beginning of time,
marketers have wanted to create the Unique Selling Proposition, also known as the Positioning Statement or the Reason to Buy. Whatever the name, the purpose is to create a short message that people will remember whenever they think about your product. I call this exercise the Fool-
Proof Positioning Statement Workshop because everyone who has participated in this exercise has created a statement they are pleased with-- regardless of their profession or initial skepticism.

The Fool-Proof Positioning Statement is a two-sentence message that tells people what your product is and how they will benefit. The second sentence tells people why your product is different than others. Here's an example: David Letterman is a talk show host who entertains
baby boomers so they can feel good before they go to bed. Unlike other talk show hosts, he performs a Top Ten List.

Dento is a toothpaste that helps children fight cavities. Unlike other toothpaste, Dento has X-45g, the most effective ingredient in keeping teeth healthy.


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