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GUIDELINES FOR DEVELOPING A GREAT POSITIONING STATEMENT Doug Stayman, Associate Dean for MBA Programs at Cornell University Johnson Graduate School of Management, highlighted these six guidelines for a good positioning statement. My words follow his:


It is simple, memorable, and tailored to the target market. Leave product descriptors such as flavor profile and flowery adjectives for back label copy and marketing materials.


It provides an unmistakable and easily understood picture of your brand that differentiates it from your competitors. Remember, all your competitors have many similar attributes and a delicious product — focus on your unique value proposition.


It is credible and your brand can deliver on its promise. Make sure you can deliver on the brand promise or risk alienating your core consumers with disappointment. Authenticity is crucial in the alcohol beverage category. Consumers today are more research savvy than ever before. If you “fake it” — they’ll know.



It sets your brand as one of the very few or sole occupier of a market position. Consider whether your brand fills a specific void in the market, has a specific attribute that sets it apart from competition, or fits your consumer’s lifestyle and tastes in some unique way.


It helps you ensure that marketing decisions are consistent with and supportive of your brand. The positioning statement is the litmus test by which all brand activities are evaluated for their purpose. Your brand essence, package design, brand story, and the beverage itself must align with your positioning.


It leaves room for growth. Alcohol beverage brands must inevitably evolve over time to remain relevant. A focused positioning statement doesn’t mean you have to pigeon hole yourself — as your brand evolves, so will your positioning. Once established, every subsequent product and marketing decision made should align with and support your positioning statement. If done well, your positioning statement becomes a compass to guide your efforts and to help you stay focused on your brand promise.

David Schuemann is the owner and creative director of CF Napa Brand Design. For more info, visit or call (707) 265-1891.


Artisan Spirit: Fall 2018  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

Artisan Spirit: Fall 2018  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.