Positioning is Everything


"Hi. I'm wondering if you can help me with a new website"

We often get calls from potential clients asking if we can “build them a new website.” We love that question. Obviously the quick answer is “sure, we can help with that.” The problem, of course, is that while the answer may be true, they are actually asking the wrong question and don’t know it.

It’s amazing how many times the desire for a new website is actually masking the need for something more fundamental; foundational, even: a new or refreshed brand.

Websites are the most visible, yet probably worst-realized, facet of many smaller brands. Businesses build them because they have to, and many look like they were thrown together, in a hurry, from a template. As the business matures over a period of years, and management develops greater resources, such sites start to feel like they are holding the business back — and then we get the call above.

So we start asking questions, ’cause we’re just like that. The conversation often goes something like this:

Potential Client: Hi, I’m wondering if you can help me with a new website.

Helpful Engineer Who Answered the Phone: Sure; we can help with that. Why do you need a new website?

PC: We’ve outgrown ours and have never had time or money to deal with it properly. It’s old and clunky and feels out of step with who we are now. So we need to fix it.

HEWAP: Ah. Who are you now that you weren’t when you built the old site?

PC: Well that’s hard to say specifically, but we’re sure more/better than we were when we had my old college roommate throw that site up for us. So we want to reflect that. The site needs to be faster/have more capacity/look better…

HEWAP: All that sounds great, but what is the underlying idea behind the company? Beyond what the site will actually DO, what will it SAY? What is your company all about?

PC: [Insert founder’s speech about what the company does, how it is different, why it is great, how they have grown, etc. Usually goes on for about 5 minutes]

HEWAP: Sounds great. So what’s your positioning? What’s your brand actually all about?

PC: Um. Well… we’ve talked about that, a lot, really… but we’ve never actually landed anywhere… We do so many things well…

And that’s what we call the Golden Moment of Transformation (GMT), when our new friend PC realizes for themselves that while they do indeed need a new website, it is not the next step. First they need to figure out their Brand. THEN what to do with the website (and everything else) becomes wonderfully clear and obvious.

This is the conversation we really want to have, because that’s our sweet spot — discovering the who, what, how and why of a brand. We take our clients through a sequence of strategic steps to develop a brand positioning that is clear, relevant, and operative. And best of all, because our process is highly collaborative, the resulting positioning comes from them as much as from us. So they recognize it and feel good about it, because it’s really been there all along: we just helped them put it into the words that were so elusive to them.

So if you’re thinking you need a new website, and now know you need a new brand? Call us and let’s have that conversation.

Posted in Branding