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Positioning is not a “slogan”

A couple times today I’ve had the same conversation and a key misunderstanding is worth clarifying:

What does it mean when a marketer asks you how you position your radio station to the audience?

Twice today, stations have assumed I meant to ask “What’s your slogan?” when that isn’t what I meant at all. I don’t really care what your slogan is. What I want to know is what, exactly, your station is supposed to stand for? What is it designed to represent? What do you want your listeners to believe about you and why do you think they choose you specifically over scores of other options as their favorite? What is the problem you uniquely solve for your audience?

All stations need to understand that a “position” is not a set of words, it’s a destination in the minds of the audience. It’s the “hook” they place your station on in their heads.

Coming up late this month, many of you will be getting a surprise in the mail from my research company. It is “direct mail” if you liberally interpret the meaning of that phrase. It contains no “positioning line” but it’s full of positioning. You’ll know what I stand for instantly, without me having to spell it out.

Wait and see.

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