Brand positioning: an essential step to propel your NPO

Brand positioning: an essential step to propel your NPO
Is your NPO having trouble attracting the right target audience? Are you unable to retain your members? Are you struggling to find the right words to describe your value proposition? Does your brand statement fall flat?

What if your brand positioning is at fault?
Your brand message is essential to distinguish yourself, orient your speech, and meet your business objectives. Read on to learn more about our approach to establishing a clear, convincing, and distinctive positioning that will meet your greatest challenges.


Your positioning is… YOU!

Your positioning is the sum of the emotions, associations, and perceptions that your various target audiences have toward your organization. Ultimately, it is the reason why they choose your brand over another.

How do you define your positioning? Whether your NPO is new or mature, a strategic positioning exercise allows you to lay the foundation for your brand. It is an opportunity to take a step back, detach yourself from old ways of thinking, and put your unique identity and added value at the center of everything you do.


How to go about it?

There are several ways to proceed with a positioning exercise. At Riposte, our methodology is inspired by Simon Sinek, author of the book Start with the Why who reminds us that:

People don't buy what you do; they buy what you do it for.

He argues that most successful organizations position themselves beyond the practical and rational benefits of the products and services they offer. Indeed, his Golden Circle theory helps explain why some organizations have the ability to inspire and stand out successfully: by focusing on their "why" or their purpose.  

The Golden Circle:

  • What: All organizations know what they do: the products and services offered.
  • How: Some organizations know how they do it: the actions taken setting them apart from the competition.
  • Why: Very few organizations know why they do it: the purpose, cause, or belief that drives the organization.

It is from this principle that we build all our positioning exercises.


Our approach

To be successful, we believe that the approach must be rooted in the DNA of your NPO in order to be aligned with its mission, vision, values, and strategic plan.  

First of all, you need to understand your ecosystem

A positioning exercise must provide a clear understanding of the ecosystem in which your brand operates. It is therefore essential to conduct an analysis to understand your environment (competitive landscape), your organization (your DNA and unique characteristics), and your collaborators (employees, stakeholders, and target audiences).

In this step, we conduct discovery workshops with key members of your organization: employees, management and board members, partners, etc. Through a series of questions, we get to know your brand and the perceptions people have of it. This is a critical step toward identifying your own uniqueness.  

The brand pyramid

Once the first step is completed, our team gathers its recommendations for the positioning statement and your branding elements (brand personality, voice, promise, and essence). This is also an opportunity to review your mission and vision statements, and to tie in your organizational values.

Sometimes, our recommendations may also involve the brand name to ensure optimal alignment.  

The positioning statement

Your positioning statement should reflect your DNA and highlight your uniqueness. A good positioning statement must be:

  • Unique and distinctive
  • Meaningful, inspiring, and engaging for your target audiences
  • Applicable to all key markets
  • Relevant and consistent with your product or service offering
  • Consistent: must be able to be delivered consistently across all touchpoints
  • Able to support and energize your organization
  • Motivating and engaging to your current and potential employees
  • Able to give direction to business development and innovation investments

Brand identity and territory

Once the strategy has been defined, it's time to review and align the brand identity with the new positioning. One rarely goes without the other! The logo, slogan, brand colors, fonts, and images should all be reviewed and adapted to reflect the new positioning.  

The brand manifesto

The brand manifesto can be a very interesting tool to give life to the different elements of your new brand pyramid. The manifesto is an inspiring story that articulates your actions and clearly communicates your uniqueness. It is similar to a rallying cry that allows you to establish an initial emotional connection with your target audience.  

A first step in defining your employer's brand

An inspiring positioning can have a positive impact on many aspects of your organization, including your team. Indeed, it can be a powerful lever for cohesion and mobilization to help develop your internal messages and align with your organizational values.

Would you like to conduct a positioning exercise? Let us know, we’d be happy to help!


Carolyne Lord


Director, Strategy
& Development


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