When I was a kid, I used to work on puzzles. Hundreds, thousands of pieces, dumped out on a table in front of me. I sorted through them for hours, trying to find two pieces to form that single, perfect fit. Most kids were taught to start with the edges, finding the flat pieces first, building the frame, a skinny, jagged little border to work inside. It was easier that way.
But I always started from the middle. I wanted to see the picture first, so I sorted them all by colors, one piece at a time, working diligently, tirelessly -- sometimes for hours, sometimes for days -- but always from the inside out. My teachers nicknamed me the "puzzle shark." I was only four at the time.
Why POsitioning is Puzzling
I still work on puzzles today, but the pieces are made of words and the images are for enterprise software companies. By the time these companies — these puzzles — are large enough and challenging for my team and I to work with, they're made up of hundreds upon hundreds of words — thousands of tiny little pieces — but they don't need every one to paint a beautiful picture.
Its all about the essentials
The secret is finding the right pieces to start with. The simplest, sturdiest most powerful pieces are usually in the box to begin with. But to find them, it takes time, discipline and an experienced eye to sort through the box, turn the pieces around and combine them in a way that has meaning, to form a clear and compelling picture that matters.
Focus on The Big Picture
But most companies only hire someone to work on part of the puzzle, farming out several different sections to several different vendors with several different visions, who never see the picture as a whole. And while some sections work well enough on their own, rarely do they ever work well together, each telling their own story, in their own way, competing against each other for attention.
The Key to competitive advantage
I fundamentally believe that the right combination of images and words can unlock tremendous growth potential for a company. That the right story, told to the market in the right way can change perceptions, inspire customers to take action and choose your products over competitors. That distilling your company's positioning and messaging down to its core essence is foundational to differentiating your company from competitors and making your value proposition resonate with customers and prospects.
The Proof is in the positioning
I believe in the power of positioning, because I've seen the results of such growth firsthand, crafted meticulously for company after company over the last twenty years, sometimes bigger, sometimes better, but mostly with results both extraordinary and profound for our customers — entrepreneurs, investors and marketers trying to make their company stand out. To achieve separation. To become a beautiful, breathtaking picture, instead of a boring box of broken up puzzle pieces.
If you're stuck building your company and need a team to make it bigger, bolder and more valuable, give us a call. We're always up for a good challenge, and a puzzle's usually a good place to start.