If you’ve been in marketing for a while, you know that there are at least a dozen ways to construct a positioning statement for your business. There are onions, pyramids and hexagons, all of which accomplish the exact same thing: getting you to make fundamental decisions about how you want to position your brand.

In my opinion, many of them get far too complicated far too quickly, and end up making positioning much harder to tackle.

Related: A Company Really Clicks When Mission, Brand and Culture Converge

My favorite positioning tool is a bit old school. There are many variations of this format kicking around, but I like the simplest approach to all of them.

This positioning statement is like a puzzle you simply fill out to complete all of the elements of your brand’s positioning. With each line item, you force yourself to make a critical decision about how to market your brand, and then when you’re done you have a complete picture.

Think of it as a sentence where you simply fill in the blanks. Here’s how it goes:

For: Target market (demographically)
Who: Target market (psychographically)
Brand is: Type of business you’re in
That: Functional benefit your product offers
Because: Proof points (no more than three)
So that: Emotional benefit
Best expressed by: Tagline

Hopefully you can see that once you fill out each line, you have a complete sentence that uniquely positions your brand in your customer’s mind.

I thought it might be fun to see how this could play out for a small business, so that you can see how it might play out for yours. 

Related: Richard Branson on Crafting Your Mission Statement

When I lived in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, I had a favorite dry cleaner that I used to go to all of the time. There were many options in the neighborhood, many of which were closer to my home and in some cases even cheaper. But these folks knew how to position and market their service far better than the others, so I chose them time and time again.

Their customer service was impeccable and they always seemed to care about how I looked. They knew my appearance was important to my work, and they took pride in helping me look my best. They called me out by name every time I walked in the front door.

I would imagine that their positioning statement might read something like this:

To: our beloved neighbors of Chelsea
Who: are the best-dressed folks in town.
Chelsea Dry Cleaners is: Your safe haven for all of your dry cleaning needs
Because: of our patented, organic fabric-care process and our commitment to error-free service.
So that: you can concentrate on your work, knowing that you are making a positive impression each and every time.
Best expressed by: Caring for the best-dressed New Yorkers in town.

I hope you can see that this positioning statement is inherently emotional -- it shows the way that the brand wants their customers to feel.

The tagline gives a hint at what the brand is all about, but it’s the individual line items that give it all real meaning. The trick is in knowing how to fill out each of those lines.

Ahh, yes, that’s where the real work comes in. We’ll be exploring each of those line items over the course of this series, so that at the end you can fill out a positioning statement of your own.

Fasten your seatbelts.

Related: Don't Forget 'Positioning' in Your Marketing