“Why do we need a foundational statement?”
I hear this one a lot. It is understandable; the “fun” part of positioning is writing the catchy messages to go on your website or in your ad campaigns. But imagine if you asked everyone on your marketing team to write a catchy sentence that explains what your company does — would they all write something similar? Or, more likely, would it sound like five different people had written a catchy sentence?
Your foundational statement is your marketing north star that guides all messaging outputs. It clearly articulates who you are, what you do, and why all of that matters.
By establishing your foundational statement, you give focus to your marketing efforts and help everyone on your team work toward a mutual, shared vision.
With that internal alignment, anyone on the team can easily, consistently articulate your company’s unique value to potential buyers, which helps you build a stickier brand in the market. The foundational statement is the most critical marketing decision for any company at any stage of their journey.
“So, how do I know if my foundational statement is working for my business?”
Great question! In order to evaluate the effectiveness of your company’s foundational statement, you need to ask yourself these five questions.
1. Is this the position we want to claim in market?
Since your foundational statement is going to guide all communication with your target audience, you have to make sure that this the foundation you want to build your market presence on. For example, if your foundational statement claims you are the XYZ platform for growth-minded businesses, make sure that “growth-minded” is an important piece to your target audience. If your foundational statement doesn’t fit the position you want to claim, it is time to refresh.
2. Will our buyers clearly understand how we are different from our competition?
We’ve all seen it: The fluffy marketing speak that leaves you wondering, “okay, but what do you actually do?” When evaluating your foundational statement, you should make sure that if your target audience were to read it they would immediately know the value you provide that your competitors don’t. Be clear and straightforward.
3. Is it simple, relevant, and repeatable?
Your foundational statement should be like the chorus of a pop song: Once your team hears it, it should be stuck in their heads forever. Since it is supposed to be the foundation for all external communication, if your team can’t easily understand and recreate the main ideas, it won’t serve the purpose you need. With time, team members will put their own spin on how they speak to those main ideas, but the important thing is that everyone is on the same page about what those key value propositions are.
4. Does it speak to our buyers’ biggest pain?
You can have the perfectly crafted foundational statement but if it doesn’t resonate with the pain your target audience needs you to solve, then it is not working to your advantage. To craft an effective foundational statement, it has to address your buyers’ specific pains and how you are going to be the one to come to the rescue.
5. Is this flexible enough to scale as we grow?
While it is important to tell the truth and speak to the pains you address today, your foundational statement should be written with the future in mind so that you have some room to grow. Does your foundational statement leave room for the goals on your roadmap? Or are you going to have to rewrite your foundational statement in a year when you make some product updates?
No matter where your company is in its lifecycle, all marketing efforts should be grounded and guided by a foundational statement that satisfies these five questions. A strong foundational statement allows for consistency and focus for internal teams, which allows for clarity and differentiation in a crowded market. If everyone on your team can tell the same story and communicate the same value proposition, it will pay dividends throughout your entire business.
Did your foundational statement not pass this test? Reach out to Ellie to learn about how Innovatemap can help.
Want to find out if your messaging is on the same level as your foundational statement? Read Kristin’s article on how to evaluate your product’s messaging.