How to Run a Corporate Positioning Strategy Workshop (& Why you Should)

Emma Harris
Posted by Emma Harris
13 March 2020

Knowing what your company sells and who it sells it to is essential for all businesses and whilst this seems like such an obvious point to make, it is amazing how often companies don’t agree their Positioning Strategy.

There are so many benefits of doing so, and so many companies are missing out on these benefits. I believe passionately in the power of a clear, well understood Positioning Strategy, so in this article I am going to tell you how to run a workshop to write a Positioning Statement.

What is a Positioning Statement?

Before we look at how to write one though, let’s define a Positioning Statement.

A Positioning Statement is an articulation of your Positioning Strategy: the services or products that your company offers and the markets or customer segments that your company serves.

Very simple. But extremely powerful. Essential in fact.

“Nobody buys a product or service because it can do everything, but because it can do something.” Tim Williams

Learn more about our stand-alone Corporate Strategy Facilitation

How to Run a Positioning Strategy Workshop HubSpot Blog - journey doodle 2

Why is a Positioning Strategy Essential?

  1. Positioning provides a key focus for who you work with, what products/services you provide and how you do it. Without this focus you can’t create services, products or marketing messaging that resonates with your intended audience.
  2. Positioning provides direction. There will be no question about what you do, who you do it for and how you do it.
  3. Positioning provides a borderless market. Once you have determined your focus, customers want to work with you regardless of your location or size.
  4. Positioning provides a clear target audience. Strong positioning helps you understand the clear pain points of your audience, what they need and want, and how they buy. This is essential for the effective development of your products and services, as well as your marketing.
  5. A positioning strategy allows you to have a more efficient and targeted sales process. Positioning drives a strong qualifying process. With positioning your sales team will know exactly what to look for in a lead and without this much sales time can be wasted.
  6. Positioning drives premium pricing. With specialisation and unique expertise comes the ability to charge premium pricing.

How to Run a Positioning Strategy Workshop HubSpot Blog - target doodles

Or as Dan Tyre of HubSpot says, “The Riches are in the Niches”. (Note: needs to be said so that it rhymes! For more of Dan Tyre’s wisdom please read 5 Invaluable Business Growth Lessons from HubSpot’s Dan Tyre.)

So, what’s the problem? Why wouldn’t you agree your Positioning Strategy?

Why your Company Might not have a Position Strategy

When you think about it, it’s hard to see how a business could be successful without a Positioning Strategy, so why might your company not have one?

Well it could be any one of the following – or perhaps a combination of all four.

  1. It just hasn’t been got around to. No one has given it the priority it needs or understood the benefits it will bring.
  2. Your company used to have a clear Positioning Strategy, but things have changed, and it needs revisiting.
  3. Fear. Agreeing a clear Positioning Strategy means both agreeing what you offer and to whom and what you don’t. It means committing to saying no to people, committing to making your company less appealing to everyone. This can be scary. (But remember if you try to appeal to everyone, you can end up appealing to no one.)
  4. It’s quite hard to agree a clear Positioning Strategy – it takes time, dedication and the courage to say no.

However, the benefits are definitely worth it.

The way to agree your Corporate Positioning Strategy is to run a Positioning Strategy Workshop.

Click here to Download a Corporate Strategy Workshop Template

How to run a Positioning Strategy Workshop


As with anything in life, running a successful Positioning Strategy Workshop requires planning. All of the following are essential pre-workshop preparation steps:

  1. Invite the key stakeholders. A Positioning Strategy must be agreed at an Executive level, so it is essential that the key board members are invited. It is also essential that they arrive at the workshop fully bought into the concept and prepared to participate in full.
  2. Book a room away from everyone’s day-to-day workspace. Book it for at least 5 hours – but onlyLine drawing of a pencil writing on paper - How to Run a Positioning Strategy Workshop HubSpot Blog schedule the meeting for 4 hours. This will give you time to set up and clear away and means if you do overrun slightly there won’t be people waiting at the door.
  3. Invite someone to be the scribe on the day. They should be someone who’s not going to be too deeply involved in the discussion.
  4. Plan for what the scribe is going to write on – although low tech, poster sized post-its work really well, as everyone can see what’s being captured and they can easily be taken away afterwards for the write up. They also don’t take up much space – unlike a flip chart – and can be moved around the room as required without any hassle.
  5. Buy drinks and snacks – choose ones that the people attending would like. For example, if they are all very health conscious, buy healthy snacks. If you don’t know – buy a range of snacks.
  6. Set up the seating in the room so that people are seated comfortably in relation to each other. If it’s a big room but there are only a few of you, arrange the desks so that you are sitting together or book a more appropriately sized room if you can.
line drawing of snacks - How to Run a Positioning Strategy Workshop HubSpot Blog -

The Workshop 

Of course, ultimately your Positioning Strategy needs to align with all your company growth plans, but in the first instance it is important to put all concerns about this aside. It is also key not to jump into trying to write a Positioning Statement too quickly.

A really helpful template for a Positioning Statement is as follows.

We provide this value/outcome [The What] for this type of company/industry/market [The Who] by providing this type of product/service [The How] because why [The Why].

But although everyone should know that completing this is the end goal of the workshop, as mentioned before don’t let them jump straight to that.

Each person will probably have come to the workshop with an idea of what the company’s Positioning Strategy should be. Asking and discussing the following questions will enable a consensus to be reached and in my experience the end result will probably be both different from everyone’s expectation at the start of the workshop - and far more exciting!

Click here to Download a Corporate Strategy Workshop Template

Questions to ask:

The Why
  • Besides profits why does your company exist?
  • What would people miss if your company didn’t exist tomorrow?
  • What inspires you to go to work everyday?
  • What is the purpose and meaning of what your company does?
  • What problems does your company solve?
  • If the staff were volunteers instead of employees what would they be volunteering for?
The Who
  • How to Run a Positioning Strategy Workshop HubSpot Blog - ? doodlesWhat type of customers have your company been most successful with in the past?
  • What traits do they have in common?
  • Which market segment do we know best and excel at?
  • Which type of companies do we enjoy working with most?
  • Which type of customers do we not want to do business with?
    The What
  • Where is your company currently seen as an expert or thought leader?
  • Where do your organisation’s products/services provides the most value to customers?
The How
  • What are the philosophies your organisation follows when developing products/services?
  • What is unique about your organisation’s offering?
  • What is the one thing your organisation would never change about its offering?

Use a PowerPoint to keep you on track with this questioning, but keep in mind that the PowerPoint is not a presentation - just a way of ensuring everyone can see the question being considered - and that the questions as set out aren’t the whole story. The real value will be in the follow-on exploration and deeper probing of those questions - that is what will move the discussion forward.

"D2e's facilitation of their Corporate Strategy Workshop, combined with their insights into the business challenges Triaster is grappling with were highly important. The questions themselves were insightful, but it was the follow-on exploration and deeper probing of those questions that really moved us forward." Michael Cousins, Managing Director, Triaster Ltd

Learn more about our stand-alone Corporate Strategy Facilitation

Once these questions have been discussed and answered, review the answers - written up on the poster sized post-its - all around the room and then have a go at writing your positioning statement, by filling in the gaps in the template.

We provide this value/outcome [The What] for this type of company/industry/market [The Who] by providing this type of product/service [The How] because why [The Why].

How to Run a Positioning Strategy Workshop HubSpot Blog - thoughts doodles

You won’t get to a perfect Positioning Statement the first time, but write down each version and build on it. The key thing is to check that it’s got enough detail in it to be meaningful.

This is D2e’s Positioning Statement:

We create custom inbound-ready websites optimised for lead generation for B2B companies, by combining Growth-Driven Design and the HubSpot platform, because a company’s website is essential to delivering on their business goals.

This is one of our client’s:

We hunt down and fix processes which are clearly broken for B2B enterprises, by innovating and developing powerful, easy-to-use, end-user centric software, because their staffs’, customers’ and suppliers’ time and wellbeing is precious.

Both were reached by following the process and asking the questions set out above. Both were the start of something amazing.

lightbulb line drawing - positioning strategy and business growth Now what?

It is important to understand that a Positioning Strategy won’t help you much if you don’t tell anyone about it or do anything with it. In fact, if that is the case, it won’t help you at all.

The value of your Positioning Strategy is in providing direction for everyone in your company. So, take the time to tell them about it, discuss and explain it to them and how it enables them to move forward boldly with developing your products and services and marketing your company.

You will never regret the time you spend on this.

For more detail book a meeting with Emma Harris

Topics: Business Growth, Positioning Strategy