What Is Your Personal Positioning Statement?
January 4, 2016
The positioning statement: simply defined as a quick and easy to digest phrase that tells the audience exactly what they are getting when they listen to your radio station. For instance, Z100 is "New York's #1 Hit Music Station." Live 105 has long been "The Bay Area's Alternative."
Because we want listeners to instantly associate our station with the product we provide, we beat them over the head with that message every quarter hour. The air talents say it, the sweepers say it, the jingles say it too. But the thing about repeating your positioning statement is... it works.
Have you ever gone out and recorded listener testimonial audio for your station at an event? It can actually be frustrating when you want to get unaided, authentic, testimonial audio about how your station connects with a listener ("Oh my God, the morning show is SO funny," or "You guys just make me smile."), because generally, they repeat back some variation of your positioning statement ("You guys play all the hits."). This brings up the topic of the difference between "positioning vs. branding," but that's for another column.
The point is, repetition breeds familiarity. If I sing "Da-Da-Da-Da-Da," you can follow it up with "I'm Lovin' It" and know that a 99 cent McDonald's burger is nearby. If I say "Chicken Parm, you taste so good," you will automatically make a mental connection to the Peyton Manning Nationwide commercials and remind yourself that they are "on your side."
Now apply this concept to your personal life. What positioning statement are you repeating to yourself, about yourself, throughout the day? What is the message you project to the audience around you? Are you "#1 for achieving your life goals?" If you wrote your own personal top of the hour jingle, would the Reelworld vocals be "He's Paul... he's fearless... living his dream...P-A-U-L!!! (insert your hometown here).
If so, congrats on absolutely crushing the game of life. You can click off of this article and go back to reading Net News.
However, if your positioning statement is "I'm Tuscon's HOME for crappy relationships," or "I'm #1 for being unappreciated by corporate so I'm never going to get that promotion," then we have some work to do.
All kidding about radio imaging aside, do any of these statements sound like something you have said to yourself?
- "I've always dreamed of starting my own business, but I'm too old to do it now."
- "I'd want to be in a loving relationship, but all of the good people are taken."
- "The things that I really LOVE to do can only be hobbies, not a career."
- "Ugh. I'm never going to lose this 20 pounds."
At some point in my life, I've said everything on that list. Yet, a programmer would never consider putting imaging on their station that spoke negatively about the product.
"Star-106.5, now with three extra minutes of commercials EVERY HOUR, because we're dropping our pants to hit the budget. Nobody is EVER going to listen now."
You wouldn't run that on your station, and yet, we have no problem making self-limiting statements about ourselves every day.
Why do we tell ourselves we can't have the things we want? People I work with give me a variety of answers, but they all boil down to fear. Sometimes it's a fear of failure. Shockingly, it can actually be a fear of success.
But here's the thing about fear. While we look at it as a psychological issue, it's actually rooted in our biology. Feelings of discomfort trigger the amygdala in our brain, the part responsible for controlling fear responses. The amygdala, in turn, triggers the "fight or flight" response within our nervous system. This is actually an enormously helpful tool in nature that enables us to escape a life threatening situation such as a house fire or a tornado.
But the brain cannot distinguish between a legitimate survival fear, and the everyday irrational fear. It will trigger the same physical response in your body when you are afraid to ask your boss for a raise as it would if you were being robbed at gunpoint, even though only the latter situation is life or death.
Thanks a lot, science!
So step one in learning to overcome your fear is to understand that fear will never go away. It's embedded in your DNA.
This knowledge allows us to reframe how we process fear and helps us distinguish between what are real survival fears that can actually kill us (spoiler alert: it's a really short list), and the false fears that are holding us back (another spoiler: this is 99% of all fear we experience)
The reality is that feeling uncomfortable is necessary to your personal growth and development. It means that you are learning new things, expanding your awareness, and stepping out from the self-defeating patterns that are making you feel "stuck" in your career, relationships, and life.
Next time you feel uncomfortable about something in your life, and you realize that whatever it is that scares you won't kill you, then lean into it! The life you want to create is waiting for you on the other side.
2016 is here. Let's make this the year that you live your dreams!
For more on overcoming fear, and other life hacks to make your life as awesome as you are, head over to www.creativesoulcoaching.net and join the mailing list for free weekly personal development tips.