Positioning You Can Keep Handing Down

Hand Me Down HowiesI’m a big fan of proper positioning. A brilliant position is what drives the brand to stand for something in the potential buyer’s mind. It shouts with clarity from the roof-top of their frontal lobe, “This is what I am!” 

In my mind, the best positioning is usually made of three things: 

  1. It emerges from the product or service itself. 
  2. It is certain of itself. It knows and shows, not thinks, it is simply the best at that position. 
  3. It is an inventive or memorable difference. This position stands out from other products or services in the same category. For example, everyone is a Cable TV installer, but not you Sir or Madam. You, are the only Cable person who arrives when it’s convenient for the customer and on time. No big 8-hour windows of “I might show” for you. You take pride in the fact that your business model let’s you arrive when it’s best for them. Something like that.

Meet Hand-Me-Down Howies. This product’s well-marketed positioning follows those three rules and taps into an elusive, fourth bonus advantage—the positioning you choose will last forever. It can stand for today, what it stands for 300 years from now. How’s that for consistency?

HMD Howies entered the clothing market, specifically, the category of upper-end/premium fashion with a twist: it’s meant for handing down. First off, what a simple, direct means of saying your product is durable. It’s one that lasts so long you can literally hand it down over the years to other people. But, before we’re all swept off our feet, let’s return to that list of rules.

Does this positioning emerge from the product itself? Certainly. The co-founder, David Hieatt, says himself on the site: “This product is guaranteed for a minimum of 10 years from the date of original purchase. The chances are it will last a great deal longer than that.”

That also covers number 2. He knows and shows the brand’s products are durable, hand-me-down material by offering that guarantee. Beyond that, they even put a very trendy looking log on the inside lining of the coat, a place where you can write the name of the person and date you handed it down to them. He doesn’t just know, he shows.

Is it memorable or inventive for that category? Um, I can has cheezburger? The answer in both cases is a resounding yes! Generally, HMDs, while having a perception of durability, also aren’t known for being very stylish. Here HMD items are turned on their head as fashionable items utilizing premium materials known for their durability.

Now what are the rewards for a great positioning that taps into all 3 and even the special fourth rule? For starter’s price isn’t as big of a concern. Even though it’s a premium category at higher price range than I would ever pay for clothing, I almost feel comforted by its durability message. This isn’t just some purchase because it looks good, it’s also an investment–it will last. This makes it an appealing purchase to the eco-friendly rich, as much as the middle class, fashion-loving, 17 year old. The brand can stand the test of time, because it’s based in time, and can create brand loyalists simply through the common device of handing down.

Most importantly, and, it goes with saying, because not enough people say it: great positioning leads to great creative. There is so much I want to do and that can be done with this product in terms of creative execution (and, I very well may  gratis if HMD is reading). Positioning like this keeps creativity focused yet boundless. The kind of positioning in a Creative Brief you would like handed down to you.


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