I take you back to my own college experience with a fun analogy! In this Bama Rush inspired episode, we’re going to talk about being memorable and standing out in a crowd of many TPT stores.

Episode Highlights

  • Bama Rush and how it relates to branding (stick with me on this analogy!)
  • A direct competitors exercise
  • Learning about brand positioning through a pretend TPT store example

Resources and Links




Kirsten 0:00

You're listening to the creative teacher podcast, a show for busy teachers looking for ways to engage, inspire and make an impact in their teacher businesses. I'm Kiersten, a teacher business owner who is all about simple and actionable tips, strategies and resources that result in wins, big or small. If you're looking for that extra spark of creativity, you've come to the right place. Let's dive in together.

Hey there, welcome to another episode of the creative Teacher Podcast. I am excited about this episode because we're going to be thinking about how we can set ourselves apart from the competition with a positioning statement. I will share with you a little bit about what it is and how we can go through the steps of creating one.

But first, I wanted to kind of share a funny story about when it was around the summer of last year, I was watching a documentary called Bama rush. And it made me think of my college years, while the school I went to wasn't super sorority, fraternity heavy. What was very popular at Texas a&m was flows and fish camp, and just a lot of different organizations. But they pretty much ran very similarly to Greek life. So that was something I was heavily involved in, beginning in my freshman year. And one of the things I recall, is my freshman year of college, I had heard all of these great things about what was called a flow freshman leadership organization. And there were different flows, all with unique characteristics that were really enticing to me, because I wanted something that aligned to my goals and what I wanted to get out of it. Some flows were known as the quote party flows. Mine was known as a party flow. And there were some that were more studious or just didn't really do as much or didn't have really as many parties hosted. And that wasn't even part of it. But there were different qualifications about like, you know, some flows had a service aspect, some were more tradition based for Texas a&m. And I wanted to apply to one. So after going through the process of getting to know some of the flows and kind of hearing around which flows are really good, and which ones you should apply to, I went ahead and did that. And there were different parts of the flow application process. And when I was watching Bama, Russia was very similar to what we went through. It was like a match style type of thing where you put in an application and you went in online and selected three or four different flows and ranks them based off of what you were interested in. And so from there, you would get selected for an in person interview. And then I think you get matched again, they reveal and match you up with your top flow. And I remember in my interview for one of the flows, I was really really interested in doing the Hot Tamale dance which was popular at that time. In the middle of my interview, I stood up and did the dance and just like I was basically trying to do my best to stand out in my written response, my in person interview. And of course, obviously while being true to myself, like I'm obviously not going to do all these things until they say things without not being true to myself. And that I think was part of what helped me stand out is just, you know, connecting with them during the interview and doing the dance and just something off the rails different than what probably most people were doing as they were sitting there in their interviews, answering generic questions. So I did end up getting my top choice, which was really exciting. And then when I was a fish camp counselor, one of the interviews that I did my junior year of college, I answered the questions completely, like Harry Potter style. So they had these different questions, and I related it all back to Harry Potter. So my whole entire written application essay questions were written, revolving around Harry Potter. And I think that's probably one of the other ways I stood out among people who wanted to interview me, and I ended up getting a spot as a camp counselor. So it was a lot of college fun and Bama rush.

And going through the process of getting interviewed and getting accepted to certain organizations and not getting accepted to organizations made me think about how we're kind of doing the same thing in our businesses on TPT. We want to stand apart from the competition, because there are literally millions of resources, and teachers looking for certain resources. And even if you're typing in something, even as specific as third grade, math, multiplication, games or task cards, you're still gonna get 1000s of resources that pop up. And so the really most advantageous thing you can do is to set yourself apart from the competition. Now, it is important, of course, to do those little tiny tweaks with your product covers and your product listings. And, you know, all those little tiny things for specific products. But you also want to think about setting yourself apart from the competition overall in your entire business. So yes, there might be people buying one off resources and all of that. But if there's a way you can get into the minds, your whole brand, your whole, set your whole business, into the minds of potential customers and returning customers, that's more powerful than having, you know, a one off resource stand out to them. So today, we're going to be thinking workshop style of how you can set yourself apart with what is called a positioning statement. Let's go ahead and get started. Think of brand positioning like painting a masterpiece in the minds of your customers, it's all about making your product or service stand out from the crowd with what's called a unique selling proposition. When you master having this unique selling proposition, this can lead to loyal fans, engaged customers and higher sales. So here is what I want you to do, I want you to on a piece of paper, if you have some time, or you want to revisit this episode later and work it out, you can do that. But for now, if you're driving in the car, or you're doing another task, you can always just listen. But this is what's called a direct competitors exercise. And you're going to step one list around five to 10 direct competitors in your specific niche. So if you do not know what your niche is, you need to think about that. So is it upper elementary Ela is it primary grades, think about one specific part of your business that you have a lot of resources that sell really well. In, you focus on a lot or you find yourself talking about a lot on your social media or your blog. Is that going to be leaning towards math for a particular grade level or set of grades? Are you thinking about more than one subject? Are you thinking about more than one grade level? So decide from there, what or who your direct competitors on TPT might be. You could also do this by typing in your best selling product and just kind of seeing what comes up if you see some familiar names that you've noticed as you're typing in, you know, several of your best sellers. So that's probably a good indicator that that is a direct competitor if they're the same type of stores that are showing up in the search results alongside your resources. The second step is to describe what you can do or what you can offer that your competitors cannot. So you're doing a little spying of course not to copy, you are literally going on their storefront and looking to see what they are doing, and pinpointing what you are doing differently. So we can think of maybe a Venn diagram, simple Venn diagram, where we've got two overlapping circles, you have your TPT store, and then a competitor's TPT store. And then you want to ignore everything that overlaps, everything that's similar, same type of resources you sell, same type of grade levels, tasks, you know, resource types, all that type of stuff, or even maybe the platforms that they're on, you want to think about how you are different and what they do not do that you do, or you could start doing. The third tip, or step is to describe how your audience or target audience potential customers, however you want to name it, how they can benefit from your unique features or benefits or offers. So this is thinking overall in your brand. So just kind of think about direct competitors, what you offer that they cannot in your resources in what you sell what you offer, and what they don't. And then just how your audience benefits from what you may offer that the competitors don't. From there, you're going to so this is the last step, step number four, create your positioning statement. So it's going to look like this. You can use this sentence stem, we help. And then you list your art your audience who blank so you're thinking about a problem that your target audience might face achieve blank, and then you list benefits, unlike length, competitor alternative, so thinking about who that competitor, alternative is our solutions blank, and you list the difference, what makes it different. So I will repeat that one more time without any extra comments. We help blank audience who blank target audience problem achieve blank benefit. Unlike blank competitor alternative, our solutions, blank difference.

Alright, to help you kind of get a better grasp at what this exercise is going to help you with. I have a example called Fun and Fancy classroom decor that is a completely made up TPT business but they sell TPT classroom decor or I should say they sell classroom decor for teachers on DVD. Number one, we're listing around the five to 10 direct competitors. So I listed completely fictional direct competitors that also sell classroom decor and posters and all the good stuff like that. So we've got fancy fancy decor bubbles in baby's classroom decor for more, and Missy E's, decor tree and target. I don't know targets just thrown in there. They do have some really cool teacher poster items. So we could just throw that in there. The second thing, describe what you could do or offer that your competitors cannot. So this is what fun and fancy classroom decor can offer that their competitors cannot. They have fun, relevant and current classroom decor resources that aren't anywhere else at an affordable price. So those are some differentiators. They're irrelevant. They're current, and they are not located anywhere else. There are not any designs like it. And they are affordable compared to other direct competitors. And it also has designs that aren't too over the top that are still unique or fresh. So they're kind of really fun, unique designs, but they're not sensory overload. Alright, then the third step describing how your target audience can benefit from this unique offer. So this answer would be they can stand out and be unique and have a fun and functional classroom at a lower price. So that's kind of it seems like the standout point is fun, unique, functional, low price. So from there, here is the positioning statement for Fun and Fancy classroom decor. We help upper elementary teachers who are tired of finding outdated designs achieve a fun and functional classroom at a lower price. Unlike other boring and common classroom decorations. Our solutions are fun, relevant, unique and fresh. Notice how I'm not calling out any direct competitors. I mean, they're just pinpointing where you know it It's a little bit of maybe some subjective parts of it. But from the most part, you can see that they're kind of calling out that some are just really common and a little boring and just not as unique. And they're highlighting how theirs are fun and unique and relevant. So that is just a very short example of how you can do this exercise and create your own positioning statement.

One of the things I teach in my mini course, brand strategy for teacher sellers, this is part of the creative teacher lab that I've recently launched, is particularly on this topic of strategy is super important. And one of the things you want to think about is how you can uniquely position yourself, you also want to think about your target audience, you want to think about your values, your core mission and your vision for your business. Then the other thing you want to think about is your messaging. So you can actually get this and more in the mini course the brand strategy for teacher sellers. And to learn more and how to sign up, you can go to the southern teach designs.com forward slash enroll. So this was just a little taste of what you are going to be getting in the entire training.

Hopefully, this episode gets you thinking about how you can make your overall brand unique, not just those individual resources, but the whole entire big picture. I will talk to you again next week. Thanks for listening to the creative teacher podcast. If you enjoyed listening to today's episode, feel free to subscribe and leave a review. I'd love to hear your feedback. You can also follow me on Instagram at the southern teach dot designs. Have an amazing day.