This post is part of a 95 post series discussing the 95 theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto as they relate to business in 2009. Read more about the series in the introduction post. And check out the rest of the series!

Thesis #23: Companies attempting to “position” themselves need to take a position. Optimally, it should relate to something their market actually cares about.

I don’t like this thesis. Well, I don’t like the second half of it.

I do agree that companies need to own who they are. But the second part of this suggest something dastardly.

Something that, if you’re not careful, it leads you down a road of being unauthentic.

You can’t just hire a clever copywriter to position your company as quirky, off the wall, or funny because that’s what your market wants.

That’s not the point.

If your position only exists to appease your market, you’re doing it wrong.

Your position shouldn’t be what everyone else thinks, it requires introspection, and a strong set of values. Not only does that make it easier to take that position, but it lets all of the bullshit of trying to maintain that position go away.

If your market doesn’t care about your position, you’ve got two options: pick a new position to execute against, or pick a new market.

Here’s the clincher.

There’s only one of you. There’s always another market.

Be yourself. Be authentic. That’s the only position you can have.

My boy Gary Vaynerchuk has a lot to say on this, he calls it “executing against your own DNA”. You have to know what you are, and own it.