6 Ways to Win at Brand Positioning: Ryu Style

If you know who you are, no matter what game you're in, you know what you bring to the game.

Disclaimer: The visual content (GIFs) from the various “Street Fighter” video game series and affiliated titles used in this blog post are the property of their respective copyright owners, Capcom. These images are used under the Fair Use doctrine for the purposes of commentary, criticism, and educational discussion. No copyright infringement is intended. The use of these images does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by the copyright holders.

Take Ryu from Street Fighter. Yup! It’s about to get REAL nerdy ’round here, but stick in it.

Whether he’s facing down foes in his home title, Street Fighter, making a cameo across the Marvel universe, or even fighting Power Rangers (that’s right), Ryu remains unwaveringly himself. He always has the same look, story, sounds, and signature moves like his fireball and uppercut. No matter what game he’s in, he plays it his way. 

What is your brand’s mission? To become the Ryu of your industry, you must be unchangeable in essence, masterful in strategy, and unbeatable in execution. The game might change, but your core products and essence? Never.

Here are 6 brand positioning essentials you must nail down to be as timeless and powerful as everybody’s favorite fictional fighter.

1. Have a Recognizable Name

(Like Ryu)

EVERYBODY knows who Ryu is. Does your name ring as clearly? A name isn’t just a label; it’s your first strike in the battle of brand strategy and salience. A good brand name isn’t just something you slap on a piece of paper that you think sounds cool. It should represent you and your essence. Be thoughtful, take your time, and land on something representing who you are and all the work you’re about to do. You want something captivating, unique, trademarkable, and maybe even SEO-friendly if you can swing it!

2. Have a Distinct Look and Voice

(Like Ryu's costume and sound bites)

Ryu’s simple white karate gi, red headband, and gloves are iconic, making him one of the most recognizable and beloved characters in the gaming world. Also…if I were to ask you to scream out the sound he makes when he makes his fireball sound, 9 out of 10 of you readers could do it with perfect pitch! 

The point is that he’s got his visual identity and “voice” ON LOCK. When it comes to your organization, you need to be the same. Your brand’s look and voice should be impactful and unwavering. Develop them in a way that cuts through the visual and verbal noise of your market.

3. Understand Your Product or Offering

(Hadoken AKA Fireball)

When you think of Ryu’s moves, you think of the Hadouken, AKA fireball. It’s the move most gamers spend hours learning how to perfect. Similarly, your product or service is what you must perfect. It’s the reason you exist and the most essential thing in your bag because it’s what you hit your audience with the most. Without it, you’re a hollow organization. You can’t skirt by on vibes; eventually, you MUST deliver something. The most successful brands create behaviors that enable the development of dope, impactful products that can provide value that no one else can.

4. Get Your Assets in Order

(Tatsumaki Senpukyaku, AKA Hurricane Kick)​

Ryu’s Hurricane Kick has many uses, not the least of which is closing the gap between him and his opponent. A solid set of assets does the same thing for your brand. Assets like websites, presentation decks, sales sheets, etc, are tools you use to help your audience understand what you do—closing the gap between introduction and action. You can reach your goals faster, connect with your audience more deeply, and separate yourself from the rest of the market with a solid set of clear, engaging, and strategically developed assets.

5. Nail Down Your Customer Service Plan

(Shoryuken AKA Uppercut)

When a fighter jumps in, Ryu has his uppercut (Shoryuken) to connect and catch ’em out of the air. When your client seemingly comes out of the clear blue sky, you better have your customer services plan on lock! Your customer service plan is a sharp way to transform curiosity into loyalty. Once it connects, it’ll set up even more opportunities for your brand’s offense, just like Ryu’s Shoryuken. Build a brand platform that can help you spot every opportunity a client is jumping in towards you, then leverage those moments of heightened interest or engagement to convert them into opportunities for a deeper connection.

6. Be Consistent


Have you ever gone to play Street Fighter in an arcade, and one (or more) of the damn buttons don’t work?! It’s maddening. In the fighting game world, “normals” come from the push of a single button and are supposed to be there when you need them. Not only that, they need to be useful! Ryu’s are some of the best in the business. 

So, are your “normals” clear, practical, and easily accessible? Your normals are sensible business hours, turnaround times, contact information, an org chart (We discussed this in our last blog→, Refresh Your Memory), payment processes, etc. If not, you need to fix ya damn buttons. Otherwise, people will move over to the next game in the proverbial arcade (your competitor)!


In the lore of Street Fighter, Ryu’s mastery of his fighting style (Shotokan/Kyokushin-style Karate, if you were curious) requires focus, consistency, and a never-ending dedication to understanding and developing his unique strengths. Since Brand is Behavior, brand positioning is the disciplined art of acting with intention, consistency, and authenticity, just like the man with the red headband. If this is on lock, you don’t need to change your core to appeal to any audience.

You don't have to face the brand positioning fight alone!

Ryu had a teacher to help in the beginning (Gouken), peers, and challenges to help him stay sharp (literally every other street fighter character). If your organization needs either of these, hit the button below.


Jason Lorne Giles

Jason is the founder of Studio J Lorne and a bar-spittin’, hard-hittin’, IP-driven, creative polymath with a a penchant for problem solving.

Alicia Mountain

Alicia is Studio J Lorne’s Social media coordinator, a prominent eco-warrior, and an aspiring lawyer that could probably cross you over on the basketball court.


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