What is brand positioning?
Brand positioning sits at the heart of any organisation’s brand development strategy. It is simply the process of bringing clarity and focus to the desired mental position of your brand in the mind of your target audience.
In other words, what you want people to think when they think of you.
Why is it so important to commercial success?
The primary goal of brand positioning is to identify a strategy for long-term differentiation – critical to success in a world where more and more brands, with little to distinguish them, fight for our limited attention and precious time.
A clear and well articulated positioning not only provides the foundation for developing a compelling brand narrative and a meaningful identity, it enables the objective evaluation of all marketing activity and communications.
A well defined brand positioning has significant value internally too, as a framework for developing organisational culture and shaping your employer brand.
In addition, the very process of positioning or repositioning, when executed well, has in itself the ability to galvanise, energise and motivate your team. A valuable consequence often overlooked.
Simplicity empowers, complexity paralyses
Positioning is an exercise in synthesis and crystallisation, and an effective brand positioning is always defined in the most straightforward terms. As the platform for successful brand building it needs to be clearly understood, remembered and easily articulated.
The paradox of simplicity is that achieving is deceptively hard. With over 28 years working with brands and a well-honed brand positioning methodology, you can be confident we’ll get you to where you need to be.
The objective at this stage is not to embellish, but to be able to describe in simple, functional terms, and with absolute clarity, who you are, what you do, who you do it for, how you do it, and why you do it.
These are the pillars of your brand story. Together with an understanding of the personality of your organisation, as defined traits, brand attributes or perhaps brand values, the foundations are in place for the creative articulation of your brand.
Customer, Competition, Company (Collaboration & Context)
The classic marketing 3Cs (or as appropriate 5Cs) offer a practical framework for brand positioning. Somewhere at the intersection of your customers’ needs and wants, what your competition is doing, and what you can offer, lies the basis for your own brand’s strategic differentiation.
Understanding partnerships (Collaboration) and wider cultural trends (Context) can be important too. Rigorous analysis of all elements, as part of the brand discovery phase, is key to arriving at a robust brand positioning.
Developing a brand messaging matrix
With your brand defined, a practical next step is often to develop a messaging matrix or message house. This is essentially a suite of top-level brand messages underpinned by your core positioning statement, nuanced and with added detail appropriate to specific stakeholder audiences. For example, if your brand has a B2B audience as well as being directly customer facing, your positioning may well need to be different, but with common ground. Equally, certain elements of your core brand positioning may require dialling up or down if you’re talking to employees, investors, partners, and so on.
Brand positioning in practice
Here are a selection of examples from a variety of very different sectors, B2B and B2C. For more visit our work page: