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Topic: Branding

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Positioning Vs. Messaging?

Posted by JESmith on 500 Points
What's the difference between positioning and messaging?

My understanding has always been that when you are building a new product, the positioning consists of all the inputs required to build the messaging -- such as, the market/buyer's problems/goals you are trying to solve, and the key value/benefits that address these problems including proof points.

Whereas the messaging is the translation of the positioning into words and value propositions that grab the attention of your buyer.


  • Posted by MonMark Group on Accepted
    The positioning I know if is based upon where you want your message to be read and by whom. If you position it in the most important media of your target market, then you've done a great job of positioning. Now the messaging has to be in there somewhere, or else everything gets lost. If you have different messages, then you position those different messages to be heard by different audiences. If you kinda catch on here, you will understand that messaging it the overall message strategy to various markets. The positioning strategy assures that your message strategy is heard by those for whom it was written.

    Hows at?

  • Posted on Accepted
    My take:
    Positioning is part of the product planning process. It is where you focus on what the product does for the customer or buyer. You might have different positioning statements for each type of buyer.
    Messaging is how the value proposition is communicated through advertising, brochures, collateral, sales tools, etc.
  • Posted by JESmith on Author
    I thought this article from summed it up pretty well too:
    The Role of Product Management in a Software Products Company, Dean Leffingwell. This article describes the key role the product manager plays in defining and influencing the development of effective software products

    Positioning and Messaging
    As an acting member of the marketing department, the product manager is also responsible for product positioning. And, as the saying goes in retail, the key to success is “location, location, location.” Your likelihood of success is in large part based on your ability to attract foot traffic into your store. And people will likely go to your store because it was convenient for them to get there, rather than because of any lead generation or promotion mechanism you deployed to drive them to you.

    The same goes for software. But as locations in our industry are virtual rather than physical, the concept of position serves as a proxy for location. Your company’s responsibility is to create a location in your customers’ minds—a position that highlights your product’s strengths, minimizes its weaknesses, and ultimately causes customers to select software from your company rather than someone else’s. In other words, positioning is how you differentiate your products and services from others in the marketplace.

    No matter what you and your product and marketing teammates think of your product, the way in which potential buyers perceive it will ultimately determine whether or not they will purchase it. If you and your team can agree on this simple statement of purpose, then you will be well on your way to building a solid message platform.

    Of course, establishing a position does you no good whatsoever unless you can articulate that position succinctly and memorably to the marketplace. That is the role of messaging. Messaging puts words behind your position and builds a platform that you can use to describe the more detailed aspects of your basic selling proposition to customers and others. The goal of messaging is to help create a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

    Your message does not consist of just “any old words.” It contains the specific words and phrases, in the specific sequence that you and your extended teams will use to deliver your product message to the marketplace, no matter what vehicle you use (e.g., print advertising, radio, sales presentations). Moreover, in this day of information and communication overload, these are the only words you should allow the extended team to use to describe your company’s products and services. Each member of your company must learn to use the same words, in the same way, when they describe your company to outsiders, whether it be trade press, local press, industry analysts, customers, or partners. Otherwise, your customers will become quickly confused, and your message will be lost in the cacophony and constant bombardment of your competitors’ more effective promotions.

    As you come to agreement on your messaging, it is useful to document your messaging in a core message platform. This document summarizes your basic messages, as well as the product or solution features that support it, in a succinct and focused manner. The core message platform then serves as the basic input to all product marketing artifacts, including the Web site, data sheets, demos, and other sales materials.
  • Posted by Stephen Denny on Accepted
    Positioning is the discipline of defining who you are and who you aren't vis a vis alternatives -- competitors, your own stuff, alternatives, apathy, etc.

    Complete the following with all the key stakeholders in the room:

    "The ____ is the _____ that _____ because _____."

    This is your positioning statement. Make sure that whatever you come out with couldn't be said by your competitor just as easily. This needs to be yours and yours alone.

    Messaging is what happens after you've figured the above out. Messaging is the words, propositions, answers to critical questions, and (yes) ad copy that animates what you are.

    Good luck!
  • Posted on Accepted
    although Punet's reply more or less sums it up in the most perfect manner, i wud just like to make it a bit more clearer....
    the above topic cud be split as two separate questions,
    what is positioning?
    how is it done?
    answer to the first tells u abt positioning and the answer 2 the second tells u abt messaging....
    so essentialy, positioning is abt creating an unique propsition for ur brand in the customers mind the keywords here are, segmenting=> occupying mkt share; positioning=> occupying mind share. having got a clear idea of how do u want 2 position ur product in the customer's mind u find out the perfect manner in which u wud convey this to ur consumer or emphasize 2 ur consumer.....this becomes messaging.....
  • Posted by Signature Strategies on Accepted
    Well, I have a different perspective on the positioning/messaging topic. Messaging is what you as a marketer do to influence members of a targeted market group to think favorably about your business. It can be derived for many diverse activities depending upon the marketer's situation and needs. Messaging is a one-way activity - marketer to target market members.

    Positioning is how that target market perceives the business, particularly as related to other choices (ie competitors generally). That position is certainly influenced by the messageing activities of the business, but it is NOT controlled by the business.

    Martin Jelsema
  • Posted by rjohnni on Accepted
    Positioning is creating that 'mental filling' in a slot that was previously there, or created for the brand to occupy. The brand stands for that. Usage eg: tagline

    Messaging ideally is about communicating the particular positioning. Relevant when positions are not forthcoming for the consumer to decipher. Usage eg: Ad

    messaging may be about positioning
    positioning is independent of messaging.

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