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Know-How Exchange

Topic: Branding

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This question has been answered, and points have been awarded.

Branding Versus Postioning

Posted by Anonymous on 125 Points
Can you explain the difference between branding and postioning, and which one should come first when putting together a marketing plan?

  • Posted on Accepted
    The site


    will be helpful to you.
  • Posted by Michele on Accepted
    Your positioning is the space that you wish to occupy in the market's mind, relative to your competitors.

    It is implemented through your branding strategy.

  • Posted by mbarber on Member
    Branding typically is a holistic take, positioning is the specific application or market for that product
  • Posted on Accepted
    Your brand is what you stand for, what you are known for. The qualities and attributes that people think of when they hear the name of the brand, or see the visual marks of the brand. It is these attributes that people speak of when they talk about "brand personality".

    While a brand may have a position in the market (e.g. Timex vs. Rolex), positioning relates more to the individual products and services. Product positioning should be consistent with brand positioning. For example, Rolex should not offer an inexpensive watch to compete with Timex, as this would be inconsistent with the brand values.

    When you are thinking about product positioning, you want to look at specific attributes of the product, generally from the perspective of the consumer/buyer -- what problems does it solve, what does it have more of or less of than other products. "Tastes Great, Less Filling" is a positioning statement for a light beer that mentions these kinds of dimensions explicitly.

    Tip: when you see a 2 x 2 matrix, you are probably looking at a positioning chart.

    There are actually several good pieces in Marketing Profs that reference this topic. (if you want to learn more)
  • Posted by ozdesign on Accepted
    There's a great short article by Rob Gelphman in the MProfs archives called: Why Brand When Positioning Will Do?

    It explains the fundamental differences and will give you some insight into their value when writing a mktng plan.

    In simple terms: Positioning will be derived from your SWOT analysis; Brand will be the summary of your mktng plan.

    Hope something here helps.
  • Posted on Accepted

    This is an amusing test of the marketing community -- the variety of answers is a clear example that it hasn't been figured out. Very amusing to see -- as a professor of marketing.

    Positioning is a more historical tool to express the difference between you and the competitive set. It relates to how you position yourself in your audience's minds and how you position yourself relative to your competitors. It is still used in advertising and public relations, but many people are starting to see it as irrelevant.

    Branding is more wholistic and focuses on why people are loyal to your service. Every brand makes a promise each time an audience member makes contact with the brand. If you fulfill on that promise they you are building a strong brand. When you're successful building a brand you should see loyalty, better margins, and a valuable intangible asset: your brand.

    Hope this helps clarify,


  • Posted by SteveByrneMarketing on Accepted
    Hi Eric,

    AKJ’s view that “Positioning is a more historical tool” or perhaps irrelevant seems somewhat premature. I think of positioning more as a process (as opposed to a tool) for building strategy, often based on SWOT as ozdesign suggested. Words can get tired and Al Ries and Jack Trout aren’t the last authors of positioning strategies. Is positioning a key component of branding? Check out this link to an article I wrote on the subject.

    Also, a quick web search produced the following debate --

    “The debate started when Jennifer linked to my post, Managing the Total Customer Lifetime and Tom replied with the following:

    ...But I believe that the Ries' quote is meant to convey his dated idea (my opinion) of positioning. In Ries' opinion, the word Chevy doesn't mean successful to his hypothetical car buyer. And Ries doesn't believe it ever could, because it already occupies a well-established place in the buyer's mind...

    I replied with:
    ...Do you really think positioning is dated? I think it is still a valid concept - owning a place in the persons mind, it makes sense...”
    see link:

    I hope this helps,


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