What is brand positioning? Brand positioning is often poised at the very beginning of the marketing journey. But few business owners understand everything that brand positioning encompasses. Why does it need to inform all aspects of your marketing, from logo design to copywriting?

What is Brand Positioning and Why is It Important?

Put simply, brand positioning is the position you want your business to own in the mind of your target audience. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when they hear your name? What benefits do you want associated with your company? A brand’s position is the market’s perception of a company, product, or service relating to the perceptions of its competitors. This is done through a systematic and collaborative series of actions taken to improve the position a brand holds in the marketplace.

From the colors used in your logo design and the feeling and overall architecture of your brand to the material and shape of your signage and the stock and layout of your business cards, branding creates a distinct impression in a customer’s mind. The goal: get your customers to associate you with something desirable to your demographic and distinct from competitors.

Here’s the clincher—your company is already branded in the eyes of your audience. Good brand positioning takes your existing reputation and develops it into something greater. By adding structure and market research, your brand can help you stand out for the reasons that matter most—to you and your audience.

What’s the Difference Between a Positioning Statement and a Mission Statement or Tagline?

A positioning statement is for internal use. It informs your team of the overall essence of your brand and whether the voice of your company is young and familiar or professional and informed—details that your general public wouldn’t find riveting. However, that positioning statement is essential when bringing on new hires and informing them about the personality of your company. It’s also important for your existing team to reference when updating any old collateral or web copy.

On the other hand, a mission statement or tagline exists for external use. This is a statement that’s visible to the public to help your audience understand who you are, what you stand for, and what need you will fulfill in their life. It’s ultimately the difference between what you say in a journal versus what you say on a first date—the first honestly assesses your strengths and weaknesses to better understand your current situation, while the second shows off your best possible self and what makes you amazing. Fortunately, a robust positioning document often includes a positioning and a mission statement and tagline suggestions backed by market research so you can put your best foot forward.

What Should I Expect from a Brand Positioning Document?

A brand positioning document can includes anywhere from 20-30 pages of strategic research and analysis on your existing brand, your market, and your competitors as well as creative content that’s informed by the positioning. Primary and secondary market research are also frequently used to gather information about industry trends and influencers. A strong brand positioning document typically includes:

  • Key brand attributes and differentiators
  • A brand positioning statement, including the essence, functionality and differentiation of the brand
  • A brand personality description, including the tone and emotional quality of marketing communications
  • Messaging development and marketing ideas, including identification of potential marketing vehicles for message delivery and campaigns and copy ideas

A properly positioned brand helps distinguish between on-target communications and those that are inconsistent and non-supportive. That way, you can drop what is no longer working and develop a lasting, positive impression in the minds of your consumers.

What companies have you seen improve drastically before and after a good rebrand? Nike? Avis? What experiences have you seen with your own brand? Share in the comments below!