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What is the Difference Between Branding & Positioning?

Branding and positioning are both important concepts when it comes to building and marketing your brand. But they’re also very closely related, which makes it tricky for some to grasp what exactly they mean.

Fortunately, we’re on hand to clear things up when it comes to branding vs positioning. Read on as we discuss the difference between positioning and branding…

What is branding?

First and foremost, branding is the way you ‘brand’ your business, services or products. By ‘brand’, we mean attaching certain expectations to it. Going back to the most rudimentary uses of the word, farmers would brand their cattle so they could be identified as the owner.

While the process is now much less painful than hot irons, business branding does help consumers identify the owner. But in doing so, they should also be able to make some key associations about that brand. 

Quality, reliability, longevity, cost and value, luxury – these are all terms that you might want associated with your brand. In other words, branding creates a reputation.

When they’re well established, these associations become natural and instinctive to consumers. Mention Marks and Spencer and many people will think ‘luxury’ – thanks in part to their ‘Not just food’ campaign. On the other hand, the likes of Lidl and Aldi are will no doubt be associated with low-costs and better value. 

What is positioning?

Not completely separate from branding, brand positioning is the process of placing your offering in a distinct position within consumers’ minds. It’s about positioning your brand relative to the existing brands that potential customers think about.

To do so, you need to understand what factors consumers are interested in, what your brand is capable of and what position existing brands occupy. Then it’s a case of finding a gap in the market that consumers will be interested in and that your company is capable of occupying.

To use the example above, Lidl has consciously positioned itself as a cost-effective alternative to the big names like Asda and Tesco. Hence, ‘Big on quality, Lidl on Price’.

Branding vs positioning

So, what is the difference between branding and positioning? And how do they relate? To look at it one way, brand positioning influences branding. The space you want to occupy within the market will no doubt shape what qualities you aim to associate with your brand.

On the flipside, branding is a key part of how your brand is positioned. While positioning is quite conceptual, branding runs deep within a business. Your brand should influence everything from your products and designs to staff onboarding and customer service, which will all contribute to how consumers position you.

Building and positioning your brand

Branding and positioning are both critical factors in the strategy, design and execution of your brand. That’s exactly why they shouldn’t be rushed or overlooked. At BGN, we can help you understand every aspect of branding and positioning to create a solid, well-informed strategy going forward.

To find out more, contact our team today.