Branding and positioning are 2 crucial marketing terms. While they relate to one another, they have significant differences marketers need to understand. Every business should think about how they want to be considered by their target market. Begin by determining which markets to serve. And know the competitors in those markets. Then learn what makes each of those competitors different. Finally, companies should discover how they are perceived in their target markets. In order to change people’s perceptions, they will need to know the difference between branding and positioning. This is more than just Advertising.


Positioning means claiming a place or credibility in a market for a company, service or product. The first step in positioning is identifying the markets in which to compete. Within geographic locations, marketers might segment by other variables. Consider things like as age, gender, income, or behaviors. The more granular the targets the easier it will be for a company to design messaging to influence each segment.

Positioning involves conveying ways your company differs from competitors. Think in terms of creating your reputation. Will you be the most tech-savvy, the price leader, the friendliest and most customer-service oriented? Positioning requires you to present how you do those things better than your competitors. It should be based on the characteristics your target audience values. Positioning statements can be aspirational. Using a company mission and or value statement is a great way to help position your business. Develop the desired position for your company. After, companies can work to develop and enhance a brand identity to declare their place within the market.


A brand is a personality. While the personality of a company, item or service is established in part by the target audience, companies work to influence perception. One organization may identify themselves as only providing the best. Another might provide offerings that are more accessible. Each will need to present themselves to their audience accordingly.

An interesting example is how Fed Ex and UPS present and differentiate themselves. Fed Ex is sleek, with a blue and orange logo on a white background. UPS is brown with gold. UPS used to declare they were “how business got done”. Fed Ex was “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight”. Neither slogan is in use today, but they still embody what the companies stand for. One is a hard-working business partner, the other a fast and reliable tool. And yet, they both just deliver stuff.

Branding and positioning require consistent application. Adding a catchy slug line to your name does not solve your branding and positioning requirements. It is an on-going activity that not only includes your marketing but carries into brand voice and corporate behavior.

The Difference Between Branding and Positioning

Companies need to bring their branding and positioning into everyday business activities. Just as we judge people’s personalities by their actions, prospects and clients gauge their interest in businesses through behaviors. A businesses culture that reflects the brand and positioning is a necessity. If employees don’t demonstrate the brand positioning an opportunity is squandered. Prospects and clients may not consciously think about the difference between branding and positioning but they will sense whether a company is true to their messaging. Consistency over time will make a businesses brand position a reality.