Surprisingly, most branding projects remain unfinished after everyone feels the work is done. And this is true even when it seems to have gone well and all the ‘owners’ of the initiative are happy.
Why? Because the difference between brand identity and brand positioning isn’t understood well enough or acted on correctly.
If a branding initiative yields a beautiful new logo, unified “look and feel” for web site and all materials, a snazzy slogan or tag line, a marketing campaign strategy, some naming conventions, a “brand book” telling everyone how to feel about everything, thorough competitive analysis, and an internal roll out announcing the new brand, it still might be - and often is - missing the most important branding element.
Usable brand positioning! The elements above relate to brand identity alone, and will leave the entire effort incomplete if left by themselves.
It’s positioning that allows any organization to convey value versus the competition. It’s positioning that everyone in an organization needs to understand and be able to speak about and act on. It’s positioning that should drive all the other identity elements in the first place.
I’m constantly amazed at how few times the positioning part of a branding initiative is either ignored, misunderstood, and/or done incorrectly. More depth on this would require another full blog post, but for now suffice it to say that positioning must be developed in plain language and be an explicit “offer” to the marketplace that shows true, valuable differentiation.
You can become an instant branding expert by doing positioning work first and letting those results drive your brand identity development.