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The Difference Between Branding and Positioning

[tweetmeme]The web has become the preferred source of information about your company.  It’s a fact.  That’s where your employees, customers and prospects are getting their information about you.   So, it’s more important than ever that your brand attributes and key messages are communicated in language that is clear, concise and compelling. Nothing less than your reputation is at stake if you get it wrong.

Name Brands

A bottle of Coca-Cola.

Image via Wikipedia

When we speak of brands a few immediately jump to mind:  Coca-Cola, the world’s most valuable brand, Google, and Facebook, for example.  Coca-Cola has been around forever and built its brand over time.  Google was launched in 1998 and quickly became the leading search engine.  It’s a noun and a verb when you “Google” something.  Facebook is a Harvard case study of how a company built a global brand in the space of six short years (by co-founders who attended Harvard).  Facebook is ubiquitous.  Does anyone need to explain what Facebook is?  The brand is crystal clear.  Nowadays, brands are built and destroyed in Internet time.

Individuals have personal brands too.  Oprah, Elvis and Sting are three entertainers with such recognizable brands all you need to hear is their first names to know who they are and the values they represent.

The word “brand” has come to have many definitions.  When you are building your brand it is important to use a common vocabulary so that you and your colleagues are working from the same script.

What is a brand?

•    A brand is what an organization wishes to be known for.  It is a pro-active strategic process to establish the direction, leadership, clarity of purpose and inspiration for the organization’s mission.  It is an inside-out process.

What is positioning?

•    Positioning is how an organization and the services it provides are perceived in the minds of its target audiences.  It is looking from the outside-in.  The challenge is to have your brand and positioning in alignment.

What is corporate identity?

Image via CrunchBase

•    Corporate identity is the visual expression of the organization’s name, logo, and tagline.

How do you define a brand, positioning and corporate identity?