Brand positioning? Brand campaign? Which is which? What’s what?

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It’s easy to get confused. So much lingo. So many buzz words. So much to get your head around. And they can all mean the same thing.

But when it comes to what a brand’s position is and a brand campaign, while both not diametrically apart, they’re two pretty different things.

So let’s start with brand positioning. Some smart cookie somewhere said that a brand is in fact not a thing. It’s not a fixed entity. And that it only exists in the minds of customers. It’s ‘virtual’ and only becomes ‘real’, when and only if the consumer specifies what’s wanted. It might sound like a lot of old fluff but it’s actually not far from the truth.

A brand’s position, or positioning strategy or brand strategy as the lingo goes, is about defining what the brand stands for. It’s the brand’s stake in the ground, carving out its point of difference to all the other players in the sandpit, it’s ‘who’ you are. Simply put, it’s what you want customers to think when they think of your brand.

If it’s a goodie, it’ll do three things really well.

  1. It’ll be relevant. Super important. It’s got to matter to your target. Without it you’ve got nothing. No appeal, no consideration, no sale.
  2. It’ll be ownable. Why you and not the other guy? You need a stake in the ground and have something unique compared to the competition.
  3. It’ll be believable and attainable. You need to be credible. Nothing worse than an empty promise.

So that’s the theory. Let’s see it in practice with a few brands we all know and may even love.

Nike’s is Just Do it.

Snickers is Satisfy your hunger

McDonalds is Lovin it

QANTAS is Spirit of Australia

AIR BnB is Belong Anywhere

TOYOTA is Oh what a feeling

HONDA is Power of dreams

You can see that each talks to its customer and makes it meaningful, sets themselves apart from the rest when it comes to the competition, and lastly delivers on what they promise.

There are loads of brands out there with cracker positionings and these are just a few that come to mind.

So where does a brand campaign come into all this?

If the brand positioning is all about defining a brand’s point of difference and the reason it’s for you, then a brand campaign is all about getting that out there.

A brand campaign communicates what the brand is all about. Whatever the campaign is, it will ladder up to the brand’s positioning. It’s a reminder of ’who you are’. It’s not to be confused with an ad campaign that simply promotes what you do, your product or your service. A brand campaign does both, with a focus on your ‘who’ in with a bit of your ‘what’. 

The likes of Apple and Nike nail it. They’re the kings of telling you who they are and seamlessly flogging their ‘what’ at the same time. Of course they can do this. They’ve got the cred. They’ve put the yards in. They’re established.

While the brand positioning is long living, there can be many different brand campaigns that can articulate what the brand stands for and help build awareness and affinity. That’s because there are many different ways to tell the story. Some more creative and imaginative than others. Some memorable. Some downright forgettable.

So let’s look at the brands we made examples of and some of the brand campaigns.

McDonalds ’‘Your inner child’campaign is a shining example of laddering up to its positioning of ‘Lovin it’. Their ‘adult-size’ Playland activation is another.

Snickers’ ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’ is a gem, using a few famous faces to help it along. It’s still about satisfying your hunger.

Nike’s ‘We own the night’, done a little while back and took quite a few gongs. It was all about getting out there and just doing it…at night.

So you can see, while brand positioning and brand campaign are intrinsically bound together, they’re two entirely separate things.

AFFINITY has helped put a stake a ground for a good number of brands. We’ve also created a host of EFFIE-winning brand campaigns. If you need help with your brand, get in touch. We’d love to chat.

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