Branding and positioning work together: a new framework
To cut through the brand-positioning confusion, we have developed a brand and positioning framework. This framework has been successfully used to educate our clients and help them clearly understand the distinctions between branding and positioning and how they play together.
In my last blog post, I discussed the distinction between brand and positioning. Strong positioning is the lifeblood for every B2B tech company, even the smallest start-up. Positioning is key to engaging and winning sales cycles and establishing a distinct, prominent corner of the room in the market category.
Not every B2B tech company needs a brand identity. However, a strong brand personality can be quite effective driving differentiation in commodity B2B markets or unifying a broad portfolio of different B2B products. Brand articulates the company personality and voice, expresses the ever-lasting experience the customer can expect and speaks to the buyers aspirations. Brand arises from successful product positioning.
We have developed a brand and positioning framework to help our clients better understand the distinctions between branding and positioning and how they play together. IBM and SalesForce are two good examples of this interplay – though one could argue that NO SOFTWARE is closer to positioning than branding.
As you can see, IBM uses SmartPlanet brand to unify thousands of products they have, which is also connected to their product positioning. Salesforce on the other hand has heavily leveraged it’s “No Software” mantra as a provocative viewpoint and rallying cry for the entire company. But it’s open enough to allow it’s positioning pillars to change over time to meet buyer needs.
How does your company stack up in our framework? Have you clearly articulated an answer for each level in the framework? Is it working?
IBM and SalesForce are two good examples of this interplay-
IBM is a sophisticated, well-know example of using effectively using branding and positioning. The “Smart Planet” brand is used as an umbrella and rallying cry that brings together a large portfolio of different products and services. Of particular note: The positioning pillars (“we don’t make decisions on instinct” “you live in a social world, do you work in one?”, etc.) are very good examples of effective value statement headlines.
SalesForce, is another well-known example, though one could argue that NO SOFTWARE is closer to positioning than branding. Please note the way they have packaged their solutions into Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, etc. Simple, elegant, forward-thinking!