For those who are in the process of launching a business and are becoming acquainted with marketing concepts, branding and positioning are two terms you will hear a lot. Both are essential to a business’ success and it is imperative that businesses prioritize them, even companies that are in their earliest stages.
Branding Versus Positioning: What’s the Difference?
Let’s begin with a discussion of positioning. In order for companies to compete within a market, they have to “position” themselves as distinct from their competition. In other words, they need to set themselves apart from rest, whether that’s through their products, their services, their prices, etc. In simplest terms, businesses cannot compete and expect to get a lot of business if they do not offer something that their competitor doesn’t.
The next question becomes, how does a business “position” itself? That is, how does it distinguish itself from its competitors? In order for a company to position itself, it has to know the market it’s competing in and then determine how their products, pricing, advertising, etc. differs.
Next, on to branding. First and foremost, it is branding that makes it possible for companies to charge premium rates for their products and services (this is brand equity). People will pay more for name brands. Why? Because they have built up trust around their products. In short, branding is the process of establishing your “image” (but we don’t just mean your logo). For example, what is your company all about? Apple, for example, established itself as an innovator in technology. It then used its logo, website and promotional items to communicate their “innovative” image. Trust grew over time as they established themselves as having created a quality product.
In fact, every time a customer interacts with your employees you are communicating your brand. In short, your brand is what your customers think about your company. Since you communicate your brand through so many different channels, consistency is one of the most important aspects of your brand.
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