One of the biggest challenges you’ll face when running a business is getting your marketing strategy right. There are countless trends, mediums and concepts to understand, but two of the most important are brand positioning and brand identity.

They might sound similar, but in reality they’re very different and play equally important roles in successful businesses. Let’s take a look at them both and break down what makes them different.

Brand Identity

Your brand identity is the image you present to the outside world. This goes way deeper than just choosing the right logo and recognizable color schemes, it’s about all the things that come together to form your reputation.  Brand identity encompasses everything from marketing materials to the quality of your products and services, how well you communicate with your customers online and how your front line staff respond to enquiries.

The ultimate goal of branding is to make people want to buy things from you. This happens through making them feel positively towards your business, so consider all the different aspects that come together to do this. What’s the first point of contact with your company? Are all your customer service staff warm, friendly and professional? Does is seem like you really care or are just there to make money?

Think about big name companies and how you feel about them as a customer. More often than not, your feelings will come from personal experience and how they made you feel as a consumer. Creating a positive brand identity should always come from putting yourself in your own customers’ shoes.

Brand Positioning

Positioning is exactly that- where your brand is positioned in relation to the rest of the market.  You’ll need to undertake a competitive analysis (link) to really understand where you stand and identify the strengths and weaknesses than can move you up or down the tables. Positioning your brand comes from identifying who your competitors are and the things you do differently (and the same).

Again, take your own experiences as a customer first. If you want to order a book online, what’s the first company you think of? If you need a quick lunch, what’s your go-to fast food store? Understanding how customers see you and where you rank in their minds is key to identifying your place in the market.

Brand positioning and brand identity should work in tandem, but the positioning element always comes first. Understanding what draws customers to you in the first place is the starting point of any branding exercise, then it’s up to you and the people you employ to really forge a positive identity that people feel good about and will want to keep coming back to. Of course, you will have to define a brand image and choose all the right words and colors for your marketing campaigns, but before you can do that you need to focus on your position first.

For more detailed advice and strategic support on branding, contact Ethos today.