What Is Positioning?


Our definition: Trying to carve out a home for your brand in people’s minds

Official definition: “An effort to influence consumer perception of a brand or product relative to the perception of competing brands or products” (Business Dictionary).

Origins: The idea of “positioning” was introduced in 1969 by an advertising executive named Jack Trout. In 1981, Trout teamed up with Al Ries to write a marketing classic called Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. They defined positioning as “an organized system for finding a window in the mind” (Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind).

Positioning is not:

  • Branding. Branding is a holistic process that condenses your entire business’ identity, including a positioning statement. If branding is building a reputation through consistent, conscious choices, positioning is deciding that one thing you ultimately want to be known for.

  • Differentiation. All positioning involves differentiation, but not all differentiation leads to positioning. Differentiators include anything that makes your brand different from others, from its visual impact to the quality of customer service.

  • Temporary. Positioning is very hard to undo or redo. Once you’ve decided on how you want to position your brand, stick with it!