Friday, 17 February 2017

What's the point?

I've been spending more and more of my time reading and talking about Brand Purpose in the last few years. And it occurred to me the other day: what would I say if asked what the difference is between Brand Purpose and Brand Position?

Tricky. Those hours I spend these days on Purpose used to be spent on Position and Positioning. Are they maybe one and the same?

I'm not sure, in the end, that the terms are interchangeable. I'm beginning to think that Purpose is maybe a more relevant term for the world of brands and branding today. I've already written here about the static nature of the idea of a Brand Position.

Furthermore, taking a position, or positioning a brand suggests we're looking at things in a market or category, in comparison to other brands in that category. It's the Spice Girls principle: oh, that's the expensive one, that's the fun one, that's the cheap and cheerful one, that's the grown-up one. It's all about differentiation of items that are all basically similar.

But with categories today such as 'mobility', or brands like airbnb, does that really work? I'm not sure.

What I like about the idea of Brand Purpose is that it gets you to nail down what is unique about that brand, not merely what differentiates it within its (artificially-defined) category. And it's something active, that can inspire and drive everything you do with the brand, rather than merely defending your corner, which positioning sort of implies.

I don't think Purpose necessarily has to be high-falutin' and about saving the planet. It is, in simple terms, the answer to the question: what is the point of your brand? Why does it exist (beyond making money)?

To continue the Spice Girls analogy, I suppose finding their purpose is what each of them had to do when the band split.

Answers on a postcard!


Barbara said...

Well, I wish I could give you an answer on a postcard or in any other way, but I have absolutely no idea if Position and Positioning are the same as Purpose. The only thing I can say for sure is they all begin with Po – does that help? :-)

Sue Imgrund said...

PO-ssibly! :)