Great brand positioning requires inspiration, bravery, a future vision and don't be afraid of alienating people, says Dragon Rouge's Nick Liddell.
In theory, brand positioning can be an immensely useful tool for creating growth. But in practice, it is often a complete waste of time, money and effort.
There are very few examples of great brand positioning. Truly awful brand positioning is equally hard to find. The vast majority of brand positioning ideas are neither terrible nor remarkable. They neither inspire nor appal. They are average. Inoffensive.
This is a problem. A brand positioning that doesn't inspire people is like a blunt knife. People won't feel threatened by it and it can't do its job properly. In a Fortune magazine interview, Patagonia founder, Yves Chouinard, observed that "if you're not pissing off 50% of the people, you're not trying hard enough". The same rule applies to great brand positioning. Some people should love it. Some people should hate it. This is why so few truly great brands exist, despite the best efforts of a multi-billion dollar branding industry. Here are some of the most common pitfalls we've observed: