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Brand positioning

Brand positioning is the conceptual place of a brand within the target customer’s mind. Historically, positioning was focused on the product; this was then broadened to encompass a product’s reputation and where a brand is positioned compared to its competitors. Effective positioning should be informed by industry trends and external market realities. As such positioning is closely related to brand strategy, brand equity and market segmentation.

Key Reading

Important papers from across the Warc database

This Best Practice paper argues that a brand positioning should always contain a strong message for the brand that some people love, and some people hate, in order to be effective. It discusses the five common pitfalls in brand positioning. Brand examples covered in the paper include Starbucks and IBM.
This Best Practice paper provides a framework to use when writing a brand positioning statement.
Les Binet and Sarah Carter look at a common mistake when positioning a brand.
A Best Practice paper providing a "how-to" guide for positioning a business, product, service or brand.
This classic paper provides a model for examining a portfolio, identifying problems and opportunities.

Case Study

This case study demonstrates how BBC 1Xtra, a digital radio station for 15-24-year olds, particularly from ethnic minorities, has found an audience-led strategy to maximise the potential of existing assets on air, online and with ongoing outreach.
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The article explores the new marketing direction of UK grocery retailer Sainsbury's including customer experience improvements and agency changes.


This report explores how Intel, the technology company, implemented a new campaign to help reinvent its brand.


This article explores how marketers should approach the challenge of pricing in 2017, as the weak pound begins to affect costs.


In this article, Malcolm White uses an ornithological metaphor to explain how important brand-building can be - in spite of not being very keen on birds.


This article examines what marketers can learn from the principles of elasticity that govern much of a brand's potential - a less elastic brand can usually charge greater price premiums, making it a goal for marketers, but elasticity also helps brands drive line extensions.


This event report describes how Ribena, a blackcurrant fruit drink brand, used colouring to reposition itself towards an older demographic in the UK market.


This Best Practice paper explains how to position a brand, arguing that effective positioning needs to be distinctive, appealing and relevant.
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  1. Article

    This Best Practice paper explains how to position a brand, arguing that effective positioning needs to be distinctive, appealing and relevant.

  2. Article

    This article explores how brand strategy should be retooled for the digital age, without devolving into a purely tactical dispute.

  3. Article

    This article explores how to revitalise a brand, a high-value and desirable pursuit that can deliver business results without the risks of new product development.

  4. Article

    This article gives recommendations for brand positioning, the process of establishing a clear belief and an ambitious future vision - recently, its most popular incarnation has been the 'brand purpose'.

  5. Article

    This article provides marketers with information and guidance on building brands.

  6. Article

    This article discusses the common pitfalls found in brand positioning, arguing that in order to be effective brand positioning should have a strong message that some people love, and some people dislike or even hate.
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