What is the difference between ‘positioning’, ‘differentiation’ and ‘brand’

A member of The Marketing Compass asked me:

“What is the difference between ‘positioning’, ‘differentiation’ and ‘brand’.

Positioning refers to where the company (or brand) sits in the marketplace in relation to its competitors. This is usually seen via a chart with an X & Y axis. Think about supermarkets and how they range from low cost / no frills  through to up market operators such as Waitrose. If you looked at price versus service, the first type of supermarket would be bottom left and Waitrose would be top right.

Differentiation refers to the ways in which an enterprise or brand stands out from the crowd. Norwegian Airlines currently offers return flights from London to Los Angeles for £400 (!) on Boeing Dreamliner aircraft (which are relatively lightweight and fuel efficient). Therefore their key point of differentiation is price.

A brand is a promise. It is the offer that the enterprise holds out to the marketplace. For example, you always know that you can return goods to John Lewis and that they will not make a fuss. Here are some branding tips, by the way.

Here is my 4 step marketing model:
1. Marketing plan
2. Website
3. Promotion
4. Selling / conversion (the latter is an ecommerce term)

If you have a clear strategy that is embodied with your marketing plan, things will go better for you. The plan would include your decisions on positioning, differentiation and brand, amongst other things.

Does all of this apply to services? The brief answer is that, yes, it most certainly does.

Website not working? This may well be to do with the lack of a marketing plan and the clear direction that it gives you with regards to differentiation etc.

Nigel Temple offers an in-house / 1-2-1 marketing plan training course, during which we build your plan.  He is also a website developer (there is a lot to be said for keeping busy, isn’ there?)

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