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What is the difference between positioning, differentiation and brand

By May 21st, 2021No Comments

A member of The Marketing Compass asked me:

“What is the difference between positioning, differentiation and brand?


Positioning refers to where a 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 (in the UK).

If you look 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. There are many ways of doing this. Many companies decide to focus on low prices. This works well for e-commerce platforms, as they don’t have the overheads of running high street stores.


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 (in the UK) and that they will not make a fuss.

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

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

Website not working? Promotional campaigns not delivering? This may be to do with the lack of a marketing plan and the clear direction that it gives you with regards to positioning, differentiation and brand.

Nigel Temple offers an in-house / 1-2-1 marketing plan training course, during which we build your plan.  He is also a digital marketing consultant

Nigel Temple

Author Nigel Temple

Nigel Temple is a marketing consultant, speaker, trainer and writer. Topics include: AI / ChatGPT, Marketing strategy, Digital marketing, SEO, Copywriting, Mailchimp. Nigel is available to hire for a consultancy meeting, training workshop, speaking event or marketing project. Email: Or call Nigel on: 01628 773128

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