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The Notion of Association: Brand Positioning


Helping people understand what your organization does and who your brand is can be daunting. One tactic to use is positioning. By comparing your product or service to something readily relatable, your audience can understand how to categorize your brand.

For example, in old school advertising, it was popular to say something was “the Cadillac of [insert your category here].” Back then Cadillac was king for a symbol of luxury and quality.

Sometimes your offering is geared to a more technical audience. When you are explaining what you do, you need two answers: a relatable one for casual introductions and a more specific solution-focused version that helps your ideal client engage.

The key when making a comparison is to choose a name brand or object that is easily recognizable. For example, I get emails from an online deal aggregator for software and apps. It is the Groupon for geeks. When I position it that way, you have a clearer picture of what I mean.

You can also position yourself “against” a brand or thing: 7UP called itself the un-cola. Telling people what you are not or positioning as the anti-something aids your audience in seeing you as a new, perhaps better option or a disrupter of the norm.

Whether you position as something or as a counter to something, you provide a frame of reference through association. You build a bridge to clarify what your brand and organization are all about. Confused customers don’t buy, so helping your audience to “get” you makes it easier to turn them from baffled to buyers.

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Getting to Know You: Defining your brand personality

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