In a fiercely competitive, fast-paced B2B landscape, establishing and maintaining a memorable brand identity is crucial.

Brand positioning is a strategic tool that helps businesses burn a distinct impression on the minds of customers. (Why do you think it’s called “brand”?) It is a marriage of art and science that should clearly define how a brand and, therefore, a business or product is perceived in the marketplace. As Einstein said, “Art and science are branches of the same tree”.

Brand positioning is far more involved than simply showcasing products or services. You must establish and effectively communicate a compelling value proposition that resonates with your audience, with the aim being to build meaningful and long-lasting relationships with new and existing customers.

In a crowded marketplace where consumers are inundated with countless options, a well-defined brand cuts through the clutter, enabling businesses to differentiate and be easily recognised. A brand should be a beacon for all marketing efforts, consistent and unwavering across all of today’s marketing platforms and channels.

Moreover, a strong brand position implies credibility. Instilling confidence in consumers and making them more likely to choose one brand over another. This competitive advantage can lead to increased market share, customer retention, and ultimately, higher profitability.

Brand positioning is not a one-time endeavour but an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring and adaptation to keep up with evolving market trends and consumer preferences. By staying attuned to the changing landscape, brands remain relevant and maintain their competitive edge.

In short, brand positioning is a strategic cornerstone for any business seeking sustainable growth and success. It defines the essence of a brand, sets it apart from competitors, and communicates its unique value to consumers. By investing time and effort in crafting a compelling brand position, companies can create enduring emotional connections with their target audience and become an essential component of their customers’ lives.

The importance of brand positioning cannot be overstated. That’s why it’s equally if not more important to stress how easily a good brand can be ruined.

Destroying a brand can happen quickly and the damage can be very difficult to reverse. The wonders of the digital age hold much promise for accelerated exposure but can with equal speed and ferocity reduce a brand’s reputation to rubble. What was so diligently won can quickly be lost due to a poor customer experience, a perceived lack of transparency (“fool me once”), inconsistent messaging, competition, and many other variables. The warning “Here be dragons” applies now more than it did in medieval times.

That’s why, once established, maintaining a brand is so crucial. Recovering from a knock – or a crash in extreme cases – can be a long and often difficult process to address the issues, rebuild trust and consistently deliver on renewed promises. Prevention can be time-consuming, but it’s far less of a burden than the cure.

Look through the prism to find the light

The French marketing expert, Jean-Noël Kapferer, developed (no doubt being conscious of his own brand) the Kapferer Brand Identity Prism, which is a useful framework for understanding and managing brand identity. Kapferer identified six key facets of a brand’s identity, each representing a different facet of the brand’s personality and perception.

Brand managers or their external consultants can create and maintain a brand identity that resonates by using Kapferer’s prism to examine how their efforts and messaging will be perceived from varying angles that they may not be aware of. This level of preventive brand analysis, alignment and, if necessary, realignment is virtually essential to building a strong and meaningful brand in today’s marketplace.

The world of brand position rotates in a different way

The metrics used to position brands are evolving just as everything else is changing, too.

The rise of digital marketing and e-commerce has meant that traditional metrics are being complemented and sometimes replaced by far more precise, data-driven digital metrics. Online platforms and tools are now available to provide real-time data on customer behaviour, engagement, and conversion rates, enabling the user to make more informed decisions.

But despite all these new digital tools, as good as they are, there is an equally if not more important factor that has become apparent to anyone who is paying attention…

…. companies increasingly want partners rather than products.

Life is much easier and far more productive when you work with partners who share a common understanding, goals and work and sustainability work ethics. The products, as good as they may be, almost become secondary in terms of brand positioning. The best want to be seen with the best and good partnerships are a reflection on the brands of both parties. I would almost say that more data analysis is devoted to analysing and choosing partners than the markets or products these days.

So, how do you build a strong brand position?

The first thing a marketer must do is to understand the often very specific needs, preferences and personas that inhabit that target market space and align with their values and aspirations. This is not sycophancy or false empathy, it’s a genuine understanding of what is meaningful to them, which in turn directly informs what your marketing strategy will be to effectively reach them and, hopefully, persuade them to engage with your product or service.

Understanding your customers is based largely – assuming you’ve done your homework – on the data you have gathered in advance to define your goals for reaching that audience and, once you have, how you will nurture and grow it going forward. In short, define what success looks like to you, and your customers, with as much data-driven detail as possible before you even start.

Take a look around

What are your competitors doing? Analysing and fully understanding your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses and market position – particularly as it relates to where you currently sit in that competitive hierarchy is absolutely essential. This can go a long way to helping you identify gaps where you can differentiate yourself from the pack, which brings us to…

Define what makes you different

If everyone in your sector is selling a widget, what makes your widget better, fast, stronger, cheaper or more attractive? Differentiation is essential and must be communicated through an unambiguous and compelling value proposition that lets customers know that you not only see and feel their customer points, but how your widget offers benefits that no other widget can. That’s a brand position you not only want to achieve but maintain.

Care even more about your reputation

Building a positive brand image and reputation is crucial. Trust, reliability, credibility, and customer satisfaction are part and parcel of how a brand is perceived by customers and stakeholders. Through consistent and effective messaging across various marketing channels, you can ensure that your brand’s values, benefits and competitive advantages enjoy a uniquely positive reputation in the market.

Demonstrate expertise and vision

Talk the talk to internal stakeholders, sure, but be sure to demonstrate your expertise to the outside world, too – specifically, your customers and prospects by sharing insights that are perceived to have genuine value. Use your industry knowledge to craft visions for the near and long-term future and publicise that expertise through speaking engagements, webinars, conference white paper presentations and many other personal content outlets to position you and your brand as the authoritative, go-to resource.

Make lots of friends, and stand by them

Developing and maintaining strong relationships with customers, suppliers and a wide range of industry influencers (i.e., business analysts and the trade media) can have a massive impact on positive brand positioning. Whenever possible and practical, collaborations, partnerships and endorsements from reputable people and organisations can substantially enhance a brand’s credibility, which in turns vastly improves its ability to reach into new areas and new markets.  Even in a digital age (and we’re not dismissing digital media by any means) people ultimately do business with people they like to do business with or be seen to do business with. And don’t discount the halo effect of doing business with a reputable and respected brand. Just make sure the halo hovers around your brand.

The benefit of experience

Whatever you do, make that you have a well-understood and adhered to programme and structure in place to ensure that at every B2B customer touchpoint, the customer experience is a positive one. And I mean every – single – point. I emphasise this because ensuring consistency in the customer experience is as vital to your brand positioning as every other point made in this blog. Pleasant, helpful interactions, outstanding service and one-to-one support are all major factors in establishing a brand as a trusted and reliable partner.

Be fair with pricing, at all costs

No one likes getting ripped off, so without meaning to introduce a pun, avoid the perception of offering little or no value for money at all costs. Having said that, charge what you’re worth. Undercutting your competition by slashing your prices to the bone to win the business is very much like ripping someone off. Why? Because you’re not going to be in business very long. If (actually, when) you go bust, your customers are then left high and dry with no support, no option to resupply – if that’s what you’re offering – and no recourse for putting things right. This can be, and usually is, fatal to a brand. All you need to do is ensure that you’re a provide a great product or service at a fair, competitive price, whether it be discount, standard or premium. So long as the product or service meets the perceived value expected at that pricing level your brand positioning will be solid and largely unassailable.

Bring it on home

Establishing a brand position and – just as importantly – maintaining and, hopefully, enhancing it doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does take a conscious and consistent effort to get it right. Start by doing your homework with the data you have gathered and use it to craft an informed and comprehensive marketing plan that ties directly into how you want to be perceived in the marketplace and the results you want to achieve as a result of that positioning. These two aspects are not mutually exclusive. The ability to establish a comfortable and positive brand image that is known and respected, not just in your own sector but often outside it, can ensure repeat business for many years to come. Experts in the field, such as B2B marketing agencies, have a vast amount of experience to enable you to greatly shorten the journey from pole position to a positive, enduring, reputation as a winner.


If you’ve got this far and absorbed nothing else, remember this: The customer experience is more important than acquiring them in the first place. You can’t, of course, neglect that latter. That’s largely what brand marketing is all about. But it is crucial to remember that their journey doesn’t stop there, and neither should yours. You should be engaging with customers at every possible level throughout their active lifecycle, rather than focusing solely on getting them inside the tent.

The show must go on. Make sure your show is the only one they want to see.