Positioning, branding, messaging. Oh, my!

Clients often ask what the difference is between messaging, positioning and branding.  While they certainly are related, each has a different function.

Positioning is your stake in the ground.  It identifies the benefit of your product or service and why it is unique in Shopper-bullhornthe market.

A brand is a promise made to your customers that is consistently repeated when customers interact with your product or service.  As consultant and author Kristin Zhivago puts it: "Branding is the promise you make; your brand comes from the promises you keep."

Messaging is how you tell the story of your company and your brand.  It focuses on the benefits you identify in your positioning.  Messaging must be compelling and defensible in order to be credible. 

How are the three related?  Messaging exists somewhere between the positioning and the brand.  It draws from both the concreteness of the positioning and the experience of the brand.  While it reflects positioning, messaging is unique because it helps build your brand.

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