The brand positioning statement

I was part of the Ogilvy & Mather team that helped reinvent the IBM brand. This was 1995, and IBM’s image wasn’t so hot at the time. People thought the company was a bit arrogant and, sorry, out of touch.

For six months, hundreds of people at Ogilvy and IBM worked to create IBM’s brand positioning statement. (Ogilvy calls this a BrandPrint.) It was:

“IBM is magic you can trust.”

Yep, that’s a pretty short statement for one of the world’s largest companies. That’s exactly the point.

What do you want your brand to convey?

A brand positioning statement shouldn’t describe every aspect of your brand in detail. It’s shouldn’t be a convoluted and complex explanation of what your company does.

It should convey a feeling. It should express how you want your customers to feel about your brand.

Even better, it should be something your marketing team and their vendors can memorize. Easily.

What do you do with it?

Your brand positioning statement should drive nearly everything that happens at your company. It should be the test you use to decide whether a new ad or product fits with your brand. It should reinforce and ultimately drive your culture.

In other words, it is critically important.

Of course, many firms get away without having such a positioning statement. They just don’t have a strong brand either.