Why brand position matters before design

When it comes to branding, often the first elements that come to mind are things like logos, colours, fonts and websites. This makes sense, because the visual component of your brand can be one of the first things that potential customers encounter. But while designing your branding is all very fun and exciting, there’s something that should be considered first: your brand position.

Prior to choosing colours and fonts, it’s essential that you establish who you are and what you want as a business, and then lay it out in a brand positioning document. Let’s explore the magic and merit of brand positioning and strategic design.


What does brand position mean?

Put simply, brand positioning is the niche your brand occupies in the market. It’s where you sit when compared with your competitors — how you define yourself in relation to other brands. Or, in the words of Branding Journal, “Brand positioning describes how a brand is different from its competitors and where, or how, it sits in customers’ minds.”*

Imagine, for example, that you’re standing in the confectionary aisle at the supermarket. You’re scanning the chocolates and making judgments about them based, partly, on their price and packaging (as well as other components like past experience, word-of-mouth and advertising campaigns). “This is the one that’s a bit more expensive, but higher quality,” you might say. “This is the one that’s cheap and cheerful,” for another. “This is the one that’s fair trade.” “That’s the one that’s all-natural.” And so on.

Or, you’re browsing the internet looking for a massage in your area. Judging by their websites, you mentally sort each massage business you come across into a certain category. “This one has an earthy, home studio feel.” “This one involves a high-end spa experience.” “This one is more focused on remedial sports massage.”

What you’re doing, in both of these examples, is getting a sense of the brand’s “position” among other brands in its category.

Why does brand position matter?

Consumers want to get a clear picture of where each brand sits so they can choose the product or service that best suits their wants and needs. And, as a business, you want your branding to accurately reflect who you are and what you offer so that you can attract your target audience.

If you were to design your logo and other branding design elements without first exploring what makes your business unique, then you run the risk of misrepresenting yourself, meaning that you’re less likely to reach your target audience. Or, you might spend time and money on branding only to find a year or so down the track that it doesn’t align with your business offering at all and you need to fork out for a rebrand.

There are a million ways you can position yourself as a business: your position might be that you are more economical, more convenient, higher quality or more sustainable than your competitors. Or, you might focus on the fact that you’re a local business, that you prioritise great customer service, that you donate fifty percent of profits, or that your wares are handmade. But whatever your brand position, you want it to be clear and obvious in your branding.

What is a brand position statement, and why do you need one?

Basically, this is the document that, well, documents your brand positioning. It incorporates your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) while considering a review of the market, your competitors and where you sit among them. It includes what you do, how you do it, who you do it for and why you do it, as well as your tone of voice and values. In other words, it’s a pretty handy, potent little document!

To try and develop new branding without first taking the time to define what you’re offering and why is a little like putting the cart before the horse. Your branding (the cart) should be led by a solid understanding of the market and where you fit into it (the horse).

There are several key reasons why it’s important to determine — and document — your brand position before considering design:

  • Articulating your brand position leads to greater consistency in your branding and business operations (and, as we know, consistency is key to brand equity). Having your brand position laid out in a statement means that everyone in your organisation — plus contractors such as copywriters and photographers — can look at the same document and ensure your brand is being communicated in a consistent way.
  • Research tells us that consistent branding can increase revenue by 10 to 20 per cent, and that “successful branding yields benefits such as increased customer loyalty, an improved image, and a relatable identity that sets you apart from the competition.”*
  • From a marketing and design perspective, having a brand positioning statement allows us to produce branding that is thoughtful, considered and strategic. This means that your branding will reflect your brand position, resonate with your target audience and remain relevant as your business grows and develops.
  • Taking the time to consider your brand identity and brand position is also a fantastic exercise in clarity. It invites you to think deeply about the vision you have for your business so you can move forward with a clear roadmap.

Our unique process

When PIER is brought on board to design for brands, we like to begin with a face-to-face meeting in which we discuss both the technical aspects of what you need (the functionality of your website, for example) and the deeper questions of who you are, what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, why you’re doing it, and what success looks like for you.

We then go away and distil what you’ve told us into one document that can be referred to well into the future and inform things like copywriting, photography, or even a full marketing strategy down the line.

Basically, we spend time figuring out what you’re all about before we get into choosing colours and crafting typefaces. We find that operating in this way makes the design process smoother and more seamless. It also means that we can ensure we’re delivering exactly what you envisioned and put you on the path to achieving your business goals.

It all comes back to one of our core values (and favourite words): clarity. Developing a brand position statement ensures we can deliver not just any design, but strategic design.

At the end of the day, successful branding begins with thoughtful branding.

Want to know more about embarking on a brand positioning and design journey with PIER? Enquire about working with our design team.


* https://www.thebrandingjournal.com/2016/11/brand-positioning-definition/#:~:text=In%20other%20words%2C%20brand%20positioning,brand%20in%20a%20specific%20way

* https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/brand-positioning-strategy