Seven steps to better branding

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Marketers have been told they need to distinguish between the analytical task that is brand strategy and the more creative approach that brand positioning demands.

Nicolas Liddell, director of consulting at UK brand consultancy The Clearing, says while there are no hard and fast rules on where to start (with successful businesses being built on both) ultimately it’s better for positioning and strategy to be aligned, rather than worrying about which comes first.

In a Warc Exclusive – 7 steps to effective brand positioning – Liddell contrasts the positioning-first approach of brands like Gore-Tex or Google with the more conventional and “beautifully linear” strategy-first approach.

Position-first businesses “don’t let other people dictate what their ambition is; they decide that for themselves. The role then of brand strategy is to fill in the gaps.”

Liddell also advises spending time trying to understand the future, rather than getting bogged down in an insight-laden vision of the present.

“The business you’re in today matters less than the businesses you might be in tomorrow,” he said.

“Nokia, for example, started life 145 years ago as a paper mill.”

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