The entire job of marketing is to put brand and position in harmony. Without that harmony, there is “brand” separate from “position” — and no customer preference, no customer loyalty. — Craig Sinard

Most often when I crate a marketing presentation, I begin by defining basic terms; and most often I being with brand and position. That’s because taken together, these two words are the foundation of all marketing.

Brand is what you say you are.

Position is what the prospect believes you are.

Every strategy, every slogan, every sale – deliberately or not – flows from, or accidentally creates, the brand. Discovery (by whatever means) by consumers and/or their ownership experience establish the position.

Some of the confusion about the differences between these two words comes from our friends in PR who often say “we’re re-positioning.” Re-positioning means “we’ve messed up our brand; we know it; we’ll re-brand (make adjustments) so we can change the brand experience so that our clients, consumers and prospects will believe us again.”

It’s all about harmony.

In my lifetime, there have been very few companies that could utter the words brand position believably. Volvo, once upon a time, meant “safest car built.” It was their brand. It was my belief in them. Brand and position were in harmony.

Clearly, as founders and original personnel move on, as the bean counters replace the leaders with vision, leading brands can suffer. And it makes for great dinner conversations … and horribly dysfunctional marketing departments.

More to come.