Start with Positioning, not Branding

Start with Positioning, not Branding

Many want to build a brand. Few know the real path to get there. True, charismatic brands all have one common theme: they start with positioning, not branding.  

But what exactly is positioning?

Positioning is your differentiated role and relevance to your target audience. In other words, it's a rational articulate of who you are, why you matter, why you and not others. The identification and consistent communication of your position is the first step towards building your brand.

Branding, on the other hand, is far more of an emotional endeavor. Simply put, a brand is the overall gut feel someone has about your organization when you're not in the room. It's a response, not a stimulus.

Think of positioning and branding as yin and yang. You need both. One captures the left brain, the other the right brain. While your position changes based on relevance, your brand is more of a consistent through-line that compounds throughout the years.

These concepts are rooted in human psychology. We human beings are emotionally charged, first and foremost. We take absorb information through our senses, emotionally consider it, then we push that information to our neocortex, where we attempt to make rational sense of what we consumed. It's when the left and the right brain get mixed signals and mixed communication that a narrative falls flat.

The most common mistake founders of crypto projects make is that they neglect to establish firm and moated position in the market. It's a noisy world. Position or be positioned.

Consider some examples of what positioning looks like.

From Web 2:

  • Salesforce: World's #1 CRM
  • Uber: The platform with the largest network of active riders
  • Qualtrix: The Leading Experience Management Software

From Web3:

  • Solana: Fastest blockchain in the world and the fastest growing ecosystem in crypto, with thousands of projects spanning DeFi, NFTs, Web3 and more
  • Ethereum: The community-run technology powering the cryptocurrency ether (ETH) and thousands of decentralized applications
  • Celestia: First modular blockchain network to power scalable, secure Web3 apps

Thus, you'll need to convey what makes you different and relevant in as few words as possible, if you want to have a shot at building an effective brand. Don't waste your time hiring a branding or creative agency, unless you've figured out how you want to strategically position in the market first.

Positioning is the epicenter of good marketing.

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