What is the difference between brand essence and brand positioning?

Just like humans who have spirit and external appearance; Brands have Brand Essence and Brand Positioning.


Brand Essence is the spiritual centre of the Brand.
  • Brand Essence is the core value(s) that defines the brand and permeates all other aspects of the brand.
  • Therefore, Brand Essence is the central, timeless essence of the brand.
  • It is most likely to remain constant as brand travels to new markets and products.
  • It is the centre that remains after you peel away the layers of an onion.
  • The core identity for a strong brand should be more resistant to change than elements of the extended identity (such as brand positioning).
Therefore, Brand Essence:
Is not an advertising slogan, nor a description which will change with every communication. Essence should be a long term vision which changes rarely and is more like a mission statement for a brand. For this reason, brands with strong Brand Essences tend to have sought the most fundamental consumer needs and sought to own them.


In marketing, positioning has come to mean the process by which marketers try to create an image or identity in the minds of their target market for its product, brand, or organization.
  • It is the ‘relative competitive comparison’ their product occupies in a given market as perceived by the target market.
  • Brand Positioning refers to the specific, intended meaning for a brand in consumer’s minds.
  • More precisely, a brand’s positioning articulates the goal that consumer will achieve by using the brand and explains why it is superior to other means of accomplishing this goal.
  • Positioning is a necessary concept, first because all choices are comparative, and so it makes sense to start off by stating the area in which we are strongest; and second because in marketing, perception is reality.
  • Positioning is a concept which starts with customers, by putting ourselves in their place.
    • Faced with a plethora of brands, are consumers able to identify the strong point of each, the factor that distinguishes it from the rest?
    • This is why, ideally, a customer should be capable of paraphrasing a brand’s positioning: ‘Only Brand X will do this for me, because it has, or it is…’


A brand position is the part of the brand essence and value proposition that is to be actively communicated to the target audience and that demonstrates an advantage over competing brands.
Thus the brand position guides the current communication programs and is distinct from the more brand essence.
Some elements of brand identity (such as cleanliness for a restaurant) may not be actively communicated, and other elements (such as a product class association) will recede in visibility as the brand matures. Thus there is a distinction between the two constructs.
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