Corporate Eye

Brand Positioning at Its Finest

In a great article by Katie Connolly of BBC News, six ads that change the way people think are discussed.  It’s an excellent example of brands that defined their position in the marketplaces where they do business and that put together focused messages that would help them own specific words in consumers’ minds.

Katie offers an excellent example in the Marlboro cigarettes campaign that introduced the Marlboro Man.  A brand that was once identified as representing a “lady’s cigarette” transformed into a masculine brand.  However, the Marlboro Man ads changed Marlboro into a brand for the rugged, outdoorsy, man’s man.  Marlboro promised a specific image to consumers with the Marlboro Man ads, and it worked.

Another great example that Katie mentions is Nike whose “Just Do It” slogan and “I want to be like Mike” ad campaign featuring basketball superstar Michael Jordan gave Nike a stronghold position as the brand for sports’ enthusiasts.  No longer was Nike just another athletic shoes and apparel.  Suddenly, it offered the promise of performance befitting the top athletes of the world.

Katie offers some more great examples, but I’d add another to her list — the Mac Guy vs. PC Guy ad campaign.  By positioning Mac computers as the antithesis of Microsoft’s operating system and PCs, Apple gained a strong position in the marketplace that turned a cult brand into one of the strongest relationship brands in the world.

Also, when Google Chrome launched, a series of ads successfully positioned the Web browser against Internet Explorer and enabled Chrome to create its own position in its marketplace as the less tech and more interesting alternative.  People liked the brand promise and Chrome quickly began stealing market share from its competitors.

The lesson to learn is this — ad campaigns can put ideas into consumers’ minds but brand experiences need to meet those expectations for brand positioning to work.

What ad campaigns do you think provide great examples of developing a brand’s position?  Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Image: Flickr

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

Agreed!… A very close look on brand positioning with real world examples. its really informative. Good Work. Keep it up Susan.

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