Brand Identity vs Brand Positioning

Brand Identity vs Brand Positioning

People use terms like brand, branding, brand positioning and brand identity as interchangeable synonyms. After all, the terms seem to describe one thing, don’t they? It’s all related to the design of a business (company, service or product).

Whether through your own experience, or advertisement there is a certain way you feel about a company where branding, advertising, brand identity, and brand positioning form a perceived image for a business, service or product. Therefore, they all can be put in a bucket called business design, but they have a different meaning.

In this blog, we would like to focus on two such branding vocabulary and differentiate between them as Brand Identity vs Brand Positioning.

Brand Identity is the image your customers perceive that goes way deeper than just choosing the right logo and recognizable color schemes. Brand Identity encompasses everything from marketing materials to the quality of your products and services, how well you communicate with your customers online and how your front line staff responds to inquiries.

Think about big companies and how you feel about them as a customer. More often than not, your feelings will come from personal experience and how they made you feel as a consumer. Creating a positive brand identity should always come from putting yourself in your customers’ shoes. Cupertino’s finest, Apple, is a truly great brand because it’s become synonymous with innovation and outstanding design. It’s brand values permeate through absolutely everything, from usability to design to language to packaging to retail stores.

Brand positioning, as defined by Kotler, is “the act of designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the target market”. In other words, brand positioning describes how a brand is different from its competitors and where, or how, it sits in customers’ minds.

Brand positioning, therefore, involves connecting the brand with the consumers’ minds to make them perceive the brand in a specific way. By focussing on customer preferences, brand positioning is legitimately connected to buyer dependability, consumer-based brand equity and the ability to buy the brand. Viable Brand positioning can be referred to as the degree to which a brand is seen as favorable, different and credible in consumers’ psyches.

Where a brand’s identity expresses the tangible and intangible characteristics – everything that makes the brand what it is, brand positioning is competitive. When it comes to brands, customers make a choice, but with products, they make a comparison. This raises two questions. First, what do they compare it with? For this, we need to look at the field of competition: what areas do we want to be considered as part of. Second, what are we offering the customer as a key decision-making factor?

Some brands in India have aced these two questions and ruling the market with their brand positioning strategies. The success strategies of the brands listed below have created a bond between the customers and the brand 


Patanjali, or as Forbes has labeled it – India’s Body Shop, has taken the markets to the next level with their Baba Ramdev as their brand ambassador. Patanjali is simply a storm posing a real threat to the existing market leaders like Colgate, Unilever, Nestle, and GlaxoSmithKline.

But what could be the reason behind such popularity and the ever-increasing demand of Patanjali?

Patanjali’s Brand Positioning Strategy

The branding wasn’t accidental. It was well planned. But there were a lot of incidents that shaped the brand personality before its formation. The brand ambassador who doesn’t even know the basic marketing strategies is the reason Patanjali happened.

Reason Behind Patanjali’s Success

It all started in 2002 when Baba Ramdev’s mass yoga camps telecasted through the leading spiritual channels across the country. These camps built a big brand for Baba Ramdev and also somehow kindled a new interest in healthy exercises and Ayurveda, placing him in a positive light as a person you can trust. 

Later, Baba was also in the limelight for many political as well as non-political controversies like cure of Cancer, AIDS, and homosexuality by yoga. His argument for the replacement of sex education in schools with yoga education and his speeches that stated western medicine companies as the con was a part of hundreds of controversies he was a part of.

Between all this, Patanjali was born in 2006. Or rather, as researchers say, was being planned from 2003 itself. Patanjali is actually managed by Acharya Balkrishna (Ramdev’s partner since 1995). The products were initially marketed and promoted during the yoga camps (which has been attended by around 20 crores, or almost a sixth of the Indian population till now). Since the yoga classes were conducted for free, people were convinced that the Baba was not in it for the money (this trick always work)

Patanjali Yogpeeth was a set up in Haridwar; a Hindu pilgrimage site, Baba wore saffron, propagated swadeshi psyche, and the main focus was on Yoga and Ayurvedic medicines. The Patanjali brand was set, years prior to the foundation of the actual FMCG Company. The key player here was a simple business whose brand identity and brand image were in line. Unlike other herbal brands, it had its brand ambassador as a real-life yoga guru who preached yoga and Ayurveda all his life and hence their brand identity and brand image were in the same line. 

Since the brand was directly associated with the Baba, all his network which is –

  • 577,000 Twitter Followers
  • 53,248 Subscribers with 13,191,201 Video Views on YouTube
  • 6936960 likes on facebook with 408359 talking about Baba

This, being a lot more than his competitor companies, was used to promote the products. Baba Ramdev also had good support from the BJP government as they always had his back during the time of controversies. He was also called to lead the world yoga day celebration on 21st June 2015 by the prime minister himself.

Luck can do wonders sometimes, but when used with brains. Baba Ramdev was successful in making a ₹3000 crore company just by his own name.


The early Indian consumer market was unused to fast food and was hesitant to adjust their nourishment propensities. Nestle needed to propagate the idea before it could advance Maggi as a brand. They used solid slogans that tapped on the issue proclamations to address this.

  • 2 mins noodles — Convenience.
  • Taste Bhi Health Bhi — Health.
  • 2-minute Mein Khushiyan (Happiness in 2 minutes) — Fun and Happiness.

It was formulated as a two-dimensional system to draw in moms on the ‘wellbeing and accommodation’ board and bait kids on the ‘fun’ board.

From the times of delineating for individuals what Maggi was, to co-making the story and making storytellers out of regular individuals, the brand was more than a nourishment item. The name Maggie gradually slowly “attached” itself to the sentiments of Indian consumer’s need without much disruption.

For a brand that was announced dead in June 2015, having a market share of 60% of the overall industry is a major ordeal. Even though few measures have been taken by Nestle to breathe life into the brand back, to recover a similar degree of trust and love is an uncommon probability. In any case, Maggi appears to have accomplished this. The mysterious power behind Maggi to stage such an epic rebound lies in the mystery — how it is positioned in the market — the perfect branding strategies that were used took shape of this incredible brand. Indeed, even following 25 years of market dominance with over 70% share — there is no challenge against Maggi. This is actually what a solid brand positioning does throughout the years to the item. Maggi is the name, which demonstrated the intensity of brand positioning.

Many marketers don’t have the clarity and conviction of following through on their words. Without certainty, you default to the status quo. Turn everything you do into an expression of your desired positioning and you can create something special. This takes courage; to actively position your brand means you have to stand for something. Only then are you truly on your way to owning your very own position in the mind of your customer.

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I'm a writer and I do not simply pen down my thoughts. Rather, I'm someone who puts down the entire conversation between my inner mind and me. I make sure that my mind is jaded and tired but happy when I'm done for the day.

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