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The Four Phases of an Ad-Free Brand Positioning Project

An ad-free brand positioning project is made up of four phases:

  1. Research
  2. Positioning
  3. Initial rollout
  4. Continuing engagement

Smaller organizations may move through these phases relatively quickly, while larger, more complex organizations might take months before they make it to the continuing engagement phase. All ad-free brand positioning projects will go through these four phases at least once. But I encourage brands to think of brand positioning as an ongoing process, living by the open source adage "release early, release often."4

Figure 2.1

Figure 2.1 The four phases of a brand positioning project are the research, positioning, initial rollout, and continuing engagement phases. Ideally brand positioning is an iterative process where these phases repeat over time.

The sooner you can begin to test new concepts and ideas with the communities of customers, partners, and contributors surrounding your organization, the better your ability to quickly make refinements that will ensure the effectiveness and relevance of the positioning.

In addition, I recommend ongoing diligence once the brand positioning has been effectively rolled out. You'll want to regularly update your research; re-examine your positioning concepts to make sure they remain relevant in the face of changes to your organization; and continue to communicate, making changes to your approach as necessary. In this way, brand positioning becomes an ongoing cycle versus a one-time event.

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