Okay, before I start, let me say that this is going to be a very short post because I am really, really short on time.

I am starting to work on a new project. (A very technical one, for that matter. Have to hit the ‘research’ button in a few minutes!)

But I just figured out why not talk about a topic that baffles almost every copywriter I know.

(You are lying if you are saying ‘no’ to that.)

So, what on earth is the difference between these three most common names in advertising and marketing, viz. positioning, branding and Big Idea?

Disclaimer: I am going to define in my own simple way, what I have understood from Halbert’s, Ogilvy’s and several other marketing authors’ notes.

Let’s get down to business now.

What’s the Difference Between Positioning, Branding And Big Idea?

Positioning implies who you want to target in the market. A shampoo can treat dandruff, make your hair silky or might be for men only. Positioning is “what your product does and who it is for”. This is from Ogilvy’s book on Advertising BTW. Remember, you are not really creating any brand at this moment. You are just creating defining what value you will give to your customers. It’s just value, read it twice! Your consumer expects value from you for the price he pays. Positioning defines what value you provide to your customer.

Branding is something different. Going by the shampoo analogy, even if you target men, your brand can stand for the attributes, “natural, easy to use, long-lasting and medically safe.” It can be that your competitors are doing the same thing. But you get branded with anything new and unique you provide. At this stage, you are providing unique value. Or as they call in the marketing world, unique sales proposition (USP). Branding is nothing but the meaning attached to your name, existing only in the customer’s mind.

Let’s come to the last biggie then.

Big Idea.

It has to be the last and the most important one because to be honest, I realized the meaning of a Big Idea quite late, almost after writing copies for over 7 years now. What is a Big Idea? Big Idea is a theme taken from our everyday life. Talk about happiness, diversity, cold war, relationships or anything you can think of in those lines. A Big Idea is just that … a BIG idea. It affects almost every person on this earth, across borders and across religion. It makes people think. It makes people feel. It resonates loud, really loud.

And that Big Idea encompasses your brand and your consumers. That’s what a Big Idea does.

Note: Don’t even dare to think that Big Idea is USP. No, it’s not. A Big Idea creates a community of you and your consumers. A Big Idea indirectly leads your consumers toward you. It does not just establish your brand in the market. It establishes you as person who people listen to. That’s what a Big Idea is.

Look at the image below. You will know what I am talking about.

big idea, branding and positioning