If a brand gives you everything, what is left for you to ask? The answer, of course, is "nothing", because you already have it all.
Now shifting back to reality, which brands give you everything? Basically, none of them, because that's bad marketing and lack of focus to really make a difference on something specific.
Hence the importance of having a clear positioning, so that the message isn't diluted in all the other hundreds of things we have to say. I do, however, prefer to speak of a brand filter, because having a clear positioning sometimes sounds like a passive attitude, while brand filters tend to focus on the active part of exercising a brand's function.
So, what is a brand filter?
- It's the single function a brand has to help organize one part of our world (don't know which sneakers to buy? Nike has a pretty good selection, try filtering your choices through their offer)
- It's what makes a brand relevant every single day (if you don't have a clear filter for yourself and your target market, what content can you produce?)
- It's what helps us identify which filters better resonate with our daily experiences
I think brand filtering is different than brand positioning, because when I hear of positioning I think of something which was decided in a meeting. "Ok, so we're going to place ourselves right here, let's work on that". Filtering, on the other hand, has a more assertive approach considering the world turns increasingly faster, and it's also more adjusted to the implications of a brand's presence on the social web.
Brand filters help a brand define not only where it stands, but what it says. It's not a substitute for a brand's positioning, but rather an important extension to how a brand behaves in a content saturated world. If life were a cocktail party, you as a brand sure would want to know where you'd sit; but more importantly, you'd want to know how to filter the conversations of interest and what to say in each one of them.