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Best New Thinking Winner 2010

Koan No. 15

Koan No 15 on the difference between propositions and positionings

“Sorry love. I’m running late at the office – I’ll be catching the train soon.” Him

“You lying ****** you’re in the pub -do you think I haven’t got ears?” Her


A couple of times a year this comes up regular as clockwork – confusion between propositions and positionings. This exchange illustrates the difference. The first statement (Him) is a proposition – as it happens a very poor one, designed to get the audience to reposition him. The second statement (Her) is a positioning statement in response to a proposition. Positioning is not what we do to brands; it is what audiences do to them. And we write propositions in an attempt to persuade them to reposition the brand. Which sometimes they are willing to do. OK?

Well that’s settled then……



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