Brand positioning is what your customer thinks of when they think of your brand.
More importantly, it’s how your brand is perceived in the context of what the alternatives are or might be. Why is this important? Because it can be the differentiating factor between choosing one product (yours) vs. another.
Volvo is a famous example of using positioning well. Volvo’s brand positioning is “safety”. They have managed to own that word in the car category. Ask anyone what the safest car out there is and (in their minds) Volvo will be at or near the top of the list. Volvo “owns” that positioning in our minds and anyone looking for a safe car, will give Volvo a good look.
Sometimes you need to refer to the user manual to get it right and your brand is no different. It too needs a set of instructions in order to operate correctly. It’s not enough to just design a great brand, it also needs to be well managed.
Brand guidelines are used to instruct users on the correct way to to apply the brand across a variety of applications. Consistency breeds recall and recognition which supports your brand. Generally speaking, every brand should have guidelines of some form, but more importantly is the reason behind it; consistency.