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Advanced Branding and Positioning

Chicago, IL

Create Branding That Sticks

Effective branding that hits a memorable, emotional chord with your audience is more difficult than ever for marketers. The average person in a mid-sized city is now hit with around 10,000 advertising messages every day. Your customers–in B2B and B2C environments–are also inundated with messages from countless online and traditional media channels. How do you develop an own-able, valuable and memorable brand position for your organization, company, products and services that resonate with target audiences and create the feelings and actions you desire?


Early Bird (Before 10/07/19)Standard Price
AMA Member$1,395$1,495

“The instructors were very engaging and made the content relatable to my actual questions about the real projects I have going on.”

Past Attendee

What to Expect

Learn how to use data and information to develop customer insights that will serve as the foundation for your brand and positioning strategy. This workshop covers the science and art of branding, the process for arriving at a position and the tools for developing a brand expression that accurately reflects your uniqueness. You’ll learn how to arrive at a brand strategy and the elements needed for expressing the brand including design, colors, tone and images. We’ll also cover brand activation through integrated communications planning and employee activation and how to measure the effectiveness of your new brand and position campaign.


  • Understand the key drivers within your organization, the industry and the competitive environment that define brand positioning. How do social, political and cultural influences impact strategic branding?
  • Learn how to distill insights–aha! moments–from data and information to create an emotional connection with audiences and drive action in B2B and B2C marketing. 
  • Determine how to express your brand position through design and content.
  • Develop brand guidelines for your organization, products and/or services that create a consistent customer experience.
  • Create internal and external communications plans and determine how to measure brand effectiveness. 

Breakfast, lunch and breaks are provided each day of the event.

Interview With the Instructors

Who Should Attend?

Marketing leaders in any organization–private, public or nonprofit–who are either directly responsible for or have heavy influence over developing brand strategy and positioning should attend this workshop. The processes, tools and exercises covered in this session will help define branding for entire organizations or individual products and services.  

AMA Event Policies

Thursday, November 7

Registration and Hot Breakfast

We’ll kick off the day with a nice breakfast. You’ll also be provided with lunch and breaks throughout the day.

Part 1: Context

  • What’s happening in the organization right now?
  • What’s happening in the industry right now?
  • What are the key issues, challenges and opportunities you need to consider?
  • What’s on the horizon? What does the future hold?

Part 2: Competitors/Challenges/Barriers

  • What are your key internal challenges and threats?
  • What are your key external challenges and threats?
  • What are your key competitive challenges and threats?
  • Who are your direct and indirect competitors?
  • How are they positioning themselves in the marketplace? What barriers will you have to overcome?
  • Looking to the future, how will your internal and external landscape change?
  • What barriers will you have to overcome in terms of perception, competition, awareness, education, etc.?
  • What makes you different? What sets you apart?

Part 3: Audience

  • Define your market (size, type, discipline, etc.). Who are your constituents?
  • Where are you most successful right now? Where are your biggest gaps? Where are your biggest opportunities?
  • Who are your audiences? Who’s the internal champion? Who are the influencers?
  • Prioritize audiences. What motivates your priority audiences? What barriers do you have to overcome?

Part 4: Positioning

  • For your priority audience (e.g., the champion), what is your specific value?  What problem are you solving?
  • Put this value proposition through a competitive filter. What makes you different? What sets you apart?
  • Map out the functional and emotional benefits of your offering. Prioritize.
  • What do you want to be known for? What do you not want to be known for?

Part 5: Focus

  • Based on the priorities you’ve discussed today, where are your most significant communications gaps or opportunities?
  • What do you need to stop saying? Start saying?
  • What are you doing that you should no longer do? What should you continue doing? Where do you need to dial up efforts?


Getting to the insight, creating the positioning brief and developing the messaging matrix

Friday, November 8

Hot Breakfast

Breakfast will be waiting for you when you arrive for day two. Lunch and breaks will be provided throughout the day.

Part 6: Brand Expression

  • What brand elements accurately express your position?
  • What roles do your brand elements play?
  • What does your logo and tagline say about you?
  • The psychology of color?
  • Why is design and copy important?
  • Why is “ownable” so important?
  • What imagery can you use? How can you make your imagery ownable?
  • Who do you believe does this well? Why?
  • What are the attributes of photos vs. graphics?
  • How do you determine “what” to show and “how” to show it?
  • Let’s get nerdy. What does typography say about your brand?
  • How about a mnemonic?

Part 7: Brand Guidelines

  • What are brand guidelines? What are they for? What are they not for? Who are they for?
  • How are brand guidelines developed? What are the essential elements?
  • How do you design for accurate branding in an omni-channel world?
  • How often do you update your brand’s expression?
  • What can you update often? What should not be updated as often?

Part 8: Communication Plan

  • What are the appropriate channels for announcing a new brand/position?
  • How do you engage internal audiences and make brand ambassadors?
  • Speaking of internal, what is your brand’s higher purpose? What is your why?
  • How can you use that for brand building?
  • What is your timing strategy for external and internal announcement?
  • Where are your audiences and when should you communicate?
  • Examples of brand launches – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Part 9: Measurement

  • Define your metrics.
  • How do you measure success?
  • What do your leaders care about?
  • Examples for measuring brand effectiveness.


Developing brand guidelines, communication plan and measurement framework.

Next Steps

  • Discuss next steps back at the office.
  • Discuss deliverables.
  • Final questions/comments.​
Todd Coats

Todd Coats

Associate Director for Brand and Creative, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

Todd Coats has helped businesses with complex stories find compelling and strategically sound ways to reach audiences. Coats brings his 32 years of experience to create effective concepts and ideas for industry sectors such as healthcare, pharmaceuticals, energy, higher education and retail. He brings an emphasis in brand building, integrated marketing, employee branding and digital advertising.  His experience ranges from working with large global corporations such as Deloitte, GSK and 3M to consumer-facing brands such as Cartoon Network, The Academy of Country Music, Hanes and Epic Games. Coats holds awards from such highly respected shows as Graphis, Print, American Advertising Federation and many more.

Shane Johnson

Shane Johnston

Principal, Market Position Strategies

Shane Johnston has developed branding, marketing and product strategies and integrated communications plans for Fortune 100 companies, small businesses and non-profit organizations. His 25-year career spans client and agency marketing roles. His expertise in campaign development and lead generation has delivered results for companies such as Lenovo, VMware, Chase Bank, the AARP, The Wall Street Journal, TruGreen and UNC-Chapel Hill. Shane’s client-side experience includes positions at Sprint, Mutual of Omaha, Methodist Health Systems and Nortel Networks. He is now Principal of Market Position Strategies, providing marketing consulting services to enterprise and higher education clients. He’s also a Partner in Firestarters Club, which provides consulting sessions for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Johnston served as 2010 president of the Triangle American Marketing Association. He earned his BSBA and MBA from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Training Series Location

AMA Support Center
130 E. Randolph St., 22nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: 312.542.9000

The AMA Support Center is right in the heart of Chicago. We’re nestled between Millenium Park and the Chicago River meaning you are just steps away from premiere hotels, shopping and world-class dining. While you’re at our office, you’ll have access to work cubbies in case you need to step out and take care of something back at your office.

Recommended Hotels

Hyatt Regency Chicago
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Fairmont Chicago 
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Club Quarters
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theWit Chicago – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
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Homewood Suites Downtown Chicago
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Hotel Direct: 312-644-2222
Reserve a room now and receive a 10% discount 
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Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile
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Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
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LondonHouse Chicago
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Area Attractions and Events

Please visit Choose Chicago for additional city information.


The AMA is committed to providing equal access to our meetings for all attendees. If you are an attendee with a disability and require program accommodations, please contact the AMA Support Center, and a member of our staff will ensure that appropriate access arrangements are made. If you have specific disability-related needs for your hotel sleeping room, please be sure to communicate those directly to the hotel when you make your reservation. In an effort to provide the highest quality of service to all attendees, we require that details of all access requests be communicated to our office at least 14 days in advance of the beginning of the meeting.

Advanced Branding and Positioning