An ice cream brand that is well-known for its premium quality and who continues to deliver exceptional products has to be Magnum, but this perception did not happen overnight either. For any brand to maintain a good standing reputation in the mind of the consumer, a lot of focus and consistency is required. Magnum is just one brand that truly understands the importance, differentiation and positioning plays when competing in a saturated market. Let’s take a deeper look at how Magnum has applied these two principles to their own strategy and why they are of utmost importance when building a brand.

According to the Association for Qualitative Research (AQR), brand positioning can be defined as “how a brand is different from its competitors and where, or how, it sits in a particular market”.

Differentiation refers to the disparity between the product offering of a brand to that of its competition. If a brand is not seen as being different from others and looks identical to its competition, the main purchasing factor for consumers will be price. In other words, there will be little consumer loyalty if price is the main determining factor.

For any brand to gain and maintain long-term success it needs to ensure it understands who their target customer is, what the product or service benefit is and why the customer should believe in the brand.

When attempting to influence the purchasing decisions of consumers, brands need to understand the selection process that’s taking place in the mind of their consumers. This process is also referred to as the “selection set”. This “selection set” is a process of elimination as consumers group or associate certain brands with specific categories. The perception of a brand determines whether or not it forms part of the “selection set”. To understand this concept slightly better, the below video illustrates how a perceptual map works and how differentiation and positioning plays an important role in the process.

So let’s take an example like ice cream tubs for instance: The concept of enjoying ice cream out of a tub is not an unfamiliar concept right? So how would this give Magnum an opportunity to be different? Being the brand they are, Magnum launched a pint of ice cream with a chocolate cover coating that requires cracking before it can be enjoyed. This concpet has allowed the brand to be placed at the forefront of innovation, setting the benchmark and revolutionizing their industry.

Magnum has made use of the following positioning strategies to help them maintain their premium “pleasure-seeking” lifestyle brand:

  • The first step in differentiating the Magnum brand happened about thirty years back. When there was no chocolate that could withstand temperatures of -40 degrees Celsius. In order for Magnum to achieve their signature chocolate coating, they had to develop an ad hoc chocolate. The way the chocolate coating cracks has become their signature element (similar to the sound of a Coke being opened has for the Coca Cola brand) and as of late, this concept has evolved into a pint of ice cream that requires cracking of the chocolate before it can be enjoyed.
  • The second step was to developed a strong and recognizable corporate identity – the gold circled M, their logo type and their marketing collateral;

Magnum’s innovative spirit has allowed for the introduction of Magnum minis, Magnum tubs and Magnum “pleasure” shops, where you can create your own unique Magnum flavour with a range of delicious toppings. These innovations is what drew the desired attention to the brand. In 2017 they’ve once again reinvented their industry by launching a pint of ice cream that needs to be cracked before it can be enjoyed. This is one brand who truly understand the importance of differentiation and positioning and always keep an eye out for ways they can stay top of mind in their customer’s mind.

When a brand offers something different to the consumer, it sticks out in the consumer’s mind when making a purchasing decision. The process of choosing a brand is therefore simpler for the consumer because the consumer remembers a differentiated brand over others. “Being different” results in the brand occupying a unique position in the consumer’s mind (Klopper & North, 2011:93). In order to apply these two principles to you own brand, consider who your customer is, really understand who you are as a brand and effectively communicate why you matter.

Magnum Ice Cream

Magnum logo

Magnum Ice Cream Advert (Source:

Magnum Pints #MadeToBeBroken | Magnum Ice Cream Singapore (Source:

Klopper, H.B. & North, E. 2011. Brand Management. Pearson: Cape Town.

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