Brand Positioning: Dove or Pigeon?

Reilly Newman
2 min readJun 28, 2022


Very few realize that doves are just white pigeons — the same pigeons we shoo away and call “rats with wings”. The main visual difference between doves and pigeons is simply that doves are white.

Doves are typically bred to be white and actually are awful at homing; despite being related to homing pigeons. So one could say they are a not as great as the rats with wings.

The problem for pigeons is that they have been positioned as the gross, ugly bird when the white pigeons have been branded as doves and positioned for special occasions like weddings, celebrations, etc. When in reality doves are no less dirty, messy, or different in shape.

© Motif Brands

Although virtually the same bird, the positioning of doves has successfully been the wind beneath their wings. It’s a great example of the power of brand positioning within businesses.

When businesses have similar (if not identical) functional purposes in the marketplace, it’s much like both being pigeons. To the market, both businesses are the same bird. They both fly, have feathers, leave a mess, and make similar noises. Yes, one might be a different color, but to the average person they are both just birds. The same issues happen with businesses.

Applying this feathery example to your business takes us to brand and the power of positioning. 99% of businesses exist because there is an existing sector of other similar businesses. This means the functions of these businesses have been somewhat standardized by the sector. (Just as both birds fly, coo, and makes nests) Now beyond just the function of the businesses, the brand is what helps one business soar above others.

As doves have been further bred to be a different color, a brand’s identity can help a business visually standout from the market. Simply by a brand looking and sounding different it will make the other business look a certain way. Just imagine your business looking more polished, professional or experienced in a field and how that would make the competition look less buttoned up or even a “rat with wings”.

The positioning of doves have set them aside for special events, which this specialty comes with status and positive association. Like a fine wine or bottle of special champagne. Pigeons are plentiful and are not reserved for any special occasion. This makes them a “vendor” or commodity that comes with no status or positive association. Which would you rather your business be?

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