Approaches to positioning predominantly examine the input and outcome effectiveness of certain positioning strategies. However, less is known about the positioning management process and internal dynamics. This study remedies this limitation by identifying corporate brand positioning (CBP) in industrial firms as a strategic development process. Based on comparative case studies within two globally operating industrial multi-business firms, this study opens the proverbial ‘black box’ to reveal how CBP occurs over time and what the driving mechanisms are. Findings suggest understanding CBP as a recurring, multi-level process, making it more than just a corporate-level marketing activity. Positioning episodes are found to pass through seven stages, each creating enablers and barriers for change. CBP should be viewed as a political process that integrates stable corporate and business levels and temporary levels that emerge in micro-events of reflective strategic practice.