Brand positioning in financial services: Brand effects

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To assess if the attributes with stronger relationships with customer vulnerability were unique to particular brands, the CVDs were examined for each brand individually across time periods. The results are shown in Table 4. For the majority of positioning attributes, there was minimal difference in the size of the CVDs between brands. The maximum CVD was -1.5, with a total of 10 CVDs of-1.0 or larger.

To look further for any deviations, the CVD for each brand/attribute was subtracted from the overall mean of-0.7. This revealed four deviations over 0.5. These were for Brand 1 and Brand 3 for the attributes previously identified as ‘suitable fees and charges’ and ‘responsive to our needs’. This reinforces the slightly higher value of these attributes for these brands.

Further exploring within brands, Table 5 shows the attributes that had a CVD of 1.0 scale point or larger each survey. It is evident that despite overall stability, there is substantial fluctuation in the attributes with larger CVDs for each brand over time.

Two positions of ‘suitable fees and charges’ and ‘responsive to needs’ were the most prevalent in terms having large CVDs across all brands. However, it is also apparent that (a) a number of attributes also have large CVDs at different times and (b) often for each brand there are multiple attributes with large CVDs. Both of these findings mean that a consistently, uniquely better position for any brand cannot readily be identified. Therefore while some positions do appear to be slightly ‘better’ (in that they have a larger absolute CVD value) this either is consistent across brands or varies for each brand over time. There do not appear to be attributes that are consistently better for a single brand over time as would be suggested if a brand had a more valuable ‘unique’ position.

Table 4 CVD comparison by brand

Brand
1

Brand 2

Brand
3

Brand
4

Ave

User type

Supports the business community

-0.8

-0.7

-1.2

-0.4

-0.8

For businesses

-0.4

-0.3

-0.5

-0.7

-0.5

Pricing

Suitable fees and charges

-1.3

-0.6

-1.5

-1.0

-1.1

Good interest rates

-0.8

-0.6

-1.2

-0.5

-0.8

Access benefit

Convenient branches

-0.5

-0.5

-0.5

-0.4

-0.5

Perceived quality

Good at financial management

-0.7

-0.7

-0.7

-0.9

-0.7

Investment growth

-0.3

-0.6

-0.4

-0.5

-0.4

Security benefit

Responsible

-0.5

-0.3

-0.9

-0.9

-0.7

Safe

-0.6

-0.3

-0.8

-0.5

-0.6

Relationship/

Business partner

-1.0

-0.5

-0.7

-0.2

-0.6

service benefit

Responsive to needs

-1.3

-1.1

-1.4

-1.0

-1.2

There are, however, some themes in the attributes within each time period, with the ‘good financial management’, ‘safe’ and ‘responsible’ attributes more prevalent in the ‘top’ positioning attributes for 1996, while in 2000 the ‘supports business community‘ was more prevalent. However, the consistency across brands suggests that these appear to be linked to customer trends rather than qualities developed uniquely by the brand. The stronger 1996 attributes particularly seem to reflect the consumer concern about corporate governance of financial institutions that was evident at that time.

Table 5 Positioning attributes for each brand with a CVD larger than -1.0.

1996

1998

2000

Brand 1

Responsive to needs Business partner

Suitable fees and charges Responsive to needs

Supports the business community Responsive to needs

Brand 2

For businesses

Good at financial management Suitable fees and charges Good interest
rates Responsive to needs Investment growth Responsible Safe

None

Supports business community

Brand 3

None

All attributes except ‘Safe’

Supports business community Suitable fees and charges Good interest
rates Convenient branches Responsive to needs Safe

Business partner

Brand 4

Good at financial management Suitable fees and charges Responsive to
needs Responsible Safe

None

For businesses Convenient branches Responsive to needs

To examine further the consistency of the CVDs over time, linear regression analysis was conducted. For each brand, and overall, the CVD across attributes for the time period before were regressed against the following time period. For example the CVDs from the 1996 wave were used as the independent variables to see if there was a relationship with the CVDs for the 1998 time period (which was the dependent variable). The same analysis was also conducted using the 1998 results as the independent variable and the 2000 results as the dependent variable. A high r-squared value would suggest that knowing the CVDs from the prior wave would provide an indication of the likely CVDs for the subsequent wave. The resultant adjusted r-squared values (shown in Table 6) were all small and not significant at the p<0.05 level. This suggests little or no systematic relationship between the CVD results across waves, probably due to the lack of variation in the CVD values across attributes in any one wave.

Table 6 CVD linear regression results: Adjusted r-squared values

1998 CVDs as dep. var.

2000 CVDs as dep. var.

Brand 1

-0.03

0.23

Brand 2

-0.09

0.30

Brand 3

0.05

-0.04

Brand 4

-0.06

0.12

Overall

0.00

0.04

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