Brand positioning in financial services: LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE RESEARCH

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A key limitation of this research is that the measurement of brand-attribute association did not include an individual ‘strength’ indicator. In this research an attribute was either associated with the brand or not. This technique was used because of its popularity in commercial market research and use to identify brand positions, via perceptual mapping techniques. It would be worthwhile replicating this research using scales and or ranking to see if similar results are obtained. However, given the similarities at aggregate level between the three measures, it would be expected that the findings would be the same. This research was also conducted over three cross-sectional studies. Therefore it is not yet established that changing a customer’s perception about the brand will lead to a decrease in that customer’s vulnerability. An important extension is, therefore, to see if the findings hold when actual customer defection is used as the dependent variable, and when customer perceptions change, whether vulnerability also changes. Another limitation is that the research examined a limited number of positioning options, therefore it does not preclude the possibility of other positions that were not covered in this study being ‘better’ than those presented here. This possibility seems unlikely considering the data here were collected as part of a commercial research project. The attributes themselves were selected based on extensive in-depth interviews with customers. The final list of attributes was also developed in conjunction with marketing staff from one of the brands in the market. Therefore, it would be expected if there were consistently stronger brand-specific positions, then at least one of them for the major brands in the market would be evident in this research. The final limitation was that the focus of attribute classification was solely on the semantic qualities of the attributes. Future research should examine alternative classifications that focus on other aspects of the nature of attributes, eg level of abstraction or complexity.

 

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