Brand positioning in financial services: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

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Research design

The studies chosen to investigate this issue were a series of three commercial surveys conducted with businesses. The focus of the surveys was on the perceptions about brands used for financial services and current/future usage of those brands. The data were collected via mail in 1996, 1998 and 2000. The samples for each wave were randomly selected from an electronic business telephone database at that time and represent three cross-sectional waves of data. Thus the data are longitudinal at aggregate level but not at individual level (ie not panel data). In 1996 and 1998 respondents were recruited via telephone and then were mailed the booklet. Two follow-ups were then conducted by telephone. In 2000, respondents were mailed the booklet with a $5 advance payment and two follow-ups were conducted, one by mail and one by telephone. In all three waves a response rate of 40 per cent or greater was achieved. Comparisons of respondents across waves revealed no biases due to the change in methodology. The sample distributions of different business sizes and locations were considered to be typical of the market in the assessment of relevant marketing staff. The respondents included in the samples had annual turnovers ranging from under $100,000 to over $2m and were located in city and regional areas. There was also wide variation in the number of employees, ranging from sole traders to organisations with over 500 employees at that location.

The focus of this study was on the four largest brands in the market. The largest brands were chosen because of their size. As these brands are big, any patterns in the positioning of the brand linked to their success should be evident for these brands. That is, a poorly performing brand would not be expected to have a ‘strong’ position and so analysis to find stronger positions would be futile. The focus of this analysis is only on users of the brand, which was ascertained by asking respondents to state their main brand used for business financial services. Therefore while the total sample sizes for each wave were 500 and above, the brand user sample sizes (which are the basis for analysis) ranged from 83 to 156 in each wave.


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