Brand positioning in financial services: Theoretical basis for brand positioning

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The theory behind positioning a brand, namely attaching the brand to a specific piece of information in consumer memory, is drawn from Associative Network Theories of Memory. Here, memory is thought to consist of nodes of information that are interlinked with each other. These positioning attributes are the specific ‘bits’ of information that marketing managers aim to have linked to the brand name. The network of brand- related linked information in consumer memory makes up a brand’s image. There have been numerous suggestions for types of potential positions. Examples include the product category, benefits, price, perceived quality, use/application situations, country of origin, and/or customer service delivery.

Brand positioning and customer preference/choice

Earliest research focused on product category attributes for positioning. A relationship between the brand, product category attributes and brand choice/ preference has been found by multiple researchers since the 1960s. An additional benefit of strong linkage with the product category is the inhibiting effect it has been shown to have on the recall of other brands in the category. In more recent times, however, the call has been to develop a position distinct from other brands, resulting in the exploration of a wider range of attributes. Research into the broader range of attributes (eg pricing, service and/or quality perceptions) has shown a positive relationship between brand mention and usage/claimed choice and that for each brand, a different set of attributes was the best predictor of main brand used.

Most comparative research, however, has focused on comparisons of brand image/positioning measurement techniques rather than an assessment of the positions established.

 

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