Positioning Your Product

Aaker, David A.; Shansby, J. Gary
May 1982
Business Horizons;May/Jun82, Vol. 25 Issue 3, p56
Academic Journal
Sophisticated analysis of all the positioning alternatives can, and should, be done. How should a new brand be positioned? Can a problem brand be revived by a repositioning strategy? Most marketing managers have addressed these and other positioning questions; however, "positioning" means different things to different people. To some, it means the segmentation decision. To others it is an image question. To still others it means selecting which product features to emphasize. Few managers consider ail of these alternatives. Further, the positioning decision is often made ad hoc, and is based upon flashes of insight, even though systematic, research-based approaches to the positioning decision are now available. An understanding of these approaches should lead to more sophisticated analysis in which positioning alternatives are more fully identified and evaluated. A product or organization has many associations which combine to form a total impression. The positioning decision often means selecting those associations which are to be built upon and emphasized and those associations which are to be removed or de-emphasized. The term "position" differs from the older term "image" in that it implies a frame of reference, the reference point usually being the competition. Thus, when the Bank of California positions itself as being small and friendly, it is explictly, or perhaps implicitly, positioning itself with respect to Bank of America. The positioning decision is often the crucial strategic decision for a company or brand because the position can be central to customers' perception and choice, decisions. Further, since all elements of the marketing program can potentially affect the position, it is usually necessary to use a positioning strategy as a focus for the development of the marketing program. A clear positioning strategy can insure that the elements of the marketing program are consistent and supportive. What alternative positioning strategies are a...


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