In today’s globalized world, the level of competition among firms is very high. As a result, businesses are embarking on the positioning and repositioning strategies to overcome competition and expand their market share. According to Karadeniz (2009, p.99), positioning refers to the development of a product’s image directly against the competitor’s image. The aim of positioning is to place the brand in the consumers’ minds. On the other hand, repositioning involves adapting a business or product to the changing consumer environment. From the definitions, it is clear the positioning is more applicable when a business wants to introduce its brand in a new market while the repositioning strategy is more useful in the existing markets. However, many organizations have been unable to establish the most effectivebrand positioning and repositioning strategies that can help them in expanding the market share and attaining a competitive advantage. Giordano is an example of such as company.
Giordano is an apparel company with headquarters in Hong Kong. The companyproduces and sells unisex casual wear targeted atcustomers of all ages (Wirtz, 2011, p.1).The company wants to expand to new markets across Asia, Europe, and other parts of the world. However, the management of this company are is experiencing the challenge of increased identifying the strategies that should be used to position its brand in its new markets. Additionally, the management does not understand the benefits of repositioning its brand in the existing market. As a result of this problem, this paper aims to propose a research that can help Giordano’s management in solving the identified marketing problems.
The proposed research has three objectives namely:
- Identify the importance of brand positioning in the Giordano’s new markets
- Identify the strategies that Giordano should use when positioning its brand in the new foreign markets
- Determine whether Giordano should adopt similar or different positioning strategies for different markets
- Determine the benefits that Giordano can attain from repositioning its brand in its existing markets
The proposed marketing research aims to answer three research questions where the first question will be the primary research question and the second and third questions will be the secondary questions. Below are the three research questions:
i. Why is it necessary for Giordano to position and reposition its brand in the new international and existing markets?
ii. What strategies should the company adopt when positioning and repositioning its brand?
iii. What factors should determine the positioning strategies that Giordano should adopt in different markets?
The findings of the proposed market research will bring various benefits to Giordano. To begin with, the company will be able to boost the competitiveness of its brand. Through the findings of the research, the company will be able to position its brand in the customers’ minds thus attaining a competitive advantage. The findings of the proposed research will also help this company to establish how it will approach different markets it intends to expand to. This implies that the company will be able to identify the most suitable strategy that can be used to position and reposition the company’s brand in different markets. Lastly, the findings of this study will help Giordano in improving its stores and corporate image in various markets across the world. Consequently, the company will benefit from increased customer loyalty, sales, and profits.
Definition of Positioning and Repositioning
Different scholars have different ways of defining the two terms. Crompton (2009, p.88) defined positioning as the process in which businesses establish and maintain a unique and valued place in the general public’s mind. On the other hand, Gherghina (2015, p.73) defined positioning as the process of placing the sellableobjects in a multidimensional market model with the aim of securing them a strategic place in the psychology of the consumers. The scholar used the term “sellable objects” to refer to products, services, business, and personalities (Gherghina, 2015, p.73). The establishment of a frame of reference is the beginning of brand positioning. According to Keller, Sternthal and Tybout (2002, p.4), the established frame of reference is critical because it enables the consumers to understand the benefits they are likely to attain by using the specified brand.
In relation to repositioning, Edema and Ezute(2014, p53) reveal that it can only be done when a brand or product has lost or is losing its value or conspicuousness in the marketplace due to competition. Companies also use the repositioning strategy to regain the position of their brand or product in the marketplace after changes in demand (Zahid and Raja, 2014, p.59). For this reason, brand/product repositioning is defined as the act of making comprehensive changes to some or all marketing apparatuses in a firm (Ellickson, Misra and Nair, 2012, p.750).
Importance of Positioning and Repositioning in Firms
Brand and product positioning is a very effective strategy especially for the firms that are intending to expand to the international markets. Brand positioning determines the place a firm will occupy within the global market because it. According to Bezrukova and Svichkar(2016, p.103), a positioning strategy that is adopted during the product launch determine where the customers will place that brand in their brand. Another benefit of the brand/product positioning strategy is that it helps organizations to secure financial return from the markets they target (Chowdhury, 2013, p.64).On the other hand, brand repositioning is critical in strengthening the current position of a firm (Ferrell and Hartline, 2008, p.207). Repositioning helps in strengthening a brand by giving it a new status. The new status of a brand is enhanced by its new features and stronger attributes (Edema and Ezute, 2014, p.52).
Positioning and Repositioning Strategies
Both the positioning and repositioning strategies are aimed at making a brand distinctive and influencing the way the targeted customers perceive it. Using a qualitative case study research technique, Blankson, Ketron and Coffie (2017) conducted a study on six foreign retail outlets in Accra, Ghana with the aim of identifying the strategies that retail firms employ to position their brand in the minds of the local customers. The findings of the study identified reliability, service, attractiveness, and value for money as the four dominant positioning strategies that most businesses use to set their brand in the customers’ mind in the foreign markets (Blankson et al., 2017, p.308). Reliability refers to the durability, reliability, and safety of the brand that a company offers to the customers. On the other hand, the service positioning strategy is characterized by several things which include the friendliness of the service provider, the impressiveness of the provided service and the positive treatment that is accorded to the customer. The attractiveness positioning strategy is achieved by things such as good aesthetics, elegance, and the visual impression of a product (Blankson et al., 2017, p.310).
The pricing of a product or service can also be an effective strategy that organizations can use to influence the customers’ perception. After reviewing various studies related to brand positioning, Bezrukova and Svichkar (2016, pp.105-106) concluded that transnational corporations or companies that operates in various countries around the world attain brand positioning by expanding their brand portfolio where both cheap and expensive brands are developed to suit the lower and high price segments of the market respectively. This implies that the transnational companies employ the price category strategy to position their brand across different markets they operate in. However, organizations avoid selling their brand at a very low price with the aim of positioning them. Bezrukovaand Svichkar (2016, p.104) warns that a sharp decline in the price of a brand may make the buyers to doubt its quality as compared to similar brands in the marketplace.
Creative advertising is also another effective brand positioning strategy among companies that operate in various international markets.After reviewing various studies from different scholars, Chowdhury(2013, p.64) concluded that advertising and other product promotional tools had positive effect on brand positioning. In contrast, Vasiliauskaitė (2004, p.195) uses a mathematical formula to demonstrate how creative advertising results in brand positioning. According to the formula, brand positioning is achieved by adding creative strategy, message content, and presentation together, then multiplying the results with the advertising distribution schedule (Vasiliauskaitė, 2004, p.95).
On the other hand, Alden, Steenkamp, and Batra (1999) conducted a study that involved sampling the national culture of seven countries and advertising methods before developing a framework consisting ofthree types of brand positioning strategies. The three brand positioning strategies are “global consumer culture positioning” or GCCP, “local consumer culture positioning” or LCCP and “foreign consumer culture positioning” FCCP (Alden et al., 1999, p.84). The GCCP strategy uses symbols to identify with a certain culture. It is worth noting that different markets around the world have different symbols that reflect their cultural orientation. Examples of these symbols include language, religious beliefs and aesthetics. From this fact, Alden et al. (2009, p.77) argue that an effective GCCP strategy can be achieved through considering the cultural orientation symbols of various marketing when advertising. On the contrary, the LCCP strategy is achieved by associating a specific brand with the local cultural attributes. Such attributes include the norms andidentities of the local consumers (Alden et al., 2009, p.77). Lastly, the FCCP strategy involves positioning a brand in a way that it symbolizes a particular foreign culture. One of the company that adopts the FCCP strategy to position its brand is the McDonald’s. The organization andfood service at McDonald’sreflects the American culture in every foreign market the food chain operates in (Beck, Sznaider and Winter, 2003, p.40).
There are various strategies that organizations can use to achieve a revised position in the market. After reviewing several studies related to the repositioning concept, Crompton (2009, pp92-93) identified four brand/product repositioning strategies namely real repositioning, associative repositioning, psychological repositioning and competitive repositioning. Real repositioning involves developing new or restructuring the existing products and services to enhance how the targeted consumers perceive them (Crompton, 2009, p.92). On the other hand, the associative repositioning strategy refers to using the existing products and services that are already strategically positioned to attain the targeted position (Crompton, 2009, p.92). The psychological repositioning strategy involves manipulating the beliefs of the customers to instill them with a belief that the products and services that a company produces will satisfy their needs. Lastly, the competitive repositioning strategy exposing the weaknesses of the weaknesses of the competitors’ products and services to the consumers (Crompton, 2009, p.93).
On the contrary, after reviewing the relevant literature, conducting interviews and employing the observation method, Edema and Ezute (2014, p.53), identified four brand repositioning strategies namely repositioning by differentiation, usage, authenticity and emotion. Repositioning by differentiation including developing a products or service with unique features that makes it distinct from the rest. On the other hand, repositioning by usage involves teaching the customers on the efficacy of using a certain brand to address the issues of decline in its demand and market share (Edema and Ezute, 2014, p.53). An organization can teach its customers on the efficacy of a brand by demonstrating to them how the brand is used in order to attain maximum benefit. Repositioning by authenticity refers to using new symbols on a brand to make it easy for customers to differentiate it from the fake brands in the market (Edema and Ezute, 2014, p.53). Lastly, the repositioning by emotion strategy involve using messages that are appealing to the customers’ emotions in order to influence their perception of the brand.
The proposed marketing research will be qualitative and it will employ the interview technique of data collection. Data will be collected from a sample size that will comprise of customers and Giordano retail managers from both the local and international outlets. There are two classes of data that will be collected. The two types are data related to positioning and data related to repositioning.
The study will be based on the population from various markets that Giordano operates in. In specific, only five markets will be used as the population of this study. The five markets are Hong Kong, Australia, Malaysia, China, and Japan. Hong Kong is the home market of Giordano while the other four are its existing foreign markets. From the five markets, a sample of 25 Giordano’s retail outlet managers and 50 customers will be selected. The 25Giordano’s retail outlet managers that will be sampled will represent the five markets that have been selected. This implies that the study will have five retail managers from each market. On the other hand, the 50 customers that will be sampled will represent all the five markets that Giordano operates in. Each market will be represented by 10 customers. The reason for having a small sample size in this study is because the study is qualitative. Unlike the quantitative study, a qualitative study requires a smaller sample size to make analysis possible.
The 25 Giordano’s retail outlet managers who will be the subjects of this study will be sampled using a non-probabilistic sampling method called purposive sampling. This implies that the study will the managers will be based on the knowledge of the researcher in relation to their performance. The type of data the study aims to collect from the 25 Giordano’s retail managers is the strategies that they intend to use to position and reposition the company’s brand both in the new and existing markets. Additionally, the study intends to learn the effects of brand positioning and repositioning on the Giordano’s competitiveness.
On the other hand, the 50 customers who will be sampled in this study will also be sampled using a non-probabilistic sampling technique. In this case, the type of non-probabilistic method that will be used is the snowball sampling. The reason for using the snowball sampling method in this case is because it is difficult to find the real customers of Giordano. The snowball sampling method will begin by identifying and selecting a few loyal customersof Giordano. The few selected loyal customers will help the researcher in selecting the other loyal customers through referral. The study intends to learn how these loyal customers have perceived the Giordano’s brand over time. Additionally, these loyal customers will provide an insight into how brand positioning and repositioning influence their perception towards the Giordano’s brand.
Data will be collected by interviewing each of the study’s subject for at 30-40 minutes. Since some study’s subjects are in the foreign markets, interviews will be conducted through telephone. The subjects will be informed about the imminent interview three days before the interview. They will be informed through an email and a telephone call to confirm their availability. The response of their interview will be captured using audio recorders. Additionally, the interviewer will take few short notes using a notebook.
Each interviewee will be expected to answer some semi-structured questions. The researcher will develop the questions prior to the interview date. All these questions will be related the brand positioning and repositioning at Giordano. There areeleven questions that the 25 Giordano’s retail shop managers will be expected to answer. On the contrary, there will be seven questions that are targeted to the 50 customers. Both set of questions will be different but related.
The proposed research will be very beneficial to the management of Giordano Ltd. The findings of this study will help Giordano in understanding whether it is necessary to reposition its brand in its existing markets. Additionally, this apparel company will also be able to understand whether it is necessary to position its brand in the new markets it intends to expand to. Another thing is that the findings of the proposed research will enable Giordano’s management to understand the expectations that the customers have in the company’s positioning and repositioning strategies.
Ethical Considerations in the Proposed Research
The first ethical consideration in the proposed research is maintain the data privacy and confidentiality. All the data that will be collected from the subjects will not be shared with the third parties without their consent. Secondly, the subjects will be given permission to determine the time they will be available for interview. Thirdly, no subject will be forced to answer an interview question against his/her will. Fourthly, etiquette and polite word will be used throughout the interview.
The proposed research is likely to have limitations that emanate from geographical distance and cultural differences among the subjects. As already indicated, the subjects of the research will be from five different countries with different cultures. The language differences will pose a major challenge during the interviewing process because of accent challenges. The second limitation is that it will be time-consuming to collect data because of the involved logistics. The logistics are complicated by the fact that the interviews will be conducted over telephone and it will involve subjects who are in various parts of the world. The third likely limitation of the proposed research is the high cost of conducting it. A lot of money will be spent in making calls and organizing for interviews.
The proposed research will begin in June 2018 and end in December 2018. This implies that it will take seven months to complete.
|June 2018||Identify the team that will be involved in conducting the research|
|July 2018||Receive the go ahead from the college|
|August-September 2018||Identify the study’s subject:|
|October 2018||Set the interview dates and begin preparing the subjects for the interviews|
|November 2018||Conduct interviews to collect Qualitative data from the study’s subjects.|
|December 2018||Analyse the collected data, develop the final research report and submit it.|
The Research Budget
Below is the budget of the proposed research in Australian dollars.
|Salary for the research assistants for the seven months of the study||$1500|
|Cost of travelling to identifying the research subjects||$100|
|Cost of acquiring audio recorders and notebook||$50|
|Cost of sending emails to the study’s subjects||$10|
|Cost of making calls during the interviews||$250|
|Cost of acquiring report writing materials||$30|
|Cost of printing the research report||$10|
List of References
Alden, D.L., Steenkamp, J.B.E. and Batra, R., 1999. Brand positioning through advertising in Asia, North America, and Europe: The role of global consumer culture. The Journal of Marketing, pp.75-87.
Beck, U., Sznaider, N. and Winter, R. eds., 2003. Global America?: The cultural consequences of globalization (Vol. 8). Liverpool University Press.
Bezrukova, N, & Svichkar, V 2016, 'Price Aspects of Brand Positioning in the Marketing Activities of Transnational Corporations', Global Management Journal, vol. 8, pp. 101-106.
Blankson, C., Ketron, S. and Coffie, S., 2017. Positioning Strategies by Foreign Retailers at the Accra Mall in Ghana: A Case Study Approach. Journal of Managerial Issues, 29(3).
Chowdhury, P.P., 2013. Key strategies and issues of positioning: A review of past studies. American Academic & Scholarly Research Journal, 5(1), p.55.
Crompton, J.L., 2009. Strategies for implementing repositioning of leisure services. Managing Leisure, 14(2), pp.87-111.
Edema, A.J. and Ezute, I.F., 2014. Branding and Brand Positioning: A Conceptual Conflict Perspective in Product and Corporate Strategies.Scientific Research Journal, 2(1), pp.49-54
Ellickson, P.B., Misra, S. and Nair, H.S., 2012. Repositioning dynamics and pricing strategy. Journal of Marketing Research, 49(6), pp.750-772.
Ferrell, O. C., & Hartline, M. D. 2008. Marketing strategy. Mason, OH, Thomson South-Western.
Gherghina, L 2015, 'Positioning Strategies of Competing Firms on the Market', Analele Universitatii 'Eftimie Murgu' Resita. Fascicola II. Studii Economice, p. 73.
Karadeniz, M., 2009. Product positioning strategy in marketing management. Journal of Naval Science and Engineering, 5(2).pp. 98-110.
Keller, K.L., Sternthal, B. and Tybout, A., 2002. Three questions you need to ask about your brand. Harvard business review, 80(9), pp.80-89.
Vasiliauskaitė, K 2004, 'Management of Interaction between Creative Advertising Strategy and Brand Positioning Strategy', Management of Organizations: Systematic Research, no. 30, pp. 193-200.
Wirtz, J., 2011. Giordano: positioning for international expansion. Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, 1(1), pp.1-13.
Zahid, S. and Raja, N.S., 2014. Effect of rebranding and repositioning on brand equity considering brand loyalty as a mediating variable. Journal of Business and Management, 16(1), pp.55-63.
Below are the eleven questions that targeted to the 25 Giordano’s retail shop managers
- How long have you been a manager at Giordano?
- What is your view in relation to the competitiveness of the Giordano’s brand?
- Have you ever been involved in the brand positioning while at Giordano?
- Which strategies did you use to accomplish that brand positioning?
- Was the brand positioning successful?
- Which measures did you use to measure the success of that brand positioning?
- How often do you do the brand repositioning?
- Which factors push you to do the brand repositioning?
- Which strategies do you apply when implementing the brand repositioning?
- How does the brand repositioning assist Giordano?
- Is there anything else you would wish to tell us relating to the brand positioning and repositioning at Giordano?
Below are the seven questions that will be targeted at the 50 loyal customers of Giordano
- How long have you been a customer at Giordano?
- Which brand do you prefer atGiordano?
- Do you think Giordano is still ahead of its competitors when it comes to casual wear?
- Which factors do look for in a clothing brand before making a purchase?
- Does regular brand positioning and repositioning influence your purchasing behaviour?
- What qualities do you expect in a positioned and repositioned brand?
- What else do you have to say about Giordano’s positioning and repositioning strategy?