A new approach to network analysis for brand positioning

Hui-Ju Wang

Fo Guang University

Introduction

Brand positioning is regarded as a key tool for brand implementation in competitive markets (Aaker 1996; Hooley et al. 1998; Kotler 2000). Positioning is the act of designing an organisation’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the target market’s mind (Kotler 2000). Essentially, the notion of brand positioning is an offshoot of differentiation whereby the researcher attempts to explore the differentiated dimensions of positioning in terms of consumer or managerial/organisational perspectives through a number of approaches.

A review of the extant literature on differentiation through brand positioning shows two types of research: elicitation of brand positioning typologies and comparison among brand positioning dimensions. The former involves the ‘elicitation approaches’ of brand positioning, such as interviews (e.g. Beverland et al. 2010), focus groups (e.g. Blankson & Kalafatis 2004), content analysis (e.g. Blankson & Kalafatis 2007), surveys (e.g. Fuchs & Diamantopoulos 2010) and others. The latter involves the use of ‘analytic methods’, including correspondence analysis (e.g. Opoku & Hinson 2006), discriminant analysis (e.g. Anana & Nique 2010) and multidimensional scaling (MDS) (e.g. Panda & Tripathy 2002), which primarily utilise ‘graphical representation’ to reveal the relative positioning of the companies based on judgements of pairwise similarity.