Introduction

This article aims to investigate whether an implicit measure can be used to assess automatic understanding of product positioning that is conveyed by product design. Positioning is the act of building a credible, attractive, and distinctive place in the consumer's mind (Fuchs & Diamantopoulos, 2012; Ries & Trout, 1986). It is an offshoot of differentiation, which is the approach by which a firm aims to develop unique products that are clearly distinguishable from similar offerings on the market (Porter, 1985; Wang, 2015). Effectively positioning a product in the minds of consumers has been identified as one of the strategies that favors market acceptance for a new product (Fuchs & Diamantopoulos, 2012). From a managerial point of view, positioning refers to showing or communicating how a product compares with other products (Fuchs & Diamantopoulos, 2012). From this perspective, decisions on how to communicate product positioning can be taken after product development has taken place, especially in cross-national contexts where the same product can be positioned in different ways because the importance of attributes may differ across countries (Aaker & Joachimsthaler, 1999; Malhotra & Bartels, 2002). However, product positioning may also play a key role in determining the overall product development strategy, especially with regard to product design choices (Creusen & Schoormans, 2005; Fuchs & Diamantopoulos, 2012).