The repositioning concept has been residing within the positioning issue within many years, and was lack of attention due to many factors. The reasons for repositioning is defined by the creator of the terminology as: “There are three reasons, and they all begin with the letter c: Competition, change and crisis.” (Trout, 2009,1) This definition clearly draws the borders of the concept while mentioning the clear-cut reasons to consider repositioning.
The main reason to reposition can be taken as the aim to cope with competition. The new age of product development and high-tech industries are forcing many companies to stay alert and innovative through their entire life-cycles, which sometimes is not possible and many companies and first-movers are swept away from the business, losing markets to the hand of the fierce competitors.
The repositioning concept is capable of including both individual products/brands and corporate brand strategies as a whole. Due to the very large spectrum of the concept and the fact that repositioning still continues to be elusive there is not yet an established academic consensus. There are many different aspects of the concept though, which include: makeover, refreshment, brand renewal, revitalization, et cetera. There are two main thoughts, which define repositioning in the today’s academic thinking. One “refers to the disjunction or change between an initially formulated corporate brand and a new formulation” (Merriles& Miller, 2008) and the second refers to the concept as “any decision by a firm to alter the perceptual positioning of a brand” (Simms &Trott, 2007) I would like to focus on the latter to establish the definition of repositioning because it is more in rapport with the overall language of the project.
It is widely usual for marketers to rethink their brand’s positioning due to competitive pressures, changing customer needs, technical advancements and new channels have eroded their brands’ positions of strength.
According to Keller (1999), a brand should either be reinforced or revitalized when performing negatively or failed to meet requirements. These two potential actions are the bases of the Customer Based Brand Equity (CBBE) Model developed by Keller in 1993. The customer based brand equity is defined as “the different effect that consumer knowledge has on the customer’s response to marketing activity. Positive customer based brand equity results when consumers respond more favorable to a product, price or communication when the brand is identified than when it is not” (Keller, 1999, 164). The model uses brand awareness and brand image when explaining the consumer brand knowledge. Strong brand equity is where: “Sources of brand equity occur when consumers are aware of the brand and hold strong, favorable and unique brand associations. There are a number of ways to create those knowledge structures in the minds of consumers. Broadly, they involve choosing brand elements, developing supporting marketing programs and creating secondary associations” (Keller, 1999, 94)
There are many situations where brand reinforcement strategies are not enough to alter an underperforming brand. A wide spectrum of factors is requiring today’s marketers to rethink their positions. Changes in the customer needs, increased competitive aura caused by the new entrants and product innovations and the proliferation of new channels and promotional campaigns are among many examples. In such cases, revitalization of a brand is required. It includes the efforts to regain the customer equity and generate new sources. It is majorly important to reinforce the breadth and depth of the brand awareness to determine the “strength, favorability and uniqueness” (Keller, 2001) of the brand associations of customers. The following two approaches are possible according to the CBBE model (Keller, 2001, 11):
i.“Expand the depth and/or breadth of brand awareness by improving consumer recall recognition of the brand during purchase or consumption settings. This is achieved by increasing the level or quantity of consumption, and/or increasing the frequency of consumption.”
ii.“Improve the strength, favorability and uniqueness of brand associations making up the brand image. This approach may involve programs directed at existing or new brand associations. This is archived by retaining vulnerable or recapturing lost consumers, identifying neglected segments, and/or attracting new customers.”
The brand regeneration takes place in that, the marketing schedule is changed and secondary brand associations are established. This enables to resurface the sources of brand equity. If brand awareness is also lagging behind the characteristics of the brand itself, the company should investigate newer ways to communicate the product with the potential customers and reach out closely to the point of purchase. There are also many cases where the product is underperforming due to multiple problems with the brand image. It might be the lack of strength, favorability over other competitors, uniqueness and brand perceptions. The brand therefore needs to concentrate on the points-of-differences (POD) in order to remove itself from the clutter, differentiate the brand and include itself in the consideration set of consumers.
Now the question in mind is regarding the strategies to be used when establishing brand repositioning strategies. This is the second step after the realization of the need for repositioning and the answer to the question “Now what?”
I will let you get more familiar with the subject before moving any further at this point, and will continue with this post in the following days.
Please share your thoughts and remarks.