Experiential positioning: strategic differentiation of customer-brand relationships

Dan Padgett, Michael S. Mulvey
2009 Innovative Marketing  
Effective positioning helps firms attract new customers in the short run, and helps build customer-brand relationships in the long run. In addition, effective positioning by the set of firms in an industry essentially decreases direct competition and offers potential customers choices in the market. While researchers and practitioners alike acknowledge the importance of strategic positioning to the firm's success, current business trends and a lack of positioning research make executing an
more » ... tive positioning strategy difficult for today's managers. This research revisits the concept of positioning, introducing experiential positioning as a strategic process in which firms differentiate themselves on the basis of different experience propositions. This approach is especially appropriate for mature industries or those industries that inherently lack obvious opportunities for differentiation based on the core product or service alone. To demonstrate our conceptual framework we analyze a large sample of TV advertisements from the online brokerage industry during the growth period of 1999-2000 to demonstrate how firms in this industry effectively created different options for customers when core differences were rather minor. We use archetype analysis and relationship theory to identify the basic forms of relationship experience available within the category of online trading, demonstrating the viability of our approach for positioning in similar market contexts.
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