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Products and Branding Strategies

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List what you believe are TWO PRIMARY ATTRIBUTES on which your business competes (such as quality and availability), and create a positioning map showing where you place your organization relative to its primary competitors on these TWO criteria.

You should NOT use quality and price. Many textbooks follow this approach but this usually results in a linear arrangement of the products on a diagonal, with two empty cells! Either the products are of high quality with a commensurate high price or of low quality with a commensurate low price. It is hard to imagine finding products with high quality and a low price or low quality and a high price, i.e. Price and Quality are highly correlated and this invalidates a fundamental assumption of positioning maps, namely that the dimensions used are independent.

Therefore, choose more interesting and useful dimensions. For example, look at the underlying dimensions or attributes on which quality might be based. This approach is not easy but it is far more useful. For example, if you are describing the market for colas, you might choose TWO of the following: carbonation, sweetness, and type of sweetener. Or if you are describing the market for ice cream, you might choose TWO of the following: creaminess, sweetness, and type of sweetener. Though meaningful positioning is multi-dimensional (that is it requires more than two dimensions, for this exercise, so that you get a feeling for the process, you are being asked to use only two dimensions. In terms of the above examples, you might even want to think in terms of presenting descriptions of customers in terms of their motivations to choose one product vs. another. For example, who wants a really sweet cola vs. one that is not very sweet (could the difference be based on the age of the buyer?)? And who wants sugar vs. sugar substitute (could the difference be based on the desired weight of the buyer?)?

The following resources are provided to help you prepare your Position Map (also know as a "Perceptual Map")

Boardman A. E. and Vining, A. R. (1996, February) Defining your business using product-customer matrices. Long Range Planning, 29(1). 38-48. Available in ScienceDirect on June 9, 2009. Go to the TUI eLibary. Click on the link next to the globe to go to <Science Direct>. In the upper right corner of the Science Direct webpage, login with the username of touro-international and the password of welcome. Enter >Long Range Planning< in the box beside Journal/Book Title and enter >Boardman< in the box next to Author. Click on the arrow beside <Go>. Click on <PDF>

Michael Fassnacht, Michael (2009, April 13). The Death of Consumer Segmentation: Rethinking a Traditional Marketing Tool. Advertising Age. Available at
on April 14, 2009.

QuickMBA.com, (2008) at QuickMBA.com. Viewed February 20, 2008. Research the following:

Marketing Warfare - A summary of Al Ries and Jack Trout's marketing bestseller viewing marketing from a military perspective. Principles of offensive, defensive, flanking, and guerrilla marketing strategies are presented.

Market Share - Calculating market share, reasons to increase market share, drivers of market share, and why a firm might not want to increase market share.

Marketing Strategy - Overview of marketing strategy issues, strategic decision making using marketing research results, multi-product resource allocation, product diffusion, and product management strategies.

Positioning - Al Ries and Jack Trout popularized the concept of product positioning. This is a summary of the ideas put forth in their marketing classic, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind.

Marketingteacher.com, (2008). Positioning at Marketingteacher.com. Available at
on 2009-06-09

Go to Mama.com and/or GoogleScholar. These are meta-search engine sites and scholar search engines. Type in ' Product Positioning Maps ' and visit various sites to see examples. The search will reveal more information on product positioning maps than you can possibly access in a lifetime. These sites will never fail you....learn to meta-search --my side lesson for today.

7) List your PRIMARY TARGET MARKETS (TM?s) and name and define them. This is an expansion of Q3 in SLP01.

For example:

TM 1 "Yuppies" Professional, fashion-forward, upwardly mobile. ..

8) List your primary PRODUCT CATEGORIES and name and define them. This is an expansion of Q3 in SLP01.

For example:

Paper Products Innovative greeting cards, stationary, and gift-wrap

9) Then, create a PRODUCT-MARKET GRID with each market segment listed down the side, and each product category across the top that illustrates which markets and products are served by your selected organization.
Below is an example of a 3x3 matrix (3 products and 3 markets). Substitute your own titles for ?markets? and ?products? in the table you create, and use as many columns and rows as you need. This is an expansion of Q3 in SLP01.
Since SLP2 asks you develop product/market matrices, when you start doing this part of the assignment refer to Boardman and Vining (1999), provided in the Background Info section

You will use a Product-Market grid throughout the SLP so try very hard to refine it to reflect your business in the best way possible.


Product1 Product2 Product3
Target Market 1 (Cell 1)
Target Market 2
Target Market 3

In the model above, "Cell 1" has been identified. In other words, each of the blank spaces is the table is called a "cell".
In terms of an illustration, the following matrix was prepared for a store that sells ice-cream.

Ice Cream Cones Ice Cream Cakes Soft Serve Frozen Yogurt Fresh Baked Items Gourmet Coffees
Middle Class 1 3 2
Upper Class 1 2
DINKS (Dual Income/No Kids) 1 3
Yuppies 1 3 3
Families 1 3 2
Age 4-13 1 & 3 2
Adult Singles
Age 18-35 1 3

Key for interpreting the numbers in the table:

1Core products Marble Slab's an expert in making super premium ice cream which is the best seller across all of the target market
2Rarely sold to these individuals. Product is included to offer more variety
3Biggest purchaser of items in this category

Now, look at your table and answer the following questions for the important cells.
Does the target market described on the left buy in the product category described on the top? Remember that if target markets do not buy products in a particular category, those cells will be blank. For example, people classified as middle class might buy their gardening implements at Wal-mart but may not buy their clothing at that store.

Why or why not?

How important is this cell to my overall business?

Do I have competitive advantage in this market with this product?

How is this competitive advantage manifested? (e.g. In the examples above, perhaps that my paper products serve yuppies very well because they are more innovative and of a higher quality than my competitors? products are.)

EXTRA, but not required: If you want to depict information more deeply, you could "position" the product for each segment (how you want that product to be perceived by that market), Explain how you compete, or you could enter the % of revenues attributable to that cell.

10) What STRATEGY opportunities does your company have for Product Development or Market Development, or both? A "Market Development" strategy means that the firms pursue new markets that should be interested in products already carried by your company. A "Product Development" strategy means that new products are offered to existing target markets.

11) Does your organization have a COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE relative to its PRODUCT MIX? Your answer should be a "yes" or "no" followed by your defense of why you chose "yes" or "no". You should also include references to background materials to help support your discussion. Remember to discuss competitive advantage as it relates to EACH of the major competitors that you listed in SLP01.

Note that this assignment does NOT require you to prepare a detailed essay. Instead use section headings for each of the topics you address in your paper followed by a discussion of that topic. In addressing the questions, use the CAPITALIZED and BOLD words in the sections above as headings. Note that you are only graded on the information added to this ever growing paper.

Has to be in MLA Format!

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Solution Summary

Primary Attributes
Primary Target Markets
Primary Product Categories
Product Market Grid
Strategy Opportunities
Competitive Advantage

See Also This Related BrainMass Solution

The Marketing Mix: Products and Branding Strategies

I need help with the problem pasted below. The solution to the problem (CASE02) should be completed prior to the solution of SLP02. I will need 4 pages and please follow the directions in the below Case02 document carefully.

>CASE 02<<
The Marketing Mix: Products and Branding Strategies - Case02 Assignment
Susan Fournier (1998) argues that customers have relationships with brands. Do Customers have relationships with Brands? Yes or No? Defend your position. Either way, if they have relationships or do not have relationships with brands, so what?

In order to answer these questions and complete these tasks, you are required to select a movie studio (service only) and ONE brand from the remaining two product categories shown below and explore the idea that consumers have relationships with the products, paying particular attention to the implications of whether or not having a relationship might have for marketing managers in the management of and the development of marketing strategies for those brands, (the "So what?" in the above question).

The three product categories are:
Good & Service - eg Cell phone service (e.g. brands such as Verizon, Sprint, AT&T.)
Good Only - eg Hand gun (e.g. brands such as Colt, Beretta, Smith & Wesson, Glock); Motorcycle (e.g. brands such as Honda, Harley Davidson, Yamaha); or Newsmagazine (e.g. brands such as Business Week, Forbes, and Fortune) and
Service Only - eg Movie studios (e.g. brands such as Paramount, 20th Century Fox, or Disney).
Note that since one of the choices (a movie studio) is fixed, you need to choose two additional products, one from each of the remaining product categories, a good and a good with services.

In terms of selecting ONE brand from each of the TWO remaining product categories, you should choose a good and service (eg, cell phone brand, say Verizon) and a good only (eg, a hand gun brand, say Colt; a newsmagazine, say Business Week; or a Motorcycle brand, say Harley Davidson). The brands shown above are only examples. You can select others not shown if you prefer, but in addition to the Movie Studio (service only); they must be a Good only and a Good & Service.

The Situation
Some authors argue that consumers have relationships with brands. Others argue that a relationship with a brand is not possible because a relationship has to be 2-way. In other words, brands can't respond to consumers.
The Task
Thus, in response to Fournier (1998) using the information you gather using the three product categories. You are to answer the question: Do Customers have relationships with Brands? Yes or No? Defend your position. Either way, if they have relationships or do not have relationships with brands, so what?

Note that it is not assumed that you will agree with Dr. Fournier that people have relationships with brands, (nor is it assumed that you will necessarily disagree). Clearly marketing scholars disagree about this so you can too! You might choose two brands, examine them, examine what it means to "have a relationship with a brand" and conclude that this idea does not hold water and has no benefits for marketers, in the process explaining why Dr. Fournier is wrong in your opinion. On the other hand you might conclude that her idea holds for one of the brands you have examined and not for the other, or perhaps holds for some people and not for others. In that instance, contrasting the two is very important. Or you might conclude that it holds for both.

Note how the case you will make in favor or against the issue of people relating to brands takes you beyond the basics of product management to thinking about branding, product meanings, the roles brands play, the views customers have of brands developed through marketing and non-marketing influences, and the implications of these for marketing managers. Note that this last is the primary focus of this case.

Note also that the materials describing the situation introduce you to three of the major journals in marketing, the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of Brand Management, and the Journal of Consumer Behavior. In that regard, I believe it important that you be introduced to some "academic" research which you should find both interesting and easy to understand. The topics covered in these articles (brand relationships and brand communities) are important and relatively new ones in Marketing and I hope you'll find them stimulating enough to feel that at some point in the future you might try reading more articles in these journals. There are other sources which present new ideas in Marketing in a more "managerially friendly" form, such as the Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, and California Management Review, to name but three. Now that you know these sources exist try to use them as you build your case and continue to use them, even after graduating.

The resources describing the situation include Susan Fournier (1998) in which, among other things, she argues that consumers have relationships with brands. Others have stated that they don't, (e.g. Vargo and Lusch (2004) state that "inanimate items of exchange cannot have relationships"). Perhaps they have relationships, but only under certain circumstances. I leave that for you to consider.

I stress, that I want you to address the implications that brand relationships might have for marketing managers in the management of brands. Hint: you are to consider THREE brands (a movie studio which falls in one of the three product categories and TWO brands one chosen because it is a good and one chosen because it is a service). I am forcing this issue to give you the opportunity to see if a relationship is formed based on the product category therefore allowing you to compare the results in your analysis between brands in differing product categories. I stress that it is not sufficient simply to write about customers and their relationships with the brands. That's relatively easy. You need to do that to set the stage for your thinking about how marketers might use such insights. Feel free to be creative.

Sources of information for this case may include:
Introspection - you should NOT rely solely on anecdotal evidence.
Questioning friends and colleagues - you should NOT rely solely on anecdotal evidence.
Researching background information on the Internet and in magazines - strongly recommended.
In preparing your CASE 2, ensure that you demonstrate your learning of the marketing concepts and frameworks for analysis outlined in the modular learning objectives (Attached) by using and referencing the background and case material.
1. Explain fundamental marketing concepts related to products, both goods and services, including what each of these are, as well as brands, and the Product Life Cycle.
2. Analyze whether customers develop relationships with brands and the implications of this for brand management.
3. Identify and research top Marketing Journals and explain some the cutting edge marketing issues of brand relationships and brand communities.

In addition, if you use the comments of friends, relatives, or colleagues, you need reference those friends, relatives or colleagues as sources.

While you may be tempted to simply rely on anecdotal information and write about your own relationship (or non-relationship) with a chosen brand, you will learn a lot more by broadening your horizons and thinking like a marketer, which means setting aside your own perceptions and understanding the way others perceive products. If you are in an Internet-constrained environment simply say so in your assignment and focus on Fournier S. (1998)) and Vargo, S. L. & Lusch, R. F. (2004)

You should also bear in mind that a fundamental goal, as with all the cases you build in MKT501, is to stimulate your learning. Your answers should therefore demonstrate that learning.
Note that this assignment does NOT require you to prepare a detailed essay. Instead use section headings for each of the topics you address in your paper followed by a discussion of that topic. For example, make sure that you list the brands you examine.

If you wish to include supportive or illustrative materials, feel free to include these in an appendix (e.g. uploaded as an additional file) of no more than three pages. Make sure that you refer to this material in the body of the paper.
Case-related articles in the academic press
Fournier, S. (1998, Mar). Consumers and their brands: Developing relationship theory in consumer research. Journal of Consumer Research. 24(4). PDF available via EBSCOhost on 5 November 2009 Attached (Consumers and their Brands.pdf)
Vargo, Stephen L & Lusch, Robert F (2004, January). Evolving to a New Dominant Logic for Marketing. Journal of Marketing. 68(1) 1-17. PDF available via EBSCOhost on 5 November 2009 Attached (Evolving to a new Dominant Logic for MKT.pdf)
Albert, Noël; Merunka, Dwight; & Valette-Florence, Pierre (2008). When consumers love their brands: Exploring the concept and its dimensions. Journal of Business Research 61 1062-1075. PDF available via Science Direct on 5 November 2009.
Chaudhuri, Arjun & Holbrook, Morris B. (2002, September). Product-class effects on brand commitment and brand outcomes: The role of brand trust and brand affect . Journal of Brand Management, 10(1). 33-59 PDF version available in EBSCOhost on 5 November 2009 Attached (Product-class effects on brand.pdf)
Grubb, Edward L & Grathwohl, Harrison L (1967, October 1). Consumer Self-Concept, Symbolism and Marketing Behavior: A Theoretical Approach. Journal of Marketing. 31(4). 22-28. PDF available via EBSCOhost on 5 November 2009 Attached (Consumer Self-Concept.pdf)

>>Modular Learning Objectives<<
By the end of this module, the student shall be able to satisfy the following outcomes expectations:
? Case
o Identify and research top Marketing Journals and explain some the cutting edge marketing issues of brand relationships and brand communities
o Explain fundamental marketing concepts related to products, both goods and services, including what each of these are, as well as brands, and the Product Life Cycle
o Analyze whether customers develop relationships with brands and the implications of this for brand management
o Analyze an organization's products and competitive product positioning
o Explain fundamental marketing concepts related to products, both goods and services, including what each of these are, as well as brands, and the Product Life Cycle

Having developed an understanding of how consumers make purchase decisions, and how marketers analyze markets and select targets, we turn our attention in Modules 02-05 to how firms can win and retain customers. In Module 02 we focus on one of the four elements of the Marketing Mix, the Product (the first of the 4 P's describing the Marketing Mix) and the closely associated concept of the brand. This raises a number of questions such as:

What is a Product?

What is branding and why do firms do it?

How can new products be developed?

What are some of the important and current issues facing product and brand managers?

We will be placing our emphasis on brands, branding and brand management. Apart from understanding the fundamental concepts (such as Product, Good, Service, Brand, Positioning, etc.) we shall be exploring the idea that brands can enable firms to establish a competitive advantage. In the case we focus on how customers view brands and in the SLP we shall apply many of the frameworks being taught to further analyze the product your chosen organization produces and the markets it serves with them.

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