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Corporate Brand Positioning – Case Studies across Firm Levels and Over Time

Koch, Christian LU (2014)
Abstract
Positioning is a key concept in the fields of branding, marketing, and strategy. In brand management, positioning deals fundamentally with finding a balance between sameness and differentiation. Empirical research predominantly examines the effectiveness of certain strategies. Less is known about the management process and internal brand positioning dynamics. Furthermore, positioning research still needs to be developed in a comprehensive corporate branding context, due to its recent elevated importance for organizations. This thesis remediates these limitations by identifying corporate brand positioning as a strategic development process, which is aware of activity, time, and context. This is important for refining the corporate brand... (More)
Positioning is a key concept in the fields of branding, marketing, and strategy. In brand management, positioning deals fundamentally with finding a balance between sameness and differentiation. Empirical research predominantly examines the effectiveness of certain strategies. Less is known about the management process and internal brand positioning dynamics. Furthermore, positioning research still needs to be developed in a comprehensive corporate branding context, due to its recent elevated importance for organizations. This thesis remediates these limitations by identifying corporate brand positioning as a strategic development process, which is aware of activity, time, and context. This is important for refining the corporate brand positioning concept.



Based on qualitative case studies within industrial multi-business firms ABB (power and automation industry), Trelleborg (polymer engineering industry), and Holmen (pulp and paper industry), this study opens the proverbial black box to reveal how corporate brand positioning occurs over time. The findings are conceptualized across five dimensions: where and when positioning occurs (that is, location and timing), why it occurs (that is, driver patterns), what occurs (that is, activities, choices, and challenges), and who is involved (that is, actors and their roles).



Findings suggest understanding corporate brand positioning as strategic episodes that develop between managerial agency and institutional or environmental constraints. Positioning is found to be a recurring, multi-level process, making it more than just a corporate-level marketing activity. This thesis uncovers three broad driver patterns and their reactive and proactive nature. Positioning episodes are found to pass through seven stages, each creating enablers and barriers for change. Corporate brand positioning is in fact a political process that needs to be carefully coordinated between five key practitioner groups. It also needs to be integrated across stable firm levels as well as a temporary level that consists of micro-episodes of reflective strategic practice. This thesis develops a nuanced perspective on positioning and demarcates it from continuous brand management activities. As for deeper change mechanisms, a composite explanation sheds light on different aspects of corporate brand positioning. Finally, this study also provides corporate- and business-level managers with role-relevant implications to be better prepared when assigned to positioning change episodes. (Less)
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author
opponent
  • Professor Carsten, Baumgarth, Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin (Berlin School of Economics and Law)
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Brand positioning, corporate branding, organizational change, strategy formation, process
pages
297 pages
publisher
Lund University Press
defense location
Holger Crafoords Ekonomicentrum (EC), Building 3, Room 109
defense date
2014-12-05 13:00
ISBN
978-91-7623-124-1 (print)
978-91-7623-125-8 (pdf)
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
61261c67-b3b0-40c0-aa79-9d40a2cea9f6 (old id 4778639)
date added to LUP
2014-11-13 10:43:00
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:03
@phdthesis{61261c67-b3b0-40c0-aa79-9d40a2cea9f6,
  abstract     = {Positioning is a key concept in the fields of branding, marketing, and strategy. In brand management, positioning deals fundamentally with finding a balance between sameness and differentiation. Empirical research predominantly examines the effectiveness of certain strategies. Less is known about the management process and internal brand positioning dynamics. Furthermore, positioning research still needs to be developed in a comprehensive corporate branding context, due to its recent elevated importance for organizations. This thesis remediates these limitations by identifying corporate brand positioning as a strategic development process, which is aware of activity, time, and context. This is important for refining the corporate brand positioning concept.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Based on qualitative case studies within industrial multi-business firms ABB (power and automation industry), Trelleborg (polymer engineering industry), and Holmen (pulp and paper industry), this study opens the proverbial black box to reveal how corporate brand positioning occurs over time. The findings are conceptualized across five dimensions: where and when positioning occurs (that is, location and timing), why it occurs (that is, driver patterns), what occurs (that is, activities, choices, and challenges), and who is involved (that is, actors and their roles).<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Findings suggest understanding corporate brand positioning as strategic episodes that develop between managerial agency and institutional or environmental constraints. Positioning is found to be a recurring, multi-level process, making it more than just a corporate-level marketing activity. This thesis uncovers three broad driver patterns and their reactive and proactive nature. Positioning episodes are found to pass through seven stages, each creating enablers and barriers for change. Corporate brand positioning is in fact a political process that needs to be carefully coordinated between five key practitioner groups. It also needs to be integrated across stable firm levels as well as a temporary level that consists of micro-episodes of reflective strategic practice. This thesis develops a nuanced perspective on positioning and demarcates it from continuous brand management activities. As for deeper change mechanisms, a composite explanation sheds light on different aspects of corporate brand positioning. Finally, this study also provides corporate- and business-level managers with role-relevant implications to be better prepared when assigned to positioning change episodes.},
  author       = {Koch, Christian},
  isbn         = {978-91-7623-124-1 (print)},
  keyword      = {Brand positioning,corporate branding,organizational change,strategy formation,process},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {297},
  publisher    = {Lund University Press},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Corporate Brand Positioning – Case Studies across Firm Levels and Over Time},
  year         = {2014},
}