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What is positioning?

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Introduction Positioning is one of the major steps in target marketing, the other two being market segmentation and targeting. Effective positioning is a must for clothing retailers to distinguish themselves from other competitors and to appeal to potential customers as well as maintaining brand loyalty, especially in the fashion industry where branding and perception of a company in the eyes of consumers calls the shots. This essay will explain what is positioning, followed by an overview of how positioning is applied in the high street fashion industry, using the example of international top market leader in high street clothing, Topshop. What is positioning? Positioning is the process of creating a certain perception, image, reputation, messages and offers of a company in the mind of customers or user groups (Gabbot, et.al., 2004). Consumers hold a set of feelings and impressions about a product and compare them with competing products (Kotter, et. al., 2007). These perceptions play a strong influence in the buyer decision-making process and have a direct impact on the companies involved. For example, consumers who are brand and image-conscious will avoid a store if they perceive it to only cater to the lower-end market. Therefore, marketers should ensure that the right marketing positioning strategies are applied to set a desirable image of the company in the minds of targeted consumers. ...read more.


The steps in implementing a positioning strategy involve identifying a positional direction and possible competitive advantages of the company, selecting the right competitive advantages and communicating the chosen position to the market (Kotter, et.al., 2007). A method to identify a company's positional direction is to use perceptual mapping. A positional grid is drawn to identify the characteristics that are closely associated with a brand. Brand positioning of high street fashion retailers. Topshop appears to be perceived as a brand for younger consumers which offer more casual and street apparel which is true as Topshop's target market are consumers aged 15-25 (Newman & Patel, 2004) who are fashion conscious and are more interested in funky, cooler outfits than more formal wear that are more suited for working adults. The growing teenage consumer market is an element that all fashion retailers should take note of. Teenagers today are more affluent and wield more economic clout than before (Grant & Stephen, 2005), and are demanding for brands and apparel once reserved for the 18-29 market, forming a sizable market that should not be missed. Topshop's image has always been a brand associated with younger consumers, with everything from its designs to store layouts reflecting what these consumers seek for in high street clothing store. ...read more.


Style advisor services were introduced in certain stores to provide customers with advice on which outfits that suits them, free of charge. This service has been popular among customers, as customers are encouraged to place bookings for this service due to overwhelming demand (Topshop, n.d.). Moreover, Topshop launched Topshop To Go service, where style advisors will handpick outfits according to the customer's specified demands and deliver them to their homes (Topshop, n.d.). The flagship store at Oxford Street also provides concierge services to customers for their conveniences (Topshop, n.d.). Instead of just positioning itself as a sleek and stylish place to be spotted shopping at, Topshop has also positioned itself as a customer-friendly store by offering customers the ultimate shopping experience and focusing on improving and innovating their services to minimise customer dissatisfaction. Conclusion In order to sustain competitive advantage, a strong, positive image must be developed and channeled to consumers (Birtwistle & Shearer, 2001). Furthermore, a complicated concept such as store image is difficult to create and manage due to it being a combination of tangible and intangible factors (Birtwistle & Shearer, 2001). Topshop has proven to be a successful marketing model in the high street fashion industry by integrating image and service differentiation in its positioning strategies. In conclusion, the positioning of a company is of utmost importance as the success or failure of a product relies on the customers' perception. ...read more.

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Response to the question

The introduction paragraph to the essay titled 'What is position?' is near perfect. This is because the topic 'Positioning' is well introduced, briefly described and gives the reader a clear overview of the rest of the essay. To gain those ...

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Response to the question

The introduction paragraph to the essay titled 'What is position?' is near perfect. This is because the topic 'Positioning' is well introduced, briefly described and gives the reader a clear overview of the rest of the essay. To gain those extra couple of marks to reach full marks, the inclusion of a statistic, for example "The marketing concept of Positioning was first introduced by Jack Trout in 1969 before gaining popularity in 1981 through Al Ries and Trout", would show excellent background knowledge in the topic. In the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs definitions are given in form of a quote from various Marketeers. This shows a very good use of the resources obviously available to the author however most marks are generally awarded for what you know and not how well you can copy. I would have given my understanding of the terms, then followed on with something like "this definition is in agreement with Kotter/Gabbot/Marketeer's views". The author uses a main paragraph to answer a sub-question "How does Topshop implement its positioning strategy?". The inclusion of many examples shows the assessor that the author has got well detailed background knowledge on Topshop's strategies. However from reading the essay it is clear that the answer does not answer the set question but another question along the lines of "What are Topshop's positioning strategies?". This is because the author only answers the actual question in the last paragraph in the section, to gain extra marks I would format this section by have one or two lines of the actual answer throughout and not stuck at the end.

Level of analysis

In this essay the author frequently uses quotes from various Marketeers to highlight their beliefs and understanding on the term 'positioning'. However the author never gives their own opinion or analytical take on the topic. If this is included the author would have gained those extra marks needed to be awarded top marks as the rest of the essay is of near perfect quality. The author may have become stuck in forming a for & against argument for the value in good positioning, however by including contrasting views the author would have been able to give their opinion in a way like "Even though both arguments, for & against, are finely balanced. My verdict is...."

Quality of writing

The essay is fantastically written, and there are no obvious mistakes in both spelling or grammar. Each section of the essay is well formatted and reads brilliantly. However the author seems to have got distracted from the actual essay question which is "What is positioning?" and has described Topshop's method's of positioning to a high standard but unfortunately Topshop is only an example of positioning not the 'art' of positioning. I would have expanded on explaining what positioning is to complement the definition. This then would have given the authors view on the subject.

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Reviewed by TheOptimisticRam 13/02/2012

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