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Three Questions You Need To Ask

The article, About Your Brand authored by Kevin Keller, Brian Sternthal, and Alice Tybout outlines tree critical questions that organizations need to answer in effectively positioning their brands. The first question an organization should consider is whether it has established the right frame of reference. Choosing the proper frame of reference for an organization is critical because it determines the kinds of linkages that will act as points of parity and difference in unison. Under some cases, the reference frame may be other brands operating in the same sector of the economy. An excellent example is Coca-Cola that is framed as a soft drink in relation to other brands such as Pepsi-Cola, and RC (Keller, Sternthal & Tybout 82). Regardless of whether an organization uses brands in similar or disparate categories, one of the variables that influences an organization’s choice of reference frame is the category of the product in its life cycle (Keller, Sternthal & Tybout 82). When a new product has been launched into the market, competing brands are usually outlined as the reference frame to enable consumers quickly comprehend the type of product together with the goals it serves.

Nonetheless, in the growth and maturity stages of product life cycle, the frame of reference shifted accordingly. In many cases, organizations that have been in business for a consideration duration of time will always adjust their frame of reference to new competitors who are identified as controlling a significant portion of the market share. An excellent example of the company that depicted this change in frame of reference was the FedEx Company. During its establishment, FedEx established its point of reference as a firm that provided overnight delivery as opposed to the traditional mail delivery that took a couple of days (Keller, Sternthal & Tybout 82). However, an increase in companies offering overnight delivery services prompted FedEx to position its brand as fast and dependable. This was evident in the firm’s advertising slogan that outlined for positive outcomes, overnight delivery was mandatory.

The second question that organizations need to ask about their brand is whether they are leveraging their points of parity. After selecting the frame of reference, the management team within an organization will be required to examine the various parity points that must be met to create a positive perception among the consumers’ mind in relation to the product as a legitimate and credible portfolio. Managers must assess the points of parity, whether they are introducing new brands, extending brand provisions, or dealing in established brands (Keller, Sternthal & Tybout 82). While introducing new brands, organizational leaders should strive to ensure that the product is slightly innovated, increasing the flexibility to fit into the established frame and meeting customers’ minimum specifications (Keller, Sternthal & Tybout 82). Besides this, extending the provisions of a brand calls for leaders to ensure that the extension does not differ greatly from the base brand to reduce incidences of focusing entirely on the frame of reference (Keller, Sternthal & Tybout 83). For organizations dealing in established brands, managers should also regularly reassess their points of parity to establish new differentiators as the old ones become minimum requirements.

The final question for consideration about a brand is whether the points of difference are compelling. Even though organizations should not entirely base their positioning strategy on points of difference, they ought not to ignore them in their positioning strategy. The marketing department should ensure that it develops strong and unique elements of the brand that separates it from other competing products in the market. In setting up the differential element, the marketing department should be keen in avoiding a one-dimensional view of differentiation (Keller, Sternthal & Tybout 83). A single perspective of differentiation can be avoided by an organization integrating the three types of brand differences namely brand performance relationships, brand imagery outcomes, and consumer insight perceptions (Keller, Sternthal & Tybout 83). Bringing together all these three aspects goes a long way developing an effective message for the target population.

Works Cited

Keller, Kevin Lane, Brian Sternthal, and Alice Tybout. “Three questions you need to ask about your brand.” Harvard business review 80.9 (2002): 80-89. Retrieved on 3rd February, from


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