The Negative Consequences of Brand Repositioning Strategies – Focus on High Street Clothing Products

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Executive Summary

In the contemporary era, the changing customers’ needs and increasingly complex stakeholders’ expectations have brought major transformations with the business scenario. Today, the success of modern business enterprises depends on the management’s ability to ensure adaptation with the quickly changing macro-environment. To keep the pace, many businesses make important strategic decisions but unfortunately, fail due to their inability to handle the environmental complexity. Among key strategic changes, the brand repositioning has gained significant importance. Brands reposition themselves to preserve their relevance within changing the marketplace. However, effective brand repositioning requires an in-depth understanding of the customers’ core psychological needs. Particularly within the luxury brand industry, the customers share strong emotional and psychological attachment to the existing positioning and brand identity. The luxury brands customers associate the brand image with their lifestyle, social status and personality. Any un-informed and undesired change within the positioning is mostly unwelcomed and strongly resisted by the loyal customers. Resultantly, brands lose their position by damaging their reputation within the highly competitive market. The underlying study has explored the possible impact of a major brand repositioning decision on the luxury brand customers. The researcher has confirmed the influence of different brand repositioning strategies on the customers’ preferences and loyalty. Moreover, the study has also identified possible consequences of an in-effective repositioning strategy on the perceived brand image and consumers’ preferences.  For this purpose, the study selected the “Marc Jacobs” a premium clothing brand and assessed the reaction of its customers if the brand decides to integrate the inclusiveness and reposition itself to touch the lower end of the market. The researcher conducted the online survey from 167 Marc Jacobs’ customers and findings confirmed the statistically significant impact of product, price, place and promotion repositioning on the perceived brand image and consumers’ preferences. The study further confirmed the moderating impact of brand loyalty by proposing that loyal customers are likely to hurt more from ineffective brand repositioning than the new customers. The findings imply that Marc Jacobs must collaborate with its customers and ensure an active, early stage engagement before making possible brand repositioning decision. Otherwise, the brand is likely to lose a substantial proportion of its loyal customers.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Table of Contents
Executive Summary. ii
List lf Tables. vi
Chapter 1: Introduction. 1
1.1 Topic Overview.. 1
1.2 Problem Discussion. 1
1.3 Research Rationale. 2
1.4 Scope and Purpose of Research. 3
1.5 Research Aim and Objectives. 4
1.6 Research Questions. 4
1.7 Research Significance. 5
1.8 Research Study Structure. 5
Chapter 2: Literature Review.. 7
2.1 Importance of Brand Positioning. 7
2.2 Brand Repositioning in the Contemporary Era. 7
2.3 Why are Brands Repositioned?. 8
2.4 Brand Repositioning Strategies. 9
2.5 Brand Repositioning and Customer-Based Brand Equity Model 11
2.6 Impact of Brand Repositioning on Customers’ Perceptions. 14
2.6.1 Brand Loyalty and Brand Repositioning. 15
2.6.2 Impact of Brand Repositioning on Brand Image. 16
2.7 Theoretical Framework. 18
2.8 Chapter Summary. 19
Chapter 3: Research Methodology. 20
3.1 Research Paradigm.. 20
3.2 Research Design. 20
3.3 Research Strategy and Timeframe. 20
3.4 Research Method. 21
3.4.1 Data Collection Strategy. 21
3.4.2 Sampling Technique. 22
3.4.3 Data Analysis Strategies. 22
3.5 Ethical Concerns. 22
3.6 Key Limitations. 23
3.7 Chapter Summary. 23
Chapter 4: Findings Presentation and Interpretation. 25
4.1 Reliability test 25
4.2 Pearson Correlation Test 27
4.2.1 Product Repositioning and Brand Image. 29
4.2.2 Product Repositioning and Consumer Preferences. 29
4.2.3 Price Repositioning and Brand Image. 29
4.2.4 Price Repositioning and Consumer Preferences. 29
4.2.5 Place Repositioning and Brand Image. 29
4.2.6 Place Repositioning and Consumer Preferences. 30
4.2.7 Promotion Repositioning and Brand Image. 30
4.2.8 Promotion Repositioning and Consumer Preferences. 30
4.2 9 Overall Summary. 30
4.3 Multiple Linear Regression- Brand Image. 31
4.4 Multiple Linear Regression- Consumer Preferences. 32
4.5 ANOVA Test for Customer Loyalty. 34
4.6 Hypotheses Summary Table. 36
Chapter 5: Discussion and Analysis. 38
5.1 Summarizing the Proposed Empirical Findings. 38
5.2 Analysis of Empirical Findings Considering the Existing Literature. 39
Chapter 6: Conclusion and Recommendations. 46
6.1 Conclusion and Recommendations. 46
6.1.1 Suggestions for Future Research. 49
References. 50
Appendix. 59
 

List lf Tables

Table 1: Reliability Statistics. 25
Table 2: Gender 25
Table 3: Age. 26
Table 4: Loyalty Measured Through Repeat Purchase. 26
Table 5: Descriptive Statistics. 27
Table 6: Correlations 28
Table 7: Model Summary. 31
Table 8: ANOVA. 31
Table 9: Coefficients. 32
Table 10: Model Summary. 33
Table 11: ANOVA. 33
Table 12: Coefficients. 33
Table 13: Descriptive. 35
Table 14: ANOVA. 36
Table 15: Hypotheses Summary Table. 36
 
 
 
 

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Topic Overview

The contemporary era has witnessed a significant increase in the number of brand repositioning failures as organisations face the dilemma of understanding dynamic consumers' perceptions, enhancing brand growth and strengthening the position in the highly competitive market (Kalinina, 2014). This research intends to explore the negative consequences of brand repositioning. For this purpose, the researcher has chosen a case-study organisation. The researcher will assess the possible impact of brand repositioning on the brand image. The study will also determine whether the brand loyalty level makes any difference. This chapter will discuss the chosen research problem, state the research rationale and mention the research aim and objectives to give an overview of whole research.

1.2 Problem Discussion

Marketing and advertising executives employ the positioning strategy to develop positive brand associations within the customers’ minds (Keller and Lehman, 2006). Today, the turbulent business scenario is inducing the business enterprises to continuously monitor the changing consumers’ preferences, and ensure an alignment of current positioning with customers’ interests. When an organization fails to position itself in accordance with the consumers’ expectations, it loses it position within a highly competitive market (Zahid and Raja, 2014). The review of brand positioning literature suggests that contemporary organizations must adapt their positioning strategies to the changing scenario to preserve the relevance. Otherwise, the management cannot handle the pressure imposed by the heightening competition (Beverland, & Ewing, 2005). Despite the increased importance of the repositioning, the current brand positioning literature provides inadequate information about how to adapt the brand positioning over business life-cycle and how to successfully reposition a brand to meet the changing environmental needs (Keller, 2006; Kaikati, 2003).
The dearth of brand repositioning literature and inadequate theoretical guidance can be one of the major reasons behind the increasing number of unsuccessful brand repositioning attempts. The researchers contend that understanding the emotional and psychological relationship with the brand positioning is a highly challenging task (Loukis, Sapounas, and Aivalis, 2008). Despite the fewer chances of success, brands still attempt to reposition themselves to ensure their long-term survival. Holland (1998) as cited in Owolabi (2013) contends that nine out of ten business failures occur due to inappropriate planning and brand management skills. Loukis, Sapounas, and Aivalis (2008) comment that intensifying competition has become the prime business problem that leads organisations to make frequent strategic decisions. The firms strive to extend and preserve the brand life-cycle while dealing various strategic issues (Owolabi, 2013). The fast-changing pace entails a quick solution to the multifaceted problems (Adner & Snow, 2010). The problems make the brand repositioning a complicated and challenging task across different industries (Lane and Piercy, 2010). The underlying research will assess how a major brand repositioning decision influences the customer preferences and brand image when a renowned organization repositions its brand without collaborating with customers and other key stakeholders.

1.3 Research Rationale

The contemporary era has witnessed a clear shift in the consumer's tastes and preferences within the fashion industry. Modern consumers have become more brand conscious than ever before (Akaka & Alden, 2010). The increased brand consciousness is offering tremendous opportunities to business organizations, as various clothing brands have emerged to satisfy the brand consciousness of the customers. However, the analysts have observed that the consumers’ preferences and interests change rapidly (Ghodeswar, 2008). If brands fail to reposition themselves with changing interests, they become irrelevant with time. The modern organizations face multifaceted challenges and the managerial decision making process has become highly complex. To handle the uncertainty, the businesses have started collaborating with the key stakeholders to win their trust (Truong, McColl & Kitchen, 2009).
Today, the fulfilment of stakeholders’ expectations has become inevitable for the organizations. Recently, the concept of “inclusive business strategies” have emerged. After CSR, the inclusive innovation has grabbed the attention of everyone (Rayna and Striukova, 2009). The businesses have started adopting the inclusive innovation that motivates them to extend their product/service lines to touch the lower ends of markets. As the name suggests, inclusive business ideology means offering products/services at rates that are affordable by maximum members of the society (Papaioannou, 2014). When CSR pressure built up, many brands repositioned themselves as “green brands” to meet the expectations of stakeholders. Now, the concept of inclusion is also driving many organizations to reposition themselves as “inclusive organizations” that care for all (Kapferer, 2010).
However, the review of the literature provides insufficient support to confirm that such repositioning decision will have a positive influence on the consumers’ preferences and overall brand image. Although many organizations have positioned themselves on inclusion ideology, less evidence is available to support the repositioning decision of a brand that previously positioned itself as a premium luxury brand (Truong, McColl & Kitchen, 2009). The underlying study will assess how a repositioning decision can influence the image of a premium luxury brand when management decides to integrate the inclusive ideology and customers are mentally unprepared for this change. Hence the rationale for choosing the “brand repositioning impact on consumers’ preferences and brand image” is the dearth of literature on brand repositioning in the clothing industry. The rationale for choosing the “premium luxury clothing brand and its decision to integrate the inclusiveness” is the increasing popularity of inclusive innovation and lack of adequate empirical evidence that can support the inclusion decision of an organization that is previously positioned as a premium luxury brand in the mind of customers.

1.4 Scope and Purpose of Research

The research purpose is to analyse how an ineffective brand repositioning decision can influence its positioning in a highly competitive market. In today’s dynamic scenario, the organizations are induced to continuously monitor their positioning for ensuring an alignment with the consumers’ explicit and implicit expectations (Zahid and Raja, 2014).  When a brand makes a repositioning decision without considering the consumers’ preferences, such decision is likely to damage the brand image irrespective of its strong positioning in the market (Lane and Piercy, 2010). This research will also empirically analyse the possible impact of brand repositioning on brand image and consumers’ preferences considering the customer loyalty as moderator. However, the empirical study will have limited scope as data will only be collected from the customers of one premium clothing brand, Marc Jacobs. The case-study nature will limit the research scope, hence, the findings will also have limited applicability in related research contexts.

1.5 Research Aim and Objectives

This research aims to highlight the impact of different brand repositioning strategies on the customers’ preferences and loyalty with the brand. To accomplish this aim, the researcher has formulated following research objectives:
  • To understand the importance of brand repositioning in the contemporary era, analyse different brand repositioning strategies, and discuss the brand repositioning models proposed by different researchers to broaden the understanding of the underlying phenomenon.
  • To identify the possible consequences of an in-effective repositioning strategy on the perceived brand image.
  • To understand how brand repositioning influences, the consumers’ preferences and assess the possible moderating impact of brand loyalty.
  • To empirically analyse how the brand repositioning decision can affect the premium clothing brand- Marc Jacobs if it decides to reposition itself for ensuring the inclusiveness.
  • To offer useful recommendations to the brands considering the repositioning decision based on the literature and empirical findings.

1.6 Research Questions

The successful accomplishment of above stated research objectives will answer the following research questions.
  • How does the ineffective brand repositioning strategy influence the image of luxury clothing brands?
  • How does the ineffective brand repositioning strategy influence the consumers’ preferences for luxury clothing brands?
  • How does the brand loyalty moderate the impact of brand repositioning on brand image and consumers’ preferences?

1.7 Research Significance

This research will have high theoretical and practical significance due to its empirical nature. The study will have certain theoretical and practical implications. The research will broaden the understanding of brand repositioning models and theories by providing empirical evidence. Most of the previous studies have analysed the impact of rebranding. This research will provide sound empirical evidence for accepting or rejecting the claims made by previous studies. The research will fill the gap in the existing brand repositioning literature as there is a dearth of literature in the context of the luxury clothing industry. The quantitative nature will further enhance the research’s reliability and generalizability, making a substantial contribution to the existing literature. Other than theoretical implications, the study will offer useful insights for the practical implication. The empirical results will highlight how the brand repositioning to ensure the inclusiveness can influence the customers’ preferences and overall brand image. It will also help the organization understand the current state of customers’ loyalty and how it will be affected in case of a repositioning decision. The empirical findings will have great importance for the management of Marc Jacobs and similar luxury clothing brands. Although the statistical evidence will strengthen the reliability element, the case-study nature will weaken the generalizability element by limiting the applicability for other clothing brands.   

1.8 Research Study Structure

The first chapter “Introduction” has stated the research rationale. The researcher discussed the underlying problem and mentioned the research aim and objectives. The research significance was also stated by mentioning the theoretical and practical implications. The second chapter “Literature Review” will extract the important theoretical insights by analysing the different brand repositioning strategies, and discuss the brand repositioning models proposed by different researchers to broaden the understanding of the underlying phenomenon. The third chapter “Research Methodology” will outline the important methodological choices made by the researcher by mentioning the philosophical approach, research design, research method and other important methodological elements. The fourth chapter “Results” will present the empirical research findings by running relevant statistical tests, followed by a comprehensive discussion that will relate the theoretical and empirical findings. Finally, the last chapter “Conclusion and Recommendations” will conclude the discussion and offer useful recommendations for the practical implementation.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Chapter 2: Literature Review

This chapter “Literature Review” will extract the important theoretical insights by analysing the different brand repositioning strategies, and discuss the brand repositioning models proposed by different researchers to broaden the understanding of the underlying phenomenon.

2.1 Importance of Brand Positioning

Marketing researchers regard the brand positioning as the heart of the marketing strategy. In the contemporary era, strong brand positioning is highly crucial for maximising the potential benefits to the firm (Lawton, Rajwani & O'Kane, 2011). Effective brand positioning depends on the firm’s ability to communicate the unique selling proposition (Keller et al., 2011). Hence, companies must develop the most desired and relevant brand positioning and sustain it in the long-run as any change in the positioning can potentially harm the overall brand image, resulting in an irreparable loss to the brand equity (Fuchs & Diamantopoulos, 2010). The undisputable significance of the brand positioning in a thoughtful manner is highlighted by the fact that companies regard the brand positioning as the basis for differentiation in a highly competitive market (Keller, 2006). Based on effective positioning strategy, companies communicate the desired brand image over changing course of time (Keller et al., 2011).
Keller (2006) has described the core features of the successful brand positioning, including unique, favourable and strong brand associations that favourably distinguish the brand from competitors. However, it is also important to note that the brand positioning is a highly clairvoyant and complex task, and brand repositioning is even more complex because it alters the brand image that carried a long-term vision and is built over time (Fuchs & Diamantopoulos, 2010).

2.2 Brand Repositioning in the Contemporary Era

Brand repositioning is different from the rebranding as repositioning is mainly done within the minds of consumers (Keller, 2006). Repositioning doesn’t involve the change in the brand but alters its image in consumers’ perceptions. Brand repositioning is recommended when there is a major shift in the consumers’ demand (Cayla & Arnould, 2008). In that case, companies must reposition themselves to adapt to the changing environment (Lawton, Rajwani & O'Kane, 2011). Past research studies have shown the people’s reactions against the brand repositioning, where, some report a positive change, while other reports a branding disaster due to unsuccessful brand repositioning (Terse Norlander, 2007 as cited in Zahid and Raja, 2014). There can be various reasons behind the repositioning decision. Today, the changing customer needs and increasingly turbulent scenario induce the brands to evolve continuously (O'guinn et al., 2014). Various brands attempt to reposition themselves in response to the environmental complexities. However, literature is littered with the examples of unsuccessful brand repositioning attempts, such as Tropicana’s underestimation about their customers’ attachment with the classic packaging (Dawar & Lei, 2009). The Tropicana’s case suggests that brand repositioning efforts can affect the customers’ perceptions as they share a psychological connection with the brand image (Dawar & Lei, 2009).
Next section will describe some common reasons behind the brand repositioning before discussing its negative impacts.

2.3 Why are Brands Repositioned?

Brand repositioning is done when consumers perceive the current positioning as outdated and boring. In that case, the companies reposition their brands to ensure an alignment with the customers’ interests and expectations (Beverland & Ewing, 2005). It is not limited to only designing a new logo, name or design, but draws deep customers’ insights (Owolabi, 2013). Researchers contend that brand repositioning involves a strongly disciplined focus on the realignment of the brand promise with unfulfilled customers’ expectations, in a manner, which is more effective than the competitors (Loukis, Sapounas, and Aivalis, 2008). However, successful brand repositioning must be done in right way and at right time, otherwise, the repositioning failure can threaten the company’s competitive positioning in the market (Lane and Piercy, 2010).
Researchers have shared many reasons behind the brands' repositioning decision. Firstly, the brands are repositioned in response to a major cultural change within the organisation (Simms and Trott, 2007). It is recommended to reposition the brand in such case to align the brand' personality with changed culture (Simms & Trott, 2007). Another possible reason is to strengthen the competitive positioning in a highly dynamic market (Yakimova & Beverland, 2005). The marketers will fail to leverage the benefits of brand repositioning is not done for capitalising the changed competitive advantage. Any change in the organisations' strategic direction also requires repositioning of the brand (Yin Wong & Merrilees, 2007). This change may occur due to the advent of a new technology, brand extension, expansion or acquisition to new market etc. These decisions will render the current brand repositioning out-of-date (Beverland & Ewing, 2005). Major strategic changes entail brand repositioning to clearly communicate the changed nature to customers and make them understand how these changes impact those (Simms & Trott, 2007).
The entrance of a new influential competitor sometimes changes the game rules for existing market players, causing them to reposition the brand for ensuring relevance with the changing market (Yakimova & Beverland, 2005). Overall, the review of literature has outlined different repositioning objectives, including: strengthening the relevance to consumers, increasing use occasions, searching viable positions, catering falling sales, making brand more serious, making brand contemporary, expanding the market share, adapting to changed market conditions and creating the differentiation basis (Manocha, 2014).
The above discussion suggests that considering the process complexity, organisations still make the brand repositioning decisions (Fuchs & Diamantopoulos, 2010). However, the effectiveness of these decisions depends on the employed repositioning strategies (Lawton, Rajwani & O'Kane, 2011). Fuchs and Diamantopoulos (2010) stated that explicit understanding of the brand positioning requires management’s ability to differentiate between perceived, actual and intended positioning. It suggests that when repositioning is done, the success depends on firm’s understanding of perceived, actual and intended repositioning (Fuchs and Diamantopoulos, 2010).

2.4 Brand Repositioning Strategies

Brand repositioning literature offers various insights about the possible consequences on customers’ perceptions and brand equity. In some cases, brand repositioning helps the management in enhancing the customers’ perceptions (Reddy, Reddy & Venkatesulu, 2016). For example, initially, the Dettol soap was positioned in customers' minds as a beauty soap. However, the parent brand set its image as a strong antiseptic liquid. The beauty extension didn't match with the parent brand's core values (Muthukumaran, 2013). This positioning conflict confused the customers and required a positioning rematch. The brand repositioning success depends on firm’s ability to communicate the rationale for change (Muthukumaran, 2013). Today, the increased need to reposition the brands requires companies to devise effective repositioning strategies (Jeon, Jung, Lee & Lee, 2014). The brand repositioning process starts with understanding the brand equity, capturing the organisation's vision, understanding competitive positioning and consumers' emotional and psychological attachment with brand image and finally using the brand map to craft the repositioning statement (Lawton, Rajwani & O'Kane, 2011). Usage occasions, distribution pattern, product attributes, quality and pricing are the five key issues while repositioning a brand (Zhang, Lin & Newman, 2016).
While repositioning the brand, the firms must consider whether the repositioning would confuse the customers and complicate their purchase decision making process by raising the psychological discomfort (Kim, 2016).  Brand repositioning could be done through research or development, or through advertising. Although perceptions of customers are linked to the physical characteristics of the brand, effective communication can alter those perceptions to some extent (Muthukumaran, 2013). However, some scholars persist that the repositioning has a limited effect, particularly when the level of brand awareness is considerably high. Advertising can play a limited role in repositioning a brand (Jeon, Jung, Lee & Lee, 2014). Beyond that limit, the firm must allocate a considerable research and development budget to upgrade the brand and assist the customers in transforming their perceptions (Lawton, Rajwani & O'Kane, 2011). The brand repositioning through advertising carries an immediate effect, whereas, brand repositioning through research and development takes considerable time (Zhang, Lin & Newman, 2016).
Jobber (2007) contends that the first thing that should be done towards business repositioning is the image repositioning which involves altering the image of the products as perceived by the customers rather than changing the types of products that are being sold or the target market (Jobber, 2007). After repositioning the image, the next thing that is done is the product repositioning in which the company produces different products but continues to sell these new products in their existing markets without having to change the market (Lawton, Rajwani & O'Kane, 2011). In this case, the company wants to change completely their line of business for example that a company producing both male and female clothes decide to produce only women clothes but maintains the same customers (Haig, 2003). The next strategy is intangible repositioning that involves changing the target market but having to sell the same products. In this case, the company changes a market and gets to attract new customers to buy their present products. In this case, the company finds out that they are able to find new potential customers in a new area which is more profitable than their current one (Kahn, 2013). Next is the tangible repositioning strategy which involves changing both the product and the market altogether. This is achieved in various ways which may make the company move down or up the market. In this case, the company decides to reposition both their products and the market (Haig, 2003). They produce new products which they market in new markets in which they have seen high profit potential for the products (Hollensen, 2015).

2.5 Brand Repositioning and Customer-Based Brand Equity Model

The successful brand repositioning relies on the management’s ability to adopt a holistic view and understand the multifaceted factors involved in the repositioning (Luo & Talay, 2016). In this regard, the customer based brand equity model can be used to make the repositioning process successful.

Source: Keller (2009)
The model suggests that firms must understand the nature of the relationship that consumers have with the brand and degree to which they resonate or feel sync with the brand. Higher the brand resonance, greater would be the challenges faced by the firm while repositioning the brand (Keller, 2009). Alike the brand positioning, the repositioning will also start from conveying the meaning and purpose of the change, evaluating the response by understanding feelings and judgements of the customers towards the change, and finally understand how the repositioning has affected their emotional and psychological connection with the brand (Keller, 2009).
Docherty and McKiernan (2008) commented that the brand repositioning strategy conveys a wide-ranging spectrum of consumer behaviour and brand related themes. Repositioning strategy is used to loosen the functional and psychological dimensions of the consumers' perceptions (Lawton, Rajwani & O'Kane, 2011). Although the brand repositioning becomes crucial in some circumstances, the change still affects the consumers’ brand resonance. Managers face different risks and challenges while adding the value for employees, customers and other stakeholders. Repositioning is intended to close the gap between enterprise’s capability and market needs (Rao, 2009 as cited in Rubera & Droge, 2013). A disagreement is found between the researchers’ opinions about brand repositioning effectiveness. For example, Wilson & Velayutham (2009) argue that brand repositioning can offer various benefits if handled effectively. However, Fuchs and Diamantopoulos (2010) contend that brand repositioning could result into a huge disaster if handled ineffectively. A past case-study based research conducted by Turner (2003) as cited in Lawton, Rajwani & O'Kane (2011) discussed the challenges faced by Wireless and cable company while implementing the brand repositioning strategy. The case-study analysis further reveals that management failed to successfully implement repositioning strategy due to ineffective strategic coherence and inadequate alignment between the targeted segment and redefined products (Lawton, Rajwani & O'Kane, 2011). However, another case-study based research carried out by Kaikati (2003) in the same year proposed that brand repositioning strategy helped the organisation in enhancing the profitability by 20 percent. Later, another case-study based research conducted by Ryan et al. (2007) focused on the brand repositioning efforts of Bulmer's Original Cider Company. The researchers proposed that management's brand repositioning efforts affected the sales volume and resulted in a significant decrease by 11 percent due to miscommunication, poor image perception and strategy misfit (Ryan et al., 2007).
The theory of planned behaviour also offers important insights to understand the effect of brand repositioning on consumer behaviour. For example, Armitage & Conner (2001) discussed the brand repositioning in relation to the theory of planned behaviour and contended that behavioural beliefs may end up producing a favourable or unfavourable attitude towards a certain behaviour, the normative beliefs on the other hand results in a perceived social pressure or into a subjective norm and finally the controlled behaviour result into perceived control (Ajzen & Fishbein, 2005). Combining the three elements, the attitude towards the behaviour, the subjective norm and the perception of the behaviour control ends up in the formation of the behavioural intention which may be positive or negative towards brand positioning (March & Woodside, 2005). When it comes to repositioning of a company, their customers may end up forming a positive or negative behaviour on the same hence making companies to strive in any way they can to ensure that they are able to make these customers to change their behaviours and get to trust their repositioned brand as they did the previous brand. Ajzen & Fishbein (2005) mentioned that the more favourable the behaviour is, the stronger the intentions to implement it needs to be developed. A similar case occurs in the subjective norm and the perceived control in that the greater the perceived control and the subjective norm, the greater the need to put in place the intention of performing the behaviour question.
Even though researchers developed theories to explain the practice of positioning and repositioning as valued within organisations, research about repositioning strategy is inadequate, despite the importance of the concept to organisations. One observation made by Sajeesh and Raju (2010) regarding branding process was that product managers use positioning models to apprehend the perceptual configurations of markets and make strategic plans. According to Jewel (2007), positioning models based on consumer perceptions are a valuable tool for marketers owing to diagnostic capabilities. The three theoretical frameworks that are relevant to the repositioning of consumer perceptions and performance include (a) schema theory, (b) general recognition theory, and (c) categorization theory. Schema theory has foundations in cognitive psychology (Puligadda, Ross, & Grewal, 2012). Fiske and Linville (1980) developed schema theory based on the assumption that cognitive processing occurs through experience and knowledge (Puligadda, Ross, & Grewal, 2012). Humans tend to simplify reality by arranging and storing available knowledge regarding surrounding memory-based structures called schemata (Lakshman, 2008; Lemons & Parzinger, 2007).

2.6 Impact of Brand Repositioning on Customers’ Perceptions

Ineffective brand repositioning causes disasters. It directly affects the consumers’ perceptions about the brand. Studies confirm that ineffective repositioning affects the long-term loyalty of customers by creating the dissatisfaction (González-Benito & Martos-Partal, 2012). Various case-studies are available, suggesting the lost customer trust after a major repositioning failure, such as Cadbury failed attempt to reposition itself by adopting the inclusion strategy and extending its target market to adults. But the brand faced discouraging response from the customers that negatively influenced its brand image (Emmadi, 2012; Cadbury, 2012). Blackberry is another repositioning failure example. The brand positioned itself as a premium brand and customer felt privileged while using the black berry. However, the management’s ineffective repositioning attempt resulted into a loss the Market Share to competitors (Somma, 2013). Horlicks recent repositioning attempt in the Asian region is another interesting case in the branding literature. Interestingly, the brand repositioning strategy proved to be a huge success for the management (Latif, Sibghatullah & Siddiqui, 2016). The researchers contended that when Horlicks was launched in the Pakistan, it didn’t receive a positive response from the mass audience. The management conducted a detailed research by collaborating with the customers and extracted important insights that were based to reposition the brand. The informed repositioning strategy through collaboration with the customers probed to be a success story within the brand repositioning literature (Latif, Sibghatullah & Siddiqui, 2016). These case-studies suggest that the success of the brand repositioning depends on the management’s ability to understand the customers’ explicit and implicit needs. When management decides the repositioning decision without collaborating with customers, the failure chances will be considerably high. Based on these insights, the researcher will analyse the possible impact of ineffective brand repositioning on brand, image consumer preferences and brand loyalty.

2.6.1 Brand Loyalty and Brand Repositioning

Researchers have confirmed the relationship between the brand positioning and brand loyalty. Many researchers argue that the customers have an emotional attachment to the brand identity, and any unexpected change can cause a dissatisfaction, resulting in the loss of loyalty (González-Benito & Martos-Partal, 2012; Keller, 2009). The analysis further argues that the brand repositioning attempt cannot be successful unless the customers are ready to accept the change in identity to which they associate themselves. The finding is relatively more important in the case of luxury/premium brands. Srinivasan (2016) contends that when brands position themselves based on the features, technology or other aspects, a repositioning decision is likely to have less impact on the loyalty. But when brands position themselves based on prestige, then the premium brand image is highly vulnerable to a repositioning decision that doesn't match with the previous brand identity (Srinivasan, 2016). Through brand identity, the company conveys its distinctiveness and individuality to its customers. The brand identity is based on a clear and explicit positioning. It determines the firm’s standing in a highly competitive marketplace (Muzellec & Lambkin, 2006).
Rodrigues, Menegazzo & Chaves (2012) empirically analysed the impact of brand positioning and overall brand identity on the customer loyalty. The data was collected from 514 customers and researchers confirmed that the brand positioning across all 4’Ps, product, price, place and promotion influences the customer loyalty. It implies that any change in product positioning, price positioning, place positioning and promotion positioning will have a statistically significant influence on the customer loyalty (Rodrigues, Menegazzo & Chaves, 2012). Zahid & Raja (2014) empirically analysed the impact of brand repositioning and rebranding on the brand equity, where, the customer loyalty was explored as a mediating variable. The findings confirmed that the strong brand loyalty will not be affected by the rebranding or repositioning decision. However, the study was conducted in the context of telecommunication industry and contrasted the claim proposed by Rodrigues, Menegazzo & Chaves (2012).
Overall, the findings suggest that the brand loyalty plays a different role across different industries and more research is required to confirm its moderating impact of the relationship between brand reposition and possible consequences. The researchers must consider the industry structure and current level of customer loyalty while analysing the consequences of brand repositioning. The analysis further confirms that the more research is required to analyse how the loyalty affects the influence of repositioning on the perceived brand image.
Motivated by the need to conduct further research, this study has formulated the following hypothesis:
Research hypothesis: Difference in the level of brand loyalty causes a significant difference in the impact of brand repositioning on the consumer preferences and overall brand image.

2.6.2 Impact of Brand Repositioning on Brand Image

The review of brand repositioning literature has generated limited insights due to the dearth of recent studies in this area.  However, the brand positioning literature has confirmed the significant influence of positioning strategies on the perceived brand image. A relevant empirical study was conducted by the Martinez, Polo & Chernatony (2008), where the researchers analysed the possible impact of brand extensions on brand image. The research purpose was to analyse the relationship between extension and image. The findings proposed that the brand extension dilutes the brand image. The data was collected from Spanish and UK markets and results were same in both cases (Martinez, Polo & Chernatony, 2008).
Fuchs & Diamantopoulos (2010) analysed how the change in the brand positioning strategies influence the customers’ perceptions and preferences. The researchers collected the data from customers within the high-end automobile industry and findings suggested that any change or alteration within the positioning strategy directly influences the consumers’ perceptions about the brand. The results further confirmed that there is no single repositioning strategy that could ensure the positive influence. Another interesting finding was that the benefit-based repositioning is likely to have a more positive influence on the overall brand image compared to feature-based repositioning (Fuchs & Diamantopoulos, 2010).
An interesting experimental study was conducted by Wakefield, Germain & Durkin (2008), where the researchers explored how the change in the packaging affect the consumers’ perceptions about the overall brand image. Although it was a re-branding case study, the findings confirmed that when the product was sold in simple packaging, the consumers perceived a fairly low brand image compared to the group of consumers who were served with the same product but with original attractive packaging. The findings suggested that the rebranded effort from the attractive packaging to simple packaging negatively influenced the brand image (Wakefield, Germain & Durkin, 2008).
Based on these findings, the study has formulated the following hypothesis statement:
Study Hypothesis: Brand repositioning decision significantly influences the perceived brand image
 
 
 
 
Here is the pictorial presentation of the theoretical framework that will be based to conduct the empirical research.

2.7 Theoretical Framework

 
Brand Loyalty
In-effective brand repositioning decision
Brand Image
Consumer Preferences
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The above framework describes that there is one independent variable “ineffective brand repositioning”, and two dependent variables “consumer preferences” and “brand image”.  Following hypotheses have been formulated based on above framework:
Main Research Hypothesis: Ineffective brand re-positioning negatively affects the brand image and consumer preferences; however, consumer loyalty will moderate the impact on the “consumer preferences” and “brand image”. 
Ho: Ineffective brand repositioning has no effect on the brand image.
H1: Ineffective brand repositioning negatively affects the brand image.
Ho: Ineffective brand repositioning has no effect on the consumers’ preferences.
H2: Ineffective brand repositioning negatively affects the consumers’ preferences.
Ho: Difference in the level of brand loyalty causes no significant difference in the impact of ineffective brand repositioning on brand image.
H3: Difference in the level of brand loyalty causes a significant difference in the impact of ineffective brand repositioning on brand image.
Ho: Difference in the level of brand loyalty causes no significant difference in the impact of ineffective brand repositioning on consumers’ preferences.
H4: Difference in the level of brand loyalty causes a significant difference in the impact of ineffective brand repositioning on the consumer preferences.

2.8 Chapter Summary

Although different researchers have introduced the brand positioning theories, the research about the brand repositioning offers inadequate empirical insights. The increased importance of the brand repositioning, frequent brand repositioning failures and inadequate empirical research suggests the need to conduct empirical research on brand repositioning by exploring the possible negative consequences on customers' perceptions and brand equity. The rationale for choosing this research area is that it will enable the future organisations to learn from the mistakes and make successful brand repositioning attempts. Based on the above discussion, the research intends to answer how brand repositioning decision negatively affects the brand image and consumers' perceptions if not handled effectively. Moreover, some research studies also propose that level of brand loyalty moderates the effect of brand repositioning on consumers’ preferences and brand prestige, in a way that more loyal customer will be more dissatisfied due to strong emotional and psychological attachment with the previous positioning (e.g. Fuchs & Diamantopoulos, 2010). Some studies propose that ineffective brand repositioning hurts the customer loyalty (Rodrigues, Menegazzo & Chaves, 2012). Based on the theoretical insights, the researcher has identified the theoretical framework that will be based to execute the empirical investigation. The research will empirically analyse whether the brand loyalty moderates the impact of ineffective brand repositioning on brand image and customer preference. Next chapter will share the overall plan that will be followed to conduct the empirical research.

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

This chapter will outline the important methodological choices made by the researcher by mentioning the philosophical approach, research design, research method and other important methodological elements. The researcher will provide the sound justification for each methodological decision to strengthen the validity and reliability.

3.1 Research Paradigm

The research paradigm constructs the philosophical basis for the whole investigation. Academic researchers choose the positivist, interpretive or pragmatic paradigms depending on the research nature and objectives (Creswell, 2013). When research aim is to quantity the impact of some study variable on the other, the researcher intends to propose the findings on the logical ground, supported with valid statistical evidence, then positivist paradigm is chosen to provide the philosophical foundation (Bryman and Bell, 2015). The underlying study also intends to quantity the impact of brand repositioning on the brand image and consumer preferences. Hence, the positivist paradigm suits best in this regard.  

3.2 Research Design

The research design presents the route followed by a whole academic investigation. It is like a map of whole research. This research has chosen the case-study research design. The reason is that it will enable the researcher to collect the findings within a narrow research scope (Yin, 2013). The case-study design will generate the results that will have higher applicability for the chosen case-study organization. It allows the researcher to collect the data across various dimensions in a limited context. One drawback of this research design is that the findings are not widely applicable to the chosen industry (Zikmund et al, 2013). This research has chosen the Marc Jacobs as the case-study organization and justification for choosing this brand is already stated in the research rationale section.

3.3 Research Strategy and Timeframe

The researcher has chosen the deductive research strategy to test the formulated research hypotheses. This strategy allows the researcher to ensure an information flow from general to specific (Creswell, 2013). The researcher has firstly formulated and hypotheses and empirical study will be conducted to provide the statistical evidence that will either confirm or reject the claim made by the researcher. Moreover, cross-sectional timeframe has been chosen to complete the investigation. This timeframe is chosen when consideration of “time” factor is not important and researcher aims to share the current perceptions/happenings/viewpoints about the underlying phenomenon (Zikmund et al, 2013). Although the longitudinal studies are considered to be more reliable as data is collected at two or more periods of time, they are more time and resource intensive. Considering the underlying research objectives, and time and resource constraints, the cross-sectional timeframe suits best in this regard.

3.4 Research Method

Under the guidance of positivist philosophical approach, the researcher has chosen the quantitative research method to conduct the empirical investigation. This research approach will help the researcher to test the formulated research hypotheses. The researcher will provide the statistical evidence to confirm the impact of brand repositioning on the customers’ preferences and overall brand image. This research approach will also allow the researcher to collect data from a large set of audience in short time (Bryman and Bell, 2015). Within time and resource constraints, the researcher will be able to accomplish the pre-set research objectives. The choice of qualitative or mixed method research would have prolonged the data collection process, making it difficult for the researcher to meet the deadline. This research approach not only shares an alignment with the previous methodological choices (e.g. positivist philosophy and deductive strategy also support the quantitative method), but it is also aligned with the underlying research objectives.

3.4.1 Data Collection Strategy

The researcher will collect the data from the customers of Marc Jacobs to analyse the possible negative impact on the consumer’ preferences and brand image, and will also check the possible moderating effect of brand loyalty. For this purpose, data from at least 150 respondents will be collected. Online data collection strategy will be used for this purpose. Hence, the intended research audience will be the regular customers of Marc Jacobs. The reason for online data collection is that it will allow the researcher to collect data from a large set of audience in short time. The researcher will develop the close-ended questionnaire based on the identified theoretical framework. The 5-point Likert scale will be used to record the responses. The researcher will post the link to the questionnaire on various social media platforms. The questionnaire will also be mailed to the intended audience to increase the response rate. Firstly, the researcher will send the email to get the informed consent. After getting a positive response, the researcher will explain in detail the research instrument to avoid any misunderstanding and will request the potential participant to send back the filled questionnaire on the same e-mail address.

3.4.2 Sampling Technique

The researcher will use the convenience sampling technique to collect the data from intended research audience. The reason is that this sampling strategy is one of the simplest and easy to administer technique (Creswell, 2013). Mostly, the quantitative researchers use this technique when they intend to collect the data within a limited setting (Bryman and Bell, 2015). In the underlying case, the researcher intends to collect the data from only Marc Jacobs’s customers. Hence, convenience sampling will allow the researcher to use personal contacts for gaining the access to intended audience.

3.4.3 Data Analysis Strategies

After completing the data collection process, the researcher will use the SPSS 22.0 to conduct the analysis. Firstly, the pilot study will be run to check the instrument’s reliability. The researcher will collect the data from at least 50 respondents and Cronbach alpha value will be evaluated to make the possible adjustments. After collecting data from whole sample size, the researcher will report the findings by running Pearson Correlation, Multiple Linear Regression and One-way ANOVA test. Pearson Correlation will assess the nature and strength of possible causation among study variables, regression models will assess whether the impact is statistically significant and ANOVA will compare the means of different levels of brand loyalty to detect a possible difference.

3.5 Ethical Concerns

This study will fulfil all relevant ethical standards to ensure the reliability and validity. Firstly, the researcher has formulated the achievable research objectives. Some researchers exaggerate the research objectives to grab the attention of the reader. In this case, the objectives are doable, have a narrow scope, yet unique to offer valuable information. Secondly, the researcher will clearly communicate the research purpose to the intended research audience to avoid any possible misunderstanding. The participation will be totally voluntary and researcher will explain the research purpose as well as the questionnaire so that participants can give the informed consent. Thirdly, the researcher will avoid the biased interpretation of results. The empirical findings will be strictly reported on the logical grounds, backed with statistical evidence. The researcher will ensure the confidentiality and privacy of the participants to avoid the violation of participants’ anonymity. Lastly, the empirical findings will only be used for the clearly communicated purpose. The access to data will be restricted so that nobody can make an unauthorized use of it. The researcher will destroy the data once this study will be completed.  

3.6 Key Limitations

This research will have some key limitations. Firstly, the researcher will only rely on the quantitative research methodology to report the results. The positivist paradigm restricts the researchers’ ability from collecting in-depth insights. The integration of quantitative and qualitative methodologies could have offered more useful insights. Secondly, the researcher intends to utilize the online data collection strategy. It may result in low response rate and erroneous filling of the questionnaires. Thirdly, the researcher has chosen the case-study methodology that will restrict the results’ applicability in related research contexts. Finally, the researcher intends to measure the impact on two dimensions. The inclusion of further dimensions such as brand equity can broaden the understanding of the underlying phenomenon.

3.7 Chapter Summary

The underlying research will adopt a case-study approach to conduct the empirical investigation. For this purpose, the researcher will choose a recent clothing brand and will assess the possible impact of repositioning on the consumers’ preferences and brand loyalty. The researcher will collect the data from brand's customers to analyse the possible negative impact on the brand image and consumers’ preferences, and will also check the possible moderating effect of brand loyalty. For this purpose, data from at least 150 respondents will be collected and SPSS 22.0 will be used to analyse the data. Online data collection strategy will be used and researcher will analyse data by running Pearson Correlation, Multiple Linear Regression and One-way ANOVA test. Pearson Correlation will assess the nature and strength of possible causation among study variables, regression models will assess whether the impact is statistically significant and ANOVA will compare the means of different levels of brand loyalty to detect a possible difference.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Chapter 4: Findings Presentation and Interpretation

This chapter will present the empirical research findings. The researcher will run different statistical tests to assess the research claim and analyse the possible impact of brand positioning on the brand image and consumers’ preferences. The researcher will test the formulated hypotheses based on valid statistical evidence.

4.1 Reliability test

Firstly, the researcher runs the reliability test to assess the extent to which the research instrument is reliable. For this purpose, the study assessed the Cronbach alpha’s value and results are as follow:
Table 1: Reliability Statistics
 
Cronbach's Alpha N of Items
.919 17
 
 
The test shows that the instrument is highly reliable. Any value above the 0.7 is considered acceptable. In this case, the value is 0.919, showing the reliability of the instrument. The study also included some demographic variables. Next section will present the important demographic insights.
Table 2: Gender
 
  Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Male ç”· 61 36.5 37.2 37.2
Female 女 103 61.7 62.8 100.0
Total 164 98.2 100.0  
Missing System 3 1.8    
Total 167 100.0    
 
 
The above table shows that out of 167 respondents, approximately 37.2 percent (61 out of 167) were males and around 62.8 percent (103 out of 167) were females. It means the female respondents were in majority.
Table 3: Age
 
  Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Below 25 years’ old 63 37.7 38.7 38.7
26-35 years’ old 73 43.7 44.8 83.4
36-45 years’ old 22 13.2 13.5 96.9
46-55 years’ old 5 3.0 3.1 100.0
Total 163 97.6 100.0  
Missing System 4 2.4    
Total 167 100.0    
 
 
The results indicate that 37.7 percent respondents were below 25 years’ old. 43.7 percent were having 26 to 35 years’ age. 13.2 percent were 36 to 45 years’ old. Only 3 percent were 46 to 55 years’ old and 4 out of 167 didn’t mention their age. Overall, results indicate that majority of the respondents were young to middle age within the age bracket of 25 to 35 years.
Table 4: Loyalty Measured Through Repeat Purchase
 
  Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent
Valid Less than 1 year 75 44.9 45.1 45.1
1-2 years 44 26..3 26.5 71.6
2-3 years 29 17.4 17.9 89.5
3-4 years 14 7.8 8.0 97.5
Above 4 years 5 2.5 2.5 100.0
Total 167 100.0 100.0  
Total 167 100.0    
 
 
The results suggest that the 45 percent respondents were less loyal based on the purchase repetition, as they were new customers and only purchased the Marc Jacobs’ products for less than a year. Only 26.5 percent respondents mentioned they purchased products for 1 to 2 years. 17.4 customers shared that they purchased products of Marc Jacobs for last 2 to 3 years. 7.8 percent mentioned around 3 to 4 years and only 2.5 percent mentioned they were using Marc Jacobs products for more than 4 years.
Overall, the demographic analysis suggests that most of the respondents were young to middle aged females that have been purchasing Marc Jacobs’ products for 2 or fewer years. It implies that the proportion of loyal customers was less than the new customers.
After extracting the important demographic insights, the researcher conducted the Pearson Correlation test to assess the strength and nature of the causal association between study variables. The results are as follow:

4.2 Pearson Correlation Test

The test results will visualize the impact of product, price, place and promotion repositioning of Marc Jacobs on the brand image and consumer preferences after the repositioning. It is important to note that this test will only confirm the possibility of a causal association. Multiple Linear Regression will be executed to evaluate the causal relationship between understudy variables.
Table 5: Descriptive Statistics
  Mean Std. Deviation N
Product Repositioning 3.2774 1.14481 164
Price Repositioning 3.3811 1.19670 164
Place Repositioning 3.4451 1.17098 164
Promotion Repositioning 3.4268 1.16735 164
Brand Image 3.3059 .94741 164
Consumer Preference 3.5442 .83810 164
 
 
The researcher measured the repositioning effectiveness on the scale 1 to 5, where, 1 showed extremely effective, and 5 showed extremely ineffective. It implies that any value above 3 will show the decision ineffectiveness. Similarly, the brand image and consumer preferences were measured on a 5-point scale, where, 1 showed strong agreement that repositioning will leave a positive impact on the brand image and consumer preferences and 5 showed strong disagreement.
The statistics suggest that on average, the respondents considered the product repositioning decision as ineffective with a corresponding mean value of (3.2774). The same response was received for other three dimensions also but the important finding is that out of product, price, place and promotion, the highest mean value is 3.44 for place repositioning, showing the place repositioning was more unacceptable to customers than the product, price or promotion. The table further suggests that on average, the customers said that repositioning will negatively affect brand image and consumer preferences with corresponding mean values of 3.30 and 3.54 respectively.
Next table will show the nature and strength of causal association among study variables.
Table 6: Correlations
  Product Repositioning Price
Repositioning
Place
Repositioning
Promotion
Repositioning
Brand
Image
Consumer
Preference
Product
Repositioning
Pearson Correlation 1 .597** .350** .344** .630** .632**
Sig. (2-tailed)   .000 .000 .000 .000 .000
N 164 164 164 164 164 164
Price Repositioning Pearson Correlation .597** 1 .497** .434** .725** .685**
Sig. (2-tailed) .000   .000 .000 .000 .000
N 164 164 164 164 164 164
Place Repositioning Pearson Correlation .350** .497** 1 .394** .693** .597**
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000   .000 .000 .000
N 164 164 164 164 164 164
Promotion
Repositioning
Pearson Correlation .344** .434** .394** 1 .617** .593**
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000   .000 .000
N 164 164 164 164 164 164
Brand Image Pearson Correlation .630** .725** .693** .617** 1 .825**
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000 .000   .000
N 164 164 164 164 164 164
Consumer Preference Pearson Correlation .632** .685** .597** .593** .825** 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000 .000 .000  
N 164 164 164 164 164 164
**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
 

4.2.1 Product Repositioning and Brand Image

The above results suggest that a moderate and statistically significant causal association prevails between product repositioning effectiveness and brand image with corresponding values of (r=0.630, p<0.0005). It implies that the extent to which the perceived effectiveness of product repositioning will be low, the perceived brand image will also be low and vice versa.

4.2.2 Product Repositioning and Consumer Preferences

The above results suggest that a moderate and statistically significant causal association prevails between product repositioning effectiveness and consumer preferences with corresponding values of (r=0.632, p<0.0005). It implies that the extent to which the perceived effectiveness of product repositioning will be low, the consumers’ preferences will also be low and vice versa.

4.2.3 Price Repositioning and Brand Image

The above results suggest that a strong and statistically significant causal association prevails between price repositioning effectiveness and brand image with corresponding values of (r=0.725, p<0.0005). It implies that the extent to which the perceived effectiveness of price repositioning will be low, the perceived brand image will also be low and vice versa.

4.2.4 Price Repositioning and Consumer Preferences

The above results suggest that a moderate and statistically significant causal association prevails between price repositioning effectiveness and consumer preferences with corresponding values of (r=0.685, p<0.0005). It implies that the extent to which the perceived effectiveness of price repositioning will be low, the consumers’ preferences will also be low and vice versa.

4.2.5 Place Repositioning and Brand Image

The above results suggest that a moderate and statistically significant causal association prevails between place repositioning effectiveness and brand image with corresponding values of (r=0.693, p<0.0005). It implies that the extent to which the perceived effectiveness of place repositioning will be low, the perceived brand image will also be low and vice versa.

4.2.6 Place Repositioning and Consumer Preferences

The above results suggest that a moderate and statistically significant causal association prevails between place repositioning effectiveness and consumer preferences with corresponding values of (r=0.597, p<0.0005). It implies that the extent to which the perceived effectiveness of place repositioning will be low, the consumers’ preferences will also be low and vice versa.

4.2.7 Promotion Repositioning and Brand Image

The above results suggest that a moderate and statistically significant causal association prevails between promotion repositioning effectiveness and brand image with corresponding values of (r=0.617, p<0.0005). It implies that the extent to which the perceived effectiveness of promotion repositioning will be low, the perceived brand image will also be low and vice versa.

4.2.8 Promotion Repositioning and Consumer Preferences

The above results suggest that a moderate and statistically significant causal association prevails between promotion repositioning effectiveness and consumer preferences with corresponding values of (r=0.593, p<0.0005). It implies that the extent to which the perceived effectiveness of promotion repositioning will be low, the consumers’ preferences will also be low and vice versa.

4.2 9 Overall Summary

Overall, the results show that consumers hold the low perceptions towards the brand repositioning across all dimensions. Consequently, there could be a negative influence on the brand image and consumers’ preferences as well. Across all dimensions, the strongest causal association has been detected between price and place repositioning on the brand image respectively. While comparatively the weakest causal association exists between promotion repositioning and brand image.
After confirming the causal association between the independent and dependent study variables, the researcher has regressed the relationship between study variables to accept or reject the hypotheses. Next section will present the multiple linear regression findings along with necessary interpretation. As two dependent variables are involved, so regression model will be run two times to report the results.

4.3 Multiple Linear Regression- Brand Image

Firstly, the researcher regressed the relationship between brand repositioning across four important dimensions and perceived the brand image.
Table 7: Model Summary
 
Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate
1 .880a .774 .769 .45553
a. Predictors: (Constant), Promotion Repositioning, Product Repositioning, Place Repositioning, Price Repositioning
 
 
The table shows that the research claim is strong with the statistical power of 0.880 or 88 percent. Moreover, the adjusted R square value indicates that all explanatory variables (product, price, place and promotion repositioning) explain the 76.9 percent variance in the brand image, while rest variance is caused by other factors.    
Table 8: ANOVA
 
Model Sum of Squares Df Mean Square F Sig.
1 Regression 113.313 4 28.328 136.518 .000b
Residual 32.994 159 .208    
Total 146.307 163      
a. Dependent Variable: Brand Image
b. Predictors: (Constant), Promotion Repositioning, Product Repositioning, Place Repositioning, Price Repositioning
 
 
The ANOVA table shows that the overall theoretical model has successfully attained the statistical significance with corresponding values of F (4, 159) =136.518, p<0.0005. It means the collective impact of brand repositioning on the brand image is statistically significant.
 
 
Table 9: Coefficients
 
Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients t Sig.
B Std. Error Beta
1 (Constant) .136 .142   .956 .341
Product Repositioning .199 .039 .241 5.082 .000
Price Repositioning .226 .041 .285 5.484 .000
Place Repositioning .292 .036 .361 8.098 .000
Promotion Repositioning .218 .035 .268 6.220 .000
a. Dependent Variable: Brand Image
 
The “regression co-efficient table” shows the individual impact of all variables on the brand image. The results suggest that all independent variables have successfully attained the statistical significance, confirming the causal relationship with the dependent variable. The table shows that a statistically significant causal relationship exists between product repositioning and brand image with corresponding values of (t=5.082, p<0.0005). The causal relationship between price repositioning and brand image is also confirmed with corresponding values of (t=5.484, p<0.0005). The place repositioning also shares the statistically significant causal relationship with a brand image with corresponding values of (t=8.098, p<0.0005). Finally, a statistically significant causal association between promotion repositioning and brand image is also confirmed with corresponding values of (t=6.220, p<0.0005). Based on these results, following regression equation has been formulated:
Brand Image= 0.136+ [0.199(product repositioning) +0.226(price repositioning) +0.292(place repositioning) +0.218(promotion repositioning)]

4.4 Multiple Linear Regression- Consumer Preferences

After regressing the relationship between brand repositioning and brand image, the researcher regressed the relationship between repositioning and consumers’ preferences.
 
 
Table 10: Model Summary
Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate
1 .825a .681 .673 .47909
a. Predictors: (Constant), Promotion Repositioning, Product Repositioning, Place Repositioning, Price Repositioning
 
The table shows that the research claim is strong with the statistical power of 0.825 or 82.5 percent. Moreover, the adjusted R square value indicates that all explanatory variables (product, price, place and promotion repositioning) explain the 67.3 percent variance in the consumer preferences, while rest variance is caused by other factors.     
Table 11: ANOVA
Model Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig.
1 Regression 77.998 4 19.499 84.956 .000b
Residual 36.494 159 .230    
Total 114.492 163      
a. Dependent Variable: Consumer Preference
b. Predictors: (Constant), Promotion Repositioning, Product Repositioning, Place Repositioning, Price Repositioning
 
 
The ANOVA table shows that the overall theoretical model has successfully attained the statistical significance with corresponding values of F (4, 159) =84.956, p<0.0005. It means the collective impact of brand repositioning on the consumer preferences is statistically significant.
Table 12: Coefficients
Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients t Sig.
B Std. Error Beta
1 (Constant) .911 .149   6.093 .000
Product Repositioning .212 .041 .289 5.135 .000
Price Repositioning .186 .043 .265 4.291 .000
Place Repositioning .182 .038 .255 4.799 .000
Promotion Repositioning .200 .037 .278 5.417 .000
a. Dependent Variable: Consumer Preference
 
The “regression co-efficient table” shows the individual impact of all variables on the consumer preferences. The results suggest that all independent variables have successfully attained the statistical significance, confirming the causal relationship with the dependent variable. The table shows that a statistically significant causal relationship exists between product repositioning and consumer preferences with corresponding values of (t=5.135, p<0.0005). The causal relationship between price repositioning and consumer preferences is also confirmed with corresponding values of (t=4.291, p<0.0005). The place repositioning also shares the statistically significant causal relationship with consumer preferences with corresponding values of (t=4.799, p<0.0005). Finally, a statistically significant causal association between promotion repositioning and consumer preferences is also confirmed with corresponding values of (t=5.417, p<0.0005). Based on these results, following regression equation has been formulated:
Consumer preferences= 0.911+ [0.212(product repositioning) +0.186(price repositioning) +0.182(place repositioning) +0.200(promotion repositioning)].
After regressing the relationship between brand repositioning, brand image and consumer preferences, the researcher has conducted the ANOVA test to assess the possible moderating impact of loyalty on brand image and preferences.

4.5 ANOVA Test for Customer Loyalty

The researcher compared the means of groups with different loyalty levels to assess how the higher customer loyalty affects the brand image and consumer preferences because of brand repositioning.
 
 
 
 
 
The results are given below:
Table 13: Descriptive
 
  N Mean Std. Deviation
Brand Image Less than 1 year 72 3.0833 .88910
1-2 years 43 3.3140 .98666
2-3 years 29 3.5431 1.04384
3-4 years 13 3.8205 .65515
Above 4 years 4 3.6250 .72169
Total 161 3.3007 .94631
Consumer Preference Less than 1 year 72 3.4792 .73847
1-2 years 43 3.4651 .97526
2-3 years 29 3.6293 .94873
3-4 years 13 3.7885 .75585
Above 4 years 4 3.9375 .23936
Total 161 3.5388 .84065
 
 
The table shows the means of different groups. The customers belonging to first group (less than 1 year) have lowest mean value, which means that when customers don’t regularly purchase the brand, they are less likely to be affected by repositioning decision than the loyal and old customers. The consistent increase in the mean value in line with the number of years shows older customers will resist more than the new customers. A similar pattern has been observed for consumer preferences as well. However, the mean difference in later case is less visible compared to the former one.  The above table only suggests that the mean difference exists between different groups. However, the next table will suggest whether the prevailing mean difference is statistically significant.
 
 
 
 
Table 14: ANOVA
 
  Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig.
Brand Image Between Groups 9.047 4 2.262 2.628 .037
Within Groups 134.233 156 .860    
Total 143.280 160      
Consumer Preference Between Groups 2.173 4 .543 .764 .550
Within Groups 110.897 156 .711    
Total 113.070 160      
 
The ANOVA table shows that the mean difference for the brand image is statistically significant with mean values of F (4, 156) = 2.628, p=0.037. It implies that the perceptions of more loyal customers towards the brand image will hurt more than the new customers. However, the table reports different results for customer perceptions. The findings suggest that mean difference for the consumer preferences is statistically insignificant with mean values of F (4, 156) = 0.764, p=0.550. It implies that brand repositioning decision will equally affect the preferences of new and old customers.

4.6 Hypotheses Summary Table

Based on the above results, the study has formulated following hypotheses summary table:
Table 15: Hypotheses Summary Table
Hypothesis Statement Pearson Correlation Regression/ANOVA Result
Product repositioning affects brand image r=0.630, p<0.0005
moderate and significant
t=5.082, p<.0005
causal relationship confirmed
Accepted
Product repositioning affects consumer preferences r=0.632, p<0.0005
moderate and significant
t=5.135, p<.0005
causal relationship confirmed
Accepted
Price repositioning affects brand image r=0.725, p<0.0005 strong and significant t=5.484, p<.0005
causal relationship confirmed
 
Accepted
Price repositioning affects consumer preferences r=0.685, p<0.0005 moderate and significant t=4.291, p<.0005
causal relationship confirmed
Accepted
Place repositioning affects brand image r=0.693, p<0.0005
moderate and significant
t=8.098, p<.0005
causal relationship confirmed
Accepted
Place repositioning affects consumer preferences r=0.579, p<0.0005
moderate and significant
t=4.799, p<.0005
causal relationship confirmed
Accepted
Promotion repositioning affects brand image r=0.617, p<0.0005
moderate and significant
t=6.220, p<.0005
causal relationship confirmed
Accepted
Promotion repositioning affects consumer preferences r=0.593, p<0.0005
moderate and significant
t=5.417, p<.0005
causal relationship confirmed
Accepted
Impact on the brand image differs according to consumer loyalty  
n/a
F= 2.628, p=0.037
Significant mean difference
Accepted
Impact on the consumers’ perceptions differs according to consumer loyalty  
n/a
F= 0.764, p=0.550
Insignificant mean difference
Rejected
 
 
 

Chapter 5: Discussion and Analysis

After presenting the empirical research findings, the researcher will conduct the comprehensive discussion based on the existing literature. The empirical results will be related to previous theoretical and empirical studies to arrive at a meaningful conclusion.

5.1 Summarizing the Proposed Empirical Findings

Before analysing the empirical findings considering the existing literature, the researcher will briefly explain the above hypotheses summary table to summarize the empirical results reported by the underlying research. The underlying study formulated and tested the seven major hypotheses. Out of 7, the empirical results confirmed the 6 hypotheses while 1 hypothesis was rejected. The researcher executed two tests for confirmation. The first test “Pearson Correlation” confirmed the causal association, while second test “Multiple Linear Regression” confirmed the causal relationship. ANOVA test was run to compare the mean differences across different loyalty levels.
The table suggests that a statistically significant causal association as well as causal relationship exists between the product repositioning decision, brand image and consumer preferences, suggesting a possible variation in the product repositioning will significantly affect the brand image and consumer preferences in a manner that higher the degree of ineffectiveness would be, higher would be the negative impact on the brand image and preferences. Any change in the product characteristics would affect the dependent variables.
Similarly, the table demonstrates that a statistically significant causal association as well as causal relationship exists between the price repositioning decision, brand image and consumer preferences, suggesting a possible variation in the price repositioning will significantly affect the brand image and consumer preferences in a manner that higher the degree of ineffectiveness would be, higher would be the negative impact on the brand image and preferences. Any decrease in the price will influence the understudy dependent variables. Same results have been reported for the place repositioning and promotion repositioning. The only difference across four dimensions is that the price repositioning has the strongest influence on the brand image. Finally, the last two hypotheses suggest that the perceived brand image significantly differs across different loyalty levels, but no significant difference has been detected for the consumer preferences.

5.2 Analysis of Empirical Findings Considering the Existing Literature

The results suggest that Marc Jacobs should not make the brand repositioning decision as it is likely to affect its brand image. The customers are likely to lose the prestige associated with it. The findings further suggest that the customers with stronger loyalty are likely to affect more, possibly due to their emotional and psychological attachment than the new customers. These findings have supported the results proposed by Rodrigues, Menegazzo & Chaves (2012), where, the researchers suggested that brand repositioning decisions strongly influence the customer loyalty. Many studies propose that the loyal customers associate a prestige with brands and don’t want to lose it because of major repositioning altering the brand identity. This psychological and emotional attachment is among the most important factors behind many repositioning failure cases. Literature suggests that the extent to which the customers are loyal to the brand, they will be more dissatisfied due to strong emotional and psychological attachment with the previous positioning, (e.g. Fuchs & Diamantopoulos, 2010). Ineffective brand repositioning hurts the customer loyalty (Keller, 2009).
There are many reasons behind the brand repositioning. The brands make the repositioning decision to remain relevant with the changing scenario (Keller, 2009). However, many brands fail due to inadequate market knowledge and inability to understand the core psychological needs of their customers (Reddy, Reddy & Venkatesulu, 2016). The Tropicana one recent example where the company failed to capture the changing customers’ insights and resultantly, become a failure case in the brand repositioning literature. This example emphasizes that brand repositioning efforts can influence the customers’ perceptions as they share a psychological connection with the brand identity (Dawar & Lei, 2009). In the underlying case, the findings clearly indicate that the customers are not ready to any major change in the current positioning. They share a strong association with the brand identity and are likely to resist any change that would be made without considering their opinions.
The underlying study suggests that the repositioning decision across all dimensions are likely to influence the consumer preferences. With regards to the product repositioning, the impact on the brand image and consumer preferences was significant. It implies that the change in the product characteristics alters the consumers’ preferences in a highly competitive market. Today, consumers associate themselves with the products they use. They use the products that match their personality and status (Truong, McColl & Kitchen, 2009). The customer dissatisfaction becomes more prevalent in case of luxury goods. The premium brand customers place high importance to the product attributes regardless of the price. They seek for premium quality, exclusive features and remain willing to pay surprisingly higher prices for preserving their exclusivity (Reddy, Terblanche, Pitt & Parent, 2009). The underlying research confirms these claims by proposing that any change within the product features to ensure inclusiveness will not be welcomed by the Marc Jacobs’ customers. 
Fuchs & Diamantopoulos (2010) contended that when brands reposition themselves without any apparent need such as declining market share, changing customer needs or diminishing loyalty, the repositioning is likely to be less effective. Moreover, when brands are repositioned without giving signals to the customers, the customers are likely to reject the change. The lack of consumers’ interest increases the brand’s vulnerability and fragile nature (Reddy, Terblanche, Pitt & Parent, 2009). Brand repositioning is a major strategic decision that cannot be taken without adequate preparedness. Success repositioning decisions involve long-term planning and clear strategies priorities set through active collaboration and engagement with the key stakeholders. The higher mean values towards the dissatisfaction and disagreement reported by the underlying research propose the same.  Contending on the same note, Beverland & Ewing (2005) commented that the organizations must slow down the diffusion and adoption process to increase the success chances of repositioning. The low success chances of repositioning don’t suggest that the repositioning decision is always ineffective. Today, even the countries and states are repositioning themselves to maintain their relevance in a highly turbulent socio-political scenario (Dinnie, 2009). The problem lies within the chosen strategies to manage the repositioning process.
Akaka & Alden (2010) suggested that there is no effective or ineffective brand repositioning strategy. However, companies must understand that brand repositioning is a highly resource intensive and time consuming process. When repositioning is done haphazardly, the organization is likely to face failure (Reddy, Terblanche, Pitt & Parent, 2009). The underlying example of Marc Jacobs also suggests that organization will lose the customer loyalty and brand image if management decides to reposition itself for ensuring inclusion. The descriptive statistics clearly show that majority of respondents regarded the company’s possible decision ineffective. Interestingly, there were many customers that perceived the repositioning decision to be effective. There was a substantial minority that mentioned that the brand repositioning will not influence their perceptions towards the brand image and their brand preference. The findings show that the Mac Jacob’s idea to integrate the inclusiveness has potential to get the buy-in of customers but management must make the strategically wise decisions to get that buy-in at large scale. Many studies have proposed the rising effectiveness of inclusiveness within the luxury industries (e.g. Rayna & Striukova, 2009). However, the repositioning decision must not ignore the emotional and psychological attachment of customers (Reddy, Terblanche, Pitt & Parent, 2009). Regardless of the popularity of any emerging trend, if management doesn’t take adequate initiatives to get the buy-in, the introduced idea is likely to meet the failure (Beverland & Ewing, 2005).
The rising importance of inclusiveness within the luxury industry is also indicated by the statistics proposed by underlying research. The descriptive statistical analysis shows that 26 percent customers said that they would appreciate if Marc Jacobs makes the repositioning decision and ensures the inclusion. It means that the brand will face no difficulty in getting the buy-in of these customers as they have already given their consent in favour of inclusion. 26.2 percent were unsure about the decision effectiveness. It implies that through strategically wise decision making, the management can get the buy-in of these customers. Moreover, this group is likely to show less resistance than the group showing clear disagreement. The statistics further suggest that approximately 44.5 percent regarded the decision ineffective. Out of 44.5 percent, 10 percent showed strong disagreement, which means that if Marc Jacobs makes the repositioning decision, this group would be the hardest to satisfy. Most probably, the organization will lose segment regardless of the preparedness and informed decision making. Overall, the discussion about the inclusiveness within the luxury industry confirms the rising importance of inclusive innovation and possible acceptance of customers. However, it is a long-term process and requires a gradual shift towards the inclusive luxury fashionwear.
The findings further indicate that the place and price repositioning have a stronger influence on the brand image and consumers’ perceptions than the product and promotion repositioning. It implies that the people associate the brands with their social class and status within the society. They associate a higher value to the expensive products and place secondary importance to the product characteristics. The luxury brand marketers comment that the higher price satisfies the psychological needs of consumers that seek the exclusiveness (Tynan, McKechnie & Chhuon, 2010). A comprehensive understanding of the consumers’ behavior within the luxury fashion industry assists the management in making wise and informed decisions. A past empirical study conducted by Li, Li and Kambele (2012) also proposed the same findings. The researchers explored the behaviour of luxury brand customers in China by assessing their willingness to pay the premium price for luxury brands. The data was collected from 480 Chinese consumers and findings confirmed a statistically significant impact on perceived social value, perceived emotional value, perceived economic value and perceived utilitarian value on the willingness to pay for the higher prices. The results imply that behaviour of luxury fashion brands’ consumers is complex and depends on various multifaceted factors (Tynan, McKechnie & Chhuon, 2010).  The demand and supply rules for normal goods are different from the luxury goods. In the normal case, the price decline increases the demand, but in case of luxury good, any decline in the price hurts the exclusiveness, resulting in a sharp decline in demand (Li, Li and Kambele, 2012). The Marc Jacobs must understand this fact. The empirical results also support these claims by demonstrating a visibly higher impact on the brand image than the product repositioning.
Brand repositioning becomes a source of competitive advantage when firms collaborate with the customers at the initial stages of repositioning (Fuchs & Diamantopoulos, 2010). Contemporary brands must adapt to the changing scenario and such adaptation is not possible without making substantial changes in the repositioning (González-Benito & Martos-Partal, 2012). However, the findings also confirm that an ineffective repositioning can damage the brand reputation in a way that in some cases the loss becomes irrecoverable (Kim, 2016). In the underlying case, the Marc Jacobs can experience this loss if management doesn’t understand the importance of collaborating with customers. The literature highlights some successful brand repositioning examples, such as Horlicks that could be based to devise the repositioning strategies in related contexts (Latif, Sibghatullah & Siddiqui, 2016).
Despite the increased importance of brand repositioning, the organizations cannot ignore the complexity associated with the process. Brand positioning is an extremely complex and clairvoyant task, and brand repositioning involves more complexity as it influences the brand image that carries a long-term vision and is built over time (Reddy, Terblanche, Pitt & Parent, 2009). Moreover, the repositioning plays with the perceptions of customers that increases the uncertainty (Fuchs & Diamantopoulos, 2010). The Horlicks successful repositioning within the Asian region and Tropicana’s underestimation about their customers’ attachment with the classic packaging are two extreme examples of brand repositioning, where one repositioning case (Horlicks) was successful, while the other (Tropicana) was a failure (Dawar & Lei, 2009). The review of these case studies suggests that the involvement of multifaceted factors with the repositioning decision requires management to adopt a long-term vision and put persistent efforts for repositioning with a slow pace (Latif, Sibghatullah & Siddiqui, 2016).
The review of brand repositioning case studies suggests the organizations seeking repositioning to clearly communicate the changed nature to customers and make them understand how these changes would impact the perceived brand image (Simms & Trott, 2007). It will minimize the resistance because of psychological and emotional attachment with the previous positioning. Fuchs and Diamantopoulos (2010) mentioned that in-depth understanding of the perceived brand positioning within the customers’ minds depends on the management’s ability to differentiate between perceived, actual and intended positioning. Lawton, Rajwani & O'Kane, (2011) explained the effective brand repositioning decision by commenting that the process starts with understanding the brand equity, capturing the organisation's vision, understanding competitive positioning and consumers' emotional and psychological attachment with brand image and finally using the brand map to craft the repositioning statement (Lawton, Rajwani & O'Kane, 2011). Other than these factors, usage occasions, distribution pattern, product attributes, quality and pricing are the five key issues while repositioning a brand (Zhang, Lin & Newman, 2016). Now, comparing the underlying research, the management is not prepared for strategic change and consequently, the impact is visible on the brand image and customers’ preferences. Among different factors discussed above, the most important factors are understanding competitive positioning and consumers' emotional and psychological attachment with brand image. 
Keller (2008) contends that brand repositioning is done to change the brand image within the customers’ mind. Hence, the management must have a clear understanding of the inner psychological needs of its customers to accurately predict the response.  Repositioning is more rigorous decision than the rebranding as it plays with the customers’ perceptions, which is a risky game (Reddy, Terblanche, Pitt & Parent, 2009).  The underlying repositioning case has emphasized the possible negative consequences when management poorly plays the repositioning game and fails to break the bond of its customers with a previous positioning statement. Despite the increasing importance of the inclusive innovation, the case study suggests how lack of management’s preparedness and consumers’ readiness puts negative influence on the perceived brand image. Repositioning decision is taken based on the tangible as well as intangible information.
For example, if the company is facing the decline in the demand because of high prices, then firm goes for rebranding or brand extension to offer the product an economical rate. But, when the firm starts losing market share without any apparent reason, then repositioning is made. However, the lack of any apparent reason induces the government to dig deeper into the perceptions of consumers (Lawton, Rajwani & O'Kane, 2011). The failure to unveil the implicit, hidden perceptions becomes the cause for failure for many firms seeking the repositioning (Loukis, Sapounas, and Aivalis, 2008). The substantial minority supporting the repositioning decision is also an important insight for the Marc Jacobs’ management. The concept of inclusive innovation has gained wide popularity within different industries. Probably, in near future, the luxury fashion industry can also be one of these sectors integrating the inclusive innovation. However, the management must make this shift with a slow pace so that customers may understand the reasons behind the major repositioning.
Many studies have confirmed that the re-branding or repositioning influences the customer loyalty. However, researchers have different opinions, where, some suggest that the higher brand loyalty decreases the impact of any ineffective decision by the management as loyal customers tend to attribute the responsibility to external factors (Zahid and Raja, 2014). However, other studies propose that any change in the positioning affects the loyal customers more than the regular customers (González-Benito & Martos-Partal, 2012; Keller, 2009; Rodrigues, Menegazzo & Chaves, 2012). The difference in these findings could be attributed to the change in context. For example, the former claim is made by studies exploring the influence of brand recall, while the later claim is made by the researchers exploring the positioning, rebranding and repositioning. The researcher has found a dearth of literature on brand repositioning. Only a few brand repositioning case-studies have been done by the previous researchers due to which the underlying study faced difficulty in relating the empirical findings with recent empirical studies.
Summarizing the whole discussion, the underlying study proposes that Marc Jacobs should not take the repositioning decision without collaborating with its customers. Being a premium luxury brand, its customers associate a prestige with its use. They seek the inclusiveness that can possibly hurt due to repositioning. Moreover, in case the management makes the repositioning decision, then the place and price repositioning will have a stronger influence on the brand image and consumers’ preferences than the product and promotion repositioning. Lastly, the impact will be more visible on the loyal customers than the new customers, which means that brand can face an irrecoverable loss due to an ineffective repositioning decision.  After conducting the detailed discussion, the researcher will propose a concise and meaningful conclusion based on the empirical and theoretical insights. The researcher will also propose recommendations to the Marc Jacobs management for practical implementation. Finally, the chapter will mention important research limitations, and key areas for future research will be highlighted. 

Chapter 6: Conclusion and Recommendations

This chapter will conclude the whole discussion followed by some useful recommendations to the Marc Jacobs’ management, other luxury fashion brands and future researchers.

6.1 Conclusion and Recommendations

Brand repositioning reflects major changes within the current positioning for the product/brand. The successful product repositioning depends on the management’s ability to change the customers’ mind-set and perceptions about the brand. However, changing the implicit perceptions is not an easy task as it requires an in-depth understanding of the consumers’ psychological and motivational needs and expectations from the brand. Brand repositioning changes the associated identity. The literature and empirical findings conclude that change within the brand identity hurts the brand image of luxury products as customers associated the identity and brand image with their personality, status and style. Usually, the brand repositioning decision is taken in response to declining sales, losing market share or any other major problem. Brand repositioning is also done in response to an emerging trend. For example, in the underlying case, the inclusive innovation is gaining more popularity within luxury product industries.
Hence, the researcher assessed the possible impact on the customers if Mac Jacobs makes the repositioning decision. The findings confirmed the statistically significant negative impact of repositioning across all dimensions, including repositioning the product characteristics, price repositioning, place repositioning and promotion repositioning. Based on these results, the study concludes that repositioning success depends on various multifaceted factors, such as understanding the brand equity, capturing the organisation's vision, understanding competitive positioning and consumers' emotional and psychological attachment with brand image, usage occasions, distribution pattern, product attributes, quality and pricing attributes.  Out of these factors, the importance of customers’ emotional and psychological attachment with the brand identity increases within the luxury product industries. Within these sectors, management’s repositioning efforts fail without customers’ buy-in at large scale. Interestingly, out of product, price, place and promotion repositioning, the price repositioning carries the strongest influence on the perceived brand image. It implies that if management decides to decrease the prices for ensuring inclusion. It would significantly affect the customers that associate their status with the price exclusiveness.
Moreover, the research also concludes that the higher brand loyalty will create more dissatisfaction and management can possibly lose a large proportion of its extremely loyal customers because of un-informed brand repositioning. On another hand, the new customers will be less affected as they don’t share a strong emotional and psychological attachment to the current brand repositioning.  The Marc Jacobs’ management should also consider the substantial minority supporting the repositioning decision. Considering the wide popularity of the inclusive innovation within different industries, the Marc Jacob’s management must make this shift with a slow pace so that customers may understand the reasons behind the major repositioning. The repositioning success further depends on the management’s ability to differentiate between intended, actual and perceived positioning and repositioning. It indicates that when the brand is repositioned, the management must have a clear understanding of how the brand is currently positioned and how the change would be perceived by the intended audience.
Overall, the research concludes that ineffective or unsuccessful brand repositioning causes disasters. It influences the long-term loyalty of customers by creating the dissatisfaction and hurting their association with the brand identity. Moreover, there is no single repositioning strategy that could ensure the positive influence. The success depends on the management’s ability to understand the core psychological needs of customers and accurately predict the customers’ response to repositioning. Brand repositioning is a major strategic decision that cannot be taken without adequate preparedness. Lastly, brand loyalty plays a different role as a moderator across different industries. In luxury brand industry, the repositioning decision is likely to hurt the loyal customers more than the new customers. However, more research is required to confirm its moderating impact and analyse the possible negative consequences of ineffective or non-collaborative brand re-positioning.
Based on this conclusion Marc Jacob’s management is suggested to ensure an active collaboration with its customers before making any major repositioning decision. The management must ensure the high outside-in information flow to get important insights from the market. While making the repositioning decision, the management must get the buy-in from its loyal customers. The engagement at earlier stages will increase the chances of successful buy-in from customers. Many firms have started adopted this strategy while introducing the new products. The same strategy will be viable while introducing the same product with new repositioning statement. Brand repositioning is recommended when there is a major shift in the consumers’ demand. In the underlying case, the management must not make the repositioning decision without adopting the holistic view. The researchers recommend the firms seeking repositioning to adopt a long-term approach and introduce the repositioning with a slow pace.
The firms are also recommended to ensure a high outside-in knowledge flow to get the important insights from the market. Effective innovation and knowledge management are key to make any strategic decision successful that directly influences the customers’ perceptions. Repositioning is a long-term process that requires considerable time and effort of management. It cannot be done overnight. Hence, the Marc Jacobs in particular and other luxury fashion organizations, in general, are recommended to collaborate with key stakeholders, arrange informal discussion sessions and take the detailed input of loyal customers to win their trust and confidence. The success chances of the same decision will be considerably higher in this case compared to the situation where management takes the decision without any stakeholder collaboration.  The literature review also highlights that higher brand loyalty decreases the impact of any ineffective decision as loyal customers tend to attribute the responsibility to external factors. Hence, the management can play the loyalty card while integrating the repositioning, and the only way to make the wise use of it is active collaboration and engagement.
Marc Jacobs’ management is recommended to go for the brand extension decision as the first step instead of repositioning the whole brand. A separate product line for the lower end market could be added for this purpose.  After analysing the customers’ reaction, the inclusion could be integrated within the current repositioning.  Among different influential factors, the most important aspects are understanding competitive positioning and consumers' emotional and psychological attachment with brand image.  The in-depth knowledge about these dimensions will guide the management about the decision feasibility. Lastly, across all four dimensions, the price repositioning has the strongest influence on the brand image. Hence, this factor should be taken into serious consideration while analysing the effectiveness of repositioning decision.
The underlying research has some key limitations that could be overcome by the future studies. The researcher will discuss possible future research areas in the next section.

6.1.1 Suggestions for Future Research

This research specifically focused on the Marc Jacobs brand to collect and report the results. The case study nature limits the generalizability element. Considering the dearth of brand repositioning literature, the future researchers are suggested to adopt the multi case-study approach by comparing one real-life success and failure case of brand repositioning in related industries. The researchers are also suggested to adopt the mixed method approach by integrating the qualitative technique with quantitative research. The integration of interview and survey technique will offer in-depth insights. Finally, the future studies are recommended to assess the failure or success of brand repositioning from management’ perspective. Mostly, the researchers have focused on the consumers’ perspective while exploring the repositioning. The management’s perspective will ensure a unique contribution to the existing brand repositioning literature.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Appendix

Brand Repositioning Questionnaire
This research study is being conducted to assess the impact of brand repositioning decision on the customers’ preferences and loyalty with the brand. The research purpose is to highlight the negative consequences of a major repositioning decision. Kindly fill this form if you are a regular customer of Marc Jacobs. Thank-you for your patience and time.
Part A: Demographic Information
Q1: Please mention your gender:
1) Male
2) Female
 
Q2: Please mention your age:
1) Below 25 years’ old
2) 25-35 years’ old
3) 36-45 years’ old
4) 46-55 years’ old
5) Above 55 years’ old
 
Q3: How long you have been purchasing the products from Marc Jacobs?
1) Less than 1 year
2) 1-2 years
3) 2.1-3 years
4) 3.1-4 years
5) Above 4 years
 
Part B: Brand Repositioning with regards to 4 P’s
For following questions, please use the given scale:
Strongly agree (5), Agree (4), Neutral (3), Disagree (2), Strongly Disagree (1)
    1 2 3 4 5
  Repositioning the Marc Jacobs to ensure Inclusion          
  Repositioning the product          
  1.  
If Marc Jacobs decides to target the lower end of the market, it would be a wise decision          
  1.  
If Marc Jacobs decides to position itself as a casual, inexpensive brand instead of luxury brand, it will be a wise decision          
  1.  
I will still purchase from the Marc Jacobs if it makes the product repositioning decision          
  1.  
The product repositioning decision will not affect the brand image of Marc Jacobs          
  Repositioning the price          
  1.  
If Marc Jacobs starts selling products at extremely cheap prices, it would be a wise decision          
  1.  
If Marc Jacobs decides to ensure the inclusion factor by lowering its prices to serve the poor people, it will be a wise decision.          
  1.  
I will still purchase from the Marc Jacobs if it makes the price repositioning decision          
  1.  
The price repositioning decision will not affect the brand image of Marc Jacobs          
  Repositioning the place          
  1.  
If Marc Jacobs starts selling products in rural and comparatively less developed areas, with an average store location, it will be a wise decision.          
  1.  
If Marc Jacobs decided to reposition itself as a complete offline clothing brand, it will be a wise decision.          
  1.  
I will still purchase from the Marc Jacobs if it makes the place repositioning decision          
  1.  
The place repositioning decision will not affect the brand image of Marc Jacobs          
  Repositioning the promotion          
  1.  
If Marc Jacobs starts promoting its products through low end marketing tactics, it will be a wise decision.          
  1.  
If Marc Jacobs uses the inclusive promotional strategies so that its message could be communicated to the poor consumers, it will be a wise decision          
  1.  
I will still purchase from the Marc Jacobs if it makes the promotion repositioning decision          
  1.  
The promotion repositioning decision will not affect the brand image of Marc Jacobs