Trend #1: Multidimensional Models vs. Two-Dimensional Models for Brand Positioning
During the 1980s, the leading brand management firms adapted a wide range of two-dimensional models for brand positioning. While these models were sufficient for the 1980s, they were not effective after the early 1990s. Clearly, our world has become more complex and brands have to be developed faster and positioned better in rapidly changing global, regional, and local environments.
To meet this need, scholars and practitioners have developed multi-dimensional models that enable brand management to incorporate the following factors into positioning the brand:
- To produce techniques which allow the firm to map the brand through the consumer’s eyes.
- To define lead, strategic, and support brands.
- To use a non-linear brand management sales approach to position the brand in select market segments.
The Brand Molecule Approach
One state-of-the-art technique is the “brand molecule” mapping approach (source: Lederer and Hill, Harvard Business Review, June 2001). This innovative approach enables brand management to paint a picture of the brand, as it is actually perceived by consumers. It also includes all brands and associations or slogans that have some influence, either positive or negative, on the purchase decision.
Essentially, creating the Brand Molecule Portfolio Map is a three-step process. Although quantitative data is reviewed and there is a certain amount of quantitative analysis, the final mapping is based on the informed decisions or judgments of the brand managers.
Step 1: Create a long list of brands and associations to include in the portfolio (e.g., consider all the brands that influence the customers’ perceptions and choice).
Step 2: Determine which is the lead brand, which are the strategic and support brands, and their relative positioning.
Step 3: Assign values to the different criteria and map the molecule.
The brand molecule approach can be used to map and position brands that are global, regional and local.