Title

Symbolic and Functional Positioning of Brands

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1-1998

Abstract

Some brand strategists have distinguished between symbolic and functional brands, i.e. brands that basically satisfy consumers’ functional or product-related needs and brands bought to enhance self- or social esteem. It has been suggested that brands should be positioned as either functional or symbolic but not both. However, empirical research on the dimensionality of brand symbolism/functionality has been lacking. In this study, scales were developed to assess a brand’s symbolic or functional association with consumers. Subsequent data analysis suggests that brand symbolism and functionality are separate phenomena and, further, that symbolism comprises two dimensions, termed prestige and personality expression. Thus, contrary to current thinking, it seems that brands can be successfully positioned as both symbolic and functional and, if a symbolic brand concept is desired, prestige or upscaleness is just one of the possible positioning options available.

Keywords

Brand identity, Brand image, Brand names, Consumer behaviour, Product positioning, Product strategy

Discipline

Marketing | Sales and Merchandising

Research Areas

Marketing

Publication

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Volume

15

Issue

1

First Page

32

Last Page

43

ISSN

0736-3761

Identifier

10.1108/07363769810202664

Publisher

Emerald

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/07363769810202664

Comments

Most cited article published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing in 1998 (out of 86) as of Sept. 2010. ; 4th most cited article published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing 1998-2008 (out of 968) as of Sept 2010.