Brand positioning strategies : an expiremental test ot two types of benefit differentiation
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- Master Thesis 
The purpose of this study is to examine associative- and instrumental benefit differentiation based on secondary associations as part of brand positioning. The field of brand positioning has been subject to extensive research, however, differentiation based on secondary associations and differences between instrumental- and associative benefit differentiation has received less attention. Instrumental benefit differentiation relates to benefits that are linked directly to product performance, while associative benefit differentiation relates to indirect benefits that evoke associations of consumption contexts, feelings, and emotions. We look at how the differentiation strategies vary in effectiveness with regard to creating positive brand attitude and their ability to generate benefit associations. We conducted a classical experiment on a convenience sample (N = 294) by utilizing six questionnaires to collect our data. Our research reveals that associative- and instrumental benefit differentiation does not differ in their positive effect on brand attitude, and that the associative strategy generates more benefit associations than the instrumental strategy. The results thus contradict the fundamental view of unique selling propositions and imply that brands could successfully acheive positive brand attitude with both differentiation strategies. Further, an associative benefit differentiation strategy should lead to a richer, more positive, and more sustainable network of associations. We failed to detect that the number of benefit associations positively mediates the effect of differentiation strategy on brand attitude. This could imply that one exposure is not sufficient in order to reveal such a relationship.