Strengths and Weaknesses of Brand Positioning Practises in B2B Companies in Norway : A Comparison with Normative Theory
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- Master Thesis 
Background: Brand positioning is a familiar concept in B2C markets which outlines a clear target for a brand. It is a tool to use in differentiation, which has been shown to increase the profitability of brands. However, there is a lack of research on brand positioning in the B2B context but due to increasing competition in all industries there is a palpable need for differentiation. Thus, the need to study brand positioning practises in the B2B market. Purpose: The aim of this study was to explore the current state of brand positioning in B2B companies and compare it to normative theory. This facilitated a detailed examination of whether B2B companies have a clear target perception and do they follow the guidelines of normative theory. The responses were compared with guidelines developed from the CBBE-theory and the target network model. Method: A qualitative approach was chosen for this study and 20 semi-structured interviews were conducted with B2B companies in Norway. The interviews enabled the collection of in-depth data, which was then analysed and compared with the normative guidelines. Conclusion: The results provide strong support for the notion that B2B companies are moving from focusing on features toward highlighting intangible perceptions, such as trustworthiness and competence, in their brand positioning. Although all companies identified differentiating factors, a major weakness uncovered in this study was the lack of strategic resources identified by the companies supporting the differentiation. Based on this study the vast majority of companies do not practice brand positioning according to the normative guidelines.