Employee Profile

Ioannis Pappas

Visiting phd candidate - Department of Marketing


Olsen, Lars Erling; Samuelsen, Bendik Meling, Pappas, Ioannis & Warlop, Luk (2022)

Broad vs. Narrow brand positioning: Effects on competitive brand performance

European Journal of Marketing, 56(3) Doi: 10.1108/EJM-02-2021-0090 - Full text in research archive

Purpose –Brand managers can choose among two fundamentally different brand positioning strategies. One is a broad brand strategy, focusing on many favorable brand associations. The other is a narrow brand strategy, focusing on just a few and thus more mentally accessible associations. Building on associative memory theory, the current article examines which of these brand positioning strategies performs better under dynamic market conditions. Design/methodology/approach – Three experiments test the effect of brand positioning strategy on memory accessibility and competitive brand performance. Study 1 tests how brand strategy (broad vs. narrow) affects defensive brand performance. Study 2 tests how broad vs. narrow brands perform differently in a brand extension scenario (offensive brand performance). Study 3 uses real brands and situation-based attributes as stimuli in a defensive scenario. Findings – The results show that a narrow brand positioning strategy leads to a competitive advantage. Narrow brands with fewer and more accessible associations resist new competitors more easily and have higher brand extension acceptance than do broad brands. Research implications – The article shows how to use accessibility as evidence of associative strength and test how accessibility influences competitive brand performance in a controlled experimental context. Practical implications – Brand managers would benefit from a narrow brand positioning strategy in accordance with the USP school of thought used by many marketing practitioners. Originality – The paper demonstrates that narrow brand positioning performs better than broad brand positioning in dynamic markets, and to our knowledge is the first to do so.

Academic Degrees
Year Academic Department Degree
2017 Bocconi University, Milan, Italy Master
2015 Erasmus University Master of Arts
2015 Erasmus University MSc in Marketing
2013 Athens University of Economics and Business Bachelor of Science