Marketing Research: Products & Brands

New Balance men’s 609 cross-training shoes
In this paper, your assignment is to examine the product and branding management elements in your branded
product’s marketing strategy.
1. The first step is to undertake a mini research project. It won’t be scientific but you’ll get to
experience the joys and frustrations of talking to real customers.
a. Find at least 3 people (i.e. respondents) who will talk to you easily, such as friends, and/or family
members. Each person should be an actual or potential buyer of a(ny) brand (not necessarily your brand) in
the product category you chose ? New Balance men’s 609 cross-training shoes. For instance, women buy handbags
(and men buy them as gifts for women). Pet owners buy pet food. So if you are writing about Fancy Feast Cat
Food, talk to at least 3 cat owners.
b. Ask each person these questions:
• When was the last time you bought (fill in the blank – e.g., ‘catfood’)?
• What brand did you choose? What other brands did you consider? Why did you choose the brand you bought?
• If the brand you bought were an animal, what would it be and why?
Note that you may ask some probing questions as needed to glean in-depth insights from the respondents on the
product/brands you are investigating.
c. In the Marketing Research section,
(1) Summarize what you did. How many people did you talk to? Who were they (e.g., age, sex, occupation,
hobbies)? Report how each person responded. It’s better if you can organize this information in a table with
a brief discussion of the contents in the table. Be sure to label the table properly and refer to it in the
(2) Next, interpret the respondents’ answers to each question you asked above.
(Do not just transcribe the responses you obtained in dialogue form. Interpret their answers to the 3
questions with reference to the background readings. For instance, you might say, “The answers of Person A
and B confirmed what Smith (2011) proposes; however, the answer from C seems to be different. I believe these
differences may be due to …” Identify common themes among the responses. If your respondents seemed to
offer widely divergent answers, explain why (using good logic and reasoning, with reference to the
Review the discussion of decision-making in the background readings for this assignment. One source
Explain whether the consumers you interviewed seemed to follow decision processes that resembled those
discussed in the reading.
How did these consumers balance the “should” vs. “want” factors? Refer to
(3) What did you learn from the experience of asking questions (a) about marketing and (b) about the way
consumers respond to your product/brand ? New Balance men’s 609 cross-training shoes
2. Next, in the Product section is a subtopic labeled Product Attributes/Benefits. Identify what you believe
to be important characteristics of your product from a consumer perspective, e.g., design, packaging,
performance measures, etc.
3. In the sub-section labeled Positioning,
a. List what you believe are TWO PRIMARY ATTRIBUTES on which your business competes (such as durability and
b. Create a positioning map showing where you place your branded product relative to its primary competitors
(Nike Air Affect V leather and Reebok RealFlex Transition Men’s training shoes) on these TWO criteria. Your
resource for this task is at
(You should NOT choose “quality;” rather, identify one or more dimensions of quality such as durability or
some measure of performance. (In a car, for example, such measures might be fuel economy or handling.) Also,
you should not ordinarily select price unless your brand is promoted as the least cost option in the
category. Many textbooks follow this approach but this usually results in a linear arrangement of the
products on a diagonal, as price and quality are highly correlated and this invalidates a fundamental
assumption of positioning maps, namely that the dimensions used are independent.? Thus, when your brands line
up on a straight line, you’ve got ONE dimension, not two. And, though meaningful positioning is most often
multi-dimensional, that is, requiring more than two dimensions, for this exercise, so that you get a feeling
for the process, you are being asked to use only two dimensions. Finally, re member to use dimensions that
are very important to the consumer – not qualities that the consumer won’t notice.)
c. Briefly summarize your product’s positioning strategy. Is your product’s position a Strength, Weakness,
Opportunity, or Threat? Defend your position on this issue.
4. In the sub-section labeled Brand Personality, take into account the discussion in the Fournier article
assigned as a background reading.
a. Briefly create a brand personality for your brand. Then, choose one of your brand’s competitors and
describe that brand’s personality.
b. Briefly contrast the two brand personalities you created.