Repositioning the Irving Oil Master Brand

Repositioning the Irving Oil Master Brand (2011) Boston University School of Management Case (Fournier)

Per Feldwick’s brand equity chain, the creation of shareholder value through branding starts with the capture of resonant and powerful meanings for the brand. Uncovering the meanings that can ground a solid positioning platform is not easy, but the task is critical as it provides the theme around which the holistic brand experience is framed. This case lets you grapple with the topic of brand positioning at the workbench level as you explore research into the resonant meanings that can serve as foundations for powerful brands. The case provides data from ZMET (Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique), a qualitative method with a particular capacity for uncovering the content of a brand’s meaning architecture: the thoughts, feelings, perceptions, images, beliefs, attitudes, and cultural values that become attached to the product and the brand.2 Using data collected for Irving Oil on the “meaning of buying gasoline today,” you will gain experience with the ZMET method for brand meaning elicitation –the most popular qualitative research technique for meaning mapping in the world. Additional consumer research presented in the case provides context for evaluating the problems facing Irving and informs potential positioning directions for the master brand.

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