Communicating Images: A Discussion on the Positioning Strategy of Volvo Cars and the Model SS (Super Safe) Recommendation

Communicating Images: A Discussion on the Positioning Strategy of Volvo Cars and the Model SS (Super Safe) Recommendation

H. Çağatay Karabıyık (Independent Researcher, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-3430-7.ch016
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In the postmodern world, marketing has become a phenomenon that cannot be reduced to the sales management and customer relations because brands are individuals of the society. As a result, brands need to create an image and a holistic structure. The aim of this study, which is based on this reality, is to criticize the marketing strategy of Volvo Cars in accordance with practice, then to develop a model that is compatible with the brand's image and develop a marketing mix for it. In this study, the current marketing policy of Volvo Cars and especially the R Design and Polestar models were examined in comparison with the top models of its competing brands. As a result of these examinations, it was determined that Volvo Cars' R Design and Polestar models are not compatible with the image and positioning strategy of the brand. As a solution, the SS (Super Safe) model was proposed as the top model for Volvo Cars' S90 and XC90 models, and a marketing mix was developed for this model.
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Increasing competition and changing consumer trends in today's markets have revealed new understandings in marketing. More specifically, marketing professionals no longer make a product salable only. In addition to this, they carry out the relationships developed and should be developed by brands that have become subjects in the social structure. This shows that the marketing strategy developed for a brand should be more consistent and systematic.

While brands that have become individuals in the social structure develop relationships with consumers, they also compete to obtain certain images in their minds. The equivalent of this change in marketing theory is positioning. In other words, although they seem to be competing for market shares, in fact, brands are competing for images and positions in the minds of consumers. Especially in terms of competitive advantage, a brand that has an image with a sufficient market share in the minds of consumers will always be a priority brand for consumers who want to have that image. This shows that today, while developing a marketing strategy for brands, it should be considered that they are subjects in the social structure, and it is necessary to create a strong personality for them to position them. Because, contrary to what is known in the traditional sense, brands develop their relations with consumers through the images they create in their minds. To explain more concretely, the efforts of a brand that has not achieved the position of “safe car” in the minds of consumers to develop a relationship in this context will be meaningless. For this reason, this brand must first achieve the “safe car” position in the minds of consumers, and then coordinate all marketing tools to maintain and strengthen this position. In other words, today, brands have become image contractors that show themselves with products (Odabaşı, 2004). By purchasing these brands, consumers position their own images, life views and the groups they belong to in the society.

In order to correctly understand the changes in market conditions and the marketing approach that brands should adopt, first of all, post-modern consumer behaviors and then target market selection and positioning practices should be examined. For this reason, in this study, first, a literature review on these fields was made. Then, the marketing strategies of the Volvo Cars brand were criticized in terms of positioning the brand, considering the post-modern consumer behaviors. After these criticisms, the positioning issue that needs to be applied for the correct positioning of the Volvo Cars brand was discussed and a model proposal that correctly serves the brand's positioning was created.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Positioning: The symbolic value and place that products and brands have in the minds of consumers in the post-modern era.

Marketing Mix: The marketing mix is defined as the set of tools that marketing management can use to influence sales. Although different mixes are discussed in the marketing literature, in this study, the 4Ps consisting of product, price, distribution and promotion components are examined.

Post-Modern: Post-modernism expresses the social structure and understanding seen in practice, which has a social counterpart and comes after modern society and corresponds to an intellectual phenomenon.

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