Social Baines, et al. (2013), social poisoning influences

positioning is the position that an individual occupies in a given society.
According to Baines, et al. (2013),
social poisoning influences an individual’s social status because it provides a
focus on how the individual is perceived. Some of the social positions that an
individual may hold fall under categories such as occupation – an academic
lecturer, a medical doctor, a priest, family – parent, sibling or hobby –
member of a golf club (Kuwu & Gakure, 2014).
It is worth noting that social positions become noticeable when an individual
wears a uniform or an identifier of some kind (Bowman
& Gatignon, 2010). In business, however, positioning refers to the
position that a brand occupies in the mind of the customer and how it is
differentiated from products offered by the competitors. In order to position a
brand in the mind of the customer, the firm must emphasize the distinguishing
features that set its products apart from the competition. Alternatively, the
firm may decide to create a suitable image that identifies with the target
customers. A brand may establish an image as a premium, affordable, or
inexpensive brand (Fifield, 2012). The
position that a brand plans to occupy in the mind of a customer is defined at
the corporate level and translated in all the business strategies related to
the supply chain. From the onset, a firm or corporation must be clear how it
intends to be perceived by the customers as a brand.

For the purposes of this report, the term brand is used to refer to a product produced by a particular
company under a specific name. The term company in this context of a brand
refers to a firm or a corporation that produces a particular product under its
name. Also, the primary difference between a firm and a corporation is the scope
of the operations within and outside the domestic market. The operations of a
firm, which are business in nature, are restricted to the domestic market defined
by national borders whilst a multinational corporation must have operations at
least in one country outside the domestic market. To that end, Wheego
Technologies and Mercedes-Benz were selected for this social positioning
analysis because the former is a firm whilst the latter is a corporation (Wheego Technologies, 2017; (Mercedes-Benz, 2017).
Wheego Technologies operate mainly in North America whilst Mercedes-Benz has
operations in over 20 countries across the globe, including the U.K., Germany,
Mexico, Brazil, Norway, and Canada. To aid this critical analysis, the 4p’s
marketing model will be used to explicate how Wheego Technologies and
Mercedes-Benz have developed their accounts of the nature of a firm and a
modern corporation respectively.

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A Firm

             A firm also known as a company is a separate
legal entity that is separate from its owners and conducts business within
national borders to make a profit or returns on investments (Cant, 2006). The phrase national borders is included in the definition of a company in
order to define the scope of its operations to differentiate it from a

The 4p’s Marketing Mix of a Firm


            From the onset,
a company must determine how it intends to be perceived as a brand. The vision
and mission of the company should capture this clearly in order to articulate
it in its corporate and business strategies (Bowman
& Gatignon, 2010). For instance, a company must decide whether the consumers
perceive it as a luxurious, affordable, or inexpensive brand. By defining the
position that a brand wishes to occupy in the mind of the consumers, a company
effectively chooses how its products are judged. According to Belohlavek (2008), consumers perceive luxurious
or high end brands as high quality products that include unique features,
whilst the low-end brands are perceived to offer products of low quality with
standardized features. Wheego Technologies aimed at the mid-production market
by developing electric sports cars for the middle class customers. Its products
are not only of unique design, but also of high quality. Focusing on quality
has helped the firm to build a loyal consumer base because customers have come
to expect reliable and durable electric cars from Wheelo Technologies. The firm
understands that its consumers need a reliable car that meets their daily
transportation needs, therefore it is highly unlikely to see Wheelo
Technologies breaking down on the road. For a good price, customers get a car that
is not only innovative, but also reliable.


            Becherer, et al., (2008) argues that pricing also contributes to how a firm
positions itself in the mind of the customer as a brand. A price tag on an item
clearly defines the social status of the person that can afford it. A pricing
strategy for a brand corresponds to the disposable income and the purchasing
power of the target customers. For instance, Wheego Technologies sells the
Wheego Whip LSV for $20,000. It is quite a high price for a two-seater electric
car with a speed of 35 mph. However, this perception is pervasive among the low-income
earners, but not among the middle class customers whom the car is designed for
to fulfil their daily transit needs. The car is designed for short range
transits in urban areas, which perfectly meets the needs of the working class
who make up the majority of the middle class. Conversely, a company selling
low-quality products is bound to charge a low price because its products are
not reliable (Iacobucci, 2014). Customers
also expect to derive limited value from products that are priced cheaply. On
the other hand, a very high price also indicates that the product is designed
for the affluent members of the society with a significant amount of disposable
income (Tallant, 2011). Luxury products
achieve this brand status partly because they are highly priced. Owning such a
brand comes with a level of prestige that affluent customers are likely to
desire. Besides being a product for normal usage, high-end products reflect a
person’s social status. The brand itself speaks volumes about a person’s social
and economic status.


            How a brand
promotes its products, in this case a company, influences the perceptions that
the customers develop about the product. Marketing campaigns are designed to
communicate a specific message to the customer, which aids in developing a
unique position in their mind (Belohlavek, 2008).
First and foremost, brand identifiers such as logos, trademarks, and labels
help customers to differentiate the products of a particular brand from the
competition. Secondly, brands utilize marketing channels that target customers
who share specific demographic features such as the level of income. For
instance, Wheego Technologies target customers who need a convenient means of
moving from point A to B in urban areas. Therefore, the firm brands itself as a
manufacturer of affordable electric cars for short to mid-range transits. This
resonates with the needs of the working class members of the society, who are
the majority of the American middle class.


            According to Fitzen (2009), it is imperative for a company
to avail its products to its target market using the distribution channels that
the target customers can easily access. Indeed, the products must be available
where the target customers are likely to shop. High-end products are often
distributed using channels that the affluent members of the society can easily
access. In most cases, high-end products are distributed in urban places such
as shopping malls where the rich are likely to shop. Mid-range products are
often distributed in down-town markets where the working class can easily
access them as they transit to and from work (Schmid,
2013). Lastly, low-end products are distributed to the inner-cities of a
city because this is where the majority of the low-income earners live. As
such, where a customer is likely to find a product immediately creates a unique
image about the brand (Hiam, 2014). To
that end, Wheelo Technologies distributes its products through car dealerships
because it is where the majority of the working class customers are likely to
buy a car. If the firm was selling high-end cars like Ferrari, then the
customer would have to get their vehicle from Ferrari’s own factories or pay
online for it to be delivered to their doorstep.


            A corporation is
a legal business structure that is formed to represent the business interests
of a group of people (Bettiol, et al., 2012).
Corporations come in different types, but are legally divided into two by the
legal jurisdictions of where they are chartered into two kinds or categories.
The first kind or category is defined by whether the corporation can issue
stocks or not whilst the second kind focuses on whether a corporation is
established to make a profit or not. Besides these classification criteria, a
corporation must have operations in another country other than the home
country. The complexity of a firm’s positioning strategy increases as the
number of foreign markets increases (Lamb, et
al., 2012). The corporation is increasingly forced to change its
business strategies in order to cope with the consumer perceptions of the
brand, which are heavily influenced by the national cultures of each target
market (Schindler, 2012). The following
is a 4p’s marketing mix of a corporation.

The 4p’s Marketing Mix of a Corporation –


            As aforementioned, a corporation or
a firm has to decide the position it intends to occupy in the mind of the
customer. The products that a corporation produces must reflect the social
status that the customers attach to the brand (Bowman
& Gatignon, 2010). In the context of a corporation, it can either
decide to target the high-end, middle, low-end markets. The characteristics of
the products such as quality must resonate with the needs of the target market.
According to Richter (2012), a
corporation can either develop standardized products to be sold across all the
target markets by utilizing a market development approach or develop new
products for each target market through product development strategies. At the
heart of either strategy is maintaining product quality as the key to
developing a unique position in the mind of the customer. Mercedes-Benz targets
the high-end market and its product are standardized in all the target markets
to ensure consistent quality, which is inexplicably linked to its global image
as a brand.


            Pricing is an
identifier of the position that a brand intends to occupy in the mind of the
customer. Highly priced brands create an impression of luxury and owners
associate the products with a particular social value. According to Pride and Ferrell (2010), affordability is key
to exclusivity. That is, the more affordable a brand becomes, the less
exclusive it becomes. Low exclusivity has a low social value because almost
everyone can afford the products. To maintain its position as a luxury brand,
Mercedes-Benz retails all its products across all target markets around the
world at a high price. Irrespective of whether it’s a developing economy, such
as Brazil or an established economy like the United States, Mercedes-Benz
utilizes a premium pricing strategy. This is why Mercedes-Benz vehicles are
owned by the affluent members of the society as well as institutions.


            How a product is
promoted helps to establish a unique position in the mind of the customer. A
great deal of effort goes into promoting luxury or high end products in order
to reach the target audience (McGhie, 2012).
More specifically, a brand must be visible in places where the affluent members
of the society frequent. A brand tries to associate with its target customers
by appealing to their tastes and preferences. Mercedes-Benz has built a solid
reputation as a luxurious brand by filtering its customers using targeted
marketing strategies. The brand uses professionals, public figures and
celebrities to market its products. The objective is to reach people who are
likely to associate with the lifestyle of the individuals featured in its
promotional campaigns. Mercedes-Benz also sponsors sports events such as golf
and Formula 1, which are played and watched by the rich in the society.


            Place also
contributes to how customers perceive a brand or a corporation because the
distribution channels target specific customers (Iacobucci,
2014). A corporation that is selling high-end products is likely to
target distribution channels that will reach the affluent members of the
society. This could be shopping malls in urban centres or online shopping
channels such as e-commerce websites that include free delivery to the
doorstep. It is possible to deliver in urban areas because the roads, streets,
and avenues are well named and integrated into Google maps. On the other hand,
low-end brands use mass distribution channels such as wholesale and retail stores
that operate in the inner cities of a city because this is where the majority
of the low-income earners reside. It is worth noting that a corporation serves
global clients, hence it distributes its products across geographical borders.
In the case of Mercedes-Benz, the firm distributes its products through
company-owned showrooms in each of the target markets. Customers get their cars
directly from the company without an intermediary. This direct approach to
distribution creates a feeling and perception of prestige because of the
personalized nature of the customer service delivery.


            In concise,
position marketing strategies and tools help to develop accounts for both a
firm and a corporation because they position the brand in the mind of the customers
in relation to the competition. The quality of the product, price, promotional
approaches as well as the distribution channels utilized to deliver the product
to the customer influence the perception that customers develop about the
brand. To that end, a firm or a corporation must decide the position its brand
will occupy in the mind of its customers from its onset in order to develop
corporate and business strategies that match the needs of the target customers.