Challenges of Repositioning

The difficulties of successfully repositioning

Repositioning is not a simple decision or a simple task to successfully implement. Some of the unique challenges of repositioning are outlined in the following table.


Repositioning considerations

Lose existing sales If a product is repositioned, then it moves away from its current positioning. It is likely that a significant proportion of any existing sales may be lost because the product will no longer be deemed suitable for the existing customers.
Change perception Repositioning requires the target market to change their understanding of a product. In other words, they may need to forget much of what they understood about the product and learn a number of new aspects instead.
Competition reaction Positioning is how the product is understood relative to competitors. A repositioning program is often disrupted by competitors who try and confuse the message of the firm; by highlighting ‘we made them change’ or a similar theme that indicates that the competitor offerings are far superior.
Low-involvement purchases As the consumer needs to be ‘re-educated’, there needs to be some learning undertaken. This is far more of a challenge with low-involvement purchases, as the consumer is typically disinterested.
Cost versus new brand Repositioning is often an expense exercise as the product is often modified and the communications cost is substantial. Therefore, the firm needs to consider whether introducing a new brand/product instead would be a more prudent option. (This is discussed in a section on new brand or repositioning.)
Cost and time Repositioning requires the changing of many consumers’ understanding and perception. This may take years to fully achieve and is likely to be reasonably expensive. The cost-benefit of this approach needs to be carefully considered.
Marketing mix support A product positioning is generated from its supportive marketing mix (see separate section on this issue). Therefore, a successful repositioning probably requires some changes to the product at least and may require changes to the other marketing mix elements as well.