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Journal cover: Business Strategy Series

Business Strategy Series

ISSN: 1751-5637
Previously published as: Handbook of Business Strategy

Online from: 2007

Subject Area: Strategy

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Positions and positioning: strategy simply stated

Document Information:
Title:Positions and positioning: strategy simply stated
Author(s):Donelda S. McKechnie, (Assistant Professor of Marketing based in London, Canada), Jim Grant, (Professor of Marketing & Management, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE), Marios Katsioloudes, (Professor of Management, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE)
Citation:Donelda S. McKechnie, Jim Grant, Marios Katsioloudes, (2008) "Positions and positioning: strategy simply stated", Business Strategy Series, Vol. 9 Iss: 5, pp.224 - 230
Keywords:Airlines, Management strategy, Product positioning, United Arab Emirates
Article type:Viewpoint
DOI:10.1108/17515630810906729 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to focus on the four strategy tools of positions and positioning: leader, challenger, follower and niche. It suggests that it is important for managers to understand where their business fits in the market, vis-à-vis the competition. Without this knowledge, it is difficult to identify a differential advantage that will give the necessary competitive edge to attract the target customer.

Design/methodology/approach – This paper reviews positioning using a back to basics explanation. A simply constructed matrix – represented by variables: company-focused or competition-focused and pushes the boundaries or stays within boundaries – illustrates business philosophy in the marketplace.

Findings – Airlines positioned in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) aviation industry exemplify a market environment with companies holding distinctive positions. Emirates Airline is the leader, Etihad Airways is the challenger, Gulf Air is the follower and Air Arabia is successfully established in the niche position. A summary explanation of business operations for each airline supports the discussion.

Practical implications – Marketing practice aligned with textbook theory is identified in the growth-oriented UAE aviation industry. In real-world terms, four airlines distinctively hold each of the four positions while a fifth airline is making inroads into the regional market and appears to be challenging the current challenger.

Originality/value – The strategy simply stated in this paper suggests that the market environment is dynamic and constant assessment is necessary. Managers seeking to maximize differential advantage vis-à-vis the competition should consider using more than one strategy tool particularly if it contributes to a manager's ability to understand the market environment.

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