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Article
Publication date: 5 June 2017

Charles Blankson, Seth Ketron and Joseph Darmoe

The purpose of this paper is to investigate employment of positioning strategies in the retail bank sector of Sub-Saharan Africa, specifically using Ghana as the study context. In…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate employment of positioning strategies in the retail bank sector of Sub-Saharan Africa, specifically using Ghana as the study context. In addition, it explores the applicability of western-based typology of positioning strategies in the Sub-Saharan African environment.

Design/methodology/approach

Six retail banks – three national and three foreign – are studied, each through an in-depth case study method: covert and participant observation techniques; and face-to-face interviews of chief executive officers, marketing managers, and bank branch managers provided data for the study.

Findings

The results show that the “service” positioning strategy is the most popular strategy employed by retail banks. “Value for money,” “attractiveness,” “brand name,” and “country of origin” positioning strategies are also dominant. “Top of the range” and “selectivity” strategies are minimally pursued by the sample of banks studied. The results reveal that both foreign and national retail banks employ multiple positioning strategies in the face of competition. However, foreign retail banks consistently employ a; large number of strategies relative to national retail banks. This paper supports the applicability of a western-derived set of positioning strategies in the Sub-Saharan African marketplace.

Research limitations/implications

This study closes a gap in the understanding of positioning, as well as filling the empirical gap in the application of positioning. In addition, it helps resolve a contextual gap of knowledge in Sub-Saharan Africa’s retail banking sector.

Originality/value

This study responds to Porter (1996), Clancy and Trout (2002), and Knox (2004) for continued empirical research in positioning in service industries and specifically in Sub-Saharan African economies (Coffie, 2014, 2016; Coffie and Owusu-Frimpong, 2014). Moreover, this research adds value to the banking and marketing literatures through a qualitative case study method, which is an important yet overlooked research method (Yin, 2009).

Details

International Journal of Bank Marketing, vol. 35 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-2323

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