Chapter 1: Introduction
This dissertation is comprised of brand evolution and sum various steps involved to construct it. The creation and importance of Brand Awareness, Brand Image, and Brand Loyalty is discussed followed by the evaluation of Servis Sales Corporation as how successful Brand they are in Shoe industry of Pakistan. Servis Sales Corporation claims to be the largest retail shoe sellers of Pakistan therefore research is held on the company as what are the various marketing strategies SSC adopted to gain such a large market share. Steps to create brand loyalty amongst their target market and implementing effective brand management are part of this research.
Branding is the main ingredient in the process of creating stable reputation, identity and strong image of a company and is always a first requirement to have competitive edge, this create awareness and work as a positive gesture towards customers to be product or brand loyal. As the Chairman of Quaker Oats Ltd, John Stuart said, if this business were to be split up, I would be glad to take the brands, trademark and goodwill and you could have it all the bricks and mortar and I would fare better than you . Leslie De Chernatony(2001 p1)
In this era of globalization every company wishes to grow and expand their businesses in order to attain a healthy position in throat cutting world of business . In this effort companies faces many challenges and went through many challenges by their rivals and most of all providing customer’s satisfaction.
1.1 Background Study
The term brand arrived form the ancient Norse word meaning “to burn”
Rita Clifton, John Simmons, Sameena Ahmad (2004 ;13).
The original term was developed to signify the source or maker or owner of a product or item.
Now a days brand is used to identify service or product’s manufacturer or seller, when we go through we see that many of the many modern concepts of brands and branding were formalised in the United States at a Procter & Gamble company in the late 1800s. We get a good example of importance of brand when we talk about “Virgin” which is currently at the face of hundred business strategies.
A brand will be a strong brand if people’s values match the values of brand. Branding’s means adding value to the product Marieke K de Mooij (2005: 96)
Brand stands for a reputation, you are always reputed when you are always reputed when you make a promise and fulfil it. Brand is more like a human nature not just a visual, public identity or a picture. Every single who is part of the organization represents the brand of the company and pay its part to construct it. The brand is a performance measured and recorded in interaction of every area involves customers investors, employees business partners and media (www.thebrandconsultancy.com)
Its quite clear that every company is conscious about its brand loyalty amongst its customers because they know this if they are successful in managing the brand loyalty of their existing customers which is company’s strategic asset it will automatically add huge value to firm.
As Douglas B states that Brand Loyalty is the customer’s willingness to stay with brand when competitor come knocking with offering that would be considered equally attractive had not to the customer and brand shared a history. The degree of customer stickiness is the key to the brand’s market power.
Douglas B. Holt (2004 ; p 149)
Merlo (2003) mentions that the brand loyalty is rewarded by an increase in profit through repeat business, referral sales, decreased customer maintenance costs and reduced exposure to price competition.
When we talk about creating and enhancing brand loyalty we see that there are not-too complex ways of increasing brand loyalty. Companies can learn to recover from mistakes. A good recovery can turn angry, frustrated customers into a loyal ones. “Companies must handle problems and complaints with Care- Communicate, Acknowledgement, respect and regard and empathy”(Merlo, 2003)
1.2 Statement of Problem
Global challenges today have forced companies not to have their business image within their home land but to spread their identity across the borders by managing brand, securing the product or a service of companies and building loyalty among customers to achieve maximum and lasting competitive edge.
The aim of the research is to evaluate the brand management of Servis Sales Corporation by analyzing their marketing strategies. Research covers the analysis that how successful SSC today is in gaining brand loyalty as it is considered to be the biggest footwear seller in Pakistan.
1.3 Aim and Objectives
The main Objective of the research is the finding that to what level SSC is successful in imperialising Brand Management to embrace positive effect on their customer’s perception and has given SSC a competitive edge, as they are Pakistan’s largest shoe company.
Core Objectives of Research
To analyze marketing strategies of Servis Shoes Company leading to effective brand management giving SSC a positive brand image amongst their target market.
To observe various strategies adapted by SSC to enhance brand loyalty amongst their customers?
To find out what steps Servis Shoes Company took to create its Brand awareness amongst it’s target market and what are the areas they still need to focus upon.
To identify the involvement of consumers to the brand as in why they prefer a particular brand (Servis) on every other different brands available in the market.
1.4 Report Structure
This report will be organized as follows:
The literature review of this report covers understanding and benefit of effective brand management that how people connect to them. Chapter includes importance of creating and enhancing awareness among consumers followed by the concepts and historical perspective of brand loyalty giving a wider view of the perception about brand loyalty and its strategic values.
This chapter consist of the brief introduction to Servis Sales Corporation, giving a wider view of their leading position in shoe line in Pakistan amongst their rivals. This chapter shows company background and demographics with the facts and figures about their expanded business nationwide.
In this chapter different method of research is discussed. It also focuses on research philosophy principle, quantitative and qualitative analysis and secondary and primary data. After studying the methods and techniques different methods are identified which is most suitable to get the reliable and most accurate data? Which is used in research?
Finding and Analysis
After completing the research, the data gathered through different sources from the company are analysed in this chapter, which is explained with chart and then it is moderated with the findings.
This chapter involves conclusion and the result in the light of findings with literature. Analysis of research finding and result are discussed, Recommendation to company and further research is also the part of this chapter.
Scott Galloway stated a very good definition showing importance of brands in today’s world of marketing that “Brand is the face of a business strategy” ( Scott Galloway in Alker, 2000 :33)
another well appreciated definition of brand given by American Marketing Association cited in (Kotler 2003: 418) “ A brand is name, term, sign, symbol, or services of one seller or a group of seller to differentiate them from those of competitors”.
A brand is essentially a marketer’s promise to deliver a specific set of features, benefits and services consistently to buyers. The marketer must think that he is offering a contract to the customer about how the brand will perform ( kotler 2003)
Le Pla et ala, (2003: 3) give a more profound and in depth definition of brand: Brand is the interaction between core company (product or service) strengths and what is customer value. Company strengths are what company does well. The things that the customers value include the benefits of a products features, as well as what the customer see as the ongoing worth of a relationship with the company.
According to Kapferer (1997 : 56), “Products are mute: the brand is what gives them a meaning and purpose, telling us how a product should be read. A brand is both a prism and a magnifying glass through which products can be decoded”.
Renault invites us to perceive its models as cars for living’.. brands guide our perception of products”. Hence it can clearly be seen from the above paragraph that branding goes a long way in giving a distinct identity to a product.
Rowley (1997) explains that brand communicates with consumers, according too him when consumers are familiar with a brand, they expect the same qualities, benefits and advantages from products or services which are provided under that specific brand, this easily makes their decision in favour of the brand instead of searching or gathering information regarding products fulfilling their requirements. Therefore, it can be suggested that brand accelerates consumers’ process of decision making as it provides two different ways of communication between suppliers and their consumers (Rowley, 1997)
Effective Brand Management
The concept of “brand management” was developed at Procter & Gamble in the US in the year 1930 and is also knows as product management .Ambler (2003:82).
The main reason behind Brand management is to secure the product’s future and services any company or organization, and this is only possible with the formulation loyalty amongst customers creating emotional as well as rational values. This results sales in market place and stimulating affect on the perception of a company’s products .If brand power is tied together in a proper way organization can easily maximize market share and corporate profitability. Brands if handled and managed sensibly can provide their owners a considerable benefits and rewards.
Davis (2002 :6) says that the following benefits accure to the company that manages is brands effectively:
Loyalty derives repeat business- A recent study by Bob Pasikoff, president of brand keys, shows that an increase in customer loyalty of only 5% can lift lifetime profit per customer by as much as 100%.
Premiums price of brand allow higher margins – Starbucks represents the ultimate example of a strong brand driving a premium price resulting in greater profit.
Strong Brands lend immediate credibility to new one in product introductions. A well established brands can provide instant credibility for a new product. Gillette’s Marc 3 became number one personal shaver within a month of its launch.
Strong brand allow for greater shareholder and stakeholder returns. One can see a good example is Yahoo and GE are big brands with even bigger shareholder returns.
Strong Brand embody a clear, valued, and sustainable point of differentiation relative to competition – No one can FedEx’s claim of overnight delivery.
Loyal customer base and strong brand make customer forgiving for the the mistakes made by the company, if a company makes a mistake for instance, the strike at the Saturn car plant had little impact on Saturn’s loyalty or sales.
The lever for attracting best employees along with keeping satisfied customers is Brand Strength – Companies like coca-cola, Microsoft, Intel, Disney etc. are almost always in the top bracket of survey which measures employee satisfaction.
It is obvious that it’s a difficult thing to build and maintain a brand reputation like Coke, Microsoft, Nike, General Electric, etc and as David D’ Alessandro, President of John Hancock Mutual Life insurance, in Klein (2000: 145), “it can take 100 years too build up a good brand and 30 days to knock it down”.
Effect of Brand on People ( How People connect to them)
Scott Davis( 2002) says that, Brands are at least in part a set of promises made to consumer. The leading brand travel a particular PATH in the human mind. This PATH is an acronym for promise, acceptance, trust and hope. Certainly this PATH is intangible and cannot be co modified”. But he then mentions that these very intangibles make a customer choose Sony over JVC and Nike over Reebok. The following are the customers perceptions vis-à-vis a strong brand (Davis, 2002)
72% of customer sat that they will pay a 20% premium for their brand of choice, relative to the closest competitive brand.
25% of customer state that price matter if they are buying a brand that owns their loyalty.
Over 50% of purchases are brand driven.
Peer recommendation influences almost 30% of all purchases made today.
More than 50% of consumers believe a strong brand allows for more successful new product introductions and they are more willing to try a new product from a preferred brand because of the implied endorsement.
The view of Le Pla et al, (2002 ; 3) is that a strong brand is much more than an image or a logo. People emotionally identify with a strong brand and relationship with such a brand makes them feel more secure and comfortable. This is completely in sync with Kotler’s ( 2003) example of a consumer buying a Mercedes because the car ( which is also a strong brand) makes him feel more important and admired’. Aaker (1991) suggests that anything which a consumer realises about a brand can be defined as brand association it according to him it create positive consumer attitudes towards brands, thus influence consumer buying decision process.
Kapferer (1997) says that brand is like a living memory. The memory factor explains why individuals preferences endure and why within a given generation people continue to prefer the brands they liked between the ages of seven and eighteen
( Guest 1964, Fry et al., 1973, Jacoby et al., 1978 in Kapferer 1997). This is proof, if it was ever needed, that strong brands do have a long-term effect on people.
It is imperative now to take a more focussed look on the three constructs that constitute the basis of this study. The first to be analysed will be brand awareness followed by brand loyalty and brand image.
a number of the definition if the term “ Brand Awareness” abound, a fundamental definition of the term is given by Aaker(1991: 61) “ Brand Awareness is the ability of a potential buyer to recognize or recall that a brand is a member of certain product category”.
David Aaker’s (1991) ground braking work “managing brand equity” details with the concept of brand awareness comprehensively. Hence, it has been use here as a main reference, although it has been complimented with other readings.
Aaker says that brand awareness involves a link between the product class and the brand. For example, the use of the large balloon with the word Levi’s on it may make the name more salient, but it will not may necessarily help improve brand awareness. However if the balloon is shaped to resemble a pair of Levi’s 301 jeans , the link to the product is provided, the balloon’s effectiveness at creating awareness is enhanced. Aaker (1991).
By using the brand, perceiving it and being confronted with it through advertising, consumers learn about its meanings. All this information is connected associatively to the brand name. the richer this associative network is, and the stronger the associations the greater the chance of consumers thinking.
Levels of Brand Awareness
“Brand Awareness involves the continuum ranging from an uncertain feeling that the brand is recognised, to a belief that it is the only one in the product class. This continuum is presented in the ‘ Awareness Pyramids’’’ ( Aaker 19991 : 62)
Levels of Brand Awareness ( Aaker, 1991)
Aaker stated that “the minimal level of brand is recognition which is based upon aided recall test where respondents are given a set of brand in a product category and asked to identify those that they had heard of before. Thus, although there needs to be link between the brand and the product class, it needs not to be strong. Brand Recognition is particularly important when a buyer chooses a brand at the point of purchases” (Aaker 1991 ;62).
Franzen et al, ( 2001) stated that the situations in which none of the choice alternatives is well represented in or memory, brand familiarity ( recognition) will be the determinant in the choice process. The purchases in which consumers regularly choose and re-choose because of the awareness stored in his memory, aided brand awareness i.e. brand recognition has hardly any significance.
If we see further we see that brand recall is the further level dependent on asking a person to name brand in a product class. This is “Unaided recall” because , unlike in the recognition task, the responded is not aided by having names provide. Unaided recall is a substantially more difficult task then recognition, and is associated with a stronger brand position. The first named brand in an unaided recall task has achieved top-of-mind awareness. (Aaker 1991)
Strategic Value of Brand Awareness
Brand Awareness provides a sustainable competitive advantage and can be a key strategic asset for the company ( Aaker 1998)
The following are the banifits of creating a higher brand awareness ( Aaker 1991: 63) ( Figure 3);
Anchor to which other association can be attached : Brand Recognition is the first basic step in the communication task. It usually is wasteful to attempt to communicate brand attributes until a name is established with which to associate the attributes.
Familiarity/Liking: Awareness provides the brand with fimilarity and people like the familiar. They are prepared to ascribe all sorts of good attitudes to items that are familiar to them ( Aaker et al., 2000). Especially for low involvement products like soap, chewing gum, sugar , facial tissues etc., familiarity can some times drive the buying decision.
Substance/ Commitment: Name awareness can be a signal of presence, commitment and substance, an attribute very important to consumer buyers of durables. The logic is that if a name is recognised, there must be a reason like:
The firm is widely distributed.
The firm has advertised extensively.
The brand is successful-others use it.
Even if the person has not been exposed to advertising and knows little about, brand awareness could lead to the assumptions that the firm is substantial and backs the brand with advertising.
Brands to consider: The role of brand recall (discussed earlier) is crucial for frequently purchased products like coffee, detergent, serials et. Several studies have demonstrated the relationship between top of mind recall and attitude/purchase behaviour. One such study, of six brands in the three product classes (Fast food, Soda and banking), showed large differences in preferences and purchase likely hood, depending on weather the brand was first, second or third mentioned in an unaided recall task (Woodside and Wilson, 1985 in Aaker, 1991). Sometimes it is possible that people recall brands that they dislike strongly.
Benefits of Brand Awareness (Aaker 1991)
A number of researchers besides Aaker have also demonstrated that brand awareness is a particularly important concept relative to brand evaluation in predicting and explaining consumer choice behaviour. For instance, Arch G (1996 :38) refered to Axelrod (1968 , 1986) demonstrated that top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) of a brand is a sensitive and stable measure than can serve as an intermediate criterion for predicting brand-choice behaviour and brand-switching behaviour. Axelrod (1968) in Aech G(1996 ; 38) emphasized the needs for developing valid and reliable intermediate survey indicators of whether marketing and advertising influence product and brand choice behaviour because of the greater expense and time necessary for experiments to measure the impact of marketing and advertising actions on such behaviour.
Haley et al, (1979 in Holden et al., 1992) postulated that brand awareness is more important than attitude. This nation was supported by Hauser (1978 in Holden et al .,
1992) who, using an information theoretic approach, reported that the probability of inclusion of the brand in the evoke ( recalled ) set accounts for more variation in brand choice thus brand attitude (Holden et al., 1992)
Similar to Aaker ( 1991), Holden et al, (1992) also say that in the case of low involvement purchase, Brand recall may be reason enough to buy the brand ( that has been recalled
Also a high degree of brand awareness is linked to higher sales due to the factor of “ Social desirability” . Most people tend to behave according to the expectations of their social environment, even when it goes against their own opinion. If they are aware of the brand, they will have a tendency to buy it because it is the socially desirably thing to do ( Franzen et al., 2001).
Copeland (1923: 287) talked about the benefits of brand awareness as follows “ if the consumer’s previous acquaintance with the brand has been favourable, or if the manufacturer’s and dealer’s advertising has made favourable impression, other things being equal, the recognised brand will be selected from among other unrecognised brands”.
Creating and Enhancing Brand Awareness
Because consumers are bombarded everyday by more and more marketing messages, the challenge of creating awareness is considerable ( Aaker, 1996).
The best approach for every brand to create and maintain brand awareness depends upon the context but the following do server as good points ( Aaker, 1991: 72) ;
Be Different, Memorable: An Awareness message should provide a reason to be noticed and it should be memorable. There are many tacks that work but one key is to simply be different and unusual.
Involve a slogan or jingle: A Slogan or a Jingle can make a big difference. Slogans like “ it floats” or “Just do it” can help recall. For a product class like soap, it might be easier to come up with “ it floats” and then Ivory, rather than to name Ivory directly. The link to the slogan might be stronger because it involves a product characterstic that can be visualised. Similarly, a jingle also is vey powerful awareness device.
Symbol exposure: A symbol can play a major role in creating and maintaining awareness because it involves a visual image which is much easier to learn and to recall than a word or a phrase.
Event Sponsorship: The primary role of most event sponsorship is to crate or maintain awareness. For example, the Benson and Hedges Cricket world cup, the Mercedes super 9- tennis tournament etc.
It must be noted that the strongest brand are managed not for strategic awareness. It is one thing to be remembered ; it is quite another to be remembered for the right reason ( Aaker, 1996).
Every company’s endeavour is to increase its brand loyalty in order to retain as many consumers as possible and it can be well assumed when we see that in 2000, the NDP Group, an international market research company in New York, conducted a survey that half of 20,000 respondents who described themselves as loyal to a company one year were no longer loyal the next. According to Frederic Rechheld, founder of Boston-based consulting firm Bain and Company, the average American company loses half of its customers every five years
The next economy By Elliott Ettenberg, NetLibrary, Inc (2001 ;34)
The Brand Loyalty concept from Historical Perspective
Contrary to what some people believe brand loyalty has existed for a long time in the realm of marketing. Copeland (1923) first introduced this concept around 80 years ago. He talks about three ascending stages of brand loyalty-consumer reorganisation ( when the product is recognised and bought from among a host of unrecognised products), consumer preference ( when pervious use or advertising has created a favourable preference in the consumer’s mind) and consumer insistence. The third stage is the pinnacle of brand loyalty where the consumer approaches the purchase of an article with the attitude that he will accept no substitute ( Copeland, 1923).
Different Perceptions of Brand Loyalty
“Brand Loyalty is the biased behavioural response expressed over time by some decision making unit with respect to one or more alternative brands out of a set of such brands”.
More recently, the concept of loyalty have evolved further, encompassing a rich diversity of dimensions underlying the relationship that a customer may entertain with a brand.
Martin et al.,(2004:217) referred Oliver’s statement in his book “Loyalty involves a favourable attitude towards the brand or organisation and positive re-purchase intentions. This can be further understood by investigating the element of loyalty.
Cognitive Loyalty, in which the brand is cognitively compared with alternatives ( generally on functional grounds);
Affective loyalty, in which the customer likes the brand or organisation as a result of previous satisfying experiences;
Conative Loyalty, which reflects an intention to re-purchase; action loyalty, which relates to a deeply held commitment to rebuy or repatronise a preferred product/services consistently in future… despite situational influences and marketing effort having the potential to cause switching behaviour’ ( Oliver 1999 cited in Martin et al.,(2004:217)
In (2001) Chaudhuri and Holbroo stated couple of characteristic of brand loyalty “purchase loyalty and attitudinal loyalty mentioned by mentioned by Marion Maguire(2007), “Behavioural, or purchase loyalty consist of repeated purchase of the brand, whereas attitudinal brand loyalty includes a degree to the authors, purchase loyalty leads to greater market share because of higher levels of repeat purchase among their users”. It is found in the research that consumer’s perception about price of brands is not linked to brand loyalty. Another suggestion given by Dick and Basu (1994) says that “loyalty related marketing advantages, such as favourable word of mouth, which, in turn might increase market share”.
But the findings of Dall’Olmo Riley et al. (1997) discerned that the attitudinal loyalty of many individual consumers appears to be fickle, According to them, various studies (by Achenbaum, 1982 repeat responses ranging about 50% in individual attitudinal answers (e.g. Taste Nice”) at two subsequent times, independent of the attitude scales used and from the length of the interval between interviews. Overall their interpretation was that specific attitudinal beliefs do not seem to be very strongly held but vary stochastically ( in random manner) (Dall’Olmo Riley et al., 1997)
Rothschild (1987) at the university of Wisconsin, evaluated brand loyalty as encompassing only the behavioural aspect. He suggests that a psychological process that may explain brand loyalty is the one of behaviourism. The central concept of behavioural learning theory is that behaviour that is positively reinforced is likely to reoccur while that which is not reinforced, or punished, will be extinguished. Consumers become loyal to brands that are reinforcing to them: good decision are reinforces while poor decisions are not ( Rothschild, 1987). Dekimpe et al, (1997) also share Rothschild’s (1987) view and say that the approach is justified as behaviour is observable and hence easier to measure.
Richard Elliott and Larry Precy quoted Franzen (1999) saying that loyalty brand users have a high degree of bonding with the brand and do not show much of an urge to switch. Its basically the bonding here meant was part of brand equity but it necessarily doesn’t need to be a function of brand equity. also if its contribution is there. Loyalty of a brand may be not habitual or it can be the high cost of switching to another brand. But when there is a genuine preferences involved it really contribute to brad equity.
Quester et al, (2003) say that the behavioural approach to Brand Loyalty (taken by Rothschild, 1987 ; Dekimpe et al., 1997) many present an over simplistic view of the construct. Behavioural definitions are insufficient to explain how and why brand loyalty is developed and modified in consumers ( Dick and Basu, 1994 in Quester et al., 2003). Repeatedly buying a brand (behavioural approach) may reflect only the convenience inherent in the repetitive and habitual behaviour rather than any real commitment to the brand purchased (Quester et al., 2003).
Habituals’ as termed by (Knox 1997) in Quester and Lim., 2003) display only behavipural loyalty and are very likely to switch brands if there routine purchases cycle is disturbed. “For ‘habituals’ and /or spurious loyals’. The brand is not closely tied to the consumers belief system, so they can be easily attracted by a competing brand that offers a better deal, a coupon etc. Behavioural definitions, therefore, essentially fail to distinguish between habitual or spurious loyalty and true ( or international) loyalty and it may be misleading to infer brand loyalty from merely overt purchase behaviour” (Quester et al.,2003 : 27).
Fournier et al, (1997) have analysed the concept of brand loyalty in new light and have come up with some very interesting insight regarding the same. According to them, (1997) a major assumption while reaching the concept of Brand Loyalty is that loyalty process is a Black and white quality. This tendency towards dichotomy not only precludes attention to loyalty levels and type, but also blinds the researcher to the value that may exist in relationship classified as Disloyal ( Fournier et al. 1997)
The research of eight brand loyal coffee drinkers by Fournier et al, (1997) revealed three intriguing loyal consumer-brand relationships namely martial commitment, falling in love consumers brand relationships namely martial commitment, falling in love and best friendship. Each of the above relationships share a strong and meaningful life theme connection that adds significant value in the consumer’s mind.
On the other side, Fournier et al ., (1997) also found some rather piquant Non-Loyal Relationships. One of the interviewees shared meaningful relationships with not one, rather three coffee brands. Financial limitations prevented him from bonding exclusively to one brand. “By connecting at the level of kinship, a portfolio of brand candidates that at first glance appears as a set of interchangeable substitutes is revealed as a family of meaningful partners in the consumer-brand environment” (Fournier et al., 1997 :463).
Fournier at al, (1997) say that the existing brand loyalty measurement process emphasizes share-of-use over the strength and character of brand relationship form. This approach is flawed in their opinion because “As with people expressions of loyalty need not be associated with exclusivity, but with emotional tenor and sincerity of intentions over time. Also, like normal human relationship, brand loyalty may sour overtime and subsequently change.
In accepting the power of both Brand and Consumer to affect the relationship, loyalty is better appreciated as a dynamic phenomenon” (Fournier et al., 1997 :467). A consumer-based conception of loyalty that recognizes multi-brand relationlity and the delicacy of even a strongest of consumer-brand bonds seems more aligned with the realities of today’s variety-filled marketplace. (Firat and Venkatesh, 1995 in Fournier et al., 1997)
The biggest criticism of the work of Fournier et al, (1997) is actually acknowledged by their own selves when they say, while attention to a single product category provides a common ground on which the loyalty phenomenon can be examined, it does by definition limit the generalizability of findings obtained” (Fournier et al., 1997 :454)
It would be appropriate to conclude this section by quoting the views of two authors:
In summary, an appropriate measure of brand loyalty appears to be lacking and the incorporation of relative attitude in the measurement of brand loyalty is necessary to understand its underling structure” (Quester et al ., 2003 :28).
We have not yet articulated a definition of Loyalty that is valid at the level of today’s consumer experience” (Fournier et al., 2003 :454).
Link between the degree of product involvement and brand loyalty
Product involvement involves an ongoing commitment on the part of the consumer with regard to thoughts, feelings and behavioural responses to a products category (Miller and Marks, 1996; Gordon et al., 1998 in Quester et al., 2003). O’cass and muller (in Quester et al., 2003 :24) cite that product involvement can be seen as the intensity with which a product gestalt is embedded in and driven by the consumers’ values system”.
The central premise of the literature examining the relationship between loyalty and product involvement is that consumers who are more involved with a particular brand are also more committed and hence more loyal to the brand. High involvement is seen by many to a precondition to loyalty and it appears that one’s loyalty to a brand within that product class ( Quester at al., 2003) Futhermore, “the more focal a product class is to an individual’s ego or sense of identity the stronger the psychological attachment he/she will exhibit to a particular brand within that product class. Conversely, the more peripheral the product class is to the individual’s ego, the lower the attachment to the brand” ( Quester et al., 2003).
The strategic value of brand loyalty
The brand loyalty of the existing customers represents a strategic asset which if managed properly has the potential to provide immense value to the firm ( Aaker, 1997) Dick and Basu (1994 in Chaudhuri 2006 ;124) say that loyalty related marketing advantages include favourable word of mouth and greater resistance among loyal consumers to competitive strategies.
In one International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing (written by Kevin Filo , Daniel C. Funk, Kostas Alexandris states “that brand trust intercede the link between brand loyalty and the management and popularity of the brand across both samples. For the managed sport brands, the links between brand loyalty and both nostalgia and vicarious achievement were also mediated. The authors propose that brand managers work to leverage brand trust through social responsibility, consumer satisfaction and quality customer service in an effort to increase consumer brand loyalty”.
Aaker (1991 : 46) mentioned the following benefits derives from brand loyalty
Reduced Marketing Cost:
According to Aaker a set of customers with brand loyalty reduces the overall marketing cost of doing business, he stated that it cost less for retaing the old customers than going for new customers. Aaker stated that it loyalty of existing customers is substantial barrier to competitors.
Brand loyalty provides trade leverage. Strong loyalty towards brands like Cheerios or Tide will ensure preferred shelf space because stores know customers will have such brands on their shopping list.
Attracting New Customers:
A customer base with segment that are satisfied and other that like the brand can provide assurance to a prospective customer. A relatively large satisfied customer base provides an image of the brand as an accepted, Successful product which will be able to provide service backup and product improvements. Brand awareness can also be gained from the customer base. Existing customers and dealers will enhance recognition merely by being there. Friends and colleagues of the users will become aware of the product just by seeing it. This will also increase brand recall for products.
Time to Respond to Competitive Threats:
Brand loyalty provides a firm with time to respond to competitive moves- some breathing room. If a competitor develops a superior product, a loyal following will allow the firm time needed for the product improvement to be matched or neutralised.
Benefits of Brand Loyalty ( from Aaker, 1991)
Creating and enhancing brand loyalty
There are several ways of increasing brand loyalty getting customer to articulate their problems provides an effective mechanism to increase satisfaction/brand loyalty.
Companies can learn to recover from mistakes. “A good recovery can turn angry, frustrated customer in to loyal ones”, and its possible with CARE communicate, Acknowledge, Respect and regard, and Empathy”
Aaker (1991) suggested the following rules to the companies in order to enhance brand loyalty.
Treat Customer Right: Customers basic expectations should be fulfilled by product/ service.
Stay Close to Customer: Companies with strong customer cultures find ways to stay close to the customers. the good example of this is IBM, Disney and Worthington Steel all encourage customer contact in their workforce.
Measure/manage Customer Satisfaction: Regular survey of customer satisfaction/ dissatisfaction is particularly useful in understanding how customers feel and in adjusting products and services.
Create Switching Costs: One way to do so is to create a solution for a customer problem that may involve redefining the business. Another way is to reward loyalty points program.
Provide extras: It is often easy to change customer behaviour from tolerance to enthusiasm just by providing a few extra unexpected services. A minute on the pillow, an explanation of a procedure or a sample from a bakery can really make good impression. Aaker (1991)
Enhancing Loyalty ( Aaker, 1991)
The Image concept from a historical perspective
Sigmund Freud was one of the first to use concept of image. The term image comes from contemporary psychology and means ‘a picture in the mind. It must be noted that the image is not limited to visual representation.
Franzen and Bouwman (2001)
Different Perceptions of Brand Image
According to Wood Identity and image are the key components of branding which are the ones that considered as crucial issues to be achieved in today’s business environment as they create sustainable, differential competitive advantage over the competitors (Wood, 2000)
Kotler (1988) defines brand image as the opinions of consumers about a specific brand. On the other hand Aaker (1996) suggests that brand image is a set of associations, usually organised in some meaningful way
Marguiles (1977) identity is the total of all the methods that company uses to make its self recognisable by the members of the community whereas image is how the members of communities perceive the company.
Keller(1993) suggests that the image of a brand is created in a consumer’s mind with the qualities that s/he perceives about that product.
Franzen and Bouwman(2001) stated that “Brand Image is defined as the global total impression of the information related to the brand that is stored in memory and which is shared by members of a culture or subculture”( Franzen and Bouwman (2001:331). Another definition given by Aalker( 1991: 109) “A brand image is a set of associations, usually organised in some meaningful way”. He further says that a brand association is anything linked in memory to a brand. Thus, McDonald’s could be linked to a character such as Ronald McDonald (Aaker, 1991)
Another definition about brand image given by (Krishna 1996) mentioned in (Romaniuk et al.,2003) states that “Brand Image consist of brand perceptions which can come from a variety of sources these sources includes consumer experiences, marketing communications and or word of mouth, they can consist of descriptive information (eg. Comes in a blue carton) benefits (e.g. will not raise cholesterol), evaluation of specific aspects of the brand (e.g provide excellent service) and/or purchase/consumption situation (e.g a treat for the kids) (Romaniuk et al., 2003)
S.Davis (2002) concept of brand image states that Brand image has two components: the association customers ascribe to the brand and the brand’s persona. Davis mentions that brands association is helpful in understanding various advantages a brand gives to customer by playing a part in their lives. Davis stated that Brand persona is a explanation of the brand in terms of human characteristics helping out understanding weakness and strengths and the better way of positioning it.
Brand association is more of a benefits and power boosting approach of brand ( David 2002. Davis coated the example of Dove Soap as they claim to have one quarter cleansing cream which laddered softer skin into the benefit of being more attractive which seems to be connected to an ultimate human value- which is love and love is on top of everyone’s emotional benefits list” ( in Davis 2002 :63).
Schultz (1999) states that brand image is generated through brand association. The consumer relates the brand to other concepts, both favourable and unfavourable
Davis also stated that Brand Persona is a set of human characteristics that consumers associate with brand, such as personality, appearance, values, likes and dislikes, gender, size, shape and intelligence which brings brand to life and allow consumers to describe it to others as they would a friend. For example the Ralph Lauren persona is classy; stylish; comfortable; family oriented; cool; male and female; fu; graduate school; all-American. This makes it obvious why this brand has crossed so many boundaries and categories, from paints to furniture to men and women’s fashions to baby clothes. (Davis 2002)
Ralph Lauren’s Brand Value Pyramid ( Davis 2000) cited in Design for six sigma for service
By Kai Yang (2005)
Chapter 3 “Country and Company introduction”
This chapter gives brief introduction about Servis Shoes Copmany situated in Pakistan.We have discussed briefly about Pakistan’s economic condition, its areas of trade and specialization, along with the history and back ground of “SSC”, as what is the company’s profile by means of its their business, number of employees, branches and how wide SSC serves in Pakistan.
Introduction Of Pakistan
Pakistan came in to being in 1947 and Muhammad Ali Jinnah was founder of Pakistan. The ideology of Pakistan was given by Allama Muhammad Iqbal and the separation took place in the year 1947 by British India on the ideology of separate state for Muslims. The first language is Urdu. Pakistan has 95% of Muslims and rest of 5% covers Christian and Hindu.
Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan, the total area of country is 803,940 sq km which is slightly less than twice the size of California, and the total population is 176,242,949, it has all the four seasons and a is well known for agriculture. Its is also rich in natural resource like Petroleum, natural gas .Leather industry is also a major earner of foreign exchange in Pakistan and about 90% of leather products in finished form is exported.
(The world factbook, Cited 11 Oct 2009)
SERVIS Group is amongst Pakistan’s most respected and reputed corporate citizens. It was 1958 when SERVIS came in to being and today it has become a largest footwear retailer manufacturer and exporting group operating within Pakistan and generating about more than PKR 12 billion form its overall sales.
Currently SERVIS is operating a large scale network of about 400 retail outlets with 5000 dealers and wholesalers in Pakistan.
Group of Companies
The Servis Group has a rich heritage that spans over half a century and is one of the most respected corporations in the country.
Today the Servis Group is Pakistan's largest footwear manufacturer and exporter with interests in wholesale and retail sectors. With a growing portfolio of brands and a nationwide network that touches millions of lives everyday, Servis is one of the foremost brand names in the country.
The Servis Group currently employs close to 9000 people in its following Group Companies:
Service Industries Limited (SIL)
Service Sales Corporation Private Limited (SSC)
SERVIS INDUSTRIES LIMITED(SIL)
Service Industries Limited is a public limited company listed on the stock exchanges of Pakistan. It has annual revenues of about PKR 6 Billion ($80m) and is the largest manufacturer of footwear, tyres & tubes for two-wheelers, and has been the largest footwear exporter of the country for the last 10 years.
The company employs more than 6,000 people in its facilities located in Gujrat and Muridke and exports its products primarily to Germany, Italy, France and the UK. With a strong emphasis on product quality and innovation, SIL has built both domestic and international recognition of the Company’s products.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS(SIL)
Mr. Arif Saeed, Chairman
Mr. Shahid Hussain, Chief Executive
Mr. M. Ijaz Butt, Director
Mr. Muhammad Akram, Director
Mr. Hassan Javed, Director
Mr. Shahid Hafeez Kardar, Director
Mr. Riaz Ahmed, Director
Mr. Zahid Hussain, (Rep. of NIT)
Mr. Anis Wahab Zuberi, (Rep. of NIT)
SERVICE SALES CORPORATION (SSC)
Service Sales Corporation (SSC) is Pakistan’s premier retailer that has broken records and created new benchmarks in the retail industry. With its world-class retail systems, fiercely dynamic approach to business and energetic team, SSC is today heading towards becoming a regional retail player.
SSC have 4 major retail brands
SSC takes the Servis heritage forward with new retail initiatives and expansion into new businesses. In addition to its core business, SSC runs three diversified interests in the form of Servis retail and wholesale.
Chaudhry Ahmed Javed - Chief Executive
Mr. Omar Saeed - Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Naveed Akhtar - Country Head Wholesale
Mr. Aamer Mohsin - Country Head Retail Operations
Mr. Abbas Ali Shirazi - Co-Chief Merchant
This dissertation covers a research on one of the famous and oldest brand of Servis Sales Corporation “Servis Shoes”
Servis Shoes is one of the Pakistan’s famous shoe brand, offering a range of its own label footwear. Aim of SSC is to provide all customers with the very best value for money and offering them with a best quality shoes in the whole country and abroad.
Major brands of Servis Shoes are:
Don Carlos, Cheetah, Calza, Liza,Toz, and Skooz, all these footwear brands have a huge variety of designs and styles fulfilling needs of every one in Pakistan.
Chapter 4 Research Methodology
The methodological basis of studies is part of this chapter providing the core research philosophies, design, method of sampling and population, and methods of collection of data.
Core Research Philosophies:
“Theories, methodologies cannot be true or false but it can be more or less useful”
(Silverman, 1994). Different research philosophy and difference between qualitative and quantitative research are also discussed. Questionnaire and telephonic interview is one of the basic process of collecting data which is highlighted in this chapter.
Theories of Research:
The two types of research mentioned by Collis and Hussey (2003) “positivist philosophy, in sciences is based on facts and causes and gives little attention to the subjective state of the individual” in other words logical reasoning applied in the frame of objectivity, rigour and precision in the investigation of research problem”
( Collis and Hussey, 2003)
The phenomenology has extensive history in philosophy and sociology. It is describe as “understanding the social phenomena from actor own perspective, examining how world is experienced and what people perceive it” (Patton 2002).
The phenomenological philosophy, on the other hand, has developed out of a criticism of positivism. Babbie (2001) states that “phenomenological philosophy focuses on understanding of individuals in terms of their own interpretations of reality, as well as the understanding of society in terms of the meanings that people ascribe to the societal practices in that society”. Social scientists argue that physical science deals with outside objects where as social science deals with action and behaviour generated in human mind. They also mention that interrelationship between investigators and what is investigated was impossible to separate. Therefore it is assumed by Husserl (1913) that “we can only know what we are experience”.
This research done on SSC is based on positivism approach because it is structural and is not possible to adopt phenomenological approach by going to another country and working with these companies or observe them.
Approaches to Research:
The main concern which comes to mind before starting a research is that how to collect data’ by conducting interview, questionnaire or collection of data through observation of from secondary data. Saunders, Lewis, Thornhill ,(2003) presented a very unique research process called ‘Onion’ in which they mentioned layers of research after realizing and removing each layer we can find better way to research.
The way of thinking about how to develop knowledge effects is the philosophy of research. Research is referred as “a systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalisable knowledge” (Virginia.edu, 2008).(B)
We see different views of research process which are Positivism, interpretivism and realism. These three lies in outer layer of Onion Model and pay an important role in research management.
Positivism approach was developed by Auguste (1798-1857), he emphasised that knowledge is all about explanation rather than questioning.
Collis and Hussey (2003) believed that “the study of Human behaviour should be carry out in the same way as studies conducted in natural science”. Research observatory (2008), states that Positivists deal with positive facts and observable events and the things which seen, measured and can be counted.
Researchers choose what to measure, how to measure and the collect data because validity of research is dependent upon your structure of data collection in positivism research, where as the main reason for phenomenological approach is to capture the main essence of phenomena and to the vast data of explanation and analysis and high validity in this paradigm because ideas are developed from induction of evidence. (Ethne at al 1998).
(Gull & Johnson 1997) stated that philosophy intention is given to methodology must be structured to make possible reputation and proven observation which lend them to statistical analysis, positivist research must be independent and will not be affected by the subject of research.
(Remeny et al, 1998)
It is stated by Saunders, Lewis, Thornhill,( 2003) that laws in business world is quiet different from the physical sciences so it is very difficult to work on positivism idea in business research, therefore researchers consider the idea which is build socially and is called interpretivism which is the accumulative possible dissimilar interpretation researcher find himself.
Realism is defined as an external force which in social sciences and study of business management that effect people interpretation and behaviour without the awareness that they are affected by some forces. ((Saunders, Lewis, Thornhill, 2003) stated that realism is a existing reality which is independent of human thoughts and beliefs. The key characteristic of realism said by Trigg (1980) that it is ‘the notion of objectivity of things being the case, people recognise them or not. Another good definition given by Like schlock (1981) was that what is real is only which may be observed and measured, here version of realism are silenced.
Approach to Research:
According to (Saunders, Lewis, Thornhill, 2003) there are two types of research Quantitative and Qualitative. Ghouri and Grounhaug (2005) said that the difference between Qualitative and Quantitative research is all about procedure instead of quality.
Although a quantitative research is more formalized and structured than qualitative research and is realistic to use the latter to make optimum utilization of time and resources. The qualitative approach helps to analyze data inductively.
Quantitative methods provide large number of responses that are suitable for the statistical analysis. This method is used to put to data on the figure and generalise the outcome from the sample to the population. From the quantitative research methods survey method is used in order to classify as well as count the regularity of the identified population (Collis and Hussey, 2003).
(Wright and Crimp, 2000) states that quantitative research is carried out to know how many people have similar characteristics and views .The data that is collected from quantitative research can be charted, graphed and expressed in numerical form and is used to perform comparative analysis.
Creswell describe qualitative research by saying that it is a study of things or people in their natural setting trying to make sense or understand phenomena which people bring to them. In this research data collected by interviewing and observation.(H) another definition given by Rain (1987) defining the key difference is that “quantitative research work with many cases and only some variables whereas qualitative research only uses numerous variables and few cases.
Alain, 2006 presented a table showing some major questions which can influence the choice of an approach
Complex, Diffuse, ambiguous
Identify and define categories that may evolve during the research process
Identify and Define Standard
Categories at the outset of the study
Interconnections between a large number of categories: capturing complexity
Relations clearly specified between a limited set of categories: looking for simplicity
A research Instrument in itself, aware of the self –influence , particular skills required to gather data.
Avoids biases, no particular skills required.
Concerned with in-depth understanding, hidden layers of meaning
Straight and superficial explanation.
A deep understanding of the phenomenon
Control of distribution and generalization issues.
The research is consisted of both Qualitative and Quantitative research. Data collected via telephonic interview and from questionnaires through email, this is because SSC is situated in Pakistan and is research is being held from United Kingdom.
SOURCES OF DATA COLLECTION:
There are two main different types of sources from which data is collected known as
The data previously available upon which research is conducted for another purpose is called secondary data. Bojanic et al (2005) advised that it is better to go through secondary data before collecting data because it information needed can be gained through secondary data or can help in making decision. Collecting secondary data is takes lees time then primary data which can takes weeks and months for the research process, another advantage of secondary data is that it does not cost as much collection of primary data can.
Robert et al (2005) mention in the book “The marketing research guide” that some researcher divide secondary data sources into two groups mention below.
- Internal data sources
- External data sources
Internal secondary data is useful for organisations because it is collected within organisations and is useful for marketing and production information. Internal data includes invoice records, sales record, income statement, inventory records, production report and schedules, budgets, and feedback reports from distributers etc.
On the other hand external secondary data is found outside organisation, it is mostly found in libraries, websites, and common guide to secondary data. Robert et al(2005) stated that secondary data can also be gained by books, articles related to these topics, associations who provide secondary data on a specific industry, annual reports and trade association reports, etc.
Primary data is more or less dependent on observation method which is the oldest method and is quiet common, it reduces the biasness usually occurred in face to face interviews. . Primary data is gathered through
Observational methods and questionnaire method This method involves interviews, telephonic interviews, focus group interviews, mail questionnaire, door to door interviews and also involves personal interviews.
Longenecker (2006) stated that “The Market information gained by firm
Conducting the research is primary data” it is mostly used when the secondary data is not completing the requirement of research.
As stated by (Gillham, 2000) This method is usually used for academic research to obtain information and understanding the issues relevant to specific question about project and general aim of project. It is the flexible way of data collection process.
There are three types of interviews as mentioned my Saunder et al (2003)
- Structured interviews
- Semi structured interviews.
- Unstructured interviews.
Structured interviews involves set of structured questions like when respondent are asked about what you like to eat the most researcher give him options for example: Vegetables, Beans or Meat. When we talk about unstructured interview, interviewer do not get very specific in questions related to the topic but relevance is still there. Semi structured interview covers some questions and of the research topic.
The research carried out involves telephonic interviews. As it is mentioned by Robert et al (2005) that telephonic interviews are done when information is required from large dispersed population and is required quickly or when there is no need of face to face interaction or it is difficult because of long distance between researcher and interviewers.
Telephonic interviews are beneficial as it is easy for both respondent and interviewer to get interacted and share information quickly with relatively low cost. When we talk about disadvantages we face limited scale of questions, and long interviews are difficult to manage on telephone.
Questionaire Methods of Collecting Data
This is a very common and effective way to collect data for the research, Vaus, (2002) explain that in this method same set of questions are asked by many person to reply. Hence it is survey type data collection method, in which person can answer the question and also records their own answer what they perceive. ( Kervin (1999)
(Churchill 1999)The research done is exploratory study which is consisted of both quantitative and qualitative data, due to this nature of research questionnaires are designed as semi-structured. Semi-structured questionnaires natured as they involve predetermined questions along with respondent own choice of answers relevant to proposed research.
Employment of semi-structured questionnaire requires the use of close-ended questions as well as the open-ended ones. In the close-ended questions, it is asked from respondents to make choices among a set of alternatives, where as open-ended questions each respondent is left with a choice to give its own opinion which is helpful in collecting factual data(Collis and Hussey, 2003) (B)
Sample and Population
Sample defined as “a selected and chosen group upon which researcher carry out the research” (Wisker, 2001) whereas population defined as “the full set of cases which a sample is taken from” (Wisker, 2001).
It is an exploratory research about affective brand management and the branding strategies adapted by one of the largest foot ware company (SSC) in Pakistan, so for that questionnaire sent to the marketing department in the head office of SSC which operates an advanced large scale network of more than 400 retail outlets and 2000 dealers and wholesalers in Pakistan.
Saunders et al. (2007) suggested that “sampling techniques provide a range of methods that enable to reduce the amount of data need to collect by considering only data from subgroup rather than all possible cases or elements”
The main purpose of this research is to find out how much SSC is successful in creating and adapting brand management, what strategies are adapted by SSC to enhance brand loyalty amongst their customers and what are the various ways SSC created a brand image which give them competitive edge from their rivals analysis also covers various steps taken by SSC to create awareness of their brand amongst their target market. The aim of semi-structured questionnaire is to obtain in-depth answers to these perspectives of effective brand management research. In analysing data, quantifiable data is coded to make it countable.
Chapter 5 Finding and Analysis
The research findings and analysis is divided in to two Stages. First stage carries the brief analysis driven by data collected from Marketing and Sales Managers of SSC(Pakistan) through unstructured questionnaire and over telephone that how effectively SSC is managing its brand (Servis) and what channels and ways are involved in managing Servis brand effectively , where as second stage comprise of the analysis and findings gathered by data collected through questionnaire from consumers of Servis Shoes as why they prefer particular brand.
Stage one Questionnaire
In the interview with Marketing Head Servis Shoes Mr Naim-ul-Abd and Area Sales Manager Mr Farooq Ahmed held over telephone, questions were asked to analyse SSC’s brand building strategies.
Introduction to Servis by Marketing Head
Giving an introduction to company Mr Naim-ul Abd said that Servis is Pakistan’s largest foot wear company having strong business grounds. According to him SSC is Pakistan’s premier retailer that has broken records and created new benchmarks in the retail industry.
With its world-class retail systems, fiercely dynamic approach to business and energetic team, SSC is today heading towards becoming a regional retail player. Mr Naim also said that with our primary stakes in footwear sector along with our retail business model, one can say that Servis is primarily a footwear retailer that is venturing into diversifications.
Introducing to SSC departments he stated that there are 8 main departments of SSC which includes:
2. HR & Administration
3. IT (Core departments)
4. Marketing – responsible for branding and marketing for entire organization
5. Retail Operations – running company operated stores
6. Wholesale Operations – dealing with independent / unorganized footwear retail market
7. Merchandising (External) – building brand partnerships and managing their merchandising these at our retail stores
8. Merchandising (Internal) – managing merchandising of internal “own” brands of the company
Servis today is the mass footwear retail brand that is a hub primarily for internal brands (Don Carlos – men’s footwear, Cheetah – sports, Calza – men’s slippers, Liza – women footwear, TOZ – kids footwear, SKOOZ – kids school shoes) and is now also aligning with key external brands like Urban Sole, Pierre Cardin, and Hush Puppies for the care of their customers. The name Servis today has spread in each and every city of Pakistan and is also exporting its footwear to countries abroad.
Servis become a brand with the mutual participation of its employees and customers, Mr Naim said that a promise is made to our customers to provide them with value products of their need and for fulfilling this promise Servis gained customers loyalty and good reputation of the company. Just providing customers with value goods was not all, as we also focused on effective marketing strategies and the vision of making Servis a vital brand to have long term relation with are customers and consumers.
SSC business goals involve increasing sales figure, wider circle of customers, generating revenue, having competent employees, and growth in profitability percentage. Our business is our prestige, and we see all these things interlinked with each other so we focus on all these areas, as far as employee size is concerned it really is important to us and we hire people with a piece of mind and people with knowledge and have urge to seek more, this makes us a strong team to build our brand and helps gaining increased number of customers which leads sales generating revenue and so on boosting up the profitability percentage.
SSC Marketing Strategies
Servis have a very large group which is known as its target audience, hence it is divided into groups, the general population carrying all the age groups, genders and classes and secondly the circle of 3000 wholesalers and dealers all over Pakistan. To serve and build a strong relation with this huge circle of target audience Servis adopts following branding strategies.
What are your Values and beliefs?
SSC core values are integrity, comfort, sentiment. Servis Shoes is always a head in providing our customers and consumers their best weather it comes to variety of shoe range with affordable price or customer services of Servis Shoes. Making Servis a well know brand is always being the first concern, weather its CEO, Marketing managers or Area sales manager of the company every individual who is part of Servis is on its toes to perform his/her part in building brand and giving best and performing his job effectively.
SSC create its Brand by presenting its target audience a positive image of its brand and by creating awareness and this was all done by practicing all the marketing strategies.
Who are your competitors? What differentiates your product from the competitor?
Our main competitor is Bata, but we are far ahead in sales from Bata from the last few years. There are many reasons which differentiate Servis from its competitors. Huge number of shops in country and also have created more strong business relations with our consumers and customers, providing our target audience promotions and competitive price we are now generating maximum sales.
Year on year growth of more than 30% is a clear example of having competitive edge on our rivals. We have built our brands more aggressively over the past. We seem to have a “brand” advantage over our competitor. Other than Bata we are competing with unorganized sector at lower price points and there “quality and trust reposed in our brand” becomes our key differentiator.
On the top we are competing with more focused niche retailers or segment specialists. Our primary differentiator against them is a store that offers good value for money for entire family and doesn’t limit itself to a particular segment, for example men only.
We have not increased our prices in these last 2 years as also provided consumer’s variety of latest designs every season in different categories.
Single promise to customers
Servis promise reliability, providing customers with their basic need the way they want with the assurance of reasonable price, durability and availability.
For this we have set a certain standard and focusing on brand management of Servis Shoes adapting effective marketing strategies which is a way to get our customer circle even wider with gaining customers trust and loyalty.
Division of Audience targeting
Servis target audience is divided in two groups. One of these two is consumers which are general population and second one is whole sellers and dealers. To look after these two groups SSC has made two separate departments’ Whole sale and Retail departments, which serve these two groups individually. Retail Department manage around 500 Servis outlets all over Pakistan, and Servis wholesale department operate 15 wholesale business centres currently in business with 3000 dealers.
SSC design every product according to consumer’s perception and up to latest market design and standards. Servis Shoes always consider the choice of people from different regions of Pakistan considering the all the four seasons as in Pakistan where maximum temperature goes till 48 and when it comes down it goes below the freezing point. Servis Shoes offer footwear which always fulfil cultural needs of our customers, the durability and comfort matters the most when it come to foot wear, and Servis Shoes is the first one who took the initiative to introduce PU sole in Pakistan in its huge range of footwear.
When it comes to SSC wholesalers and dealers, it is divided in to different categories like A, B and C class. Whole sales business centres look after their wholesale dealers and assure that they facilitate their dealers to the highest level.
Wholesale dealers get huge incentives and promotions. Servis provide dealership to every one and any one lying in a certain criteria and fulfilling certain basic requirements to be SSC wholesale dealer with just a charge of PKR 10,000 which is refundable.
It simply means that any one can easily start business with SSC fulfilling easy basic requirements. Along with that SSC is the only Shoe company providing their customers all its stock at the discount rate of 10% on the wholesale price. This just does not finish here Servis provides 6% purchase bonus on the completion of every 6 months business. And one achieving its season targets gets a national holiday tour incentive and on achieving targets per annum dealers receive abroad holiday tour as part of incentive.
Servis also compensate all the dealers when ever it reduces is retail price, though dealers gets compensated for the stock they bought and still to be sold.
SSC also give all its supports in making and designing offices of their dealers and wholesalers which and refurbish them when required
Creating brands awareness
Servis is today’s most famous brand of Pakistan in footwear industry and to achieve this position every department have worked as a team.
SSC has always emphasised on marketing strategies which gave customers a positive brand image with the awareness of what SSC is selling newly.
Advertising has always comes first when we talk about Servis Shoes marketing strategy for creating its brand awareness and its been a really successful way of conveying our massage of our brand to our consumers. For this Servis advertising budget is PKR 10 mil. Television, Radio, Magazines, Newspapers, Billboards are the main modes for advertising Servis Brands. Advertisement to be on aired on television always gave SSC a very positive response from consumers and customers as all the advertisements carries well known personalities of Pakistan and like players of cricket, hockey, and squash.
These advertisements also carry an image of corporate people, ladies and kids separately. As Pakistan held a very strong position in international cricket and nation follows it as well so famous cricketers like Shahid Afridi, Waseem Akram, are the brand ambassadors for Servis, where as world champion of squash Jansher Khan and Jagangeer khan is also Servis brand ambassadors.Servis advertisements emboss a very strong influence on consumers perception as Servis specialise in a footwear for every one no matter what ever age and profession is s\he from.
Servis specialize in making sports footwear and school shoes apart from providing customers casual and smart shoes, and for letting aware people about their latest designs, reductions in prices, and new comfort features along with newly opened stores advertising channels like radio, newspapers, magazines and billboards are used. Another effective way of advertisements of new products is the official up-to dated website which is www.servis.com carrying all information about the new arrivals of new designs and range in footwear.
Servis well designed retail shops are the living billboards which one can see every where in any and every city of Pakistan.
From the last 5 years SSC has played a major role in conducting job fairs in Pakistan, this is not all as SSC have offered hundreds with great jobs and career opportunities.
SSC created number of environmental seminars and has always paid a huge role in helping and conveying to make environment clean and healthy. SSC has also made huge contributions to help out the victims of the disastrous earthquake in the history Pakistan by hiring a medical team and providing them with free medicines to those of victims ok Azad Kashmir.
Servis is gaining more positive response since when it has launched all relevant information by consumers prospective on its official website. Servis is not selling online though but provides all it customers with any information they want as far as price and designs and new arrivals a re concerned
Sponsoring Sports Events
SSC has managed to sponsor many sports events like squash and hockey championships.
The success of SSC has derived from its customer’s loyalty; SSC has always fulfilled its promises by providing its consumers variety of reliable and good priced footwear. As this was not all Servis provided its customers with an excellent customer services and have always communicated to its target audience to get feed back in order to get more closer to the customers. Assurance of reliability giving customers promotions and reductions in prices and communicating with them through advertisements has made consumers loyal to SSC.
Loyalty building strategies
Making long term relation with customers is SSC’s first priority and for these following steps are taken to gain brand loyalty
Improved store presentation-This includes working on interiors and exteriors and providing a pleasant experience to customers so that they return to us.
Improved customer services -Servis is extensively transforming and training its team to develop warm relationship with customers. Servis operate at a wide scale of retail shops which is 500 in figures all around in different cities of Pakistan. Each retail shop is nicely designed and carries manager with the team of 4 sales persons. All the employees are well trained and are given proper knowledge of the footwear designs and sizes. A special attention is being paid to improve customer services of employees.
Customer relationship tools- with our newly launched Epos in every retail shop of Servis we are also tracking customer loyalty and rewarding more frequent or behaviourally loyal customers.
Large number of Promotions- Servis give number of promotions and discounts to its customers. These Promotions are not just seasonal or festive promotions inface its goes on throughout a year. For example on purchase of school shoes for their children 4th purchase of school shoes is for free. On buying 2 pair of shoes buy 3rd on half prise. “Sale season” a customer attracting promotion which gives up to 50% discounts to customers at the year ends. Senior Citizens discounts is one of the promotions Servis provide to their consumers who are 60 and above by giving them 20% off for their personal purchase, this is not all as Servis is giving students discount of 10% throughout the year.
On purchase of school shoes a gift of a tennis ball along with a note book and pencil. Giving customers New Year calendars, special Eid greeting card ( Holy festive), and free pair of socks with the purchase of spots articles, these all are promotion which are in practice and along with that we are still focusing on more. Advertisements carrying greeting massages of New year, Eid and different occasions by Servis to its target audience through television, magazines, newspapers and billboards. Giving customers discount coupons. SSC give its customers the assurance of its brand reliability, it compensates customers by full refunding and by exchanging for their claims.
Making it available everywhere The positive side of our business is that Servis shoes have its retail shops all over the country which is beneficial for consumers by means of availability. We promise durability and comfort with competitive price. Its has hardly been heard that a customer ever came to Servis outlet and went away with the reason “out of stock” or saying that you don’t have much outlets. Servis has Fix prices of its products, it also reduce up to 30% once an article is one year old.
Price reductions -Servis strongly follows Penetration pricing strategy when it comes to Servis Shoes prices the first thing which came to mind is competitive price. As Servis shoes serves all the classes and every one is its target audience it provide customers with very reasonably priced shoes. Servis reduces up to 30% after one year of the product from the time its being launched.
Employee training and Compensations -“Our employees are our brand ambassadors”. SSC strongly emphasise on employee training for how to treat customers and consumers in more efficient and better way. SSC strongly believe that trained employees which are believed to be the real asset of the company as their performance is company’s reputation. Servis wholesale business centres is comprised of the team of ASM, SO and JSO. Each wholesale business centre of SSC has well trained employees which always helps their customers ( dealers/wholesalers) in managing their stock, providing them with the updates of new arrivals and new launch of seasonal designs and articles.
Junior sales officers and Sales officers are given training by the HR department to help all the dealers and wholesalers by visiting them every week and especially new dealers which have just entered in to the business with SSC.A continuous training is given to all the employees of Retail Shops and the JSO and SO from wholesale business centres to provide consumers and customers of SSC the best services so that they feel more comfortable doing business with SSC and keep loyal to Servis products.
Employees are specially trained to help out new dealers and wholesalers as the start their business with SSC. Employees are given full information about the products with the knowledge of designs and material so that they can guide their customers nice and efficiently.
To analyze the satisfaction level of the employee of SSC a short interview was take by Mr Farooq Ahmed (ASM Servis Business Centre Rawalpindi). In this interview he stated that the first thing which is clear in the mind of every employee is the overall strategy SSC and each and every employee of this business centre knows that he has to perform well to make Servis a famous brand and gain more growth and market share. Mr Farooq stated that his department gets all the support and teamwork from all the areas of the company he is dependent upon.
He stated that the element of encouragement is always there form our country head sales Mr Naveed Akhter and have continuous and clear interaction for what is expected from me and my team of 17 employees Servis business centre Rawalpindi, in addition to this Mr Farooq said that this is not all as we also get a continuous feedback to achieve more and this professionalism has always been a moral boosting factor working with SSC.
SSC strongly emphasize on employee satisfaction by rewarding them with incentives and bonuses and handsome salaries. Servis also provide health insurance to all its employees and sponsor the study on one child of an employee. This is not all as employees on achieving their targets and estimates gets holiday tours to different countries once in a year by company.
This section is comprised on the analysis driven through the data collected from consumers of SSC through questionnaires. 100 questionnaires were distributed to 3 retail shops of Servis Shoes in Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Jhelum for analysing consumer’s perception about SSC as how successful today SSC is in imposing is positive image of its brands on consumer’s perception. The questionnaire also will help, analyzing level brand awareness and brand loyalty gained by SSC amongst consumers. The questionnaire is divided into 3 parts, first part will help in observing the target audience segment by means of gender, age group and profession.
Questionnaire was answered by 50 people in total and amongst those who responded questionnaire 58% respondents were male where as 42% consisted of females.
What is your Age?
In response to this question it was seen that 16% of the respondents lied in the age group of 15-20, 34% were part of 20-25, 24% respondent were in 25-30 years of age and 26% of the respondents were 30-40 plus.
In response to the question of material status percentage of single respondents were 52% where as 48% of respondents were married.
What is you Profession?
In answer to the question about the profession 42% of respondent stated that they are students, 16% were owning a business, 22% were salaried person and 20% involved housewives and retired people.
What is your Income per month?
This question concerns with identifying the income level of the participants. On the question about the income per month, 6% respondent stated that they earn up to 10,000 as most of them were students and working part time. 34% respondent stated that they earn 10,000 to 20, 000 per month where as 14% respondent earn up 20,000 to 30,000. 22% respondent earn up to 30,000 to 40,000. 24% and about 24% respondent of the total said they earn more than 40,000 per month.
How often do you buy shoes ?
In response to this question a majority of respondent said they buy shoes twice a year and they were 46% out of all, where as 22% of the respondents said that they but shoes three times in a year. 16% of the respondents replied that they buy once in a year and 4% said it depends on the occasions and lied in the category of others.
Buying of footwear in a year
4 times a year
3 times a year
2 times a year
once a year
Are you familiar of Servis brand?
The relationship between perceived quality and brand awareness has been well identified by Zimmermann et al. (2001). It is suggested that familiarity with products or services increase the willingness towards buying these products and increased awareness increase the perceived quality
In response to this question it is found that all the respondents were aware of Servis brand and which gave the percentage of 100% for the awareness of Servis brand.
Which industry did Servis engage in?
In response to this question every respondent marked the option of footwear which shows that awareness of the business of Servis amongst people is 100%
Do you buy Servis shoes?
In response to this question 87% of the respondents said that they purchase from Servis shoes whereas 13% stated they do not purchase shoes from Servis.
If you do not choose Servis Shoes why?
In response to this question many different answers were received most of them said that they are not happy with the designs of Servis therefore they do not purchase Servis footwear. Few of the respondents mentioned that they prefer buying Adidas, Nike and Reebok because they are more style oriented which showed there deep interest and attachment to these brands.
From above question, Why do you buy Shoes from Servis?
Brand association indicates what a brand is linked in the memory of consumers and provides positive feelings that lead to the purchase of a product (Aaker, 1991) and therefore create differential advantages over the competitors (Rio et al., 2001)In response to this question 26% of the respondent showed their interest in choosing design of Servis shoes, 33% of the people preferred Servis shoes by its quality and 41% of the respondent said that they choose Servis shoes because of reasonable prices.
How often do you shop at Servis Shoes Stores?
The use of a company’s product indicates market penetration and may suggest brand loyalty with repeated purchases (Zimmermann et al., 2001).
In response to this question 43% respondents stated that they buy footwear at-least 2 time a year, second big percentage of 39% is of those respondents who said that they buy once a year from Servis Shoe outlet and 18% people were those who said that they go about three times in year to purchase Servis footwear.
Where did you heard of Servis Shoes?
In response to this question majority of the respondents said that they are much familiar with advertisements of Servis on television, about 74% respondent said that they came to knew about Servis from television.4% people said that they heard of Servis advertisements on Radio whereas 10% stated that through magazines they got aware of Servis Shoes, and 12% of the respondents said that they came to knew about billboards and newspapers.
What is you level of satisfaction with Servis Shoes?
In answer to this question 62% consumers stated that they are more or less satisfied whit Servis Shoes and about 38% of the respondents stated that they are completely satisfied with Servis brands.
How much do you spend on the purchase from Servis Shoes?
The percentage driven from the number of replies shows that most of the consumers buy with in Rs2100 which is much of a reasonable amount to spent when we talk about a purchase of footwear in Pakistan. About 12% of the consumers spent up to Rs 3200 on the purchase of footwear from Servis shoes. 46% buyers stays within the figure of Rs 1000 which shows that Servis provides number of shoes to its target market with their choice and at reasonable price.
Which pricing class does Servis Shoes belong to?
Answering to this question 78% respondents mentioned that pricing strategy of Servis Shoes covers middle class where as 14% said that it is offers its products to low pricing class and 8% related it to high price class.
Which Brand of Servis you prefer the most?
In response to this question is was seen that all the brand of Servis Shoes are preferred by its consumers. 32% of the respondent liked wearing casual footwear by Servis, 22% gave their response for smart/dress shoes, another big group of respondent preferred sports shoes by Servis and last but not the least 20% respondent choose children footwear by Servis.
Do you think Servis Shoes provides customers with verity of designs?
In answer to this question 62% respondents showed their satisfaction about the designs manufactured by Servis Shoes, and 38% did not agreed on verity of latest designed provided by Servis.
Compare with other shoe stores, would you say that the quality of services you receive from Servis Shoes is?
Answering this question 64% of the respondents said that they are much satisfied with the services given to them when they shop at Servis Shoes stores. 20% respondents rated it as fair and 16% of the respondents said that it’s the same.
Do you think Servis Shoes promotions are effective for you?
In answer to this question 15% of the respondent said that they are much satisfied with the promotions given to the consumers. 62% of the respondents said that they are somewhat satisfied, whereas 19% said that they are not satisfied with the promotions give to the consumers. In this question 4% showed complete dissatisfaction for the promotions given by Servis Shoes.
Which Advertisement you or your family like the most by Servis? Why?
In response to this question most of the respondents took the name of the cricket heroes like Shahid Afridi and Waseem Akram and said we see them in Servis advertisements so we like them. Few respondents mentioned that their children like to watch the add of Servis “Back to School” because it says n the purchase of school shoes and get tennis ball with the signature of cricket stars. In the list advertisements by Servis Don Carlos and Eid ( Holy Festive) advertisements were also mentioned by the respondents.
When Servis release latest design of footwear to market, will you hurry to buy it?
In answer to this question 40% of the respondents said that they probably would go to buy new footwear launch by Servis, where as 34% showed their deep interest in going to buy latest designs launched by Servis, 26% said that maybe they will might not.
Are you willing to spend more on the purchase of Servis Shoes?
In response to the question from the consumers of Servis products about their will to spend more 46% of the consumers said definitely not where as 38% respondents said they are not sure about it. 16% people answered that they might can spend more on the purchase of Servis footwear.
If you had the opportunity , how likely would you be to recommend the Servis Shoes to a friend or a relative?
In response to this question 64% of the respondents said that they definitely will recommend Servis brand to others, 32% respondent showed a positive attitude in telling their friends and relatives about Servis brand and 4% respondent said they might will.
In this chapter researcher discussed the findings of the marketing strategies adopted by SSC to have effective brand management followed by response and involvement of consumers to Servis brand as shown by pie charts. The questionnaire of both interviews is attached in appendix.
The following chapter covers the results and findings in the light of interviews and questionnaire with literature.
This chapter carries the conclusion of the above research, finding and analysis with the comparison of literature.
The research was conducted to analyse the marketing strategies of Servis Sales Corporation Pakistan leading to effective brand management. To know what steps SSC has taken to manage their brand and created a positive image amongst their target market, interview was taken by marketing head of SSC, where as to find out consumer behaviour towards Servis brand, analysis was done by interviewing 100 individuals through questionnaires and responses are shown above in the form of pie charts.
The result shows that SSC has made very strong grounds and have managed its brand Servis very efficiently and efficiently in the market. Marketing strategies carried out by Servis Sales Corporation are much effective and the company truly have added value to its products for their consumers. Servis brands are for all the age group, gender and classes and people from every profession of life at a fix and low price. The main thing which has come to attention during this research is that Servis is trying hard to get as much as market share as possible and for this the Penetration Strategy is adopted by SSC.
It is found that Servis have the biggest market share in footwear and millions of people are the consumer of Servis brands. These consumers showed repeat buying behaviour towards Servis brands saying that they buy approximately 3 times/ year from Servis shoes weather this purchase is for their own or for a family member. Larger number of customers stated that the reason of their purchase is the low price and quality of the shoes.
It has also been seen from the feedback of consumers that all the products of Servis are equally famous and up to certain standards, and due to that every individual shops at Servis Shoes stores buy Servis footwear with the confidence of buying footwear of their own choice.
Servis has created its awareness effectively by number of different ways which involves Advertising through television, radio, magazines, and newspapers apart from that creating awareness by conducting job fairs, environmental seminars and sponsoring sports events differentiates Servis from its competitors.
Servis have managed to create it awareness very well amongst its audience, for this they have made sports stars of Pakistan their brand ambassadors. Advertising has been a major mode by which Servis successfully has managed to made such a positive influence on consumer perception that the can recall it whenever they are asked about Servis brand. Most of the consumers mentioned that they like to watch their favourite Pakistani sports stars like Shahid Afridi and Waseem Akram in the advertisements on television. Responses in the questionnaires from consumers clearly show that large number of respondent has attachment to the Servis brand.
To gain brand loyalty of the customers Servis has offered number of promotions and discounts to its consumers. Servis market it products with large number of promotions which is much appealing to its target market comprised of all the gender, age group and professions.
Weather it is a school shoe, party wear, sports wear or casual wear, every individual gets number of promotions throughout a year. Example of this is the discounts given to students and old age people( 60 and over), also giving promotions on school shoes and sports wear.
The diversity of Servis products is appreciated by the respondent in the questionnaire; people believe that Servis provide latest designs along with reasonable price and quality. Majority of the consumers spend up to PKR 1000 to 2000 on their purchase from Servis shoes.
SSC has shown its deep concern with the customer service and have managed to gain well repute in providing excellent customer service. Servis has launched Epos technology which results in better customer service with taking less time to serve consumers efficiently. In a question asked to the consumers about the customer service of SSC 100% satisfaction resulted from their feedback.
Its has also been observed that Servis has emphasized also on extending its number of retail shops which resulted in positive affect of availability of Servis Products everywhere.
SSC truly belief that the position they have gained is not by just making a product and sending it to market, it is all because of their employees and their hard work and devotion in making Servis a famous brand in the region. Employees of SSC seem much satisfied with their jobs and are completely aware of business strategy of the business SSC is dealing with. In interview with one of the manager of Sales Mr Farooq Ahmed, its was analyzed that company pay proper attention to its departments by providing them with all the support, interaction and feedback. This is not all as Servis provides its employees with huge number of employee benefits resulting in job satisfaction. Due to all these reasons every employee is on its toes to make his contribution in making Servis a brand which people get attached to.
Sales staff has managed to gain 3000 dealers which has been doing good business with them and shows complete confidence in the company.
Overall brand image gives idea about how consumers picture a company in their minds (Keller, 1993). Consumers of Servis brands stated that they will surely recommend to purchace from Servis brands to their family members and relatives which shows that Servis has gained the confidence and a positive brand image amongst consumers as they now marketing Servis products by the word of mouth.
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