Branding: How It Inspires People To Purchase A Particular Brand
This research is done with the suitable research methods to describe how the people attempt to match their characteristics with a particular brand. A firm or company’s primary target is to make and preserve customers. They use various plans which include several research methods in order to discover the best way to make profits. For the companies, the saying, consumer is god, is crucial for a successful their business. Observing the customer’s purchasing behaviour is the initial step in the direction of successful understanding of customers. Branding is a crucial marketing strategy which inspires customer’s viewpoint and purchasing behaviour every time. Understanding customer buying behaviours will give marketers a close look into how significance for the marketers is to know the basic association the consumer has with the brand. So, for this reason, the research splits these issues into number of dimensions to consider that there is any connection between consumer purchasing behaviour. In other words, it permits one to see if branding can actually inspire consumer purchasing process.
The research concentrates on the individual purchasing behaviour and branding associations. The sample is collected from the United Kingdom to overlook the culture impact and moreover to get rid of racial, religion and geographic issue for suitable sampling. The importance of this research is to explain how branding have an effect on different buyers behaviours build upon four kinds of complicated purchasing behaviour, conflict-reducing purchasing behaviour, habitual purchasing behaviour, and variety-seeking purchasing behaviour that are further talked about in this paper. By assessing commodity products, investigation of different approaches from these different consumer purchasing behaviour groups towards brand effects is done. The findings showed in the end reveals a strong positive association that can guide companies to concentrate more on strategies of branding according to the customers purchasing attitude towards branding.
Today, in this fast moving environment, marketing depends upon the consumer’s behaviour and response to the product, price, promotion, place, physical layout, process and people (Gronroos, 1997; Kotler and et al., 1999; Egan, 2002) because today marketing is more consumers oriented than never before and due to the increasing value of service sector. For the development and survival of a firm, it requires exact facts about customers like their approach of buying, what they purchase, from which place they purchase and most essentially quantity they buy. Marketing has accepted the behavioural sciences basically sociology and social psychology to study and understand the process of consumer behaviour and decision making. While doing this, marketers are able to get explanations and forecasts build on these disciplines to figure their market offerings.
To the extent that marketers are investigating the consumers’ psychological background in order to their establish factors that affect consumer choice in terms of cognition, perception, learning and attitude – all of which affect his buyer behaviour. A current day market trend has been the increasing similarity of products with little real functional difference between competing products. This is primarily due to intensive competitive rivalry and the existence of efficient production, transport, communication and financial systems. Under such circumstances technological innovations are quite quickly imitated by competitors and can no longer offer previous levels of sustainable competitive advantage and product differentiation (Levitt, 1983; Gronroos, 1997; Kotler, 2000). Therefore a significant feature of contemporary marketing research and practice concerns the emergence of brands as key organisational assets and a major issue in product strategy (Kotler, 2000). Firms have placed a heavy emphasis on adding symbolic values associated with brand names as the basis for product differentiation. The winner will eventually be the one whose strategy entails a mix conducive to the customers purchase behaviour, while doing so more effectively than its competitors.
Objective Of The Study
The primary goal of this research is to display branding value, functions and most important thing, its part in the consumer buying decision. This research examines the process and attributes that direct towards the customers’ evaluation of brands. This research will concentrate on the assessment of questionnaires filled by the public. Other objectives are like explanation of how the present customers attempts to match the individual identity with the identity that they relate to the brand, to prove that is there any correlation between individual purchasing behaviour and branding, and to evaluate how branding have an effect on different purchaser behaviours.
This study provides a foundation for the value and uses of branding as a vital marketing activity having an important impact on the consumer purchase decision. This research relates to a basic theory which has yet to be verified which says that as the difference among similar available products in the market is reducing, the chances that customers will buy through extrinsic signals, i.e. brand name associations is rising (Murphy, 1992). So, as customers’ ability to distinguish same kind of product declines, it is likely that the awareness of familiarity of a particular brand will push them to buy their particular choice of brand.
Let us define a ‘product’ before defining a brand, according to Baker (2000) a product is like anything that meets the needs of consumers. He says that it is the ability of the product to meet these needs that gives it value. The needs or problems can be psychological, economic or functional. In a competitive environment there are several companies offering opponent products that meet the customer’s needs. It is important to consider the fact that the brand can also allow companies to overcome the need to compete at a functional level, and can be used to help a company to compete on any level it is by applying its main capabilities (Hamel and Prahalad, 1994). It is the brand that distinguishes and identifies their offerings (Levitt, 1983). Like, most valuable possession is its brand name. They may be referred to as invisible assets of a lot of corporations around the world.
Branding at present is increasingly concerned with bringing together and maintaining a mix of values, both tangible as well as intangible, which are relevant to the consumers and which properly differentiate one’s brand from that of another (Muehling and Laczniak, 1991; Hankinson and Cowking, 1993; Kapferer, 1995; Kotler et al., 1999). There are many tools other then the brand name to distinguish products and invest them with personality. Leading among them are advertising, promotion and packaging, other ways to differentiate from the competition may be product formulation, delivery systems, sizes, colour, smell, shape and so on. On the other hand, all these elements are put together with an appropriate and protected name with which the primary attributes of the product or service ultimately reside give the product its brand identity. This combination of messages within the structure of a brand name is a foundation to the development of brand personality (Graham, 2001; Holt, 2002). From the consumers point of view, brand names are as important as the product itself in the sense they make purchasing process easier, guarantee quality and at times form as a basis of self-expression. As said by Kotler (1997), any company can produce cold drinks, but only Pepsi Co. can produce 7UP.
Talking about branding purpose and benefits, branding facilitates and makes the customers selection process more effective, people are loaded with lots of decisions in their day to day lives, and they are flooded with limitless products and messages contesting for attention. People look for shortcuts to make the decisions easier, a shorter way is to depend on habit, this shows of purchasing products that have shown good results in the past. This is in particular a case of less involvement purchases. This is further shown by a model of habitual buying behaviour (Assael, 1993), stating that reasonable past consumption behaviour leads to benefit association, which is a idea means the tendency of the consumer to relate the positive rewards to a particular brand, this relation between positive rewards towards a certain brand restricts the customers need for looking information and strengthen the likelihood that the identification of a need will lead the customer to straight buy a particular brand. And from the retailer’s point of view, branding can help differentiation. According to (Adcock. et al., 1998), differentiation is an action of modelling a set of meaningful differences to differentiate the company’s offering from the opponent’s offerings. Competition with fast pace can follow development in technology and product formulation.
An opponent will quickly able to make a replica, example, a cigarette brand, though they will not be able to copy the personality that use the brand name, like Marlboro. Porter (1980) says that differentiation is a source of competitive advantage. Using a differential advantage companies are in a position to distinguish their offer from competitors in the same segment. According to Porter (1980), the main need for gaining a competitive advantage is by creating such differentiation. Differentiation, in this case, refers to a company’s ability to be exclusive in its product sold and service offered. This individuality must be of a value to the consumer and can thus be sold at a premium over its competitor’s price. The more valuable this exclusivity is, the higher the differentiation, leading to the higher premium. Differentiation however comes with a cost, so for differentiation to have a competitive advantage, the cost of differentiating must be significantly lower than the premium earned. Therefore, in the perfect market with perfect competition, this premium allows the company to make a higher profit margin than its competitors. In a market segment with no differential advantage held by anyone, consumers might opt purely on the basis of price, and perfect competition which confirms that profits are pushed to zero (Porter, 1980; Foxall and Goldsmith, 1994; Baker, 2000). The differential advantage above can be gained by obtaining any element of the marketing mix. But studies have shown that the best possible plan is to focus on brand differentiation, rather than cost and price as a way of building profitability and growth (East, 1997; Diaz de Rada, 1998; Fankel, 2002).
The Significance of Brand Loyalty
According to (Meenaghan, 1995; Quester and Smart, 1998), branding can be related to the increasing value of brand loyalty. Loyalty can be termed as a total commitment towards a particular brand. Building loyalty depends on satisfying the needs of the consumers better than other opponents (Oliver, 1999) and the stage of loyalty that can be reached depends on the aimed consumers. According to (Quester and Smart, 1998), people all over the globe develop irrational connection with different products. Though (Levitt, 1983), came with the structure to understand how booming brands are made and claimed that consumers are not irrational to select them.
The core of all brands consists of key product attributes, which allow the consumers to distinguish the product, as an answer to their needs; the attributes describe the products performance and usefulness. Adjoining this main product there is a group of attributes that enable the consumer to distinguish the product from other products of different brands. These characteristics take the shape of the products appearance, design, packaging, and identification. If these attributes would not been there, the only differentiation would be based on its reasonable pricing. According to Doyle, the brand name permits for a sustainable differential advantage. In the end, it is the external shell of the product that has been described by Doyle as, whatever thing that possibly can be done to create customer inclination and loyalty (cited Baker, 2000).
According to (Alreck and Settle, 1999,) marketer’s basic aim is to make good relationship with buyers, rather just selling. The core of a relationship is a powerful bond between the brand and the buyer. If successful there will be present a loyalty that keeps out the opponents. A strong brand name should have a consumer franchise that will develop when enough number of customers wants that brand and reject other alternatives, still if the price is less. A brand with a powerful consumer franchise is protected from competitors (Kotler and Cox, 1980; Cheratony, 1993; Cowley, 1996). The brand loyal customers, whether they purchase same brand every time which can be an act of trust, habit or outcome of less participation and product availability, the clear assumption is that they push high profits for the company. Thakor and Kohli (1996) says that it costs six times more to succeed over new buyers then to hold present ones, because of the fact that it results in more expenditure linked to adverts, promotions and sales. So loyal consumers make brand equity the main asset underlying brand equity is buyers’ equity (Machleit, 1993; Kotler, 1999).
It is vital to make loyalty and settled base of customers who are fixed and loyal purchasers of a brand, which negates change and churn from the company’s’ products. For every business it is costly to increase new customers and cheaper to keep present one. Therefore, a settled customer base has the customer acquisition investment mainly in its past (Gwinner and Eaton, 1999). Contemporary marketing recommends obtaining data about customers as much as possible, anywhere it is to widen the understanding of customer wants, standard of living, attitude and purchasing behaviour (Chisnall, 1995; Davis et al., 1996; Dun, 1997; Chevron, 1998). This allows a company to modify the brand offering, to shift from the usual to an unexpected level of service actually delighting the customer, make sure the future loyalty and commitment. Generally, a brand’s value to a company is mainly created by the customer loyalty it controls (Aaker, 1996).
Brands might differ in terms of the amount of dominance they have in the market. Many brands are unfamiliar whereas others have great consumer awareness, and moreover some brands have a great amount of consumer brand inclination. A strong brand can be said to have great brand equity. This can be explained as a brand which enjoys great brand loyalty, awareness, powerful brand associations, perceive quality and other benefits like trademarks, exclusive rights and channel relationships (Chay, 1991). The idea behind brand equity relates to the importance of a brand, value to the marketer as well as the buyer.
With the marketers’ viewpoint, brand equity is a big market share therefore better cash flows and profit. From the consumer viewpoint, brand equity relates to a powerful positive brand attitude through a promising assessment of the brand, which is build upon consistent meanings and values that are simply accessible in the buyers’ memory (Lewis, 1993; Keller, 1998). With substantial effort has been put in measuring and defining the concept of brand equity there has been limited empirical research aimed at understanding the importance of the brand name associations in product differentiation (Aaker, 1991). One of the main objectives of Marketing is to get the products offered in a particular category to be distinct. Muehling, Stoltman and Mishra (1989), have found consumers to be less brand loyal, more price sensitive and less receptive to marketplace information in the absence of perceived differences between the alternatives.
Marketers understand that brands summon up symbolic pictures which are more significant to success of a product than its real natural characteristics (Meenaghan, 1995; Feltham, 1998). For products which are recognized with a brand, Davis (1995) has performed a research by splitting the customer assessment in two factors. Assessment which is linked to product characteristics (tangible) and assessment linked to the brand name (intangible). The consumer’s power to assess the performance abilities of the product and view about its value for money, usage effectiveness, reliability and availability develops the inherent advantage of the product, matching to product’s characteristics. The external benefits are at the emotional stage where, the symbolic assessment of the brand is taken into account. Here consumers make use of their personal reasons normally matching the brand name related attributes. With the growing variety of standardized products, consumers give more importance to the image of products to make the assessment of different options easier.
Meenaghan (1995) tells that consumers display an inclination towards symbolic rather than purely functional features of products. Therefore, they usually ask for social reliability and loyalty from firms and, in general, symbolic associations have their origin mostly in brand name perception instead of product perception (Meenaghan, 1995). Marketers have tried to employ behavioural theories to clarify and recognize useful relations involving consumer’s personality and their buying behaviour. Kamakura and Russell (1993) have spotted such theory stating that individuals have a definite self-image build on who they believe they are ideal self-concept build on who they believe they would like to be. Howard and Sheth (1969) have explained self-image as an individual thoughts and feelings about their own selves in relation to other objects in a socially determined frame of reference. By self-concept or self-image model, individuals will perform in a way that sustain and improve their self-image. One way is through the products they buy and use.
The Effect of Branding on Consumer Purchase Behaviour
The function of brand values is highlighted in the literature above, and in particular the significance of the brand to get distinctive benefit has been documented in depth. The reason behind the study to understand the consumer purchasing behaviour in light of the literature discussed so far. In order to do this consumer decision-making models will be organized. The hypothesis will be assumed as the derivation of the tests that will be conducted in the primary research.
Marketing and ecological stimuli penetrate the buyer’s perception, the definition of consumer buying behaviour can be comprehended as buyer’s purchasing decision process. Four types of consumer buying behaviours, based on the degree of buyer contribution and the degree of differences among brands (Kotler, 2000). These four types are complex buying behaviour, habitual buying behaviour, variety-seeking buying behaviour, and dissonance-reducing buying behaviour. In complex buying behaviour the consumer is aware of the brands and gets too involved in the buying by analysing the product thoroughly.
The customer is highly involved in buying the product in dissonance-reducing behaviour but doesn’t get too involved in the brands. Some buying situations are characterised by low involvement but significant brand differences. Consumer’s often do a lot of brand switching for variety-seekers. They are only according to the information in advertisement and television. The buying process begins with brand beliefs in habitual buying behaviour.
The brand plays most important role in consumers’ purchase decision to purchase a particular product from another. Various attributes that merge to make the consumer behaviour in particular fashion during his purchase decision but also inducing any pre-purchase and post purchase activities. As (Engle et al., 1995) has defined consumer behaviour as consisting all those acts of individuals which are directly involved in obtaining, using and disposing of economic goods and services, including the decision process that precede and determine these acts.
It is important factor to consider that influence the consumers’ buyer behaviour and study wishes to incorporate the Howard-sheth model of decision making. The theory of the model is that buyer behaviour is in general component firm by how consumer thinks and develops in order. (Howard and Sheth, 1969). It supports the fact that cognitive decision making which eventually determine the choice of brand and purchasing decision. The brand impact motivate the buyer and changes the behaviour , perception, learning and attitude are examined in terms of how each is affected by this impact on branding.
Here brand perception is based on individual personal experience of their own beliefs, needs and values. People receive and understand the sensory from their five senses they are sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste) in their own ways. Engel at el have defined perception as “ the process whereby stimuli are received and interpreted by the individual and translated into a response” (Foxall, 1980,p.29).
Primarily the social and psychological meaning of a product gets conveyed by two factors which determine the idea of stimuli, also known as stimulus discrimination and stimulus generalisation.
Stimulus discrimination the question that hits in mind is whether the consumer can actually discriminate between differences in stimuli. Consumers become conscious of brands through packages, advertisements, promotions, and word of mouth they may be involved at some point in decision making process. Once customers became aware of brands through learning their purchase decision are then guided by their perceptions of their brands formed from the information they get about the brands characteristics (Foxall and Goldsmith, 1994).
The marketers will first provide the similar brands and provide same information about the product and they position better way and discriminate between characteristics of the brands. The marketing information which will discriminate based on the brand name information provided with and it will be derived from brand name or the perception of the brand. It has been concluded (kotler et al, 1999) that consumers depend on reputation of the brand name to believe the quality of the product. Brand name is someone who creates the image and some cases provide perception of the quality in a product and that shows the involvement of low level buyers. The main part of brand impact where the customer experiences the service they provide and class they maintain it guide through the purchasing behaviour. Chernatony (1993) explained four factors that attract them to change a particular brand and to understand their provided framework of their successful brands .
1. Quality is the pre-eminent factor that through time can lead buyers to learn to trust a brand which leads to priority position in the evoked set and repeat purchasing activity.
2. Build superior service can not only endorse product quality, but also prove post purchase problem solving. For instance, digital camera consumers would select an international brand for its global service and technological support.
3. The most common means of building an outstanding brand is being the first into the mind consumer. It is much easier to build a strong brand in the consumer’s mind than in the market, characterised by the intense level of competition.
4. In building brands the principle is to invest in markets which are highly differential or where such differentiation can be created. Mostly, the differentiation is why the brand is different from others.
Brand provides consumer with lower search costs for products internally and externally. Brand reduces the risk in product decisions and Keller (1998) identifies six types of risk in consumers view. 1. Functional risk- product expectations 2.physical risk- friendly user or not 3. Financial risk- product should fit in the budget and it should be worth 4. Psychological risk- the product affects the mental well-being of the user 6. Time risk- failure of the product leads to find the other product.
Brands have a personally of their own which consumers want to associate with, would like to reflect their own behaviour or aspirations and want to have an experience with. A brand, therefore, adds value to a functional product providing it offers clear differentiation in the market in which it competes. “Branding is short, transforms the actual experience of using the product – and thereby adds to its value” (Chevron, 1998).
So far it has been highlighted how extrinsic cues of a product namely the brand name can affect the consumers perception. Learning refers to any change in behaviour that comes about as a result from past experience. Dodds (1991) refers to learning as changes in a consumer’s behaviour caused by information and experience. Consumers store information in their memory in the form of associations, which links the brand name of a product with a variety of other attributes of the brand, like its price, packaging, colour, size and benefits as well as how the consumer feels about it in terms of its quality and emotions it evokes. These associations are the ones that form the information base from where the consumer makes his ultimately decisions (Foxall and Goldsmith, 1994). Most of this information consumers have stored in their memory comes from the process of learning – that is what they think, feel or know about brands.
Conoway (1994), claims that the subjective personal meanings of psycho-social consequences are represented by consumers’ cognitive systems. Since these consequences are experienced by consumers they are likely to trigger responses such as emotions, feelings and evaluations. Learning will be examined as a result of the marketing efforts, in terms of how information from the external communication environment is registered with the consumers long term memory from where it is extracted and used during his purchasing decision and also examine the way learning takes place in the form of changes in the consumers behaviour as a result of experience.
At its simplest form learning occurs when consumers are repeatedly exposed to information such as brand names, slogans and jingles. Through this forms of learning consumers may form a weakly held belief that a particular brand is desirable due to an advertisement where the spokesperson repeats this claim over and over again. On the other hand, learning vicariously occurs when a consumer imitates the behaviours of others. Bandure (1977) stated that vicarious learning describes the way in which a consumer learns pattern of behaviour by watching other behave and applying the same lessons to his/her life. Brand images are created through advertisements, marketers use celebrities and famous sportsmen for this purpose, as it are the case with major retailing brands of Sainsbury’s and ASDA or Nike and Puma. Advertisements conjure upon a image for the brand through the use of models living a certain lifestyle that might be in tune with the consumers’ aspirations – this will allow for favourable information about the brand to be processes by the consumers learning process.
For marketers the learning theory is one of significance and of practical importance, as it allows them to build up demand for their brands by associating them to strong drives, motivation cues and thereby enabling positive reinforcements.
A person’s overall evaluation of a concept may be defined as his or her attitude (Carpernter and Nakamopto, 1989). Consumers’ attitudes towards brands are reflected by their tendency to evaluate brands in a consistently favourable or unfavourable fashion.
While behaviour and attitude are related and each may uinfluene each other, it si not necessary for them to be entirely consistent (Briggs and Cheek, 1986). General logic claims that if a consumer prefers or favours a brand there is greater likelihood of him to purchase it. thereby a positive trend in consumers’ attitude towards a particular brand may result in an increase in sales forecast. It is no wonder that testing or measuring attitude provides the bulk of marketing research work (Foxall and Goldsmith, 1994). Researching consumer attitudes are functionally useful for the marketer in directing consumers toward brands they find useful in satisfying needs, wants and aspirations.
Chay (1991) claims that advertisements influence attitudes towards the add, which is an importance predecessor of brand attitude. While Cheratony (1989) and Muehling (1987) go on saying that the influence of attitudes towards the ad on brand attitudes has been found to be even more significant under low-involvement conditions and emotionally based advertising. While in some cases even though the consumer has a favourable attitude towards a brand due to an advertisement he might have enjoyed, after having watched the advertisement if his purchase action is postponed the effect of the advertisement will wear off resulting in the favourable attitude towards the brand fading away. Furthermore even if the purchase action is not delayed there is the possibility of variables such as price that rule out the consistency between attitude and behaviour (Belk, 1975).
Motivation is another mental factor that influences the underlying emotions and attitudes towards brands and the purchasing decision. Freud (Vecchio, 1992) claims that people are mostly unconscious of the real psychological forces shaping their behaviour. He suggests that a person does not fully understand his/her motivation. He states that as people grow up they repress many urges, and these urges are never really eliminated or under perfect control. An applied example could be in terms of Pepsi adverting campaign during 1989 to 1992, with slogan such as “Pepsi the choice of a new generation” and “Pepsi Gotta Have It” (Alison, 1992). David Novak, Pepsi’s vice president of marketing explains that the campaign represents the Pepsi attitude for people who think young and want to celebrate his life. The implication here would be for a young adult who purchases the Pepsi with the underlying motive to quench his thirst or purchase a beverage. At a deeper leave he might have purchase the Pepsi to feel or show that he is young and alive (Alison, 1992).
There is a possibility for the brand to be a reflection of the consumer’s perception of his image or self-presentation. Carpernter and Nakamopto (1989) and Chisnall (1995) have defined image as a function of social interaction. Thereby consumption can be an act of self-presentation. The consumer tries to link himself with a desired image, or the ideal social self-image.
Through the literature reviewed the significance and importance of branding as a marketing tool has been highlighted, while providing sufficient evidence as to why a company should brand its products. Product differentiation has been made difficult due to immense competition and improvements in technology, allowing products to be quickly imitated. In this way firms have placed a heavy emphasis on adding symbolic values as the basis for product differentiation. Therefore, while evaluating products the consumer will tend to consider the image aspect of the product to simplify the evaluation of different alternatives. Additionally the review suggested that consumers have a self-concept that have a crucial effect on their purchase decisions. This means that consumer might evaluate brands on the basis of the congruence between the brands image and their own self-image.
Moreover, when the consumer has little or no experience with the product or has a lack of information about the product, consumers will use brand names to evaluate products, some consumers even when provided with information will avoid spending time to investigate the products intrinsic cues (product specific characteristics) and will instead rely on the power of the brand name, which is more apparent when the product is one of low involvement.
The purpose of methodology chapter is to develop an effective research strategy for this study. Methodology designs for the collection of the primary data used in testing the hypotheses and includes formulating of the hypotheses, the data collection methods, designing the questionnaires, the pilot study and the sample design.
The rationale behind the literature has been to investigate the impact of branding on the consumers purchase decision. In terms of how what evaluate attributes influence their purchase decision. The underlying discussion has tried to come to an understanding of the consumers’ perception and attitudes towards how their actual purchase choices or decisions are generated, keeping in mind the brand name associations that influence the consumer, leading to his consistent behaviour and loyalty.
There are two main issues within the study: whether there is a difference in the effect that branding has on the different categories of consumer buying behaviour groups, and the relationship between branding variables and consumer buying behaviour.
As it has been mentioned in the literature review, branding is about certain customers, not all customers as they have different attitudes and behaviours toward brands. Further, Crimp and Wright (1995) define consumer attitudes as a composite of a consumer's beliefs about, feelings for, and behavioural intentions towards some object-within the context of brad. In the research, the independent variable is the consumer buying behaviour that is primary interest for marketer. The main objective of the research is to understand and describe the purchasing behaviour in terms of brand and to explain its variability within the purchasing process and attempt to predict it. The dependent variable is the branding element that is considered by the consumer. Different consumers may hold different attitudes for these branding elements, or in other words, these branding components are viewed together since they are highly interdependent and together represent forces that influence how the consumer react to the object. Therefore, the purpose of the first hypothesis is to explore the difference in the effect that branding has on the different categories of consumer buying behaviour groups.
The null H0 and alternative H1 hypothesis can be stated as follows:
Group A = independent variable = Consumer buying behaviour
Group B = dependent variable = Branding
Null hypothesis (H0): There is no difference in the effect that branding has on the four different categories of consumer buying behaviour groups.
Statistically expressed, H0 is µ1 = µ2 = µ3 = µ4.
Alternative hypothesis (H1): There is a difference in the effect that branding has on the four different categories of consumer buying behaviour groups.
Statistically expressed, H1 is µ1 ≠ µ2 ≠ µ3 ≠ µ4
In this branding research project that includes several variables, beyond knowing the means and standard deviations of the dependent variables, researchers often would like to know how one dimension is related to another. That is, it would like to see the nature, direction, and significance of the bivariate relationships of the branding elements used in this study. Therefore, hypothesis 2 is proposed so as to explore the consumer's attitudes, on whether there is relationship among brand elements.
Null hypothesis (H0): There is no correlation among six branding dimensions of the consumers’ attitudes.
Alternative hypothesis (H1): There is a correlation among six branding dimensions of the consumers’ attitudes.
Measurement of Variables
Operationally defining, a concept to render it measurable, is done by looking at the behaviour dimensions, facets, or properties denoted by the concept (Sekaran, 2002). In the literature review, it has been said that it is possible to describe the behaviour of a person who involves in purchase. Therefore, this comprises a complex buying behaviour, dissonance-reducing buying behaviour, habitual buying behaviour, and variety-seeking buying behaviour basis on the degree of buyer involvement. Then, a nominal scale can be used that allows the study to assign people to the four consumer buying behaviour categories.
On the other hand, branding dimensions comprise attitudes, benefits, values, culture, personality symbolism, and user's reveal of branding elements. Interval scale is used that would allow to measure the distance between any two points on the scale and help to compute the means and the standard deviations of the responses on the variables.
Data Collection Method
The study’s survey has aimed to incorporate the following features to meet the specific requirements of the projects:
- Specific objectives, these may be in terms of points that the survey should achieve and should be kept relatively simple;
- Questionnaire that entails straightforward questions that extract consistency and accurate information;
- A research design that includes survey sampling, sampling methods, sample size and the sound choice of population and sample meaning a relatively large unbiased group;
- The appropriate quantitative as well as qualitative analysis and reporting of survey results.
The opinion poll involves three sections. Classification data, also known as personal information or demographic questions, such as age, education level, marital status, are extract at the Section A in questionnaire may opine that one respondent have shared some of their personal history, they may have psychologically identified themselves with the questionnaire, and my feel commitment to respond. Section B is focusing on respondents' buying behaviours and aims to separate them into different consumer buying behaviour groups. Furthermore, the questions provide briefly explanations for each buying behaviour group. Section C is designed to collect information about respondents’ attitudes towards branding variable. The data from sections B and C is used to test and decide whether to accept and reject the hypothesis and make recommendations for marketers.
In section C, a respondent is required to agree with the statement on the scale of 1 to 5, with 1 representing a strong disagreement and 5 being a strong agreement. The aim is to measure the consumers’ attitude for each brand dimension, and find out how branding effects on consumer buying behaviour. Each dimension has two questions corresponding to measures. For example, question 6 and 7 are designed for measuring the brand attribute effects. These questions are easy to understand and answer, and take less time and effort to respond.
Surveys are useful for getting a great deal of specific information. However, surveys come in several different forms. Mail surveys are relatively inexpensive, but response rates are typically quite low from 5-20 percent. Phone surveys get somewhat higher response rates, but not many questions can be asked because many answer options have to be repeated and few people are willing to stay on the phone for more than five minutes. Mall intercepts are a convenient way to reach consumers, but respondents may be reluctant to discuss anything sensitive face-to-face with an interviewer. By personally administered questionnaire, any doubts that the respondents might have on any question could be clarified on eth spot. And researcher may have better opportunities for introducing the research topic and motivating the respondents to give frank answers.
Pilot Study – Reliability and Face Validity
It was carried put to pre-test the questionnaire design, and reliability of the scale in the context of the questionnaire to see whether it produced reliable results when frequent measurements are made and to adjust any sudden problems with the questionnaire. Pre- test questionnaire in this study will be used to identify whether the research elements are valid and reliable before implementing. (Malhotra 1996)
The validity of this content that measures an sufficient and diplomatic set of items to tap the concept. By recommend structure of questionnaire, more the scale items represent the domain or universe of the concept being measured, the grater content validity. To put it differentially, the content validity is a function of how well dimensions and elements of a concept have been defined. This would give the proper content of validity.
To support content validity, the questionnaire has designed that there are four dimensions of the “consumer buying behaviour” variable and six dimensions of “brand variable and two questions for each dimension. To evaluate the feedback on this matter, for the period of study process, the respondents were requested to make comments on the clarity and the structure of the questionnaire. By considering this feedback on this matter, few modifications and adjustments have been applied to the study.
Reliability of Measures
For appropriate reliability of measures 15 to 20 respondents has been conducted on streets, via emails and on the phone to check the reliability. It can help us to assess the appropriateness. Interim Consistency reliability is a test of the respondents’ answer to all the items in a measure. To degree that items will be correlated with one another. According to this method, more than 0.70 reliability coefficients is accepted and marked. The test conducted for section C, for this scale is 0.8281, thus demonstrating good levels of reliability (table1).
Table 1. Reliability Analysis
The process of selecting an adequate number of basics from the population, so that a pilot learning of the model and an indulgence of its property or characteristics would make it possible to be widespread. Consumer research is usually based upon techniques like sample survey (Kress, 1988). However, while doing a research it is not possible to do a survey done for the whole population and then study them. Thus, a sample survey is been done to determine a frame to facilitate the findings.
In this research random sampling methods have been used. For this method, a technique of non-probability sampling-quota sampling has been chosen. Quota sampling can be measured as a form of balanced stratified sampling, in which encoded percentages of individuals are sampled from diverged groups, conveniently. For example, this study divided consumers into four categories of buying conduct, in order to ensure each grouping has the equivalent measure of respondents. The initial available respondents were sampled accordingly and then randomly select other respondents who fit the quota until each group if filled. Since this is a non-probability sampling, the outcomes are not generalised to be population (Sekaran, 2003). Still, it becomes necessary when a subset of the population in the study is unidentified.
The determination of sampling size is affected by two main factors: the economies of the data and the need to make an appropriate decision that is to have enough observations to make a decision (Gofton and Ness, 1997). While performing a market research in branding effects on consumer, the numerical evaluation of sample amount may be not so easy.
Proposed that a sample size more than 30 and less than 500 is majorly appropriate for maximum research methods, while making a subsample at least 30 samples in each category are important (Crimp and Wright (1995) In this study, there are four categories/subgroups and a large sampling size will be time consuming. thus, 120 respondents are most suitable for the fieldwork. in addition, in this study, a greater degree of cultural and social difference can be met in different buying behaviours. In this regard it would be better to assume each sub-group has the same sample size. Therefore, this study constraints to 30 respondents for each subgroup.
The main focus of the methodology design used to conduct the research is the hypotheses based on the literature review that is to examine the branding effect on consumer buying behaviour. The first hypothesis concludes if there is difference in the outcome that branding has on four diverse consumer buying behaviour groups. The second hypothesis, is to explore the inter-relationship among brand dimensions when they have effect on consumer buying behaviour. The research also includes data resources, questionnaire design and sampling design. Moreover, the instrument has also assessed in validity and reliability of using piloting test for this research.
Analysis Of Findings
The following are the data results from the questionnaires. The purpose is to study the hypothesis of the branding effect on consumer buying behaviour. On final survey sampling, ten more questionnaires, that is 40 items were collected for each consumer buying behaviour group in order to avoid some invalid or incomplete questionnaire on the study. Therefore, seven invalid questionnaires were taken out as incomplete and 153 questionnaires were put into consideration. The non-response rate is at 4.6 percent. Finally, 30 respondents were separately selected from each consumer buying behaviour groups by random method.
Data Analysis Methods
In this data analysis process, the Frequency Descriptive is put at first to highlight the demographics and the distribution of the data obtained. After that, Kruskal-Wallis Test is conducted to compare the difference in the effect that branding has on the four different categories of consumer buying behaviour groups. Finally, the Spearman's Rank Order Correlation is used to explore the correlation among brand elements towards consumers' attitudes. For this case it would be appropriate to use non-parametric tests when the scale is not continuous, as it is suggested by Pallant (2002). As the data obtained from questionnaires is not continuous but nominal, the non-parametric tests would be used for the research. In order to ease the statistical dispensation, the software (SPSS) was engaged for the following study.
Statistics study serves three major principles: to portray the data at offer, test hypothesis, and forecast or estimate the data (Malhotra, 1996). This analysis starts by current demographics and the division of the data collected. Frequency distributions were also attained for the data and categorized variables. The frequencies for the figure of individuals in the diversed classification for this sample are shown below.
Table 2. Frequency Output
Gender – In the 120 respondents, 62 percent are female and 58 percent are male. This indicates that female participate in shopping more than male.
Age – 25 percent of the respondents are under the age of 20, 21 percent are within the range of 21-30 years, 27 percent in 31-40, 25 percent in 41-50 and 22 percent are over the age of 51. Therefore, it shows that the size of each age group is standard for the research.
Education – 29 percent had a primary school education, 18 percent had secondary school education, 19 percent - Bachelors Degree, 31 percent – Masters Degree, and 23 percent had doctoral degrees.
Marital status – There are 74 percent of married and 46 percent of single responses. It implies that married people participate more in shopping than single.
From the statistics synopsis above, it provides a summary of the responses in the research, which is useful to portray the model of this report. For further research, the frequencies can visually be displayed as bar charts, histograms, or pie charts.
Kruskal Wallis Tests
The Kruskal-Wallis Test is the non-parametric alternative to a one-way between groups analysis of variance. It allows research to compare the scores on some continuous variable for three or more groups. Which in this case, would there be difference in the effect of branding on four different types of consumer buying behaviour groups: those who are Complex buying behaviour/Dissonance-reducing buying behaviour/Habitual buying behaviour/Variety-seeking buying behaviour. Scores are converted to ranks and the mean rank for each group is compared. As this is a “between-groups” analysis, different people must be in each of the different groups.
Kruskal-Wallis Test involves one independent variable-consumer buying behaviour (referred to as a factor), which has a number of different categories. The statistical groups correspond to the different categories. The dependent variables are elements of branding effect (in this case: attributes, benefits, values, culture, personality and user). As it has been mentioned in Chapter 3.2.1, each of these dimensions has two questions that correspond to measures. In order to analyse the branding effect, this paired measures need to be transformed as a mean value. The next step is the new variables for branding effect have to be obtained for statistical tests. To test the first hypothesis, the data results from questions 6-17 are reviewed. The output generated from this procedure is presented below.
Table 3. Kruskal-Wallis Test
The main pieces of information from this Kruskal-Wallis Test output are: Chi-Square value, the degree of freedom (df), and the significant level (presented as Asymp.Sig.). If the significant level is a value less than or equal to 0.05, then there is a statistically significant difference in the consumer buying behaviour across the four groups. In the table below, brand attributes, brand benefits and brand values Sig. values are all less than 0.05 and imply that these three branding elements have significantly different effects on four categories of consumer buying behaviour groups.
On the other side in terms of brand culture, brand identities, and brand user, all Sig values are larger than 0.05, indicating that four categories of consumer buying behaviour groups have no different attitudes towards these three branding elements. In other words, these three branding elements have no significant different effects on four categories of consumer buying behaviour groups.
Moreover, the Mean Rank for these four groups was presented in the output table below. This will indicate which groups had highest overall ranking that correspond to the highest score on the branding variables.
Table 4: Mean Rank
Firstly, on the brand attribute effects, the consumer group 1 (Complex buying behaviour) has highest mean rank of all while group 4 (Variety-seeking buying behaviour) has much lower mean rank than other groups. Secondly, on the brand benefit effects, the group 1 (Complex buying behaviour) has highest mean rank of all while group 4 (Variety-seeking buying behaviour) once again has much lower mean rank than other groups. In regards to brand value effects, the group 1 has much higher mean rank of all, with the group 4 reporting the lowest. In terms of brand culture, brand identity and brand user effects, the results from mean ranks do not possess much variance and imply that there are no significant differences across four consumer groups.
To identify the environment, path, and consequences of the vicariate relations of the branding fundamentals in this study, a non-parametric test Spearman’s Rank order Correlation matrix is presented to assess the relationship between ordinal variables and provides this in order.
Cohen (1988) proposes the subsequent procedure (cited in Pallant, 2002):
- r = .10 to .29 or r= -.10 to -.29 small
- r =.30 to .49 or r = -.30 to -.49 medium
- r =.50 to 1.0 or r = -.50 to -1.0 large
Hypothetically, there might be a prefect optimistic correlation between two variable, which the correlation is symbolized by 1.0 (plus 1), or a prefect pessimistic correlation which would be -1.0 (minus 1). The negative symbol only refers to the course of the association, not the potency. In fact, neither or these will be found certain while measuring correlations among any two variables conventional to be diverse from previous.
As a result, the theory that hypothesizes relationship(positive or negative) between branding basics can be experienced by investigating the correlation between either of the two. still, in the first hypothesis analysis concluded that four class of consumer buying behaviour groups have considerably dissimilar approach on branding basics, and these consumer groups will be separately analysed. as a result, the sub hypotheses should be conducted as follow:
(H01): no correlation among branding elements and complexes buying behaviour group.
(H11): a correlation between branding variables and complexes buying behaviour group
(H02): no correlation between branding variables and dissonance-reducing buying behaviour group
(H12): a correlation between branding variables and dissonance-reducing buying behaviour group.
(H03): no correlation between branding variables and habitual buying behaviour group.
(H13): a correlation between branding variables and habitual buying behaviour group.
(H04): no correlation between branding variables and variety-seeking buying behaviour group.
(H14): a correlation between branding variables and variety-seeking buying behaviour group.
On the table, the asterisk (*) explains which two branding fundamentals have a relationship to both due to the Sig. (2-tailed) rate attain the statistical implication at the conventional point (p<0.05). Correlation coefficients indicate the accurate potency of the association between two variables. In addition, to what extent the difference of the two variables to be measured condemned to as the coefficient of purpose.
Table 5. Correlation of brand variables for complex consumer group
The outcome on the previous table of buyer set 1 demonstrates that there is a standard, positive association among brand characteristic aspect and brand traditional measurement (r=0.362, p=0.049), with high rank of superficial brand aspect related with complex levels of brand behaviour. The parallel coefficient r, when squared, symbolizes 13.1 percent share variation. Supposed brand conduct helps to explain nearly 13 percent of the diversity in respondents’ score on the supposed brand attributes range. On the other hand, there is a strong negative association among brand customs and brand identity variables (r=-0.537, p=0.002), with high levels of perceived brand culture associated with lower levels of perceived brand identity scale. The superficial brand culture helps to describe nearly 28 percent of the difference in respondents’ scores on the supposed brand identity scale. Hence, (HI) is accepted which means there is a association between branding variables that difference reducing buying behaviour set considers.
Table 6. Correlation of brand variables for dissonance-reducing consumer group
In consumer group 2, the results from the above table show that there is strong negative association between brand value variable and brand identity variable (r=-0.527, p=0.003), with high levels associated with lower levels of brand distinctiveness range. The perceived brand value helps to evaluate nearly 27 percent of the variance in respondents’ scores on the scale. Hence, (H12) is accepted and there is an association between branding variables that dissonance-reducing buying behaviour set considers.
Table 7. Correlation of brand variables for habitual consumer group
In consumer set 3, the table above proposes that there is only a fragile association among any of two brand variables, which acquires (H03) that there is no association among branding variables that regular buying behaviour group considers. The statistical analysis has to maintain moving on the production of the fourth consumer set.
A standard, positive relationship also happened among the brand attribute and brand identity user on the consumer set 4 (Variety-seeking buying behaviour). The potency of correlation is 0.383 and share variance of these two variables is 14 percent which means brand characteristic enables to give explanation that almost 14 percent of the difference in respondents’ scores on the brand identity range. Therefore, H14 is established and there is an association between branding variables that variety-seeking buying behaviour group believes.
Table 8. Correlation of brand variables for variety-seeking consumer group
Conclusion of Findings
From the analysis commenced, a number of indications can be complete the conclusions. The research used frequency division exposes the categorization in terms of gender, age, education level and marital status of the answers. In provisions of the tests associated to the projected hypothesis is established as there is stagnant distinction in the consequence that branding has on the four diverse categories of consumer buying behaviour set. In theory 2, null hypothesis is cast off and substitute is established in hypothesis 1, 2 and 4. Null hypothesis is established and substitute is rejected in sub hypothesis 3. For composite consumer group, habitual consumer group and variety-seeking consumer group, there is a association among branding variables. Still, on the dissonance-reducing consumer set, there is no significant association between brand variables.
Disscussions & Conclusions
This research tried to present the branding effects on four classes of consumer buying activities. This research is based on products tried to examine the diverse attitudes from consumer buying behaviour groups in analysing towards brand effects in the UK. A diversity of people and researchers examine the anxiety between firms in the marketplace and the nature of consumption. These criticisms of marketing have argued that, collectively, firms' branding efforts figure the desire and actions of the buyers. The fundamental purpose of this study was to show how branding affects different buyers behaviours.
For research proposition, the scales of branding process were gone through reliability test. The resulting scale was reliable with an overall determination of branding. The method included attributes, benefits, values, culture, personality symbolism and beliefs of the buyers. Four class of consumer buying behaviour were identified, representing complex buying behaviour, dissonance-reducing buying behaviour, habitual buying behaviour, and variety-seeking buying behaviour, by Kotler (2003). The hypotheses brought forward were, Hypotheses 1 that is if there is dissimilarity in the outcome that branding has on the four classes of consumer buying activities in the groups. Hypotheses 2 if there is a correlation between branding variable and also, Sub hypotheses was also developed for advance analysis on hypothesis 2 in 4.4.2.
This result found that in terms of branding effects, there is a significant difference among four categories of consumer buying behaviours. Kruskal-Wallis test summarised that the different effects came from branding attributes, benefit and value measures. But with brand culture, personality symbolism, and user revealing, the mean relative importance of attribute is not found to differ significantly between any of the consumer buying behaviours groups.
The second hypotheses focused to examine whether there is an association between brand variables in diverse buying behaviour groups. For this hypothesis, simply in complex buying behaviour, habitual buying behaviour and variety-seeking buying behaviour there was an association between brand variables. For the dissonance-reducing buying behaviour there was no association between brand variables. normally, it showed that in a complex buying behaviour group, brand culture explains 13 percent of the difference in respondents scores on the brand attributes scale. For brand culture and brand identity nearly 28 percent of the difference could be used to explain brand identity on the brand identity scale. In dissonance-reducing buying behaviour group brand values helps to explain nearly 27 percent of the difference in respondents’ scores on the brand identity scale. In variety-seeking buying behaviour group, brand attributes helps to explain nearly 14 percent of the difference in respondents’ scores on the brand identity scale.
Managerial Implications and Recommendations
These results proved that consumers’ buying behaviour is influenced by different branding proportions. Brand attribute, benefit and value situation significantly impact the relative significance of branding evaluation, and their relations contributes to explaining consumer behaviour, even though this relations remains to be quantified in future researches.
The researched proved proposal of Graham (2001) that branding is about confident consumers. Different kinds of consumers may think different on the same brand. For example, the Mac Apple branding message is clear, while a Mac is not for everyone, it is for those who do not want to be computer geeks and those who think computing should be fun. In other words, this is the computer for those who, like to think of themselves as thinking differently. The Mac product lineup reinforces the branding with the extraordinary design and colours of the iMacs and the iBooks, and the latest, the starling Cube (Graham, 2001).
For branding marketers, the results clearly indicate the need to target approach to their consumer markets. Segmenting customers merely on the basis of their brand measure/variable could ultimately prove mistaken of these branding variables interact to explain specifications. For example, while brand benefit of premium quality remains a dominant factor, it may play a different part for complex buying behaviour in given circumstances than for the habitual buying behaviour consumers. It used to take years to builds a premium brand. Companies like Proctor &Gamble or General Electric would make quality products and over time consumers would come to associate that quality with the company name, value, culture and so on. Hence, Keller (1993) defined brand image as "perceptions about a brand as reflected by the brand associations held in memory". This definition takes an association memory network view, in that brand image is based upon linkages a consumer holds in his/her memory structure regarding the brand. These linkages, or in Keller’s terminology, ”brand associations”, are developed from a variety of sources including brand and product category experiences, product attributes, price information, positioning in promotional communications, packaging, user imagery (e.g. typical brand users), and usage occasion (Keller, 1993). Brands and sustain a price over similar products because consumers or at least many consumers perceive a recognised value from purchasing a product. While buying goods and services these consumers would opt to but a given product because certain companies made them. The company itself becomes a brand name and the products they make become brands as well.
To realise that consumers’ evaluation of branding attributes changes the emphasis on the various attributes altered to the purchase of the product for specific branding strategies. For example, if the brand attributes can really support 13 percent of the variance in consumers' evaluation on the brand identity scale, it can make market targeting much easier. While this matter considered as limiting market potential, these individual market niches are likely to be quite lucrative if targeted effectively. Finally, it is also important for practitioners to note that their market research should take into account the type of interaction revealed in this study.
Limitation and Further Research
Further limitations should have to be considered as the result of the previous conclusions. This can relate the hypothetical products used to evaluate consumers' decisions. Having 6 branding variables, it excluded other potential variables and the absence of attributes may have made consumers unable to replicate the purchase process. in addition, it is possible that influences of different branding variables on consumer behaviour may be somewhat partial to only product categories presenting similar characteristics, thus preventing generalised findings.
The reliability test comprised all respondents from different buying behaviour groups, leading to the fact that it could influence the reliability. In the opinion of experts, its reliability is dependent upon the design of the study and the nature of the sample. Whilst all practical efforts were made to gain a representative sample of consumers, the potential for sampling bias can never be eliminated. With an intercept style of data collection, response rates cannot be measured, and therefore non-response bias cannot be accounted for.
Due to the nature of branding, there is a lot of scope for additional research to be carried out. Research can be also conducted on topics such as the consistency and levels of advertising and promotion. Researchers might want to focus themselves with a particular brands market position, including brands age and analysing the reasons for its success or failure - as well as its relative market share and demand. Further research is suggested for analysing legal aspects of branding. Moreover, the communication of trademarks that is their impression on the consumer would make interesting research. Such topics might present further explanations to the effects of branding on the consumers purchase decision.
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