Revision Brand Personality
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Chaotic amount of available facts that explains a phenomenon are made clear through detailed analyses and interpretations guided through the use of rational explanations. It is a common belief that acquiring knowledge can empower an individual for the notion of facts and truths guides a person on how to proceed on things that must be attended to. In every decision an individual makes, comprehension and weighing of information play a vital role on what and how certain actions and attitudes will be conceptualized and performed.
When the complexity of the nature, source and limit of a particular knowledge is exposed in terms of the perspective used by a person, conflict on what point of view to follow along with the beliefs and values a person holds, most often than not determines the behavior, given that the person is a ware of the possible principles and truths he or she could consider. This study examined the impact of brand personality of the consumers of mp3/mp4 players of Apple and Creative.
Along with the changing business world, customers change as well, becoming more demanding and knowledgeable than before. The consumers are active and critical in the simple choices they make as the mere purchase of everyday necessities has proved to be crucial in analyzing the consumer market at present. In turn, company management had shifted their focus on their clients or customers so as to stay successfully in business. The changing world has then placed much emphasis on the importance of communication for effective marketing.
All types of communication are involved in marketing communications, including literature, training, advertising, mail, telephone, product promotions and other contact relevant to marketing communication (Goldberg and McCalley, 1992). This transition meant that organizations have to completely reformulate their conventional business aims and purposes from being process-focused to customer-centered (Lowenstein, 1997).
- Background of the Study
Branding creates attachments between consumers and brand: the stronger the attachment, the better the branding.
Nothing connected with “branding” should surprise anyone any more (Frank, 2001). Whenever the word is spoken, it seems, there instantly follows some scarcely believable anecdote of corporations expanding, metastasising, covering more and more of our world and our culture, putting their mark in some unthinkable new spot or on some inviolable hero, ransacking the temples of art, laying claim to the legacy of the historical avant-garde, to that of religion, of bohemia, of the civil rights movement, of the left itself.
We ride in subway cars whose every surface promotes an allergy remedy or the offerings of a TV network. We hear of “masterbrands” and “megabrands” (Frank, 2001). And the claims attached to brands grow constantly: no longer simple guarantees of quality, brands are now thought to have a more high-minded aspect (Frank, 2001). The brand was everything, the very foundation of economic life. The brand was all that would survive, zealously protected and polished by a core of managerial workers, while the physical operations of the corporation were “outsourced” to those lands where people work for next to nothing (Frank, 2001).
The most important thing to understand about integrated branding is that it is a model for building the most important asset any company has–its relationship with its customers (Lepla, 1999). If you understand that your best customer is the one you already have, then creating a rational system for deepening customer relationships is the logical next step (Lepla, 1999).
Basing your product or service offerings on an integrated brand allows your organization to develop more saleable products over the long term by keeping it focused on your strengths as an organization. This focus opens it to new possibilities by broadening the corporate aperture from looking at what you are producing right now to looking at the bigger picture. Seeing the big picture is an essential prerequisite to company longevity.
Strategy based solely on current product or service uniqueness ultimately results in decreasing market share, lower margins, missed opportunities, and price wars (Lepla, 1999).Integrated branding helps companies understand who they are and how to use that knowledge consistently to create better results. As with all worthwhile change, the process takes some investment in time and elbow grease up front, but results in a huge payoff (Lepla, 1999).
Brand breadth is a function of not only the number and variability of products represented by the brand but also of the strength of association between the brand and the products it represents (Dawar, 1996). The strength of association is reflected in the retrievability from memory of product associations. This, in turn, influences the evaluation of fit of brand extensions.
Two types of brands were studied: those with a strong association to a single product (and weaker associations with other products) and those with strong associations to multiple products. Results from an experiment showed that for brands with a single product association, brand knowledge and context interact to influence evaluations of fit for extensions to products weakly associated with the brand. For brands strongly associated with more than 1 product, context influences evaluations of the fit of brand extensions (Dawar, 1996).
Given the importance of these associations, brand-extension researchers are now focusing on acquiring a deeper understanding of how cognitive representations of brands influence the evaluations of the fit of extensions with the original brand (Dawar, 1996). Ferguson ( 1991 ) reported that perceptions of brand-extension fit depend not only on similarity of product-based aspects, such as features or attributes, but also on the consistency of the extension product with an abstract mental representation, such as the brand-name concept.
New brand extensions are generally supported by substantial communication efforts to build on existing product associations (Dawar, 1996). However, if the extension is close to the weakly associated product, context cues should primarily focus on it, especially if the target consumers are knowledgeable about the brand. Activating the strongly associated product would be a mistake in this communications should cue the product close to the extension product in order to maximize consumer perceptions of fit (Dawar, 1996).
Dawar (1996) argued that the proximity construct refers to the distance of extensions from the brand concept. The strength of brand-product association was used to refer to the relation between the brand and its associations with existing products. However, empirically in psychological research, the two constructs are often treated similarly in that both distance and strength of association are measured using response latency.
These two constructs are independent and can be tapped using different measures. In this study we used response latency measures to determine strength of association and a card-sorting task to determine proximity-distance. Future research could provide additional insight into the orthogonality of these constructs by crossing levels of the two constructs.
The memorability of a brand name and of copy items in print ads is enhanced by relations between the element to be remembered and other ad elements (Millard and Schmitt, 1993). As argued before, this result suggests that interrelations among ad components are especially valuable for retrieval processes (Millard and Schmitt, 1993).
It could be argued, however, that related ad elements provide redundant information which allows for guessing; that is, if an individual is exposed to the same information three times, then he or she has to remember less information than when three different items of information are presented. We believe, however, that it is not clear how an individual could find information to be redundant without noticing the relation between the two concepts that supposedly constitute redundancy.
Theoretical Framework and Hypothesis
The theoretical framework that will be used in the study is the Input-Process-Output Model. In the IPO model, a process is viewed as a series of boxes (processing elements) connected by inputs and outputs. Information or material objects flow through a series of tasks or activities based on a set of rules or decision points. (Harris & Taylor, 1997) Flow charts and process diagrams are often used to represent the process. (Harris & Taylor, 1997) What goes in is the input; what causes the change is the process; what comes out is the output. (Armstrong, 2001) Figure 1.1 illustrates the basic IPO model:
Input – Process – Output Model
The IPO model will provide the general structure and guide for the direction of the study. Substituting the variables of this study on the IPO model, the researcher came up with the following:
INPUT PROCESS OUTPUT
The study attempt to prove the following null hypothesis:
- Brand personality affects the buying preferences of the consumers.
- Brand personality affects the brand loyalty of the consumers.
- Consumers in the electronics industry purchase products with strong brand names
1.2 The research context
In this age of globalisation and information technology, deciding which brand to choose can be a problem. Competition is evident and intense, and the marketing and management divisions of corporations are surely giving everything they can to establish their brands. A fine and well-advertised brand might have a competitive edge from a lesser exposed brand name. But then, a lesser known brand can also have an edge over price, given that they cost less than known brands. However, in the end, the decision still lies within the consumers.
In today’s business world, the value and importance of customers is not something that should be set aside by companies. Marketing plans and strategies would be incomplete without paying much consideration to the customers. Customers will and should always be a part of the agenda in any marketing plan of any company. Because of the implications for profitability and growth, customer retention is potentially one of the most powerful weapons that companies can employ in their fight to gain a strategic advantage and survive in today’s ever increasing competitive environment (Lindenmann, 1999).
Consumers can either be subjective or objective, testing the persuasiveness of brand names. Retail stores selling the products also play an important role in swaying the decisions of consumers. The whole package or visual appeal of the retail outlet can determine sales, or the service of the sales ladies or the clerks.
Furthermore, consumers may choose particular products/brands not only because these products provide the functional or performance benefits expected, but also because products can be used to express consumers’ personality, social status or affiliation (symbolic purposes) or to fulfill their internal psychological needs, such as the need for change or newness (emotional purposes) (Kim et al, 2002). These are just some of the factors that affect consumer behaviour. They have been the subject of consumer research for years, for instance, linking them with customer service and customer satisfaction, or the efficacy and persuasiveness of advertisement, etc.
According to the Journal of Real Estate Practice and Education: “Consumers purchase products and services for the benefits derived from their use. While the study of economics focuses on outcomes, consumer behaviour emphasises the process. Rather than assuming perfect conditions, researchers of consumer behaviour explicitly recognise the impact of situational elements on behaviour and the variance among individuals faced with the same conditions”
Which means that consumers buy products for the benefits they reap out of it, the study of consumer behaviour investigates the steps, or the processes involved regarding the decisions made by the consumer. Most consumers regard the purchase of real estate to be ‘high involvement goods’ that require complex decision-making,’ in purchasing real estate, such as houses, apartments or units, consumers usually go through three key processes before they consider buying, and these are: information search, evaluation of alternatives and decision rules.
1.3 Objectives and Research question
This research paper deals with the impact of brand personality of the consumers of mp3/mp4 players of Apple and Creative.
As such, the following research questions will be provided through completion of the academic activity by utilizing the perception of the selected consumers in the electronics industry:
- How does brand personality affects the buying preferences of the consumers?
- What are the influences of the consumers’ brand loyalty?
- What are the reasons why consumers purchase a particular electronic gadgets brand?
- How electronic products with strong brand names do influences the purchasing behavior of the consumers?
In order to examine the impact of brand personality of the consumers of mp3/mp4 players of Apple and Creative, this study will explore the following aims:
- To discuss the demographic profiles of the consumers in the electronics industry.
- To determine how strong brand names maintain consumers’ loyalty to their product.
- To validate the personality conceptualizations and definitions of purchasing behavior and the electronics industry.
1.4 Motivation for the research
In this age of globalization and information technology, deciding which brand to choose can be a problem. Competition is evident and intense, and the marketing and management divisions of corporations are surely giving everything they can to establish their brands. Competition forces certain brand names to become stronger than others because of product loyalty and name recognition. Consumers tend to buy what is already familiar to them (Mittelhauser, 1997). A fine and well-advertised brand might have a competitive edge from a lesser exposed brand name.
But then, a lesser known brand can also have an edge over price, given that they cost less than known brands (Kim et al, 2002). Market researches are most of the time conducted before and after the launching or implementation of an advertising campaign so as to provide generalization or specific definition of the characteristics of the type of people belonging in market category as well as the reactions of the consumers to the product or service being made available (Neumann and Sumser, 2002). Such practice makes it complicated for the product or service providers to predict the purchasing behavior especially in the electronics industry.
However, in the end, the decision still lies within the consumers. They are the ones who basically absorb all the messages being disseminated by companies or all the information pertaining to the products, whether they are positive or negative. In this light, the study will examine the purchasing behavior of the consumers when it comes to high technology gadgets.
1.5 Significance of the research
Companies now face the challenge of making its target consumers respond accordingly to their marketing efforts. Those who understand its consumers’ responses will have a great competitive advantage. The starting point towards this is through the stimulus-response model of buyer behavior which involves examining the marketing and other stimuli in the consumer’s black box that translates into buyer responses (Kotler & Armstrong, 2001).
By having this clear identification of the target market, the publication is then able to generate ideas that this market will most likely support. Aside from gaining support, communicating to a particular target market enables the company to establish a fixed asset out of regular consumers.
Moreover, the products or services should always be in synch with the tastes, lifestyle, economic status and purchasing power of the prospect market. Mutual recognition of rules between and among the advertisers, the business organization and the policy-makers of a particular locality should be at all times observed in order to avoid legal confrontations and eventual failure of the marketing strategy.
Gaining the trust of the local government and reviewing the economic policies and legal matters that govern the country in which the product or service will be made available will be a strong ground from which the advertisers can make as a take off point in pursuing the any further business venture. All these issues will be given light upon the completion of the research activity being proposed.
To the people in the academe to whom this research endeavor will be of most interest, the results and findings of this paper will contribute to the bulk of studies related to business and organizational management. As such, this may also open new avenues for further researches and studies so as to provide the civil society with relevant information that are dealt with in the everyday life of each individual. Its application for the common interest and good of the public will be hopefully uphold.
The researcher on whom the majority of the responsibility of completing this research project is given will be the first to gain and experience the benefits of the success of this research paper in meeting the requirements of the course and in satisfying the intellectual drive of a learning individual.
1.6 Structure of the dissertation.
The second chapter will be dedicated to the review of related studies, particularly, books, case studies, journals and thesis regarding the topic of the study.
The third chapter will be dedicated to the methodology of research, specifically, research design, data collection tools, questionnaire, data analysis and interpretation.
The fourth chapter, will be the part of the study where the collected data will be analyzed and interpreted.
The fifth and final chapter will be the conclusion and recommendation of the study.
Review of Related Literature
2.1. Understanding Brand Personality
Postmodern theory acknowledges the central role of consumption in the construction of the social world in general and individual identities in particular. In western societies consumption is largely symbolic rather than functional (Baier and Bergstrand, 2001).
Brands with their symbolic ( and emotional) associations play a key role in the creation and re-creation of individual identities ( Barwise and Robertson, 1992). Brands can also be very valuable in marketing, financial and corporate reputation terms to the organisations that own them ( Aaker, 1995). Yet branding is a relatively recent development – the mass marketing of brands is a 20th century phenomena.
The growing belief that advertising agencies possessed key insights into “demand creation” for brands led executives to call on agencies for advice and field assistance on a wide range of activities: marketing planning, product testing, package development, consumer promotions and media analysis (Court et al, 1997). Advertising, too, was being rapidity improved along several dimensions.
The crude-looking advertisements of the turn of the century gave way to the superlative artwork and powerful persuasive copy, which made the brand advertising of the 1920s some of the most effective ever done (see Benson, 1938). Agencies were using copy testing, eye tracking testing of layout effectiveness, media research and systematic “market analysis” based on secondary and sometimes primary research analysed statistically: sophisticated demographic analyses were employed to “group” or “segment”, consumers (Crosby et al, 2003).
Whilst there is no one authoritative and universally accepted definition of brand equity, there are a number of characteristics common to some of the more generally accepted definitions that are offered. The parties with an interest in brand equity are many including the corporation, the marketing channel and the financial markets. Probably the most important of all, however, when it comes to defining brand equity is the consumer. Some of the leading researchers in the field of brands have offered the following comments about brand equity:
“….. a set of brand assets and liabilities linked to a brand, its name and symbol, that add to or subtract from the value provided by a product or services to a firm and or that firm’s customers.” (Aaker, 1991)
“…. brand equity represents the value (to a consumer) of a product above that which would result for an otherwise identical product without the brands name. In other words, brand equity represents the degree to which a brand’s name alone contributes value to the offering (again, from the perspective of the consumer).” (DeMooji, 1997)
“The set of associations and behaviours on the part of the brand’s customers, channel members, and parent corporations that permit the brand to earn greater volume or greater margins than it could without the brand name and that gives the brand a strong sustainable, and differentiated advantage over competitors.” (Dawar, 1996)
Aaker (1995) suggests that an analysis of brand equity should cover the following areas: price premium, satisfaction/loyalty, perceived quality, leadership/popularity, perceived value, brand personality, organisational associations, brand awareness, market share and distribution coverage.
From the definitions available it is possible to identify three distinct components of brand equity:
- the notion of the financial value of a brand as a distinct asset capable of representation on a company’s balance sheet – Brand Valuation.
- the degree of attachment of the consumer to the brand, or Brand Loyalty
- the description of the associations and beliefs that a consumer has about a brand – Brand Description
These three concepts intertwine to constitute brand equity. Aaker (2001) suggests one step towards effective differentiation is to create a board brand vision or identity that elevates a brand to something more than a set of attributes susceptible to copying. It is a unique set of tangible and intangible added values that are perceived and valued by the customer. In addition a brand is said to have personality, an emotional bond to the customer that grows out of the perceived characteristics.
Creating, developing, implementing and maintaining successful brands is frequently at the heart of marketing strategy. Successful branding requires a strategic perspective whereby strong brand concepts are presented and communicated to well targeted segments resulting in favourable brand images which reflect the brand’s identity (Goldberg and McCalley, 1992).
Throughout the last decade, many authors have discussed the increasing importance of corporate branding in today’s business environment. (Schultz, 2001). Corporate branding has been hailed by some as a way of circumventing the problem of escalating media costs, which have to be shouldered by corporations launching new brands. Unfortunately, this has erroneously led some organisations to treat it almost as a giant-size product brand.
Enlightened corporations approach corporate branding as a pan-company activity that cuts across both functional areas and business units. This pan-company perspective changes corporate branding from a marketing-communication activity into a strategic framework, which gives companies a clear sense of direction and provides the basis for competitive advantage. Capitalising on corporate branding blends thinking from diverse disciplines such as marketing, organisation theory, strategy and corporate communications (Harisson and Huntington, 2001).
The brand, traditionally aimed only or largely at the customer, is increasingly taking over the corporation itself. Corporations have always dealt with a multiplicity of audiences: employees, shareholders and the financial community, suppliers and collaborators, and government and other regulatory bodies. Each of these was traditionally treated more or less separately. Differing messages, or messages with a quite separate emphasis, were sent to each. In todays competitive marketplace this is no longer possible there is an urgent requirement for some kind of coherence in projecting the identity of the corporation (Goldberg and McCalley, 1992).
The external perceptions of organizational culture may be related to corporate branding. Similarly, Hofstede in 1997 recognise the important role that organisational culture may play in generating an image to outside stakeholders. Goldberg and McCalley, (1992) state that `corporate branding brings to marketing the ability to use the vision and culture of the company explicitly as part of its unique selling proposition.
Their model depicts branding as a process that draws simultaneously on organizational culture, strategic vision and corporate images. They add: “Branding efforts are generally an attempt to project the distinctiveness of the company to external audiences who are encouraged to perceive and judge them as attractive and desirable. We argue that successfully managing the corporate brand also involves reaching inside the corporation to better project and communicate practiced organizational values to external stakeholders” (Huffman and Ratneshwar, 2000).
Humphrey et al (2000) suggest that the locus of competitive advantage is shifting from products to organisations and that a shift from product branding to corporate branding is underway. They state: “Differentiation requires positioning not products but the whole corporation. Accordingly, the values and emotions symbolized by the organisation become key elements of differentiation strategies, and the corporation itself moves to centre stage” (2000: 3).
There are a variety of benefits from a well-conceived corporate branding strategy. It provides management with a holistic framework for conceptualising and aligning the many different activities by which companies express who they are and what they stand for (Goldberg and McCalley, 1992). Thus, corporate branding provides a solid foundation for developing a coherent and engaging promise to all stakeholders. It acts as a mechanism to align organizational subcultures across functional and geographic boundaries, enabling companies to better balance issues of global recognition and local adaptation.
In increasingly over- crowded markets that demand more transparency and new sources of involvement, corporate branding provides a basis for a corporation to develop and express its distinctiveness through its consistent relationships with all stakeholders. Provided this is valued by stakeholders, a successful corporate branding strategy provides an opportunity for generating a significant future income stream. The explosion in the plethora of new media and new distribution channels, along with increasing consumer sophistication, has led to greater stakeholder involvement in co-creating corporate brands (Jacobs et al, 1998).
Over the past few years, corporate branding has attracted tremendous interest among managers, consultants and academics. It has been conceived as many different things, for example as a metaphor, a conceptual framework, a management process, a strategic tool-kit and a communication facilitator.
The growing public interest in corporate brands has led to accusations of brands manipulating consumers and the growth of global inequalities (Kaplan and Duchon, 1998). Although these criticisms represent important challenges to everyone engaged in branding, corporate branding turns the argument upside down, as corporations can be – and will be – held responsible for their actions to all stakeholders throughout the world.
Companies pursuing corporate brand strategies are much more dependent on their employees delivering their brand promises than companies engaged in arms-length product branding strategies. Firms’ abilities to understand and orchestrate their employees will increasingly differentiate high performing firms from mediocre firms (Katz, 1999). In the case of line branding employees are often regarded as executors of brand communication.
In corporate branding, the attitudes and behaviour of employees play a central role in brand delivery. For employees to more effectively fulfil their role in bringing brands to life, they will have to be more aware of their brands’ values. Capitalising on staff as critical stakeholders will be high on managers’ agendas for the next few years (Keller, 1998).
Klamer (1996) argues that the brand concept is context independent, thus the concept of the corporate brand is the same as the concept of the product or services brand. However, it is the enactment of brands that is different. He offers, the brand triangle model as the foundation of a strategic process to design and deliver a corporate brand.
2.2 Consumer Behavior
Initially, the understanding of buyer behavior is one of the more perplexing tasks confronting every manager (Schiffman & Kanuk 2000). The difficulty arises from the heterogeneity of buyers, from being groups of individuals who differ from one another. But notwithstanding differences, consumers do share attitudes, opinions, reactions, and desires at various times (Schiffman & Kanuk 2000). Business experience, marketing research, theoretical constructs and models, and trial-and-error methods help to find some of the common denominators.
Practically, essential decisions that are taken in developing an effective marketing mix for specific product/service are based in the systematic knowledge of the consumers that make up its permanent target market (Johnson and Mullen 1990). Johnson and Mullen believes that understanding the behavior of the consumer is the most basic step in helping marketing authorities to visualize and predict future trends, reactions, and changes in the marketing mix. It may also serve as a reference in determining the potentials of new products and its adoption.
Customers recognize the importance of knowledge in relation to the product being purchased. Several consumer behavior researches testified to this fact. Wong (2000) argued that a customer evaluates a product or a service. Such action is based on the customer’s reaction from the using the product or service, which means that the product or service should leave a good perception to the customer’s contentment.
Frederick and Salter (1995) explained that it can be ensured that a customer is satisfied by taking into importance the value package, which includes: price, product quality, service quality, innovation, and corporate image. Others also stated the importance of maintaining or establishing a uniqueness of the product, while also understanding customers and what pleases them (Denton 1993). Customers should also understand the product and be allowed to set their own standards in order to be satisfied (Frederick and Salter 1995).
Because of the implications for profitability and growth, customer retention is potentially one of the most powerful weapons that companies can employ in their fight to gain a strategic advantage and survive in today’s ever increasing competitive environment (Lindenmann 1999). Aside from having a strategic purpose, gaining customer loyalty is also a key corporate challenge today especially in this increasingly competitive and crowded marketplace because of the eventual profitability it will provide (Chow & Holden 1997). Every business wants to have a regular customer base because customers dictate profits and how the customer is treated will reflect on whether the customers will remain loyal with the company or not.
This concept is illustrated by Mittelhauser (1997) in a study about the textile and apparel industry. Competition forces certain brand names to become stronger than others because of product loyalty and name recognition. Consumers tend to buy what is already familiar to them. Thus, it becomes imperative for retailing outfits, especially small or exclusive ones to build a steady base of customers to exist in the competitive marketplace. This relationship becomes mutually beneficial with the company, gaining steady profit and the consumer having the product/s of the said company.
Consumers tend to buy what is already familiar to them (Henry 2000). It becomes imperative for retailing outfits, especially small or exclusive ones to build a steady base of customers to exist in the competitive marketplace. Fournier (1994) stressed that the relationship of consumers to certain brands are established through the individual’s concept of oneself. However, the company can go a step further and make additional profits by cross-selling as well as save money from having to acquire new or replacement customers.
The consumer, on the other hand, can also do the same, by demanding benefits from being a loyal customer that companies would certainly give to maintain them. Previous researches have concluded that satisfied consumers are more loyal to the product as compared to unsatisfied customers (Bailey & Schultz 2000). Meanwhile, customers may remain loyal for a number of reasons and may not even be happy with the product or service (Ryan, Rayner & Morrison 1999). Customer loyalty becomes evident when choices are made and actions taken by customers (Wansik 2003).
Customer satisfaction refers to the consumer’s positive subjective evaluation of the outcomes and experiences associated with using or consuming the product or service. It refers to either a discrete, time-limited event or the entire time the service or product is experienced (Duffy and Kechand 1998). Satisfaction occurs when the product has been able to meet or exceed the conceived expectations that the customer has (Padilla 1996). Furthermore, customer satisfaction may also be considered as the measure of the high degree of quality of the product (Jacobs et al. 1998). Crosby and colleagues (2003) deemed that once a product or service has been delivered or sold, its quality is believed to have been established.
2.3 Branding in Electronics Industry
According to Harrison and Huntington in 2000, globalization propelled two interesting response from the electronics industry: the mixture of differing cultural fashions for some and the insistence on the nationalistic cultural designs on the other. While these surprisingly contrasting results can be dissected on the basis of adaptability and the readiness to accept other cultures, it has led to the emergence of a new worldwide fashion created not only through globalization of the market but more significantly, the materialization of a global electronics industry. This is not a consequence of the institution of industries in countries but the insistence of the people who had opened them through fashion liberation.
The inevitability of globalization primarily rests on the people who had believed in the idea of a borderless society (Klamer, 1996). This in turn had led to the evolution of the cultural electronics industry. Heavily influenced by traditional values and the historical events by a country, the tendency of people is to resist changes that may inadvertently affect or distort that national heritage.
However, the trend of moving towards individuality especially by the young people had paved the way of a electronics industry that combines global and national culture. While it is arguable if the evolution of this trend is beneficial for the people of a given country or not, the fact remains that this trend will not die in the near future given the immense demand for a fashion perceived as “in” in the global village.
The concept evolution and leaving the vestiges of the past may alarm fundamentalists in resisting this change however; we should look at it in the perspective that in so doing, we are actually enriching our culture (Farquhar, 1996). The business aspect of global branding discussed above had overwhelmed the electronics industry and had missed the point of creating an international brand- the merging of cultures across countries and industries to fulfill one goal: the expression of individuality and modernity of the people (Gardner et al, 1993).
This is precisely the core issue on why there exists a global branding. More than business the global electronics industry is geared towards the satisfaction of people who wanted to make an impression and as an expression tool. Consumption would be the most crucial factor in the persistence of international brands. This necessity would in the long run define both the continuity and the discontinuity of a global fashion trend.
The studies above are very helpful in this study for the following reasons: The studies about consumer behavior clearly define the parameters of consumer behavior in the field of marketing and business industries. While, the studies on branding served as a guide on identifying what “brand” and “branding” means and how these contributes to the success of a product or services. Finally, the studies on electronic industry examine the current situation of the said industry.
This chapter will be dedicated to the description of the methods and procedures done in order to obtain the data, how they will be analyzed, interpreted, and how the conclusion will be met. This section is to justify the means in which the study was obtained and will help in giving it purpose and strength as it will then be truthful and analytical. All these will help in the processing of the data and the formulation of conclusions.
Specifically, this research will cover the following: the research design and method, the respondents or subjects to be studied (which will include the sampling method), the data collection instrument, and the data analysis. These will be presented below.
3.2. Research design
Although both the qualitative and the quantitative research methods are used for the completion of this research, this study operates primarily under the qualitative research approach. The research concepts were studied in order to provide explanation regarding how big business organizations who depend highly on efficient delivery and distribution procedures gain their success in a competitive market environment focusing on the operations system and outsourcing practices of the participating companies. The research variables, on the other hand, were primarily analyzed in order to provide description on the factors that concerns the topic of the study.
Exploratory research normally involves open-ended study, unguided by theory and intended to provide a new body of empirical knowledge from which theories might be postulated (Yin, 2003 and Robson, 2002) which the study will adapt in order to answer the study questions as well as answer to the objectives presented by the research project.
The variables of the study imply quantitative research wherein the data, situations, or other facts collected will be explained or correlated with other data. Basically, this research will partially base its findings through quantitative research methods because this permits a flexible and iterative approach. The quantitative data will be use to present background of the electronic industry.
Moreover, the study will also employ qualitative research method because it will try to find and build theories that will explain the relationship of one variable with another variable through qualitative elements in research. Through this method, qualitative elements that do not have standard measures such as behaviour, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs are analyzed. As such, the information that the informants of the study will share to the researcher will be accordingly examined, analyzed and interpreted to answer the research questions presented.
This research project will be accomplished by conducting a questionnaire survey using a sample of at least 200 respondents in which inferential statistics will be used in organizing and summarizing the findings of the study. Descriptive statistics will be used to provide and present the background of the industry in a logical manner.
However, the bulk of the study will be facilitated under the qualitative paradigm so as to elicit thick information which will be helpful in conceptualizing the arguments of the research endeavour. An in-depth analysis on the findings from the information collected through interviews will be made focusing on the comparison of the different cases that the study will reveal during the organization of the data. In this regard, an in-depth cross-case comparison analysis will be the main methodology.
The triangulation research strategy in which the use of multiple sources to enhance the rigor of the research (Robson, 2002) helps in the in-depth case analysis of the paper conglomerating three different aspect of the study which is the factors that affect the purchasing behaviour of the consumers in the electronics industry.
3.3 Data Collection Tools
Agreement between the researcher and the informants were made clear right before the interviews started and progressed. Documentation facilities were used to properly record the interviews wherein necessary preparations were made beforehand so as to enable the researcher to run tests and examine the information gathered the easiest way possible. The interview used a structured interview questions listing specific questions so that the interviewer was assured not to deviate from the list or injected any extra remarks into the interview process that may influence the validity and reliability of the collected data. The interviewer encouraged the interviewee to clarify vague statements or to further elaborate on brief comments.
Otherwise, the interviewer attempted to be objective in conducting the interview sessions by refraining inclinations to share his/her own beliefs and opinions. The structured interview is mostly a “question and answer” session in which there is a possibility or instances when the researcher will need to contact the informants again to clear some details that have transpired during the interview. Meanwhile, the survey method was initially answered by five dummy respondents for the validation purposes of the instrument.
The stratified probability sampling technique was used so as to get the representative number of samples who participated in the research activity during the data collection period. The respondents were asked to fill out the self-administered questionnaires until such time that the researcher was able to complete the number of samples for the study. The researcher tallied, scored and tabulated all the responses in the provided questionnaires for the subsequent presentation, analysis and interpretation of the data that were accumulated.
To determine the perception of the respondents about the service quality and customer satisfaction, the researcher prepared a survey-questionnaire. The respondents graded each statement in the survey-questionnaire using a Likert scale with a five-response scale wherein respondents were given five response choices. The equivalent weights for the answers were:
4.50 – 5.00 Strongly Agree
3.50 – 4.00 Agree
2.50 – 3.49 Uncertain
1.50 – 2.49 Disagree
0.00 – 1.49 Strongly Disagree
The decision was made to use a questionnaire for the data collection for this project due to the sensitivity of the information being obtained. It is important for the respondents to be open and honest in their responses. The use of the questionnaire provides the project owner with the ability to test the views and attitudes of the respondents. The questionnaire was designed to allow the collection of specific information about the participants to conduct statistical analysis, e.g. age, sex, social status and society class.
In the interview, open-ended questions were used to obtain as much information as possible about how the interviewee feels about the research topic. Interviews took between one and two hours. The questions being used during the interview have been based on the research questions for this project; they have been reviewed, refined and approved by the project supervisor. The researcher designed a semi-structured interview. Here, the researcher encouraged the interviewee to clarify vague statements and to further elaborate on brief comments. The interviewer did not share his/her own beliefs and opinions.
3.4 Data Analysis and Interpretation
For the coherent, comprehensive and logical presentation of data, tables and matrices were used. The bulk of the qualitative data were summarized into matrices while the quantitative data were presented using tables. Matrices are words and concepts also presented in table format instead of numbers and figures.
Tables, on the other hand, are the summary numbers and figures indicated in rows and columns normally used to present quantitative data and results of the statistical tests. Both the tables and matrices facilitated the systematic presentation of all the collected data and information from the key informant interview method and the survey method. Each table and matrix was provided with proper title, number, caption, text and explanation that will comprise most of the results and findings section of the research study.
The analysis section of the paper was composed of three parts. The researcher analyzed the qualitative data first, examining the depth of the information gathered and understanding the concepts that the key informant interview method provided.
The qualitative data were analyzed through classification and categorization of the concepts. Patterns, similarities and differences of the responses of the informants of the study were recognized and given proper attention and study. The analysis of the quantitative data was composed of the description of the variables by presenting the frequencies and mean averages of each. Correlations among the variables were likewise investigated and determined. The secondary data that were gathered were used to compare and contrast for consistencies among all the related sources that were cited which likewise dealt with the topic and interest of this particular research study.
The last stage and overall analysis of the data of all the gathered data ware presented by comparing and relating the results of the qualitative and the quantitative data to come up with logical and comprehensive understanding of the findings and results of the study. Important results were examined and thoroughly scrutinized to form a cohesive presentation of all the collected data. This section made the ends of the qualitative and the quantitative approaches meet.
A data or information analysis plan was prepared to organize the quantitative and qualitative information collected orderly so as to make the presentation of the results more comprehensive as well as to make sure that research objectives are achieved and the research questions are answered. A template was designed for the cross-case comparison analysis to easily facilitate the cross-case comparisons among the target sample of the study and to identify common patterns as well as differences among the cases that were presented.
Once the template is developed, questions for the interviews were conceptualized accordingly so as to collect the necessary information to complete the research study. Obviously, the bottom-up approach was used to make sure that the questions for both the questionnaire survey and the structured interviews were properly devised so that the information collected will be useful for analysis to answer the research questions.
In summary, the researcher has taken four major phases to complete the study:
Phase 1: Problem Identification for Research
In the first phase, the researcher identified the specific focus of the problem to be researched. This involved reviewing existing theory, research, and practices from professional literature. This process helped integrate theoretical perspectives and empirical findings with the own understanding of the problem, and discern the aspect of the problem the researcher want to research and learn more about.
Phase 2: Administration of the Instrument
After reviewing literature, the researcher formulated questions for the survey and makes a set of guide questionnaires for the interview. These are then presented to the adviser for validation purposes. After this the researcher initiated a process of building collaborations with the respondents who participated in the study.
Phase 3: Data Collection and Analysis
In the third phase, the researcher collected and analyse data for the purposes of identifying critical contextual variables specific to their setting. These data enabled the achievement of a specific understanding of the problem.
Phase 4: Data Synthesis and Generation of Recommendations
In the fourth phase, the researcher synthesised findings from the previous phases and relevant previous research. The focus of this stage was to synthesise these data to modify existing hypotheses and account for different factors, as well as generate recommendations based on new understandings. During this phase, practice-based recommendations for action were generated.
PRESENTATION, INTERPRETATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA
This part of the study shall be discussing the findings based on the collated information on the survey conducted by the researcher. Primary research and secondary research was used. Primary research was conducted using anonymous questionnaires that were sent to selected consumers of electronics gadgets. Moreover, a focus group discussion with the consumers was used to supplement the result of the questionnaires.
The questionnaires were used to collect quantitative data and the interviews were used to provide qualitative insights into the data collected. This study was divided into several parts. The first part shall provide a general description of the respondents. Particularly, it conversed to the respondents’ age, gender, civil status, educational attainment, occupation, country of origin, purpose of buying electronics gadgets. The researcher shall also place figures for greater clarity on the discussions.
Profile of the Respondents
In order to understand the general social and economic characteristics of the respondents, a variety of demographic data were collected. These demographics information include the (a) age, (b) sex, (c) civil status, (d) educational attainment, and (e) the use of television and Internet of the participants of the study.
As independent variables of the study, the socio-demographic information of the respondents served as background information regarding the general characteristics of the samples of the study. In this light, succeeding analysis, generalizations, and interpretation of the responses from the conducted survey methodology are grounded on this particular information shared by the participants. Details on these specific socio-economic data are presented in the discussions that follow.
The large scope of market can pose a hindrance to a successful marketing strategy in terms of over generalized definition of the target or niche market. According to Kotler and Armstrong (2001), consumer buying behavior refers to the buying behavior of the individuals and households who buy the goods and services for personal consumption. This behavior then impacts how products and services are presented to the different consumer markets. There are many components which influence consumer behavior namely: cultural, social, personal and psychological (Kotler & Armstrong, 2001).
Basically, the customers are categorized according to age group. Age is considered as one of the most general classifications of large populations of consumers since this characteristic highly determines the needs as well as preferences of the consumers. In the case of the randomly selected respondents of the study, the largest sample population belongs to the age bracket 36-45 years old (28%) followed by the 26-35 years old participants (26%) and the 18-25 years old samples (17%). The remaining participants of the study belong to the 46-55 years old age bracket (14%), 18 years old and younger respondents (12%), and the oldest participants of the study who are 56 years old and older (3%). A more detailed illustration of the age distribution of the respondents of the study can be examined in Figure 1 above.
Customers may choose particular products/brands not only because these products provide the functional or performance benefits expected, but also because products can be used to express customers’ personality, social status or affiliation (symbolic purposes) or to fulfill their internal psychological needs, such as the need for change or newness (emotional purposes) (Kim et al, 2002 ). The fact is there may be ideas that will not be applicable across the diverse target market population.
Studies on the relationship of customers’ behavior and their personal values and cultural orientation as well as their beliefs on certain principles, the dispositions they hold and the side they take on political, gender and social problems and issues are highly considered in the marketing and advertising industry. Along with the statistics on the age, the respondents of the study were likewise characterized and described using the variable of sex. It was found out that the distribution of the male (43%) and the female (57%) survey participants differ slightly and almost insignificantly. The difference in number of the male and female respondents of the study amounted to only 14% variability. Figure 2 above provides the complete information on the sex distribution of the survey participants in the study.
Looking into the characteristics and thought processes of the people still holds as the most significant factor to be looked into by the individuals in the field of sales and marketing. For instance, culture influences behavior through its manifestations: values, heroes, rituals, and symbols (Luna & Gupta, 2001). The combination of both etic and emic perspective on the manifestations, can basically reveal culture’s strong relation with customer behavior. This philosophy determines the coordinates of social action and productive activity, specifying the behaviors and objects that issue from both. Their involvement on the consumption of consumer products makes them important for consumer behavior. In the interest of additional background information to further describe the respondents of the study, the researcher indicated the civil status is another socio-demographic variable in the study.
The responses of the participants of the research activity indicated that majority of are married individuals (48%) amounting to almost half of the total respondents. These individuals can be assumed to be providers in their families who earn money to support the needs of their household need. They have different preferences compared to the remaining participants of the study who are single and separated.
Although the smallest percentage of the participants in terms of civil status are separated (8%), it can be interpreted further that their needs and preferences are different compared to those who are married since these individuals are sole providers of their families in general. The single respondents (44%) are the second highest percentage of the participants who are assumed to have relatively higher purchasing power compared to those who are married and separated. Details on the civil status of the respondents are in Figure 3 above.
Values are basically the basis of one’s attitude or restriction in attitude. Some examples of values include freedom, pleasure, inner harmony, and happiness (Luna & Gupta, 2001). These factors significantly influence the buying or purchasing behavior of each and every consumer because people who are characterized according to these variables have different wants and needs, thus they have a wide range of tastes and selections in availing a particular product or service.
Moreover, consumer behavior enumerates the customers’ product knowledge, usage, attitudes and responses to a particular commercial item or service. In this regard, the familiarity with, function, and purpose of commercial goods or services are distinguished depending on the consumers’ needs and use.
For example, an educated and computer literate individual has a more tendency to buy technological gadgets that people who are not exposed to technological innovations that are available today. In this regard, it is likewise important to determine the literacy level of the participants of the study in terms of the educational level they have attained as the most basic definition of an individual’s general knowledge, skills as well as abilities. As such, the largest portion of the respondents were able to finish their college degrees (83%) followed by those who have graduate diplomas (10%) and those who finished their secondary education (7%). A more clear illustration of the statistics on educational attainment is shown in Figure 4 above.
Perception of the Respondents of What Brand of mp3/mp4 Player they Purchased
In this age of information technology, the consumers have the tendency to buy electronics products like mp3 and mp4 players as if they are buying clothes. This only means that these kinds of products are considered as essentials. The consumers purchase mp3 and mp4 players brands that are known and popular in the market. In this study, the 30% of the respondents will buy Creative mp3/mp4 players, while 70% of the respondents will buy Apple.
Perception of the Respondents on the Value for Price Paid for the product/brand
The table above presented the perception of the respondents pertaining to the price mp3/mp4 they purchased. According to the respondents the price of creative is very economical and yet still maintains high quality, refer to the 3.98 mean. While 3.75 mean of the respondents think that Apple is a little bit expensive. The 3.98-weighted mean simply indicates that the value for price paid by the customer was fine or reasonable.
Table 2. Perception of the client to the quality of the product
Even though, mp3 and mp4 players functions as music players, purchasers also buy them for other purposes such as file storage, apple players can store until 4 gigabyte file sizes. This means it can store hundreds of mp3 and mp4 files. While creative can store up to 1 gigabyte file size. Mp3 and Mp4 players are popular to music lovers’ consumers who love listening to music while at work, while walking around the city, exercising etc. That is why the respondents are also basing on what brand to purchase because of functionality. In the table above, the 3.60 mean shows that Apple is the choice of the respondents.
Table 3 Perception of the Respondents when it comes to the Durability of the Brand
Durability is one important aspect of a product especially in the electronics industry. The belief that an expensive brand is more durable than other products, this study proved that belief because 4.30 mean of the respondent prefer Apple than Creative when it comes to durability.
Table 4. Advertisement
In building a brand name for a product, advertising is one important aspect. Advertising can help a product to relate to their customers, that is why there are known brand names for one specific product. Being, first of all, a pragmatic market instrument, ads have an important side effect: they reproduce dominant ideologies, social structure, power relations and a global cultural. The products consume by individuals are wide spread markers of their social status, and they can be analysed as second-order signs, in Barthes’s terms, or to put it another way, as myths of consumer society: goods are imagined as magic latchkeys, letting one to come into the dream world (Ross, 2000).
Fairytale narrative in a 30-second advertisement. Role of advertisements in socialization and construction of identity; representations of males and females and construction of their subject positions in advertisements (Ross, 2000). In this case, Apple is considered by the 4.17 mean of the respondents in mp3/mp4 products. The respondents stated that Apple’s advertisement is more intensive than Creative in television, print and in the internet.
Table 5. Which Brand is well-known in the mp3/mo4 products
A brand is strong when a product is popular to the consumers. The consumers can differentiate the brand from its competitors. Differences in brand-name memory were stronger on unaided recall measures than on brand-name recognition or brand-name matching measures. For brands with a single strong product association, and for extensions close to that product, communication could cue either the strongly or the weakly associated product. The weighted mean 4.30 shows that Apple is popular to the consumers when it comes to mp3/mp4 products, and Creative falls to 3.50 mean.
Table 6. Which Brand will you recommend to other consumers?
The respondents when asked, which brand they will recommend to other consumers of mp3/mp4 players, 4.30 mean of them said that they will recommend Apple for the following reasons, more functions, more durable, and even if more expensive to Creative, Apple is worth its price.
One-way analysis for variance
To be able to determine if there is a difference between the assessments of the groups of respondents the one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used.
For the ANOVA calculations, the general form is summarized in the table below:
The Generalized ANOVA Table
|Source of Variation||Sum of Squares||Degrees of Freedom||Mean Square||F|
Table 8. Analysis of Variance Between the Perception of the Respondents Pertaining to the Brand Name and Consumer’s Choice of Brand.
|Sum of Squares||df||Mean Square||F||Sig.|
The above table shows the analysis of variance between the variables. Through the table above the computed the f-value value is approximately 0.681. Using these values, we can easily recognize that the relationship between these variables is significant. This denotes that means that there is a significant relationship between the responses of the respondents. There is also a reason to believe that brand names are highly related to the personal customers’ choice of hotels.
To be able to determine if there is a correlation between the assessments of the two groups of respondents the Pearson’s Coefficient of Correlation was used.
Correlation is a measure of degree of relationship between paired data. All statistical research aim to establish relationship between paired variables so as to enable the researcher to predict one variable in terms of the other variable. For example, the weighted mean of the responses of the beginners class tend to be related to the weighted mean of responses of the teachers.
The formula for Pearson’s Coefficient of Correlation:
N SXY – SXSY
[NSX – (SC)2][NSY – (SY)2]
The computed r-value was interpreted using the correlation table. The following correlation table is used to determine the extent of correlation between paired variables:
|0.00 to 0.20||Negligible correlation|
|0.21 to 0.40||Low correlation|
|0.41 to 0.50||Substantial correlation|
|0.51 to 0.80||Marked correlation|
|0.81 to 1.00||High to very high correlation|
The researcher tries to determine the relationship between the price, facilities and services of a certain hotel with respect to hotel differentiation. The computation and illustration of scatter plot was presented below:
Correlation of Quality and Prices of the Product
The statistics above shows the relationship of facilities and hotel services in regards to hotel differentiation. The computed correlation value of –0.4829 indicates a substantial correlation between paired variables. Meaning to say, the relationship of quality of product is correlated to Prices
The statistics above shows the relationship of to product differentiation. The computed correlation value of –0.0.9984 indicates a high correlation between paired variables.
Summary of Findings
The higher level of brand awareness of customer towards a certain brand will affect the purchase decision. Brand awareness affects the brand association since brand association is formulated through the connections and networking of the memory nodes. If consumers have already been exposed to the brand before, implying that they have established nodes for that particular brand, or by brand awareness, they will be able to organize the incoming information better than without nodes.
In terms of brand image, the strength of the brand will determine how accurate consumers can recall information of the products in their memory nodes which ultimately will affect purchasing decisions. Product association depends on how efficient consumers are able to encode information received from the marketing communications and activities of a certain product brand. This association efficiency can be termed as quantity of processing while the understanding of the information received is termed quality processing.
Information quality depends heavily on customers understanding of received information. If they are interested in the information it will create motivation in information reception. Thus, resulting in stronger association of the memory nodes, especially, if consumers receive information from product testing, have personal experience with the product or from friends and relatives. Meanwhile, in quantify processing, repetitive or mass exposure to the products or the product brand can also create strong association of the nodes. However, mass exposure without proper understanding or that information does not concern consumers or create interest in the product; there will be no purchase decision.
Advertising’s main role is to reinforce feelings of satisfaction with brands already bought. Advertising is in an odd position. Its extreme protagonists claim it has extraordinary powers and its severest critics believe them. Advertising is often effective. But it is not as powerful as is sometimes thought, nor is there any evidence that it actually works by any strong form of persuasion or manipulation. Instead, the awareness, trial and reinforcement seems to account for the known facts.
Marketing communication also play roles in the strengthening of the product brand, which can be shown through the result of the study? Favourability of the product brand of consumers, in junction with perceived strength of the product brand, can signifies the successfulness of the marketing communication strategies since consumers will receive information about the product’s usage or characteristics through marketing communication. Thus, when marketing communications can ensure that consumers are confident in the products in satisfying their needs, they will have positive attitudes toward the product and, in the end, will favour the product brand.
Likewise, the method of communication of customers through marketing communication activities can also affect the favourability of the product. If there is continual effort in increasing the accuracy of consumers’ perception of the brand, favourability ill also increase since the consumer perception is strongly associated with the memory nodes.
Uniqueness of the product brand is the reason why consumers choose to purchase that brand. Consumers perceive that a particular product is unique from all other brands in terms of usage, attribute, product impression. Generally, products that do not contain attributes of the products but rather the situation are easier to identify since they provide a sense of uniqueness to the consumers in a much easier way.
The purchasing decision will be done by habit, consumers will search for already existing nodes about the product, may it be from past commercials or exposure to the products at the supermarket to satisfy their needs. If in some way that one product brand cannot satisfy their need, they will move to others since low-involvement products are usually low in price. When they find a product capable of satisfying their needs, they will repetitively purchase that brand without inertia.
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