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Branding Are On The Consumer Purchasing Decision Business Essay

1.1 Introduction

The most potentially important marketing concept which has been discussed by academicians over the past decades is branding. Firms have increased their investments in the creation and development of brands (Atilgan et al 2010). The creation of brands implies communicating a certain brand image in such a way that all firms objective is to link a brand and thus the product sold using its name with a set of associations (Rio et al 2010)

The reasons of brand popularity are its strategic role and importance in gaining competitive advantage and strategic management decision. As firms gain stiff competition due to global competition, developing strong brands is very essential companies therefore companies need to utilise their full integrated communication tools in order to be competitive (Gosh&Chakraborty2010).

The aim of this research paper is to investigate the main impacts of branding are on the consumer purchasing decision- making process. This will be done by determining the relationship which exists between the consumer purchasing and the values a brand can offer companies in terms of guiding the consumer through the complex process of purchasing decision-making. This dissertation has been set up to use the example of Marks and Spencer as a real life case study.

1.2 This dissertation has been structured using the following chapters:

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Chapter One- Introduces the research background, justification of the research topic, it specifies the research aims and objectives, it also lists the data sources to be used and it stresses the significance of the research.

Chapter Two-Conducts a literature review of what constitutes a brand, it discusses the understanding of branding, brand definition, development of brand equity, the stages a customer goes through when making a purchase decision, it also discusses brands and factors influencing consumer choice and finally it analyses the perceived risk that customers associate with a brand.

Chapter Three-It discusses the methodology in terms of the research setting and it also discusses the approach and the research philosophy that was used. It also discusses the study sample along with the measurements and materials used when conducting the research. The sources used for data collection are also discussed and finally this chapter ends with the limitation of the research.

Chapter Four-Provides details of the statistical analysis which has been used and outlines the results obtained when doing the research. The results will be tabulated by means of tables and charts and graphs for easy understanding.

Chapter Five-This chapter discusses the implication of the research which has been conducted and finally the chapter concludes the dissertation and it outlines the recommendations.

1.3 Research Background

Businesses invest in branding primarily to earn profits and enhance the shareholders value by maximising ROI. Strong brands are well known to enter new markets with limited investments by leveraging their strong brand equity.

According to (Kapferer 1992), the brand is seen to be the most important asset in the firm. In early years shopkeepers used to display pictures of products which were sold outside their shops. This was done to ensure that people who couldn't read or write were able to understand what was being sold.

Two important strategic marketing tools include the brand name and the company logo, which are able to pull the heartstrings of a prospective buyer to evoke an emotional response called brand loyalty. It has been investigated that consumers not only buy products because of the quality it has promised but it is because of emotions and services that evokes. However it does take firms a lot of effort to develop the brand image, brand recognition and brand awareness and therefore many firms are keen to build strong brands in order to win over numbers of customers.

A company like Rowntree had net assets which were worth 300 million pounds and had strong brands like Kit Kat and Polo. The company attracted Nestle and Nestle decided to purchase it for £ 2.55 billion. This shows how strong brands can add a good reputation to a company by adding value and offering extra functional and emotional benefits (Nestle 2009).

Understanding the buying behaviour of consumer is an important aspect need for business marketing success. Customers usually base their buying decisions based on rational and emotional reasons. Studies have shown that brands affect buying behaviour of consumers because brands have different meaning towards different customers. This means that not all brands can appeal to all customers.

For a marketer to change the consumers mind in order to buy a particular brand, he or she needs to make the consumer care about their needs. Marketers must know what their customers care about by measuring their attitudes, beliefs and conviction.

It is therefore the marketer's responsibility to develop a strategy that communicates to the consumer in an emotional way that connects the brand with their belief. Therefore they must understand their customers better than their competitors understand them.

According to (Philips 2006) brand management, should aim to build in the consumers mind as a set of attitudes or perceptions related to an offering which will lead to a positive buying behaviour. He further stated that the power of brand is therefore decided by the effect it has on consumers.

1.4 Justification of the Topic

The justification of using Marks and Spencer as my case study is because Marks and Spencer brand was revolutionised by sir Stuart Rose in 2004.Marks and Spencer not only improved its products to make them look stylish and appealing to consumers, it also launched a new 'Your M&S' ad campaign in 2006 costing £62million which was instrumental in supporting the turnaround of the brand. The idea of 'Your M&S' ad campaign was to make customer feel the brand belongs to them and the company should ensure the brand return to its best. Also its food campaign 'Not just food , M&S food' made sales increase by 288%.The ad campaign has been credited with driving 18million customers to Marks and Spencer and its success revealed that M&S sales upturn has been driven by well advertising which is backed up by better perceived values in their product offers.

1.5 Research aims

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The current research aims to explore the role of branding and how it affects the customer purchasing decisions. This will help the reader to understand the relation that exists between branding and the consumer purchasing decision. It also establishes that if a consumer feels positive about a brand he or she will result in buying the product. It is therefore important to keep the concept of branding current and the one which will offer the latest insights into the concept. Therefore the hypothesis that will be tested is as follows.

* There is a positive relation that exists between branding and customer purchasing decision.

1.6 Research objective

The research will have the following objectives.

* Determine the impact of branding on the consumer purchase decision making.

* Set a valid and sustainable research questions in order to achieve a non- bias and accurate understanding on the topic.

* Evaluate the key concepts behind branding, its values and its usage in modern day market.

* Give conclusions and recommendations on branding strategies.

1.7 Data sources

The study will obtained data from two sources - secondary and primary. Secondary data were obtained from business libraries, textbooks, journal articles and internet. The primary data come from the focus group interview. All of the data were analysed in qualitative and quantitative manner.

The data of the study were obtained by conducting focus group interview. The process of focus group interview involved with reading out questions on perception, attitude and behaviour toward M&S brand and its impact on consumer decision- making, allowing the participants to express their opinions freely. The answers from the respondents had been recorded to data recorder. The results from the focus group were analysed and represent in descriptive fashion.

1.8 Significance of the study

The findings for this study will be useful to marketers who wish to develop and improve their marketing strategies on branding and to understand how branding is used to influence the consumer to make a purchase. With this information, marketers can be able to develop their brands in order to improve their market share and be able to compete effectively with competitors.

1.9 Summary

This chapter has discussed the main points regarding the research which has been conducted. It has outlined the research background in order for the reader to understand the importance of brands and how strong brands can be developed with the use of integrated marketing communications. The chapter has also outlined the research aims and objectives in order to serve as a means of clarifying the author's intent on the dissertation.

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