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The effects of branding on consumer purchase decision

Introduction:

This paper presents a research proposal for analyzing the effects of branding on the consumer purchase decision. The research would be carried outside the shopping centre called Shoppers Stop in the India. The research will attempt to find whether there is positive relation between the positive effect of the brand and the consumer purchase decision.

The paper discusses the literature the importance of branding and the consumer purchase decision. It details the research rationale along with the research philosophy, the approach to be used, the context, sample and procedure. It discusses the significance of the proposed research along with its limitation. A provisional work schedule is also provided.

Provisional title:

How does branding affect the consumer purchase decision?

Objectives:

This research will have the following objectives:

To assess whether positive feelings towards a brand will translate into a consumer purchase decision.

Research rationale:

Tremendous research has gone into the importance of branding in marketing. However the marketing conditions keep changing as do the customer needs and preferences. It is therefore important to keep the research into the concept of branding current and one that will offer the latest insights into the concept.

The current research will aim to explore the role of the brand in affecting the customer purchase decision. A questionnaire will be given to a broad sample of respondents to answer. This will aim to understand the relation between branding and the consumer purchase decision. The hypothesis that will be tested is as follows:

There is a positive relation between branding and customer purchase decision.

In particular this research will aim to establish that if a consumer feels positive towards a certain brand then will this translate into a purchase. The consumer’s feeling of positivity towards a brand will be assessed by means of a questionnaire.

Literature Review:

According to Aaker (1991) cited in Wilburn(2006, p2), a brand is a name, term or symbol intended to identify the products or services of a seller and to differentiate them from those of competitors. Brands can be the name of the manufacturer like Sony or Microsoft or names that extol the benefits of the product like EazyShine or even names that sound modern, scientific or sophisticated like Accenture or Lexus (Wilburn, 2006). According to Holt (2004) it is not only the name, trademark, logo or unique packaging that defines a brand. In order for a product to become a brand it is necessary for the product to have a history. All of the features mentioned above tend to get filled with customer experiences over time and this is what gives rise to a brand. Magazines write articles about the products and the product gets discussed in other forms of media. Over time customer start to evaluate and talk about the brand and this is how it gets formed.

Previous research has proved that brands do have some positive effects on the consumer (Hoffler and Keller, 2001; Yoo et al., 2000). A strong brand therefore may reflect market leadership or market share position along with consumer familiarity, consumer loyalty, preference or knowledge (Weitz and Wensley, 2000). A positive association of the brand name has been shown to increase perception of quality and purchase rates along with positive customer evaluations (Weitz and Wensley, 2000). Similarly familiarity with the brand has also shown to increase attitude towards the brand, customer confidence and purchase intention (Weitz and Wensley, 2000). At the same time brands cannot sustain the positive affects infinitely. Golder (2000) cited in (Weitz and Wensley, 2000) found that many leading brands lost their leadership over a period of 76 years. Certain factors and changes in the marketing environment were responsible for the changes in the brand’s leadership.

Role of Consumer buying Behaviour:

Buying Behavior is the decision processes and acts of people involved in buying and using products.

Need to understand:

Why consumers purchase?

Why factors influence consumer purchase?

Factors changing in our society

Consumer buying behaviour refers to buying behaviour of the ultimate consumer. A firm needs to analyze buying behaviour for Buyer’s reaction to a firms marketing strategy has a great impact on the firm’s success. The firms should also analyze the marketing concept stresses that a firm should create a marketing mix that satisfies customers, therefore need to analyze the what, where, when and how consumers buy. Understanding buying behavior pattern is not enough without understanding the composition and origin of the customers. Today most of the Indian customers are attracted by the branded goods because of their high quality. As Indian companies seek to be major players in global markets, one of the key challenges they face is

Building global brands. While brands may not necessarily translate into premium prices, they help companies gain higher market share in a crowded market place as they convey an assurance of quality and reliability. A Brand gives a reason to the consumer to buy one product instead of another. It does this by adding something intangible to purchase, ownership, or use of the product. These benefits are affected by Brand image. Brand image has traditionally been thought of as method for acquiring customers, but it also influences current customers. Owner is more satisfied with a product which has an image of overall quality.

Methodology and methods:

Research Philosophy:

Since the research starts with a hypothesis, which it aims to prove, the appropriate philosophy for this research would be positivism. There is no necessity to study the topic at a deeper or richer level as provided by the other methods. A structured methodology will be used and results obtained would be quantified and analyzed statistically to obtain results.

Research Approach:

The deductive approach would be used for this research. It has been found that often managers and scientists tend to prefer the deductive approach due to its highly scientific and quantitative nature (Saunders, 2006). The research lends itself neatly to quantitative analysis. The deductive approach is often the less risky as compared to the inductive approach. The risk in inductive approach being that the data may not yield any specific results. The one risk associated with the deductive approach would be if not enough respondents are found to participate in the survey. Every attempt would be made to minimize this risk as much as possible.

The hypothesis tested will be as follows:

Positive effects towards a brand will translate into a purchase decision.

Respondents will be asked whether they have positive feelings associated with the set number of brands. They will then be asked whether they would purchase certain items associated with those brands. The relation between the positive effects felt towards a brand and the purchase decision will then be assessed and analyzed statistically.

Research Context:

Since branding is a generalized topic that affects all members of the public, the general members of the public will be requested to fill up a short questionnaire. The research setting will be at Shoppers stop, a well known Shopping Stores in the India. The setting will be ideal in order to get the opinions of shoppers. There is a school of thought that believes that conducting an experiment in a controlled environment is often the best way to establish causal inks (Bailey, 1982). However often by removing respondents from their natural setting alters their behaviour. However then it becomes difficult for the researcher to control extraneous variables that may alter the experiment and it is for this reason that the experiment is not a very popular method to use (Bailey, 1982).

An attempt will be made to follow all the ethical guidelines. Potential respondents would be given full information about the survey. They will be informed that the survey will be conducted as part of a University course. The approximate time that it would take them to complete the survey will be conveyed to them. Their requests for anonymity will be honoured and respondents will be informed that the data would not be used for any other purposes.

The Sample:

The study sample consisted of shoppers outside a shopping centre in India. An attempt will be made to select as varied a sample as possible.

Methods of Data collection

For forming a research study data is required, which is to be collected from source and the collected data should be reliable and appropriate to obtain an end result. The survey lends itself neatly to analyzing quantitative data statistically. Data collection is standardized and easy. The survey would be conducted in a natural setting. This tends to make it difficult to control certain variables that may affect the survey. However since the topic chosen for the research is fairly straight forward without any undue complexity, this limitation would not adversely affect the research in any way.

In order to achieve my aims and objectives of research I will prefer mixed design consist of primary data, secondary data and a case study.

Primary data:

Primary data is that data which mainly collected by the researcher on his own to carry out the desired research. Collection of primary data is based on interviews and takes more time than other processes. Primary data can be collected from using questionnaires, interviews, focus group, and observation. So for this purpose I will use the most popular tool of primary data collection through direct communication with respondents.

Source of data: Data required for the study will be collected through primary sources i.e. Market Survey

Secondary data:

Secondary data is that data which already been collected for other purpose rather than the present purpose. This process of secondary data is comparatively easy and information can be easily collected from different sources. The sources of these data are research institutions, official statistics, technical reports, scholarly journals, trade journals, review articles, reference books and research institutions.

I am planning to use the secondary data in my literature review and main and final research will be done by using primary data through questionnaire. I will also use the case studies to provide evidence to my research and support the theories. The study will help to find out the Consumer purchase decision which helps the firms to survive in this competitive world. So before use of both primary and secondary data it will be necessary to analyze both primary and secondary before use.

Measurement Development:

Demographic data used included gender, age, education and employment status. The positive effects associated with the brand are measured by means of a question relating to “the feeling of positiveness associated with the given brand” and respondent is asked whether he/she “Agrees”, “Somewhat agrees” or “Disagrees”. Purchase intention is measured by using a 3-point Likhert scale with 1 being “very likely”, 2 being “somewhat likely” and 3 being “unlikely”.

Materials:

The survey will be designed using Microsoft Word and print outs will be handed over to the respondents. The statistical package SPSS would be used to analyze the results of the survey.

Discussion:

Significance of proposed research:

This research will be important to marketers and students of marketing. It is hoped that the research will offer the latest insights into whether branding affects the consumer’s final decision purchase. I will gather data and after analysis, I would be able to find the market behaviour of the customer bases on the buying different brand products. At a present time mostly customer like a style and social status and brand conscious in the society.

Research limitation:

The research made an attempt to assess whether consumers feel a positive affinity towards certain brands. However it is possible that the gender of the respondents will play a part when assessing the affinity towards certain brands. For example, women will tend to feel a stronger affinity to say cosmetic products rather than males. To this effect an attempt would be made to include only generalized brands thus avoiding gender bias. There is however a possibility that gender bias affected the affinity that respondents feel towards a product. It would not be possible to control other factors that may affect the research. The answers that respondents give may, for example, depend on their current mood, which may affect their answers. However such factors could not be controlled since this research will not be carried out in a laboratory controlled environment. In addition, one of the limitations of the research will be the collection of current data and researches conducted and the conclusion drawn will only be qualitative and these problems will accompany with some more common problems like arranging meets with supervisor, access to university learning resource centre etc.

Provisional work schedule:

The Gantt chart below gives the provisional work schedule that will be followed.

Tasks

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Critical review of literature

Preparing the questionnaire

Making appointments to gain commitment

Conducting the survey

Analysis of primary data

Literature review changes

First draft

Revisions

Second draft

Revisions

Final version submission

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