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Effect of Branding on the Consumer

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Published: Thu, 22 Feb 2018

Branding: How It Inspires People To Purchase A Particular Brand

Abstract

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.

Introduction

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.

Literature Review

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.

Branding

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).

Brand Equity

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.

Brand Image

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.

Perception

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).

Learning

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.

Attitude

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.

Conclusion

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 intrin


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