Cultural Dimensions of Brand Equity Formation

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CULTURAL DIMENSIONS OF BRAND EQUITY FORMATION:

Research Design and Methodology

Research Method

Both qualitative and quantitative methods will be undertaken for data collection and data will be analyzed throughout the investigation process. Mixed methods approach is applied when the researcher tends to base knowledge on pragmatic grounds (e.g., consequence oriented research); In this study a mixture of qualitative research via semi-structured in depth interviews will be conducted along with a quantitative research using a Likert scale structured questionnaire

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research often has the aim of description and researchers may follow-up with examinations of why the observations exist and what the implications of the findings are. To extract deeper understandings of what in reality e: commerce managers, marketing managers, brand managers consultants and social media experts think about image branding, its impact on brand equity and e-business, and the role of cultural and marketing factors on brand equity formation

The examined population consists of e: commerce managers, marketing managers, brand managers consultants and social media experts related to the Greek insurance market. They are specialized in the insurance market dealing with insurance products and services and they have determined opinions related to their experiences.

A non-probability sample will be used to facilitate the qualitative research method. Convenience sampling is a non-probability sampling technique where subjects are selected because of their convenient accessibility and proximity to the researcher (Castillo, 2009).

From the examined population a small sample will be selected consisted of 25 experienced professionals, more specific 7 e: commerce managers, 7 brand managers, 3 marketing managers, 3 brand consultants, 3 social media experts and 2 top executives from the insurance market (managing directors). The insurance companies which will participate in the study are: Allianz, Interamerican, Alico, Metro Life, Groupama – Phoenix, Ethiniki Asfalistiki, Minetta, Generali . These are international insurance companies with rich clientele along with sufficient business activities in the insurance market. .

The selected research participants will be contacted through a semi-structured interview that will compose the topic guide for the qualitative research. In order to collect all required data for the research, participants will be asked questions which already have prepared and contained in the topic guide along others which will arise during the interview.

Interviewing was chosen for the current project for the following reasons: It provides the opportunity to generate rich data;

Language use by participants was considered essential in gaining insight into their perceptions and values;

Contextual and relational aspects were seen as significant to understanding others’ percept ions;

Data generated can be analyzed in different ways.

The medium that will be used to extract data from the participants of the sample will be the topic guide, consisting of questions that are relevant to the examined topic and will enlighten the particular research with unbiased, valid and reliable data- internal consistency and inter-coders’ realibility will be secured (Miles and Huberman, 1994). Participants will be asked about image branding, its impact on brand equity and e-business. Also participants will be asked to clarify and answer the following issues: Understand the effectiveness of branding impact in Greece as far as marketing insurance products in the internet; examine how industry experts react to brands, brand image, brand equity in a culturally diversified markets like Greece in presence of different consumer groups and minorities; examine if e-business can increase the performance of the insurance products and services within different minority consumer groups; identify whether cultural factors such as Long-term orientation, Masculinity, Collectivism, and marketing factors such as brand identity, brand meaning, brand response and brand relationships) will play a role in brand equity formation and development within the culturally diversified Greek Market; examine the level of importance that ‘localising’ brand strategies play in the Greek Insurance market; assess the importance of aforementioned cultural factors and its impact on consumer behaviour as far as purchasing insurance products and services over the internet

Coding is a “systematic way of developing and refining interpretations of the data” (Taylor and Bogdan, 1984,p.136). The fist step is to use emergent coding - after examining interview data we will create appropriate codes that make them relevant to the work (Miles and Huberman, 1994). The second part of this coding process is to review all the field notes, summary sheets, transcripts and other documentation, allocating codes to the various statements and sections of reports.

Emergent coding will be used in order the better classification and comprehension of the given answers. Collected data will be analysed throughout the process of investigation. When coding is completed, the analyst prepares reports via a mix of: summarizing the prevalence of codes, discussing similarities and differences or comparing the relationship between one or more codes.

Open-ended data, which usually consists of phrases, sentences and short paragraphs is usually subjected to content analysis and notions of inter-rater reliability are employed (Flick, (1998); Taylor& Bogdan (1998); Reis & Judd, (2000).Content analysis will follow the coding process. Content analysis method allowed the researcher to make replicable and valid inferences from the interview data and blog content (Kippendorff, 2004). Creswell (2002) points out that the advantage of using content analysis is that the researcher can gain in-depth understating of the language and words of the documents under investigation. Using this analysis we will identify from the transcripts the extracts of data and sort out the important messages hidden in the mass of each interview. Each interview will be coded by highlighting the relevant word or phrase, and additional comments in the form of codes will be added to the side of the document.

Hostli (1968, p608) describes content analysis as “any technique for making inferences by systematically and objectively identifying special characteristics of a message.

Quantitative Research

The quantitative research method is aiming in gaining a clear image about the relationship between brand image, its impact on brand equity and e-business, and the role of cultural and marketing factors on brand equity formation by examining consumer judgment and feelings. That is possible by investigating the impression they perceived, for image and equity building process.

More specifically, the instrument will focus on the examination of how consumers react to brands, brand image, brand equity in a culturally diversified markets like Greece; examine if different minority consumer groups can purchase on line insurance products and services from insurance companies; identify cultural factors such as long-term orientation, masculinity, collectivism, and marketing factors such as brand identity, brand meaning, brand response and brand relationships) play a role in brand equity formation and development in the culturally diversified Greek Insurance Market; identify if consumer behaviour of different ethnic groups will be awaken by the ‘localised’ nature of brand strategies adopted by the insurance companies; assess the importance of aforementioned cultural factors and its impact on consumer behaviour as far as purchasing insurance products and services over the internet

For this study a self administered questionnaire will be distributed to the participants.

A population can be defined as including all people or items with the characteristic that needed to be examined. The people comprising the population of the survey are all possible insurance policy recipients who use e: commerce to purchase insurance services. Many customers use e: commerce application in order to purchase insurance services, so they are the certified population to answer what they think and how they form their image concerning insurance products and services, how they interpret brand equity and how they perceive the brand equity formation process, why they use e-business in selecting insurance products, and how cultural and marketing factors influence their purchasing habits.

ISample will be selected randomly from the examined population. ‘The larger your sample size, the lower the likely error in generalizing to the population’. (Saunders and Lewis and Thornhill, 2009, pg. 210), that is why a sample of approximately 400 participants will be used for the survey.

A self-administered group of questions comprising the questionnaire will be distributed to each member of the sample in order to get specific answers that will enlighten the investigated survey. When creating a questionnaire, it should always start with what are the aims and objectives of the study (Altinay and Paraskevas, 2003, p.120-121). To test the content validity of the instrument, 5 people will be selected in order to have a pilot testing. Pilot testing is produced in order to test if each question measures what was supposed to measure, if all words are understood and if all respondents interpret the question in the same way (Taylor, 2008).

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