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Measuring Brand Equity In Higher Education - An Exploratory Study to Investigate Interrelations Among the Brand Equity Dimensions.

Byline: Hassan Ansari and Usman Ali

Researched content in this paper aims the examination and analyses of correlations and statistical linkages among the different brand equity dimensions. Partial correlation technique was used via SPSS to investigate these relationships on the data set. The data was collected using questionnaire, from people who have been directly or indirectly in contact of such dimensions in their daily life or in their organizations.

Introduction

Overview

The top most areas of marketing research over decades have been how to brand products and how to maintain and build on brand equity. As per marketing analysts and researchers it has been presented as their opinion with reasoning that brands play a critical position or role in attracting customers while enhancing their relationships with the manufacturers This relationship occupies a critical position in consumer's memory and adds value to the customer (e.g. identification, risk reducer and signal of quality), the manufacturer (e.g. greater sales, higher margins, legal protection, better loyalty and signal of quality) and the trade (e.g. wider distribution, more shelf facing and lower slotting allowances). Successful brand building strengthens a firm's competitive position and expand market share. Now arises the up-hill battle that firms face in this days engaging business arena that is to conduct a successful brand management campaign that gives way to an ever- lasting image and performance.

Companies allocate substantial resources in developing strategies that will allow them to build and manage strong brands. To build on brand equity marketers need to provide critical and strategic levels of inputs and assist in providing essential marketing related decisionsas it is important to recognize its underlying drivers and their consequences (Keller, 1998).Marketers have further gone into the depths of understanding hot brands provide value to customers and organizations.Libraries of literature have identified different aspects that may be the predictors to brand equity. Furthermore it was also found that interrelationships of brand equity aspects have impacted brand image as well.(Atilgan et al. 2005; Pappu et al. 2005).

Purpose of study

This study has been conducted on the following purposes:

* To examine branding equity's elements and the linkage present between them

* To outline the elements and aspects that customers search for when purchasing products or services

* To signify the superiority of branded products over conventional products.

* To comprehend and present the advantages versus disadvantages of branded products.

* To create a better understanding of the customer mind-set while purchasing branded products.

Scope of Study

This study identifies modern day needs and perceptions of brands from the consumer side. It determines what consumers want from branded products and how their dimensions are preferred or are in relation with each other. After going through this research a marketer would clearly know how to design marketing schemas and retention plans.

Research Statement

After reading the scope and objective of the study it is seen that the topic itself has a lot of various subtopics. After reviewing the whole scenario the following statement is being discussed in this research: "The sub-elements of brands have relations or are sub-dependent amongst each other."

Hypotheses

H1:There is no significant relationship between brand Loyalty and brand awareness

H2: There is no significant relationship between brand Loyalty and brand association

H3: There is no significant relationship between brand Loyalty and perceived quality

H4: There is no significant relationship between brand Loyalty and brand image

H5: There is no significant relationship between brand awareness and brand association

H6: There is no significant relationship between brand awareness and perceived quality

H7: There is no significant relationship between brand awareness and brand image

H8: There is no significant relationship between brand association and perceived quality

H9: There is no significant relationship between brand association and brand image

H10: There is no significant relationship between perceived quality and brand image

The hypotheses mentioned above will be proved or disapproved via the use of partial correlation on the data set retrieved from the questionnaire sample collection.

Literature Review

The term Brand equity is extracted from the term "Brand" which includes everything to be known about the country, everything which is felt about it along with everything which is perceived about your company (MichealLiberman, 2003). Coming back to brand equity, brand equity is the road through which a brand is described and measured (MichealLiberman, 2003). Brand equity is a piece of important information, this important information is the thing from which brand has derived its nature, it is usually used by the consumers in order to give meaning to their choices in the field of various brands and products (Woonet.All, 1999). The existence of brand equity is based upon an event of consumer choice, only when a product is chosen by the customer (MichealLiberman, 2003).

This is called a brand equity model which is formed in the minds of the consumers over time consisting of the different good and bad aspects of a particular brand (Woon et.all, 1999). Thus the ever-green brand equity model consists of some interrelating dimensions on which our research is aimed at. Brand value and brand strength are the most important aspects of brand equity, it also takes into consideration the consumers association with the known and brand and its knowledge, brand awareness and brand image which prove to be brand equity's most important interrelating dimensions (WalfriedLassar, Banwari Mittal, Arun Sharma, 1995).

Brand associations are the favorable, strong and unique experiences and perceptions of a particular brand which are stored in the consumers' memory, these experiences help the consumers to form attitudes and beliefs encircling the professed benefits of a chosen brand (Richard Netemeyera, et.all, 2004). Brand extension and brand loyalty form the focal point for managers to be interested in brand equity. A constructive relationship is observed between brand equity and brand loyalty and it is said that brand loyalty is closest in directly effecting the equity of a brand which even brand extensions are not able to (WalfriedLassar, Banwari Mittal, Arun Sharma, 1995). Brand equity has another dimension to it which is brand awareness, brand awareness just like brand loyalty is positively related to brand equity, thus it can be said that brand awareness compliments brand equity (Woon Bong Na, et.all, 1999).

Perceived quality is one of the customer based brand equity dimensions; customer quality perceptions about a given brand determine their level of trust towards a brand and their purchase behavior (Richard Netemeyera, et.all, 2004). Arjun (2001) examines two aspects of brand loyalty, loyalty related to purchase and loyalty relate to the customer's attitude, as creating a link between the two variables in the outcomes from brand trust and affect brand performance. The model in this study included partial correlations of these two variables amongst other whether they may have an effect on each other as well before comp rending brand performance.

Brand loyalty is first seen form the simple repetitive behavior involving purchases and then the concept is defined in the phrase or six critical and necessary scenarios. Multiple linear regressions were used to signify loyalty's impact on repeat purchase behavior (Jacobs 1973) Tucker (1964) talks about examining the growth and increase of loyalty towards brands in a place where prior information is not available in an area. Search related behavior supersedes the increasing development or existence of peoples lo Search behavior precedes the loyalty to brands, that goes up to a heightened and capable strength besides the non-realistic persona of the available branded products. This study suggested how customers are actually prone to brand loyal behavior.

Richardson (1994) Talks about the impact of brand quality and its relative importance of extrinsic versus intrinsic advantages of having quality in your brand. The experiment was done on 1500+ shoppers for five products calculated. Results of the model suggested that consumer's interpretation of store brands are driven by extrinsic characteristics of quality in these products rather than intrinsic characteristics. In addition it was found that a value for money characteristic was observed in the consumers as well. While retailers in the marketing of their private labels recommended a quality orientation.

Janiszewski (2000) talks about how customers utilize brands and there quality to measure how the product will perform. Various models conclude hypotheses about the source of these predictions. Spreading product quality knowledge hypothesizes that acquire quality value and information from the consumer side. Using least mean square models to prove the hypothesize that quality is a major predictor when affecting the overall brand equity.

Rao (1989) integrates previous researches that have basically investigated experimentally the affect the price, brand name and the store name on buyer's interpretation of product quality. The meta-analysis of the experiment suggests that, for branded products. Correlation models between price and perceived product quality is a positive relationship and is statistically significant.

Biel (1992) discusses his insight into the images of brands and its relation with brand. Biel (1992) notes that consumers like brands because of their packaging. They create a short tool to make decisions of buying behavior quite easy. However successful brands have frequently been developed due to their image building the equity of the brand. While brand equity has become a rather financial concept rather than something of value placed on the brand. It is essential to understand and recognize the brand equity of a certain product and that it is related to the brand image as well.

Gwinner (1999) Research has focused on awareness and building brand image at the same time. Strategies have been used in the past to build brand image. The study uses correlation techniques to see whether awareness and brand image have a certain relation with brand equity. The results of the study discovers that brand image and brand awareness have significant relationship on brand equity but do not have a statistical relationship amongst each other.

Faircloth (2001) criticizes brand equity for an alleged lack of managerial mismanagement. His paper reports a case on how brand image and brand awareness operationalized brand equity. The results of the study prove that brand equity can be manipulated by the independent factors of brand association, brand awareness and brand quality. The results also suggest that to create brand equity managers need to measure these three factors before they start impacting brand equity itself.

Method

Research Design

This study is a quantitative research as the analysis of the hypotheses will be proven via the use of correlation.Partial correlation technique is used to calculate the relation between the variables of the study that may affect brand equity. Survey was done by the shoppers in the defence area of Karachi.

Population

The population selected for the research was limited to the areas of defence and Clifton located in the Karachi district. Data was conducted on100+ respondents from the total population of shoppers in the defence area.

Sampling

Samples was extracted from super markets Haji store in defence and Motta's store in Clifton. Based on a convenient sampling method, 100 individuals were selected who fall under the criteria. These individuals were given questionnaires to fill for the qualitative elements to gauge latest needs and wants of customers today.

Measurement/Instrument of Data Collection

Primary Research tools: In this research questionnaires were used for collection of data. The questionnaires were designed on a likert scale from 1 to 5 where 1 indicated the least level of agreement.

Results and Discussion

Control Variables###Brand_A###Brand_###Brand_###Brand_As###Brand

###wareness###Quality###Loyalty###sociation###Image

Brand###Brand###Correlation###1.000###.453###.457###.59###0.70

Equity###Awareness

###Signifacance (2-tailed)###.000###.000###.563###.494

###dt###0###97###97###97###97

Brand###Correlation###.453###1.000###.531###.094###.096

Quality###Signifacance (2-tailed)###.000###.###.000###.357###.347

###dt###97###0###97###97###97

Brand###Correlation###.457###.531###1.000###.007###.16

Loyalty###Signifacance (2-tailed)###.000###.000###.942###.876

###dt###97###97###0###97###97

Brand###Correlation###0.59###0.94###.007###1.000###0.47

Association###Signifacance (2-tailed)###.563###.357###.942###.647

###dt###97###97###97###0###97

Brand_Image Correlation###0.70###0.96###0.16###0.47###1.000

###Signifacance (2-tailed)###.494###.347###.876###.647

###dt###97###97###97###97###0

Partial Correlation Analysis

Correlations

Brand Awareness

In relation to brand quality the correlation statistic indicates that there is a rather mediocre relationship between brand awareness and the quality of the brand itself. This is actually quite similar to cases in real life that people may be aware of a brand's good quality hence be aware of the potential of the brand itself. The sig 2 tailed values is less than 0.05 which indicates that there is a statistically significant correlation between brand awareness and brand quality.

In relation with brand loyalty the correlation value is close to.5 indicating that there is a mediocre relationship between the two variables those being brand awareness and brand loyalty. This also relates to real life consumer behavior that a brand loyalty exists due to the fact that the consumer is aware of the brands features and advantages. This is supported by the sig.2 tailed value that is less than 0.05 indicating that there is a statistically significant correlation between brand awareness and brand loyalty.

In context to Brand association the correlation statistic is close to zero indicatingthat there is a rather weak relationship between brand awareness and brand association. This is a true case in a real life scenario as brand association can be created through repetitive advertisements and marketing rather than a person being aware of the brand. Most of the brand associations today are built through ATL and BTL activities. As the sig 2 tailed value is greater than .05 this also proves that there is no statistical correlation between the two variables which further supports the statement that brand association is not related to brand awareness. When talking about brand awareness and brand image there is a rather weak relationship at the statistic is close to zero. This is also a fact of the real world that a person may not be aware of a brand which exists in the world but that brand may have a positive or heightened image in some other part of the world.

Brand Quality

When discussing brand quality's relation with brand awareness it is seen that there is a mediocre relation with brand awareness as the value stands at .453. The sig 2 tailed value is at 0.00 which supports the fact that there is a relationship between Brand quality and its awareness. If a brand is high on quality then there is a chance that the consumer may be aware of the brand and its advantages.

In context of brand loyalty, brand quality and its relation to loyalty

is seen to be a more than mediocre relationship with the statistic being close to 60% (0.531). This is also backed by the sig 2 tailed value of 0.00 which indicates that there is a relationship between brand quality and loyalty. Brand quality is one of the reasons why the end-user is loyal to the brand. If a brand is low on quality then there is no possibility of a consumer being loyal to the brand hence the data set and the model analysis proves this fact.

When talking about brand association it is seen that there is a no relationship between quality and association with the figure being at .094. This is also proven by the sig.2 tailed value which indicates that there is statistically no relationship between brand association and brand quality. (Value =0.357). In the consumer situation generally association is created via marketing, advertising efforts and a consumer's trait relation to the brand. Quality in the literal sense does not have any relation with associating to the brand.

When relating brand quality to brand image then it may differ as the brand image is a perceived characteristic by the consumer or end-user. It is commonly seen that china-products may be inferior in image due to their quality but the fact being that china produces some of the biggest brands in the world like Apple I phone and Mercedes itself is being manufactured in china. So yes brand quality is a debatable topic to when being related to brand image. This discussion is backed and supported by the correlation value of 0.096 which indicates that correlation is almost zero and this is figure is further supported by the sig 2 tailed value which is above 0.05 standing at .347 further supports that there is no statistical correlation between the two variables.

Brand Loyalty

When comparing brand loyalty to brand awareness it is seen that a certain mediocre relationship exists between brand loyalty and brand awareness. The value of the correlation statistic stands at .457 that means there is a 45.7% relation between brand loyalty and brand awareness. The sig 2.tailed value which is 0.00 which indicates that there is a statistical relationship between both variables which overall proves that brand loyalty is related to brand awareness.

Brand loyalty's relation to brand quality is seen that if a brand has a certain perceived quality level then only will the customer be loyal to it. It is actually something of common understanding that a customer would not be loyal to a product if that product fails to meet his/her requirements due to poor quality. So the statement being stated here is that there is a relation between quality and a customer's loyalty. This is proven by the correlation statistic which shows that there is a 53.1% relation between the two variables and the sig 2.tailed value is at 0.00 which also proves that there is a statistical relationship between the two variables being brand quality and brand loyalty.

It is also a known fact that person may be only loyal to a brand which he/she is associated to. The fact can also be that the person who is loyal to a certain brand which cannot be associated with by some other person. This statement is proven by the correlation statistic which is at 0.007 indicating that there is no correlation between the two variables. Furthermore the sig 2. Tailed value also shows that there is no statistical difference between the two variables being at 0.942 which is greater than the cut-off mark which is 0.05.

From this analysis we have seen that brand loyalty is rather a personal feeling or factor that varies from person to person. Brand image cannot be associated to brand loyalty as a customer may be loyal to a certain brand which may have a different image in the public altogether. Which is rather a case seen almost on a daily basis. This discussion is proven and given substantiated support by the correlation statistic which is at 0.016 which indicates that there is no correlation between the two variables and the sig 2.tailed value which is at 0.876 signifying that there is no statistical relationship between brand loyalty and brand image.

Brand Association

Brand association when related to brand awareness is a debatable topic. A person can associate themselves to a brand or recognizes a brand through advertisement or marketing but yet not be aware of the brand itself or the services/advantages that it may provide. This discussion is proved statistically as correlation statistic (0.059) indicates that there is no relationship between the brand association and brand awareness. The sig 2.tailed value (0.563) indicates that there is no statistical relationship between the two variables.

Brand loyalty is a personal or self-developed trait and may be developed on the repetitive usage of the product. It is not necessary that a person maybe associated to a brand due to the loyalty factor. This is also proven correct as the correlation statistic and sig 2 tailed value both prove that there is no relationship between the two variables and that there is no statistical relationship between brand loyalty and brand association. (Correlation=0.007 and Sig 2.tailed =0.942)

Brand image is a perception or self-made observation and may be developed on public reviews of the product. It is not necessary that a person maybe associated to a brand due to its image. This is also proven correct as the correlation statistic and sig 2 tailed value both prove that there is no relationship between the two variables and that there is no statistical relationship between brand loyalty and brand association. (Correlation=0.047 and Sig 2.tailed =0.647)

Brand Image

Brand Image when related to brand awareness is a debatable topic. A person can associate themselves to a brand or recognizes a brand through advertisement or marketing but yet may not develop a good or better image of that brand. This discussion is proved statistically as correlation statistic (0.070) indicates that there is no relationship between the brand association and brand awareness. The sig 2.tailed value (0.494) indicates that there is no statistical relationship between the two variables.

When comparing brand image to brand quality it is seen that a perceive a brand to be of a world-class image or persona but may not know about the product's quality or features since that can only be experienced on the usage of that product. This is statistically proved as the correlation statistic is 0.096 which is close to zero hence showing that there is no relationship between quality and association. Whereas the sig 2. Tailed value also shows that there is no statistical relationship between the brand quality and brand association (.347) which greater than 0.05.

Brand loyalty is a personal or self-developed trait and may be developed on the repetitive usage of the product. It is not necessary that a person maybe associated to a brand due to the its perceived image. This is also proven correct as the correlation statistic and sig 2 tailed values both prove that there is no relationship between the two variables and that there is no statistical relationship between brand loyalty and brand association. (Correlation=0.016 and Sig 2.tailed =0.876)

Brand image is a perception or self-made observation and may be developed on public reviews of the product. It is not necessary that a person maybe associated to a brand due to them having a certain association to it. This is also proven correct as the correlation statistic and sig 2 tailed value both prove that there is no relationship between the two variables and that there is no statistical relationship between brand loyalty and brand association. (Correlation=0.047 and Sig 2.tailed =0.647)

Conclusion

H1: There is no significant relationship between brand Loyalty and brand awareness

The value of the correlation statistic stands at .457 that means there is a 45.7% relation between brand loyalty and brand awareness. The sig 2.tailed value which is 0.00 which indicates that there is a statistical relationship between both variables hence H1 is rejected.

H2: There is no significant relationship between brand Loyalty and brand association

This statement is proven by the correlation statistic which is at 0.007 indicating that there is no correlation between the two variables. Furthermore the sig 2. Tailed value also shows that there is no statistical difference between the two variables being at 0.942 hence H2 is accepted.

H3: There is no significant relationship between brand Loyalty and perceived quality

This is proven by the correlation statistic which shows that there is a 53.1% relation between the two variables and the sig 2.tailed value is at 0.00 which also proves that there is a statistical relationship between the two variables being brand quality and brand loyalty. Hence H3 is rejected.

H4: There is no significant relationship between brand Loyalty and brand image.

This statement is proven and given substantiated support by the correlation statistic which is at 0.016 which indicates that there is no correlation between the two variables and the sig 2.tailed value which is at 0.876 signifying that there is no statistical relationship between brand loyalty and brand image.

H5: There is no significant relationship between brand awareness and brand association

In context to Brand association the correlation statistic is close to zero indicating that there is a rather weak relationship between brand awareness and brand association.As the sig 2 tailed value is greater than .05 this also proves that there is no statistical correlation between the two variables which further supports the statement that brand association is not related to brand awareness. Hence H5 is accepted

H6: There is no significant relationship between brand awareness and perceived quality

In relation to brand quality the correlation statistic indicates that there is a rather mediocre relationship between brand awareness and the quality of the brand itself. This is actually quite similar to cases in real life that people may be aware of a brand's good quality hence be aware of the potential of the brand itself. The sig 2 tailed values is less than 0.05 which indicates that there is a statistically significant correlation between brand awareness and brand quality. This shows that H6 has been rejected.

H7: There is no significant relationship between brand awareness and brand image

When talking about brand awareness and brand image there is a rather weak relationship at the statistic is close to zero. This is also a fact of the real world that a person may not be aware of a brand which exists in the world but that brand may have a positive or heightened image in some other part of the world. The sig 2 tailed value is above standing at .494 indicating that there is no relation between the two variables. Hence H7 is accepted.

H8: There is no significant relationship between brand association and perceived quality

This is statistically proved as the correlation statistic is 0.094 which is close to zero hence showing that there is no relationship between quality and association. Whereas the sig 2. Tailed value also shows that there is no statistical relationship between the brand quality and brand association (.357) which greater than 0.05.

H9: There is no significant relationship between brand association and brand image.

This is also proven correct as the correlation statistic and sig 2 tailed value both prove that there is no relationship between the two variables and that there is no statistical relationship between brand loyalty and brand association. (Correlation=0.047 and Sig 2.tailed =0.647)

H10: There is no significant relationship between perceived quality and brand image.

This discussion is backed and supported by the correlation value of 0.096 which indicates that correlation is almost zero and this is figure is further supported by the sig 2 tailed value which is above 0.05 standing at .347 further supports that there is no statistical correlation between the two variables.

Limitations of Study

Restrictions Regarding Time

The first limitation while conducting this research was time itself. As the research topic was a large and vast topic, the list of sub topics were difficult to cover. Due to the limitation of time only major areas and factors affecting brand equity were researched.

Data Collection Methods.

This was yet another limitation that was faced due to the shortage of time the research was only contained to the use of questionnaires. If professional interviews would have been conducted than that would have added more knowledge to the overall analysis.

Locations and Geographic

Since the research was isolated to Clifton and defence the topic and its outcomes would have been more fruitful if more areas were incorporated.

Recommendations

In today's economic meltdown people have rather become conscious on choosing brands and have started measuring the brand's worth. This is the reason why marketers and advertisers of today take the help of researchers to contemplate on how to promote and advertise brands or products to customers when comparing them to mainstream or traditional products. In the light of the outcomes and results of dissertation the following recommendations are presented for marketers and advertisers on what they should implement and inculcate while promoting brands.

* To start off from scratch people related to marketing whether marketers or advertisers should pay more attention and focus their attempts to understand customer profiles and what these customers are scrolling for while purchasing branded.

* Brand managers and marketers should research the aspects of inflation as well as incorporate religious events and special seasons when creating advertising and marketing campaigns.

* To wrap up the recommendations marketers should lay haste to the concept of rejuvenating brands and their reach into the target market. What should also be promoted at the same time is the quality awareness of the brand itself. Dissertations like this one will penetrate findings and concepts and explain marketers as well as students of marketing how the changes associated to brands may severely affect or in some cases not affect the brand equity or image of the product itself. The recommendations stated above will prove to give beneficial information and provide a differential advantage over competitors and in further forecasting operations or intentions.

References

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Publication:Journal of Business Strategies (Karachi)
Date:Dec 31, 2012
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