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Effect Of Brand Image On Consumer Purchasing Behaviour

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 2661 words Published: 8th May 2017

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In a heavily competitive business world, organizations are utilising every opportunity and weapon to catch the attraction of the consumers. Brand is one of the major weapons in the hands of product manufactures or service providers to pull the customers towards their products or services. “Brand can be defined as “A name, symbol, logo, signature or a combination thereof that defines a manufacturer’s products or services through differentiating them from competitors’ products or services and offers perceptions such as quality, value, prestige to the consumers” (Pars & Gulsert, 2011, p.228). Alina Wheeler defined branding and brand identity in a concise manner. In her opinion, branding is a process intended to build awareness and customer loyalty towards a product or service whereas brand identity is a concept, which helps organizations to distinguish its products and services from the competing products and services (Wheeler, 2009).

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Globalization has produced an overflow of products in the market. It should be noted countries have liberalised their policies with respect to exports and imports to encourage free trade and to reap the benefits of globalization. Current consumers are confused while taking purchasing decisions because of the excess of products available in the market. They consider many factors while taking purchasing decisions. Brand value is one of the most important factors considered by the modern consumers while they go for the purchasing of certain goods or products. For example, before purchasing a mobile phone, a consumer will consider the brand value first and then other parameters such as price, features etc. In short, brand development is an important topic in the business world at present since modern consumers are giving much respect to a product from a reputed brand.

It is difficult to understand consumer behaviour in certain occasions because of the complex parameters associated with it. “Consumer behaviour is the study of when, why, how, and where people do or do not buy product. It blends elements from psychology, sociology, social anthropology and economics” (Zeb et al, 2011, p.225). There are plenty of instances in which, even poor quality products excel in the market because of high brand value. Same way plenty of good quality products failed to catch the attention of the consumers because of the poor brand value of the producer. This paper analyses the effect of brand image or value on consumer purchasing behaviour.


There are plenty of debates and discussions about how a brand influences the purchasing behaviour of a consumer. Some people believe that brand attributes are forcing the consumers to purchase products of certain brands repeatedly.

Brand attributes consist of ‘bits’ of information that are linked to a brand name in consumer memory and that, when combined with the brand name, make up a brand’s image. The brand attributes themselves come from a variety of sources, including consumer experiences, marketing communications, and/or word of mouth. The linkages between the brand name, its attributes, and other brands in the marketplace mean that associated attributes can be unique to the consumer, unique to the brand, or shared with other brands (Kathiravana et al, 2010, p.21)

It should be noted that Apple Inc.’s logo is the shape of an apple fruit with a bite. Apple Inc. used this name since Apple is the favourite fruit for majority of the people in the world. Whenever a consumer sees an apple, he thinks about Apple Company. Here, the attributes of apple fruit is used cleverly by Apple Company to build its brand name. Social networks are playing a vital role in the success of viral marketing or marketing through word of mouth. People usually discus the merits and demerits of the products they purchased, through social networks. Thus, consumers all over the word get enough information about the advantages and disadvantages of certain goods.

Rayport and Jaworski (2003) divided the purchasing processes into three stages: pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase (Rayport & Jaworski, 2003). During the pre-purchase stage, the consumer may consider lot of factors. Brand is one of the most important factors of consideration during the pre-purchase stage. Suppose a consumer wanted to purchase a smartphone. Samsung Galaxy S3, Nokia’s Lumia and iPhone 5 are the best smartphones available in the market now. Even though Nokia was one of the prominent mobile manufacturer in the world in the past, it is not so at present. Nokia’s brand value has diminished a lot in the recent past. So, he may eliminate Nokia from the short list. Now, galaxy S3 and iPhone 5 were left in the final list. iPhone 5 is the latest smartphone. Moreover, it is manufactured by the most valuable technology company in the world, Apple Inc. On the other hand, Galaxy S3 is a Korean company, which has less brand value compared to Apple. In short, the higher brand value of Apple over Samsung may force the consumer to opt for iPhone in the last analysis during the pre-purchase stage. Bello and Holbrook (1995) pointed out that consumers would prefer buying brand-name products when they have a choice of selecting two products with same level of quality and price (Bello & Holbrook, 1995).

Brand image and brand attitude have positive impact on the purchasing intentions of the customers (Shah et al, 2012). Current consumers consider many factors while taking purchasing decision. For example, corporate social responsibility is one of the hot topics in the business world nowadays. It should be noted that organizations are exploiting resources of the communities in which they operate. So, it is the duty of the companies to give something back to the community. Corporate social responsibility or CSR is used as a strategy to boost brand image and brand value by the companies. In other words, socially committed companies have better brand value than other companies do.

There are three parameters associated with brand relationships of consumers: brand trust, brand satisfaction and brand attachment (Asodollahi & Hanzaee, 2011). For example, Apple is a trusted brand for the people in different parts of the world. Same way Samsung, Toyota, BMW etc are trusted brands for many people in the world. Consumers, who have trust in certain brands, might not think twice before purchasing an item from that brand. The huge advance booking of Apple’s iPhone 5 clearly indicates the consumer trust in Apple brand. It should not be forgotten that before knowing anything about iPhone 5, millions of consumers all over the world started to book this phone.

Brand satisfaction is a post purchase phenomenon. It is often said that Apple inc. delivers more than what it promises. A new product development in Apple Inc. is taking place with extreme secrecy. Even the employees of Apple Company may not get any information about the new products the company is going to launch. Only the people responsible for the development of new product will have the exact information about the product prior to its launch. Therefore, only after the introduction of a particular product, Apple’s customers will know about the exact features of that product. In most of the cases, the satisfaction delivered by these products will exceed their expectations. Consumers of such products will develop brand loyalty. In other words, people who were satisfied with one product of a particular company may go for another product of the same company blindly. Japanese electronics company Sony is one of the best examples to illustrate how brand loyalty develops. Sony is producing a wide range of consumer electronics. All of them are big hits in the market because of the brand loyalty consumers have with Sony.

Consumers had single or multi-brand loyalty based on the nature of product, like necessities or luxuries. Brand choice and store loyalty were found to affect the brand loyalty of the consumer. The factors that influence and strengthen loyalty to brand were quality of product, habit of use and ready and regular availability (Usha, 2007, p.14)

Brand attachment is a phenomenon which is associated with the blind belief in the abilities of certain brand. Majority of the Americans will prefer iPhones over Samsung Galaxy. This is because of their emotional attachment with Apple brand and Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are charismatic personalities in America. They are the icons of technological excellence. Therefore, any products developed by Apple or Microsoft will have an emotional attachment with Americans.

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“A global brand is no longer exclusively associated with only the country in which it originated (country-of-origin [COO]), since firms have taken advantage of lower costs by moving their manufacturing or assembly locations to developing countries”(Chung et al, 2009, p.21). Since most of the prominent companies are operating globally now, there are plenty of global brands now. Country of origin became insignificant for many of the products now even though it is significant for the consumers. As part of the cost cutting efforts, many of the prominent American, European, and Asian companies are now operating from India and China like countries. Labour cost is extremely low in these countries and, hence, many of the prominent global companies are now offshoring their manufacturing operations to cheap labour oriented countries. “Made in Japan” and “Made in America” were symbols of excellence for many of the brands in the past. For example, most of the products from Sony were made in Japan earlier. Consumers had a blind faith in the Sony products manufactured from Japan. However, at present, majority of the Sony products were manufactured in China. Because of that, Sony Company is not enjoying the same reputation now as it enjoyed in the past.

Chinese products are generally considered as cheap quality products even though they are cheaper in terms of price whereas Japanese or German products are considered as good quality products even though they are a bit more expensive. In short, country of origin of the product is a matter of concern when consumers take a purchasing decision. Modern consumers always prefer a reputed branded products manufactured in a reputed country, when they a take a serious purchasing decision. According to the study by Han and Terpstra’s (1988), both source country and brand name had significant effects on the quality dimensions of a product. However, serviceability and workmanship were found to be more sensitive to source country than to brand name (Han and Terpstra, 1988).

A consumer may consider four types of images of a company/product, while taking a purchasing decision: corporate image, social image, product image and brand image. Corporate image refers to the image of the producer whereas social image is the society’s perceptions of a particular producer or brand. Product image involves the image associated with the product whereas brand image refers to the overall impressions of the brand in the minds of the consumers. It is important for the retailer or product manufacturer to keep certain ethical values in his operations. When a retailer tries to treat a consumer unfairly, he is causing immense damage to the brand name, and to the social image of the company (Sierra et al, 2010).

According to Bauman (1998), “Consumerism is the social analogue to the psychopathology of depression with its twin clashing symptoms of enervation and inability to sleep” (p.94). Purchasing is more of a mental activity rather than a physical activity nowadays. Depressed people are always worried about the factors, which cause depression to them. They may not sleep well even in nights. This is true in the case of consumers also. For example, a person who is planning to purchase a car may undergo certain sleepless nights prior to the purchasing. He may think about various aspects of purchasing throughout the nights and days. Lots of additions and subtractions or mathematical activities may pass through his mind. The mental agony increases in the case of modern consumers since majority of them are purchasing certain goods not for utility but for keeping their social status. There are plenty of people who throw away their old mobile phone when a new model arrives in the market. For example, the entry of iPhone and Samsung Galaxy forced many people to buy dispose their old phone for purchasing a new smartphone. Even though LG and Sony-Erickson like mobile phone manufacturers have plenty of smartphone models, majority of the consumers go for iPhone or Galaxy S2 or S3 to increase their social status and recognition. In short, modern consumers think that owing a product from a reputed brand may increase their social acceptance. That is why branded products moved well in the market whereas ordinary products struggle.

Young consumers did not consider themselves to be passive victims or conformist. They need to feel they are cool and in. This is a general expression, which suggests that they need to fit in and they accept only what has been given them on a silver platter right under their very nose. And consequently everybody wants to be a hip hopper. The most critical perspectives on conformity were articulated in terms of ‘herd-like’ or ‘sheep-like’ behaviour, an expression describing a mass of ignorant and mindless followers. A certain group of people sets some trends, indoctrinates, and infects with their ideas the rest of society. And this part of society takes it. Because they fear that, they won’t be in. And they wanna’ fit in (PyÅ¡nˇakova, n. d, p.32).

In short, modern consumer purchases things not only to satisfy their physical needs but also to satisfy their mental needs. A product from an ordinary brand may satisfy his physical needs; but a product from a reputed brand may cater both physical and mental needs. The above perception motivates consumers to go for reputed brands while they take any purchasing decision. Social acceptance and status are important things for many of the modern consumers. People do anything to increase their social status. Owing a branded product is one way of improving social status for many people.


Modern companies are particular in improving their brand value. This is because of the fact that modern customers give more emphasize to the brand value of a company while they take any purchasing decision. Brand value is associated with so many things. A company’s past reputation, its present commitment to the environment, its servicing history of customers, ability to produce innovative products, etc will boost their brand image. Even better quality products may not move well in the market, if the brand value of the company is poor. On the other hand, even cheap quality products move well in the market if the brand value of the company is good. Brand attributes have the ability to increase brand value and brand loyalty.

Brand is a serious factor of consideration for the consumers during the pre-purchase stage. Country of origin of the product is a big factor in deciding the brand value of a product. As in the case of products and services, consumers have strong ratings, about the products produced from a particular country. Therefore, a product’s brand value is determined by its country of manufacture also. Many consumers consider owing a good branded product as a status symbol. In short, consumers purchase branded products not only to satisfy their physical and mental needs but also to satisfy their social needs.


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