An Empirical Study in the Technological product sector
More and more organizations have come to realize that brand is the most valuable asset associated with their products or services and are using branding as a strategic tool in today’s dynamic business environment (Chernatony and MacDonald, 1998; Rooney, 1995). Some extremely successful examples in brand management include Microsoft, IBM, Sony, Nike and Coca-Cola (BusinessWeek, 2002). Their brands resonate with the general public and affect the consumers’ buying decision-making. The power of the brands has contributed substantially to the continuing success in the future (Davis, 2002).
Brand acts as a strategic marketing tool to attract and keep customers by promoting value, image, prestige or lifestyle (Rooney, 1995). Furthermore, it is a powerful technique to develop a stable, sustainable and distinct relation with customers by playing number of associations, so marketers must account for all of them in making marketing decisions (Aaker, 1992).
Hence this study will try to find out the impact of branding on consumer purchase decision, specifically in the technological product market.
The main aim of this project is to find out the impact, branding has on the consumer purchase decision in general and especially in the technological product sector. The focus of this study will be on the consumer’s viewpoint about brands and how it affects their purchasing decisions.
Hence the objectives of the study will be to:
- Review the current literature regarding brands, branding and consumer purchase decision
- Based on the literature review and secondary data identify branding factors that supposedly impact the consumer purchase decision
- Find out consumers perception regarding the impact of brands on their purchasing decisions specifically in the technological product sector
- To bring out the implications of the research
An appropriate research methodology is a general plan of how the researcher will go about answering the research questions considering the sources to collect data and the constraints that one might have (access to data, time, location and money, etc). It should reflect the fact that the researcher has thought carefully about why a particular strategy/method has been employed. Data intended for almost any study can be obtained from two sources: Primary Data and Secondary Data. In order to complete the research project from a theoretical as well as a practical point of view, this research will make use of both types of data. This study will be carried in three phases. The first phase will involve literature review and secondary data collection. Primary data will be collected in the second phase. The last phase will comprise of analysing the primary data and drawing suitable conclusions from the study.
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Phase 1: The first phase of the research will comprise of reviewing the literature and collecting secondary data. This will involve an investigation of brands and different types of branding options that are availed by manufacturers. Further to this the consumer decision process will also be reviewed to find the factors that affect the consumer’s decision making process in general. According to Sharp and Howard (1996), two major reasons exist for reviewing the literature. First, the preliminary search helps to generate and refine the research ideas. And secondly, a critical review is a part of the research process. Like most research projects, literature review will be an early activity in this research. After the initial literature search, the researcher will be able to redefine the parameters more precisely and undertake further searches, keeping in mind the research objective and goal. The literature review will help in developing a good understanding and insight into the previous research done on this topic and the trends that have emerged.
Secondary data sources
Secondary data will be collected from a varied number of sources.
- Books – published books generally considered as one of the most reliable and valid source of information will be used for the basic content of the literature review.
- Electronic sources – will provide a large amount of information relevant to the subject
- Magazines – a good source of getting data and report of recent and relevant articles
- Newspapers – latest updates on brands and other information
Advantages of using secondary data
- Saves cost and time
- Wide variety of information available
- Availability of vast amount of information
Disadvantages of using secondary data are
- Most of the magazines or journals require Subscription, which is not feasible when lots of journals and materials have to be analysed.
- Shortage of time limits the scope of the research to a great extent.
- Most of the articles, research papers, and survey results found on various web sites or lacks the proof of the accuracy of their results.
Phase 2: In phase 2 primary data will be collected which refers to the data obtained via the researcher’s direct experience. The need for employing more than one method of research stems from the fact that various methods contain their own set of assumptions of the nature of the real world and the kind of data produced (Denscombe, 1998). The author has selected survey strategy for the purpose of collecting primary data. It is a common and popular strategy in business and management research. Through this a large amount of data can be collected in an economical way. Bell (1993) says that surveys can provide answers to questions like What, Where, When, And How. It tries to elaborate the problems of ‘representativeness’ from other approaches like case studies or most of the qualitative approaches. This approach can be termed as fact finding mission and may contribute little towards the development of a hypotheses or shaping theory. The results from the survey can definitely be used to test a hypotheses or theory. The data here is primarily quantitative but may also be qualitative in nature as it represents peoples view about an issue. Questionnaires are generally used for the purpose of data collection followed by few interviews to increase the validity of the data. Using multi-methods produces various kinds of data on the same topic improving the quality of research. Hence, this research will make use of more than one research method (questionnaire and interview) to enable the researcher to present the topic in a more complete fashion from different perspectives.
Hence the primary data collection methods used for this research will be-
Questionnaires provide the easiest known way of assembling a mass of information (Burroughs, 1971:106). The author decided to use online questionnaires for the purpose of the study. Online questionnaires are very economical, the costs faced were nearly negligible, since once the form was loaded on the server, and all entries came in the form of e-mail. They are easier to administer and manage and supply standardised answers from all recipients. But a lot of care will be taken in order to construct questionnaires to maximise response rate. Due to its length or complexity in the questionnaire, it may yield a response rate so low that the data may not be adequate to make any kind of generalisation or even a reliable statement.
Keeping this in mind, for the purpose of this research, due care will be taken to avoid hypothetical questions, dual meaning questions, presuming questions and any form of ambiguity or imprecision in questions. Also, an attempt will be made to keep the length of the questionnaire very precise, with to the point questions consisting mainly of multiple-choice questions enabling the reader to be comfortable to fill the questionnaire without much loss of time, thereby increasing the questionnaires response rate as well as making data analysis simple.
The author also decided to include another method in the form of interviews as part of the research due to the need for more detailed qualitative information. Through the use of questionnaires the research will only able to gather quantitative data, which in itself will be quite useful for the project in order to gain a general view and knowledge about the impact of branding on consumers in general. However, in order to gain better depth in the analysis, the questionnaire data will also be supplemented by few follow up interviews.
“As an information gathering tool, the interview lends itself to being used alongside other methods as a way of supplementing their data – adding detail and depth”. (Denscombe, 1998; pi 12) As part of this research project, interviews will be used as a follow-up to the questionnaire. The attempt is to complement the questionnaire data with the interview data, pursuing the interesting lines of enquiry in greater detail. Simply stated, it can yield rich material or put flesh on the bones of the questionnaire (Bell, 1987).
In order to collect appropriate information on the views of the consumers on impact of branding on their purchasing decisions, a very large portion of the general population would be an eligible target, but due to various practical problems of time and cost involved in such a process, a restricted sample of the population was considered for this research. The sample population involved in this project was carried out on a small scale due to the time and resources available.
The survey polled a population of primarily Internet users including professionals as well as students situated in various parts of UK in order to get their perspective on the effect branding has on their buying behavior. Approximately, 200 emails will be sent. The population of respondents comprised of general Internet users ranging from computer professionals to lecturers to university students. By the means of this survey, we are investigating the general considerations of the users towards brands while purchasing a technological product.
1. Phase 1 : Literature Survey/Secondary data
Client should put the time frame according to his/her requirements
Phase 1 will involve an investigation of brands and different types of branding options that are availed by manufacturers. Further to this the consumer decision process will also be reviewed to find the factors that affect the decision making process. The first stage of the research will comprise of reviewing the literature and collecting secondary data.
2. Phase 2 : Interviews/Surveys
Client should put the time frame according to his requirements
Phase 2 will involve the primary data collection phase in which the online questionnaire will be used to collect consumer opinion regarding brand implication on their purchasing decisions.
3. Phase 3: Analysis of data from Interviews/surveys and drawing conclusions
Client should put the time frame according to his requirements
After taking the interviews and surveys, a large quantity of interview notes, questionnaire results and other records will be generated all of which will be analyzed. The survey data will be analysed using the SPSS software. A brief thematic analysis will be done for the data collected from the interviews. Following this, conclusions will be drawn based on the findings.
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Bell, J. (1987). Doing your Research Project. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bell, J. (1993) Doing your research project: a guide for first-time researchers in education and social science, Open University press
Burroughs, G.E.R. (1971). Design and Analysis in Educational Research, Oxford: Educational Review.
Davis, S. (2002), “Brand Asset Management: how businesses can profit from the power of brand”, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 19, No. 4, p.p.351 -358.
de Chernatony, L. & McDonald, M. (1998), Creating Powerful Brands in Consumer, service and Industrial Markets, 2nd Edition, UK: Reed Eductional and Professional Publishing Ltd.
Denscombe, M. (1998). The Good Research Guide. Buckingham: Open University Press
Hussey, J. and Hussey, R. (1997), Business Research: A Practical Guide for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students, Macmillan Press, London.
Rooney, J. A. (1995), “Branding: a trend for today and tomorrow”, Journal of Product and Brand Management, Vol. 4, No. 4, p.p.48 – 55.
Schutz (1972). The Phenomenology of the Social World (London: Heinemann).
Sharp, J.A. and Howard, K. (1996) The Management of a Student Research Project. Aldershot, Gower.
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