The main goal for any business is to produce goods and services for sales and profit maximisation. Businesses need to have enough sales in order to cover all the cost and to get sound profit. For generating greater sales, businesses needs to market their product in line with the marketing mix or the 4Ps i.e. product, price, place and promotion. Promotion is one of the factors that influence sales and advertising comes under the promotional mix. It is believed that through good promotion, businesses can generate greater sales by influencing consumers buying decision.
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In today’s world advertisement is taken as an important tool to gain customer attention and to give information on product. All around the world billions of dollars are invested in advertisement of products and brands. In the year 2008 only, advertisement expenditure of US, UK and China was $ 158,547 million, $26,802 million and $57, 077 million respectively (Warc, 2009). As countries and businesses are spending these huge amounts of money, there must be some main reason behind it. The main reason might be to increase sales or profits. Advertisements have become very useful and have gained the status of an independent discipline and have grown at very fast speed due to this it has become a special field of study (Khan, 2007). Therefore, advertisement is an important tool for businesses to promote their goods and services and increasing sales and profit. It is also important for the businesses to find out whether their advertising is effectively promoting their products or not.
The proposed research topic will try to find out the impact or how much influence does advertisements have in influencing the consumer’s buying decision. This study will be dedicated to the subject area of the consumer behaviour and their buying decision with regards to the influence of advertisement on it. It will help to gain in depth knowledge about the subject matter and will be of great benefit from both academic and practical side. The conclusion drawn from the study will provide feedback to the businesses about the advertising and it will also find out the areas which other researchers can explore into. In this 21st century role of technology is so important and advertisement comes under the communication tool, hence study on this important and current issue is really of great benefit.
As stated in the title and introduction part of this proposal, this research work aims to identify the level of impact of the advertisements in consumer’s brand preference. This study will be focused on the food and beverage retail companies in London, U.K.
The objectives of the study will be:
To study the influence of advertising on consumer buying behaviour.
To analyse and compare the influence of age factor on advertising.
To analyse and compare the role of printed and visual media in influencing buying behaviour.
To recommending the retail (food and beverage) firms for further improvements in advertising and brand management.
How do advertising change consumer behaviour?
Could advertisement have an adverse impact on brand image in consumer’s mind?
Is age a factor that influences consumer behaviour?
Which advertisement media is much effective: Printed or Visual?
Advertising is a mass communication tools for the marketing purpose. Etzel et al.(1997) says that the mass communication tool provides opportunity to communicate the same message to larger number of people at a lower cost than the personal selling. Arens (1996) thinks that it is a communication process, a marketing process, a socio-economic, information and persuasion process at the same time. Mogel (1993) in his book says that it is an act or practice of gaining public mind to the goods and services through the paid announcements in the various media printed and visual (such as newspapers, magazines, TV, radio or billboards to increase the selling and the customers. The words advertising comes from the Latin word “advertere” which means “to turn mind towards” and the firstly appeared around 1665 AD in the bible to indicate notification or warning (Kaptan, 2002). Philip Kotler views advertising as any paid form of non personal presentation and promotion of services and products by an identified sponsor (Kaptan, 2002) and the same is the view of American Marketing Association (AMA).
As per Mogel (1993), there are basic three components in advertising
Promotion – Trade fairs and exhibitions, Conventions and Meetings, Premiums and incentives and point of purchase display
Measured Media Advertising – TV, Radio, Daily Newspapers, Consumer Magazines, Business Magazines, Internet etc
Other Advertising – Direct Mail, Yellow pages or directories, Transit Poster Displays, Outdoors or Billboards
Brand and Brand loyalty
AMA (1960) defined the term Brand as “a name, term, sign, symbol or design or a combination of them which is intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or a group of seller and to differentiate them from those of competitors”. Classical definitions say that brand is a identification of a product and it differentiates with other competitor’s product with the application of various names, logos, design or any other visual signs and symbols.
Brand loyalty in simple terms means, being loyal to one particular brand. Any organisation wishes to get the customer who is loyal to them and will purchase and repeat purchase with them. Heding et al. (2004) highlights that achieving great loyalty of the consumers is the main goal for any business, loyal consumers are valuable for businesses because retaining or keeping existing customer is far cheaper than attracting or recruiting new customers.
Pride et al. (2009) argued that there are three levels of brand loyalty
Brand Recognition: In it customers are aware of the brand and they know its existence and can purchase if their preferable brand is not available.
Brand Preference: This is a average level of loyalty at which customer prefers one brand over other competing brands.
Brand Insistence: It is the strongest level of loyalty, where customer strongly prefers to stick with the specific brand and will not buy any substitutes available at whatsoever situation.
Buyers rely on previous experiences with the product when choosing it, if available, over substitutive product. For example we may prefer Nike shoes in comparison to other brands and may buy the new range of products of Nike if it is available. If this is the case, Nike is able to establish the brand preference in consumer’s mind. (Kurtz et al., 2009)
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Reid et al. (2004) in their book cited that Yoon and Kijewski (1995), found in their study that brand awareness is necessary to create brand preference and their model stated that various communication activities drive customers to be aware of the brand and which in return creates brand preference. Guinn et al. (2008) in their book cited Marc Gobe (2001) who indicated that great brands make emotional connections with the customers. They do that by engaging customers through complex sensory experiences and deep emotional attitudes.
Advertising and Consumer Behaviour:
Ayanwale et al. (2005) said that advertisers invest a lot of money in advertising and the main goal behind it is to reach potential buyer and influencing the level of awareness, attitudes and the behaviour of buying and keeping them interested on their products. In the same document they cited the view of Arens (1996) that advertisers need to gather market data and have to study consumer behaviour in order to satisfy the needs and wants of people who purchase their goods.
Advertising and Brand Preference:
Brand preference can be seen as level of attachment the buyer has, to the particular brand and creating brand loyalty, which makes the consumer buy the product again and again. Jones et al. (2002) express that advertisement is used to retain their existing customers instead of bringing new ones. They say that existing customers are well disposed towards the brand and advertisements only helps to strengthen the preference of the customer, it reinforces their attachment to the brand by depicting satisfaction, strong imagery, pride and positive experience. Trehan & Trehan (2009) also pointed out that if the product has brand preference in customer, it only needs reminder type advertising and if the brand is not preferable, then the advertisement is necessary along with promotional and personal selling for customers.
Rationale for research:
Above reviewed literature suggested that advertisement is a form of communication to inform and making customers aware of the products and services through various printed and visual mediums which obviously have some cost associated with it. An advertisement is seen as a medium of creating brand image in the mind of customers and advertisement play role to make that image into preference. But we also found that advertisements are not too much necessary for the customers who have already formed their preference to the particular brand; it is merely used to reinforce the attachment and strengthening the preference. And, we also found that brand preference is not strong form of loyalty where customer can select the substitute if there is lack of information (advertisement) or the availability of the product. This discussion of various scholars creates some gap whether advertisements are necessary or not, with respect to brand preference. This research will try to finding out the answers that what is the level of influence that advertisements create in consumer buying behaviour and is there any influence or not.
Systematic way or process of solving or getting to the conclusion of any research or study can be defined as Research Methodology. It describes the methods and process applied in the entire aspect of the study. It includes all the procedures from theoretical foundation to the collection and analysis of data. “Research methodology refers to the various sequential step (along with a rational of each step) to be adopted by a researcher in studying a problem with certain objects in view” ( Kothari, 1994).
Research is a systematic and organizational effort to investigate a specific problem that needs a solution or a conclusion. This process of investigation involves a series of key activities like gathering, recording, analyzing and interpreting of the data with the purpose of finding answer of the research topic. The method chosen for this research will be the combination of quantitative, qualitative and descriptive methods. The study will be focused on finding the various aspects of the consumer behaviour and consumer response towards the advertisements and their preferences.
As per Kumar (2008) Kinner defined Research Design as “the basic plan which guides the data collection and analyses the phases of the project. It is the framework which specifies the type of information to be collected, the source of data and the data collection procedure”. Hence, research design can be considered as a logical and systematically developed plan in order to conduct the research. It is important in the sense that it helps to establish the guidance for proceeding and knowing what and how things needs to be done at every stage.
Research Strategy and Method of Data Collection
Survey strategy is the main strategy which I will be using in conducting this research. The data will be collected through both primary and secondary sources. For primary source, structured questionnaires will be prepared and will be conducting a questionnaire survey. Primary data will be the main source of data for this research. Questionnaire will be set in the guidance of the assigned supervisor so that the respondent can feel easier to fill in their information and also to confirm the validity and reliability of the tools used for collection of primary data. Secondary data, if any required will be collected from the books, journals, company websites and internet.
The number of samples to be collected for this research is set as 150 samples from the whole population which will try to cover all the aspects and characteristics of the population. The simple random sampling technique will be used while doing primary research under the probability sampling technique. The samples will be taken randomly from the high streets and various shopping centres of London. I will try to ensure that the ratio of male and females will be equal in order to obtain an unbiased and clear picture of the whole population and their response can be related to the finding of the research.
The data analysis will be conducted using both qualitative and quantitative methods. All data will be analysed using various descriptive methods (mean, standard deviation, range, frequency and percentage etc.) and inferential statistical tests (correlation, regression, chi-square etc) as appropriate. However, the suggestions from the supervisor will always be implementing while conducting the analysis of the collected data.
Limitations of the study
This study will be limited to the area and population of London, therefore, the finding of the study cannot be generalised for other areas of UK.
Time period is also another limitation for doing this research, which may somehow affect the conclusion.
Respondents can be non co-operative.
There will not be unethical acts in this proposed project and the laid down procedure will be followed at each and every step of the study. Information collected during research will be cited, referenced and will be given credit. The respondents will be told about the research objectives clearly and the confidentiality of the data collected will be maintained.
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