How does Brand Loyalty Influence Customer Behavior?
The rise in living standards, ease of accessibility to finance coupled with a wide variety to choose from has made consumer durable market to grow with a rapid rate. Many players are getting into the market. With the advances in communication and technology, new lifestyles and the quest to appear young and beautiful, the demand for quality beauty products has increased significantly. Consumer quality sector is characterized by the emergence of exchange offers, discounts and intensive competition. People nowadays want to imitate in regards to dressing, language, and politics among other lifestyle aspects. The increasing population is bombarded with information about maintaining a youthful look, making women seek for cosmetics that suit them. With this knowledge in mind, beauty manufacturing product companies make every effort to brand them to capture the booming market. Companies are competing on the basis of firm grasp of the local and international market, their well acknowledged brands and hold over wide distribution network. The penetration level of consumer products remains high.
This research is scoped down to understand the relationship between consumer behavior and brand loyalty, factors affecting consumer decision making, the role of brand loyalty in consumer durable goods and the position of the individual consumer in the segment. The path forward will be to study the secondary data for industry overview, collect primary data for more insight and derive conclusions based on primary and secondary data. The research findings will be addressed based on the theories of consumer buying behavior and brand loyalty.
Organizations must engage in making strategic decisions that are capable of improving the firms’ image so that they can have an advantage over competitors. To be specific, these image enhancing strategies ensure that the organization increase the loyalty of the current customers. In addition, the image enhancing strategies should help in the attraction of new customers to the organization. Strategic decisions that can bring enhanced image to the organization have included the selection of target markets, and modification of products to suit the demands of the customers. Other strategic decisions on prices, location of products and services, promotional efforts, and operating policies help in improving the organizations’ image.
The implementation of these strategies ensures that there is a solid background for effective image in the organization. An organization’s image ensures that if there is something about it that is not known, the knowledge the customers have on the organization fills the void. The main concern of this research is to determine whether the perception about the brand image affects customer behavior.
The interest of the research is to determine if brand loyalty influences consumer behavior. This study would be of value to those organizations concerned about the society and those concerned with the attaining off the highest possible profit. Further, the study aims to find if consumers have positive attitudes for those organizations that improve their brand loyalty and social responsibility.
Specific research objectives include:
- To find the relationship between consumer behavior and brand loyalty.
- To find out whether consumer behavior leads to change in the brand image quality, for instance, product quality or service quality.
- The influence of customer satisfaction on the brand’s image
- Does consumer behavior affect brand image?
- Does consumer behavior lead to change in the brand image quality?
- Does customer satisfaction affect brand image?
The main focus of this study is to measure the attitudes of customers in relation to brand loyalty and to ascertain its influence of this attitude on brand loyalty. Study of attitudes enables organization managers to answer questions as to why a consumer purchased one product over another. The understanding of the consumer attitude towards particular products ensures that they come up with strategies and decisions on major products and market decisions.
The image associated with a particular product or service ensures that it has a competitive advantage over other products and services. A company’s brand is valuable strategic asset in achieving goals and objectives. Brand loyalty can be referred to as the consumer decision; whether conscious or unconscious concerning the use of a product or service. It may also refer to the intention to buy or use a particular product for a long duration of time. Brand loyalty is achieved due to the right features, and the quality of the brand. Quality of the product must be at the right price for the consumer to perceive the brand as being loyal to their needs. Organizations can change consumer behavior concerning a particular product or service through advertising. Advertising ensures that consumers acquire new habits, and instill those habits by telling the consumers how the product is of value to their money. Consumers should also be encouraged to continue using the products and services in the future (Hoyer and Maclnnis, 2008, p. 27).
According to Pride and Ferrel (2008, p.123), the main reason why organizations do not have strong brand loyalty is because they are not familiar with various ways of disseminating a strong and clear message that distinguishes their product with that of the competitor. In addition, the message should distinguish the product in a positive and memorable manner. The major challenge of organizations is to avoid the disadvantages of portraying a particular product or service as having negative image. An organization’s image should not be viewed in terms of the product and service attributes; the organization’s philosophies concerning environmental management, philanthropy, and ethical considerations are critical in influencing consumer behavior.
Societal Conscious Marketing
Most organizations have adopted marketing strategies that focus on societal needs. Each of these strategies is philosophical or operational concepts used by organizational leaders to enhance the objectives of their businesses. The following are some of the concepts widely used in organizations (Phillips, 2010, p. 45).
- Product concept: products should be produced in large volumes since all of it can be sold to the consumers
- Selling concept; products can only be consumed if they are heavily promoted
- Product concept; consumers will buy high quality products that are within their price range
- Marketing concept: specific customer demands can only be met if organization produces products that are equal or better than those of the competitor. In addition, the products should be priced lower than the competitor.
- Societal marketing concept: This term involves marketing in a manner that does not harm the society, people, and the environment. Societal marketing concept is motivated by the need to satisfy direct customers and other constituents in the market.
Brand loyalty can be exercised in several ways. The main activities that organizations can do to improve brand loyalty include environmental friendly activities, philanthropy, ethical activities with local, national, and international communities, customers, and employees. Environmentally friendly activities can include recycling, waste reduction, and other strategies aimed at minimizing the organization’s impact on the environment. Philanthropic activities include engaging donations of money, food, facilities, and time. These activities are classified under the title known as cause related marketing (Kahren, 2009, p.36).
According to Dutton (1997), organizations have been turning philanthropy activities inward towards their employees. This is done through paying them in order to volunteer for their favorite charities. She asserts that words like “ethics’, honesty, truth and trust are good sentiments. She, however, notes that they mean nothing if they are not adopted by organizations. Ethical activities include using different hiring practices and employee relations such as high moral values, fair pay, equal treatment, and equal opportunity for all workers. Organizations that do not treat workers fairly have the risk of lowering their brand image. Brand image should start with internal operations; there is no point of trying to show the external clients that business ethics are good while simultaneously engaging in unethical activities towards the employees. Employees play an important role in advertising the organization to outside clients more than any other marketing strategy.
The question of how brand loyalty affects product evaluation was examined by Brown and Dacin (1997). Their study looked into the differences between the impact of organization brand loyalty which include the organization’s ability to produce and deliver quality products and services and the corporate social responsibility’s impacts on consumers. In their first research, students analyzed their hypothetical scenarios. The outcome was that brand loyalty had a significant effect on the way consumers evaluated the product attributes and the overall image of the organization. Further, the authors found out that social responsibility had no direct impact on the organization’s image. Their second study found out that social responsibility became significant predictor of product loyalty in the consumers and its evaluation.
According to Kim (1996) product demand is determined by non-product factors such as cleanliness, public relations, atmosphere, advertising and the convenience of the brands’ locations. In any organization, quality of products can be determined according to the consumer attitude towards the product with other products available to the consumer in the market.
“Perceived quality is different from objective or actual quality, a higher level abstraction rather than a specific attribute of a product, a global assessment that in some case resembles attitude, and a judgment usually made within a consumer’s evoked set” (Zeithaml, 1988, p.4).
Zeitmal further assert that few consumers are able to analyze and measure the objective properties of a product. This is because the objective assessment depends on the verifiable standards, the objective measurement can be questioned because it depends on who set the standards.
The A Priori Approach
According to Lunn (2011), the theory introduces theories and concepts from other disciplines including behavioral sciences. The value of behavioral sciences has been used in consumer knowing what the consumer wants. Well known examples are included in the manifestations of motivational research and such attitude theories as those of Festinger and Fishbein. The A Priori approach involves giving the consumer an all embracing label such as “economic man”, “problem solver”, “learner”, and “existentialist”. The strength of the a priori lies in the organization and the systematic basis of knowledge provided about certain aspects of the consumer.
Brand Loyalty Theory
According to Katz (1960), Brand loyalty theory has three distinct dimensions. The first dimension is referred to as emotive tendency towards products and services. The emotive tendency refers to the consumer likes and dislikes which is manifested on how they purchase a particular brand in the market. The second dimension is known as evaluative tendency towards products and services. Katz refers to this tendency as positively biased evaluation of a product or service. Organizations use positive characteristics to define brand utili6ty to the customers. The evaluative tendency of the product or service can also be determined from past experience in using the brand.
Behavioral tendency towards the brand is the next dimension. Katz (1960) refers to the behavior tendency as the biased responses consumers have towards a particular product or service regarding its procurement, purchase and consumption characteristics. Consumer characteristics such as shopping, paying for the product, as well as its consumption determine the behavior tendency. Behavior tendency is developed after using the product for a long period of time. In addition, behavior tendency can be developed from good or bad tendencies toward other brands.
Black Box Theory of Behaviorism
Sandhusen (2000) assert that the black box model is an interaction of several perspectives concerning a specific brand. The perspectives include the stimuli, consumer characteristics, choice patterns and consumer responses. The focus of the organization is not in the internal processes within the customer: the organization focuses on the relation between stimuli and response of the customer. Stimuli are related to the marketing characteristics developed by an organization in order to lure the customer in purchasing of the brand. The environmental stimuli are determined by social factors such as politics, economy and the culture in which the brand is to be used. The black box symbolizes the buyer characteristics and their choice patterns, which determine their response towards a particular brand.
This research focuses on the various factors that influence consumers’ brand loyalty towards a given brand. From the various factors that influence brand loyalty, below are the hypothesis derived.
H1: There is a positive correlation between brand loyalty product and brand name
H2: There is a positive correlation between brand loyalty and product quality.
H3: There is a positive significant relationship between brand loyalty and product design
H4: There is a positive significant relationship between brand loyalty and product price.
H5: There is a positive correlation between brand loyalty and promotion.
H6: There is a significant correlation between service quality and brand loyalty.
H7: There is a positive significant relationship between store environment and brand loyalty.
The main objective of this research was to establish how brand loyalty influences cosmetics buying behavior of UK female consumers. This section also highlights the various processes undertaken in obtaining and analyzing the information gathered for this research. This includes a description of the research design and methods used in collecting the data that were analyzed to arrive at a conclusion in the study.
Based on the nature and the topic to be studied, this research will be conducted on positivist philosophy. It will be based on this philosophy because the research will involve testing of hypothesis developed from deductive theory, involving measurement of observable social realities.
This research will be conducted on deductive approach based on hypothesis testing from the data collected. Data will then be analyzed to either confirm or disapprove the hypothesis.
Data Collection Methods
Data collection will consist of surveys, filling in questionnaires and conducting interviews with cosmetic consumers and dealers in London, UK. Qualitative evaluation shall be employed in this research besides using subjective techniques such as interviews and observations to gather relevant and substantive data. Quantitative approach is preferred for this research due to the varying experiences of the consumers of these products. Upon collecting data using interviews and questionnaires, the data will then be carefully analyzed. This shall be carried out using both the One-way ANOVA and the Pearson’s guideline to establish how brand loyalty influences consumer behavior with respect to cosmetic consumption in UK.
In this research, a questionnaire was developed, and pilot tested through personal interviews with seven senior-most managers at Superdrug, which is the second largest health and beauty retail shop in UK. The questionnaire used for collecting data was divided into two segments: the first section concerns the demographics of consumers and the second were about brand loyalty factors. This research involved sampling randomly 400 female cosmetic consumer of between 18 to 42 years of age. In order to obtain a reliable data, the survey was distributed in London City at five major cosmetic shops. The malls included L’Occitane, Jo Malone, Floris London, Boots and Screenface, in addition to Superdrug retail shop. A total of 400 usable questionnaires were then returned and collected 60% response rate.
Table 1 reveals that age composition of those aged between 18-25 years were 25% of the respondents. Yet again, the table reveals that close to half of the respondents ages varied between 27-35 years. About 26% of the respondents were between the ages of 36-42. The sample survey was almost balanced at 51% for the married and 49% for the unmarried. With regard to education level, the surveyed respondent revealed that 72% of the respondent had at least a degree and 18% having completed high school. This implies that only 10% of the respondents had postgraduate degrees.
This research used the One-way ANOVA to establish whether there is any significant correlation between independent variables (product quality, brand name, design, price, service quality, promotion, and store environment) and age and income the consumers interviewed. The main reason for adopting the One-way ANOVA as the most appropriate tool is that it was found to be the best for testing the hypothesis when at least two groups are measured on an interval scale. The purpose of the One-way ANOVA is to show the degree of variability of the sample values taken by considering to what extent the observation within each group differs and how much the group means differ. Apart from the One –Way ANOVA, the researchers also found it appropriate to use the Pearson Correlation for purposes of analyzing the relationship between the two variables, which are both ratio and interval-scaled. This is based on the fact that the correlation coefficients determined using the Pearson’s guideline is used to establish the degree and direction of the correlation, which is suitable for hypothesis testing. In this regard, the research used Pearson correlation principle to test the independent variables (product quality, brand name, price, promotion, design, store environment and service quality) that influenced consumer brand loyalty and to establish if there is any correlation between the variables.
Table 2 below shows the Cronbach’s Alpha (coefficient alpha) of each of the variables tested. The findings reveal that all the variables have a high degree of reliability. Table 3, on the other hand, shows the seven autonomous variable factors of brand loyalty that were experimented during the research through questionnaires given out to the respondents. The results were also ranked using the Likert scale in the questionnaire: strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree and strongly agree. The result is then gotten from the uppermost average score of brand loyalty factors based on the answers provident by the respondents. In overall, the result reveals that product quality is the most vital factor. In UK environment, most respondents choose product quality as the core aspect that influences their brand loyalty.
The One-way ANOVA scrutiny of the factors of income level and brand loyalty was conducted. This was meant to establish if there could be any significant relationship between the two variables. Here, there are four variables that are most significant according to the study, which include brand name (0.000) promotion (0.004), product quality (0.009) and service quality (0.038). In overall, the result shows that, in UK, majority of the consumers prefer brand name, promotion, and product and service quality as factors of brand loyalty. According to table five below, only two variables that are significant. These are price (0.014) and the brand name (0.050). An analysis of this data reveals that, among the age groups surveyed, female consumers aged between 36-42 prefer brand names more compare to other age groups.
Test of Hypothesis
As revealed in Table 4 below, brand name was found to have considerable positive relationship with brand loyalty. The results of this research revealed that consumers preferred brand image only when they foresee positive functions or benefits from the product in question. It is then that they will recommend the brand, react positively to the price premium and accept brand extension to other categories of products within the same brand.
The quality of the products was shown to have a positive correlation with brand loyalty. This kind of correlation is demonstrated based on Cohen’s (1988) principle, in which a correlation of (r=0.0302) is considered moderate. Therefore, based on these statistics, the finding showed that product quality has a lot of significance with regard to consumer decision-making process. The findings of this research revealed that brand loyalty and price had a positive relationship. In this case, price was found to be more important for any average consumer in the market. Nevertheless, those consumers with high brand loyalty were not very much sensitive to prices. The research showed that as long as these consumers were satisfied with a given brand, they would continue buying the product with the same brand irrespective of the price increase. On the other hand, the findings did not show any correlation between product design and brand loyalty. Out of all the seven variables tested, many consumers did not consider product design as an important factor for UK consumers to become loyal to a given cosmetic brand.
According to the findings, promotion and brand loyalty were found to have a positive relationship. Product promotion was considered as one of the most valuable factor in determining a consumer’s brand loyalty. This includes the use of sales promotions, commercial adverts, personal and public selling. In fact, the research revealed that many female consumers spent considerable time reading product labels before purchasing the product. The research also revealed that brand loyalty and service quality had a positive relationship. Findings showed that service quality encouraged many consumers to prioritize a store. The result indicated that salesperson consumer relationship results in long-term orientation of customers towards a given store. Similarly, trust developed in the salesperson seems to relate to the overall discernment of the store’s service quality, which leads to customer’s total satisfaction with the store.
The findings also showed that the environment of the store is also positively related to brand loyalty. The store environment is seen as major factors that influence consumer brand loyalty. This research revealed that many consumers were much sensitive to attributes of the store such as a variety of selection, merchandise displays, packing space, and ease of accessibility to vehicles and the overall goodwill of the store in buying products.
Table 1. Demographic Sample Description
Table 2. Reliability Analysis of Brand Loyalty factors
|Product QualityBrand namePricePromotion
Table 3. Brand Loyalty factor Ranking
Factor of Brand Loyalty
|Q1. The brand is durable than others
|Q2. The materials used by the brand are natural
|Q3. The brand has sufficient color
|Q4. The brand has good functional quality
|Mean Average 3.80
|Q1. The brand provides wide variety of designs
|Q2. Designs of the brand are suitable for me
|Q3. Designs of the brand have distinctive features
|Q4. Designs of the brand are trendy and fashionable
|Mean Average 3.77
|Q1. The brand is trustworthy
|Q2. Brand image and name attract me to buy
|Q3. Brand Name is selected irrespective of price
|Q4. Brand reveals my individual personality
|Mean Average 3.72
|Q1 Ads of the brand is attractive
|Q2. Ads of the brand attract me towards purchasing the product
|Q3. Product displays are entrancing
|Mean Average 3.56
|Q1. The brand has good store location
|Q2. There are adequate outlets for the brand
|Q3. The interior show is gorgeous
|Q4. Music and color inside the store are beautiful
|Mean Average 3.57
|Q1. Increases of price not hinder me to purchase
|Q2. The brand provides goods value for money
|Average Mean 3.56
|Q1The salesmen in the store are knowledgeable
|Q2. The salesmen in the store are willing to help
|Q3. Vendor of the store is and courteous and friendly
|Q4Vendors in the store have neat appearance
Mean Average 3.28
Table 4. Significance of Brand Loyalty factors with brand loyalty
Conclusions and Findings
Various studies have focused on understanding the concept of brand loyalty and the factors influencing it. Product attributes, after sale service, marketing capabilities, perceived quality or aesthetics, depth of product line as the key differencing factors influencing the behavior of purchasers. Brand commitment is also a necessary condition for true brand loyalty to occur. Packaging, new product trial, price, store location corporate social responsibility and advertisements influence consumer behavior. While several factors influencing brand loyalty have been studied in the extant literature, this research has revealed that brand loyalty influences consumer behavior. Consumers may also compel entrepreneurs to change the brand image in terms of product or service quality. Similarly, the brand image has been proven to satisfy the consumer expectations.
The dimensions of brand loyalty theory clearly depict how consumer’s tastes and preferences influence their buying power. This is followed by an assessment of the product to decide if they will buy it or not. The assessment also referred to as evaluative tendency compels organizations to brand their products to attract customers, an aspect of competition. Product branding can be enhanced by advertising, changing the brand name and promoting it to improve recognition. The behavioral tendency proposed by Katz is creations of a bandwagon effect among consumers to enable them continue buying the product. The initial products are branded in a way of attracting customers though subsequent ones show depreciation, a strategy used by marketers. Branding through advertisement show some favor of the product while despising others, thus discouraging customers from using those other products whether related or not. The black box model looks into the customers willingness created by the company’s emphasis of the product. The characteristics of the buyer determine their choice of product.
From this research, the brand name and image has a significant impact on customer choice with all factors kept constant. As part of consumer behavior, every brand has some features which consumers always associate the brand with. They consume a given brand on the basis of its features. Again, the consumers take into account the quality, and price while making buying decisions. The point of purchase is another factor that comes to a buyer’s mind. Being a highly demanded product by women, they want to buy cosmetics from a good reputed and trustworthy purchase point. Exhibition malls serves as favorite consumer purchase point.
Other factors like age, occupation and education of consumers will influence buying decisions following the way each group has been exposed about the product. Young people will have more taste of cosmetics because they want to look good while old ones are slightly less concerned with beauty. Exposure and knowledge of a product affects its demand. The raw materials making the brand also play a vital role of its choice. If a sample cosmetic is known to contain harmful chemicals, it loses its market. An organization will get to know what factors influence the purchase decision of a consumer before branding the product. Accordingly, it will direct its marketing effort so that it can get potential customers to purchase the products.
Subject Issues Learnt
Brand loyalty is the consumer’s conscious or unconscious choice that is expressed intentionally or a behavioral pattern to repurchase a brand again. This happens following the perception of the consumer that the brand provides the right image, characteristics or quality based on reasonable price. Hence, consumer behavior is habitual. Beginning from product design to creation of a mature brand, good marketing strategies, which depend on a clear understanding of the memory, motivation, learning and decision processes, influence the consumer’s choice. Launching of new products, market segmentation, timing market entry and brand management are all related to the theoretical framework employed in the research. Branding is by far and large the most important factor influencing the product’s success or failure in the market place. It can also greatly impact the company’s perception by the buying public. Brand is not only a company’s product but also a representation of the individual company and that is where the core of brand loyalty falls.
Brand loyalty is simply more than the consumer’s commitment to repurchase a product. It incorporates the high attitude towards the product demonstrated by repeated buying. This loyalty is a business investment because of the high prices being paid by the customers. Depending upon the nature of the product versus basic necessities or luxuries, consumers a single or brand loyalty. This brand loyalty is affected by their brand choice as well as by their store loyalty behavior. The bondage of brand loyalty is strong especially through repeated advertising and promotional schemes. The main factors that influence brand loyalty are the quality of product, habit of use and regular availability of the product. Searching for a product means mental and physical information about products, prices and shops. Consumer information is thus a marketing tool that can be used to understand the interactions between a specific target segment and marketplace so as to meet the consumers’ needs and wants.
Brand image or the good reputation of a particular service ensures that it maintains a competitive advantage over other products and services. An organization’s brand is valuable strategic asset in achieving goals and objectives. Brand loyalty can be referred to as the consumer decision; whether conscious or unconscious concerning the use of a product or service. It may also refer to the intention to buy or use a particular product for a long duration of time. Brand loyalty is achieved due to the right features, and the quality of the brand. Quality of the product must be at the right price for the consumer to perceive the brand as being loyal to their needs. Organizations can change consumer behavior concerning a particular product or service through advertising.
The reasons why people become brand loyal are because the favored brand satisfies the consumer needs and wants than the competitors do. Again, there is a reduction of perceived risk, sticking with a favorite brand improves certainty. Brand loyalty helps maintain self image in reinforcing the customer’s self concept and confidence. It is also the path to least resistance. Marketers use strategies like in-store and o-location impulse triggers, notably point-of purchase displays. Consumer innovativeness is the predisposition to buy new and different products rather than remain with the previous choices and consumption patterns.
Consumer behavior is influenced by social, cultural, Psychological and personal factors. Culture influences buying behavior depending on the country, geographical region, religion, nationality and racial groups. The societal classes such as wealth distribution, education and occupation impact the behavior of consumers towards a product. Social factors like family, reference groups, roles and statuses influence buyer behavior. Personal factors include lifestyle, economic situations, age, occupation, personality and self concept. Perception, motivation, learning, beliefs and attitudes are psychological factors affecting consumer behavior. Marketers should, therefore, look into these factors in branding particular products.
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