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Brand Preference Literature Review

Brand Preference Literature Review
Kay Ewok
Grade 7
“A consumer buying a product is buying it for its function, performance, utility &
nevertheless he/she is buying for its image & status” (Terpstra & Sarathy, 1997). In fact,
consumer products have implications much greater than just their function or utility.
(Levy, 1959; 2007 Business Monitor Survey, 2007; Ericksen, 1996; Mick, 1986;
Czikszentmihalyi et al., 1981; Sriram, et al. 2006; Leigh and Gabel, 1992;). Products are
now are not just consumed for their material utilities but also for their symbolic
meaning which is conveyed by their brand images. (Elliot, 1997). Deducing that, the
products are not merely “sets of attributes which yield any particular benefit” (Holt,
1995, p. 1).
Therefore, a consumer is much likely to use brands to express how he/she is
either similar to/different from people of their group (Markus and Kitayama, 1991).It has
been reported by Bhat & Reddy (1998) that, the brands have practical & emblematic
importance for its consumers. This emblematic importance that is associated with the
brands, is often conveyed through the choice a of brands (McCracken, 1986; Gottdeiner,
1985). Meaning that, there exists relation between brand image, which is in sync along
the consumer’s self image & the emblematic importance of the brands. (Zinkham and
Hong, 1991; Chang and Chieng, 2006). Consumer will prefer those brands whose
personalities match to his/her self image (Schiffman and Kanuk, 2000). Consumers
does so mainly to express themselves; as being alike to the personalities (Kassarjian,
1971; Aaker, 1999; Sirgy, 1982). In other words, consumer prefers certain brands to
either create or maintain his/her self image to themselves or to their groups (Zinkham
and Hong, 1991; Sirgy, 1982; Wallendorf and Arnould, 1988). In current scenario,
“purchase and consumption have emerged as silent ways of self-expression” (Jamal
and Goode, 2001, p. 483).
Researches shows us that self expression or perceived self image do affect
consumer’s brand preference & their purchase intentions (Domestic Beer - US December 2007, 2007; Ericksen, 1996; Mehta, 1999;) Its live example is, Ericksen’s
research in 1996 where he found significant relation in self image and the intention to
buy US based automobile (Ford Escort). Therefore, it could be inferred that “individuals
prefer brands that do have image compatible with their self perceptions” (Solomon,
1983; Ericksen, 1996; Belk, et. al., 1982; Jamal and Goode, 2001; Zinkham and Hong,
1991;) The higher self image consistency will strengthen positive attitude towards
brands & products (Ericksen, 1996; Sirgy, 1982, 1985, 1991; Sirgy, et. al., 1997;
Schoenfelder and Harris, 2004). Therefore, consumer’s self-image is strongly related to
the brand’s image & vice versa is also true. (Graeff, 1996).
To the brand’s exact status & deducibility for weather the brand is strongly related
to the image of an individual; brand awareness is critical. Brand awareness is defined
as, “a rudimentary level of brand knowledge involving, at the least, recognition of the
brand name” (Hoyer and Brown, 1990, p. 141), practically brand awareness is
considered as a consumer’s ability to recognize a specific brand within a group in order
to make the purchase (Percy and Rossiter, 1992). This reason that, every advertisement
aims at creating and maintaining brand awareness; (McMahon, 1980; Investopedia,
2008). Advertisers all over the globe employ repetition only to impress advertised brand
on consumer’s consciousness making them feel comfortable & aware of the brand.
(Bogart, 1986). It could be said that, advertisers pursue consumers to keep brand name
in their evoked set for creating better chances of purchase (Wang, 2007). Hoyer (1984)
deduced that consumers are passive receivers of the product’s information and they
spend minimal cost (i.e., efforts, time) in choosing amongst brands.
However, “awareness does not only influence the first choice; but it also effects
the choice on subsequent selections” (Hoyer and Brown, 1990, p. 147). Therefore, brand
awareness has become a significant stimulator in decision-making process of the
customer (Jarboe, 2006) as, increased brand awareness supports the probability of
products being able to show up to consumer’s expectations and the increased chances
of a particular brand being purchased; (Baker, et. al. 1986; Nedungadi, 1990) which
means that a consumer has greater a tendency to buy familiar and or well-established
brands (Jacoby et al., 1977). Moreover, researchers have also found positive relation
between advertising for increasing brand awareness & the sales (Jarboe, 2006; Bass
and Leone, 1983; Bass and Clarke, 1972). Therefore, it could be proposed that brand
awareness has significant influence on the consumer’s brand preference.
Maneuvering the research further we reach a yet another key concept that could
be discussed here is the concept of Customer-based brand equity as it has a
tremendous effect on consumption behavior. Coustomer-based brand equity is defined
as ““. . . the differential effect that brand knowledge has on consumer response to the
marketing of that brand. A brand is said to have positive customer-based brand equity
when consumers react more favorably to a product and the way it is marketed when the
brand is identified than when it is not” (Keller, 2003, p. 60).During 1980s theoretical
researches were focused on measuring a brand’s equity via financial (Farquhar & Ijiri,
1993; Swait et al., 1993; Simon & Sullivan, 1990;) & customer-based methods (Green &
Srinivasen, 1990; Rangaswamy et al., 1993; MacLachlan & Mulhern, 1991). Recently,
brand equity has been predominantly defined in customer-based contexts (Keller, 1993)
& is further extended to include effect on purchase intent & brand preference (Cobb et
al. 1995; van Osselaer & Alba, 2000), & brand alliances (Rao & Ruekert, 1994; Rao, et al.,
1999). The focus of this research will be the brand equity from the brand alliance
One of the most researched field currently is brand alliance; brand alliances, is a
market- driven relation where two brands co-exist so as to enhance value of the
product. It is defined as a the circumstance where “. . . two or more brand names are
presented jointly to the consumer.” (Rao et al., 1999 p. 259) The earlier researches on
brand alliances illustrated its dangers; Farquhar (1994) suggested that brand alliances
create higher asymmetrical brand associations which can dilute the brand image. Also,
the brand equity has obvious dangers derived from the consumer’s perceiving
potentially negative experience with an allying brand which they transfer to the new
allied product or brand. Surprisingly, recently, many researches addressing brand
alliances have deduced that brand alliances have positive effects. Recent researches
have found that brand alliances:
● allows the consumers to perceive that higher quality brands will only ally
with high-quality brands. (Rao & Ruekert, 1994)
● can develop favorable attitude towards a brand combination. (Simonin &
Ruth, 1995)
● may help the low-quality brand in gaining a good customer base when
allying with a high quality brand. (Levin, Davis, & Levin, 1996)
● can bring greater beneficial effects for less known brands than for the
much known brands (Simonin & Ruth,1998)
● may be helpful in signaling greater product quality to the customers. (Park
et al., 1996)
Despite aforesaid positive prediction, van Osselaer & Janiszewski (2000) found
that pairing two brands could produce both positive and negative effects on the
participating brands. Confirming previous research (e.g., Park, Jun, & Shocker, 1996;
Simonin & Ruth,1998). Janiszewski and van Osselaer (2000) in their research concluded
that a brand alliance can/can not be helpful for the allying brands, depending on when
consumers were first aware of individual brand versus the brand alliance. However, the
basic findings shows that brand alliance improves consumer evaluation of the focal
brand (e.g., McCarthy & Norris, 1999; Lafferty et al., 2004; Voss & Gammoh, 2004;
Vaidyanathan & Aggarwal, 2000;Washburn et al., 2004;) as there exists different types of
brand alliances such as partnerships for : joint promotions (Rao et al., 1999) where the
partnering brands (e.g., Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice & Smirnoff Vodka) are promoted
as being complimentary to each other; dual branding in case of two restaurants (e.g.,
Wendy’s & Tim Horton’s) that share the same space (Levin & Levin, 2000); and
co-branding which involves complete physical integration (e.g., K.C. Masterpiece
barbeque sauce flavoring with Ruffle’s potato chips) of two brands (Levin & Levin,
Concept of co-branding has been there since long, however the widespread
practice of this concept in consumer goods market became popular in early 1990s.
(Khan, 1999). Co-branding is termed as brand extension (Aaker and Kller, 1990), brand
alliance (Park et al., 1996b; Rao and Ruckert, 1994), strategic alliance (Preble et al.,
2000) & marketing partnership. In a larger context, co-branding is defined as
collaboration of multiple brands in marketing, production, even technology while not
loosing their separate individual business entities (Stewart, 1995). According to Park et
al. (1996a) co-branding is a combination of multiple brands to become a single
separate brand. In addition, co-branding is also believed to add greater value to the
customers & is also known to be a good method to enter a new market. (Carpenter,
Creation of shared values for customers is key aspect of co-branding. There exists
several levels of co branding which are as follows from lower to higher level meaning
higher the level closer is the practice to theory.
● Level 1​: Reach Awareness is the lowest level of involvement with largest potential
for participation from diverse fields. e.g. the co branded credit card of General
Motors’ /Visa.
● Level 2​: Values Endorsement, is when the partnering brands aim at enhancing their
customer’s perceived value through the endorsement of the brand value of the
allying brands to the customer. E.g. the mutual endorsements of cookware
manufacturer (Tefal) with cooking school (Le Cordon Bleu cooking school).
● Level 3​: ingredient co-branding – customer perception of higher value of a brand
can also be built by using ingredients from a market leader brand. e.g. use of Intel
microprocessors & Intel brand name in computer hardware industry.
● Level 4​: complementary – this highest level of value creation is categorized with
smallest potential pool of participants; that is minimum number of allying brands.
This level of co-branding is practiced mainly by two strong complementary brands.
e.g. tie up between petrol pumps (Esso) & supermarkets (Tesco) for 24-hour mini
supermarkets at petrol pumps in UK.(Kippenberger 2002)
Therefore, co-branding is a way to increase the influence & scope of the brands,
embrace newer technologies, enter new markets, reduce costs through cost sharing &
restimulating the market demand through refreshing the brand image (Blackett and
Boad, 1999).Moreover, co-branding helps in achieving greater brand awareness, higher
sales revenue through reinforced brand reputation & could also act as motivation for the
employees & customers to prefer the new venture.(Chang, 2008). Therefore, co
branding can act as a tool for gaining shot term strategic advantages as well as long
term deliberate intensions. (Doshi, 2006). Co branding, is a marketing strategy that
brings benefits like “ better brand exposure, higher sales, entrance in foreign markets,
revenue from royalty payments & market priming, reduced investments, access to
cutting-edge technology, avoid barriers for entry & exit, reduced risk, communication of
product quality, quicker returns, ability to benefit from premium pricing, better relations
between trade & customer, effective communications, better consumer interest.”
(Blackett and Boad, 1999, p. 22;Bhat and Reddy, 2001;).
Visa & MasterCard applied this concept in 1980s in bankcard industry & are known
to be the pioneers of co-branding (Arend, 1992). Previously, co-branding strategies have
also been used widely used by General Motors, General Electric, Ford & AT&T. (Raphel,
1994). In recent years, this concept has been practiced in service industries such as
hotels, airlines etc. (Young et al., 2001) here the co-branding partners share their
infrastructure which enables them in serving customer with lower operational costs
(Boone, 1997). The alliance of Holiday Inn with TGIF with has caused in a boost in the
sales for both the companies (Casper, 1995). Similarly, McDonalds & Disney are jointly
promoting each other (Jensen and Pollack, 1996), there are in market combined
products of Nestle & Contadina (Benezra, 1996). The airline industry is no exception to
this practice, there are co-branded cards in the industry that facilitates customer by
discounts on tickets, frequent flyer points, ticket upgrades, insurance, airport lounge
usage, and free companion tickets (Lee, 2001). Experts had proposed several guidelines
& research agendas as the practice of co-branding spread (e.g., Carpenter, 1994).
Despite this growing practice of co-branding, very little empirical research is conducted
on this subject; specially in the Indian automobile industry where Maruti-Suzuki, Hero
Honda etc. like co-branded alliances outshine every global brand in terms of sales
volume, market share. Almost, every literature on the topic had defined this concept
(e.g., Hahm and Khan, 2001) or described the advantages (e.g., Rao and Ruckert, 1994)
and disadvantages of the strategy. This research will help us in developing fresh insight
in the phenomena of co branding practiced by automobiles giants in Indian automobile
industry; moreover, focusing the research on the youths will also help in understanding
the future of co-branding in Indian context.
Therefore, consumer’s self-image is strongly related to the brand’s image & vice
versa is also true
Therefore, it could be proposed that brand awareness has significant influence on
the consumer’s brand preference.
The focus of this research will be the brand equity from the brand alliance
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