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Impact of Brand Image On Consumer Purchasing behavior : Chang beer Company in Thailand

Identify and discuss the Research methodology to study the Impact of Brand Image On Consumer Purchasing behavior: a Case study of Chang beer company in Thailand

Answer

 

Research Methodology

Section 1: Proposal Background

1.1 Background

In the present business environment, every brand is required to create and maintain a positive image among its consumers and prospective customers so as to ensure long-term stability and attracting a loyal customer base (Keller, 2003). There are four major elements of brand equity which are brand awareness, perceived quality, brand association, brand loyalty contributing towards the creation of the brand image (Lee and Yao, 2015). It is necessary to consider these four elements and to keep them at the centre of any short or long term marketing strategic plans of the organization (Percy and Pervan, 2011). Studying these four elements and consumer behaviour in relation to these elements can help the brand owners to achieve long-term stability in the concerned industry (Gupta, 2013). 

1.2 Statement of the problem

How brand image have a significant impact on the behaviour of consumers in relation to purchase decision?

1.3 Significance of the problem

Although the consumer purchase behaviour is a well-researched phenomenon, the study in the field of the beer industry has remained under-explored. Hence, it is necessary to understand how the basic facts and theories associated with the phenomenon of consumer purchase behaviour plays in the industry of beer and that too in a country like Thailand. Therefore, the study will help in understanding the attributes of the beer industry and beer brands and the way these brands satisfy the expectations of consumers by creating a brand awareness and brand associations. 

1.4 Rationale of the topic

Although ample amount of literature and previous studies are available clarifying the impact of brand image on purchase behaviour of consumers, there is a lack of study on beer industry of Thailand and the way consumers perceive beer brands in relation to their brand image. Therefore, the proposed study will fill the gap by providing an enriched research based on Thailand’s beer market and the popular brands in the country. The study will be helpful for brand owners to understand the factors that need to be focused while operating in the beer industry of Thailand so as to ensure long-term loyalty from the customers. 

1.5 Research Aim

The purpose of the proposed study is to identify the key factors associated with brand awareness and brand image that can influence the behaviour of consumers while making a final purchase decision in relation to branded products. 

1.6 Research Objectives

There are following three major objectives of the proposed study:

  • To identify the impact of brand awareness and brand associations on consumer purchase behaviour.
  • To explore the impact of brand image on customer loyalty in long term
  • To explore the key factors ensuring positive consumer behaviour about a branded product like Change Beer. 

1.7 Research Questions

  • How perceived quality affect consumer purchasing behaviour in relation to Change beer?
  • What is the impact of brand awareness on consumer purchasing behaviour?
  • What is the impact of brand association and loyalty on consumer purchasing behaviour?

 

Section 2: Literature review

2.1 Introduction

The topic of research is about brand image, consumer behaviour in relation to the beer industry. Therefore, at first step it is necessary to define and understand the concepts of brand image, and consumer behaviour while making a purchase decision. Firstly, it is to be understood that in alcohol industry creating brand image is the focus of all marketing and advertising efforts as the aim of advertising in this industry cannot be to increase the overall number of drinkers. 

Then the first term to be explained is the brand image. The image of a brand is the fast takeaway or the impression associated with a brand depending on the visual terms (Azoulay and Kapferer, 2003). 

The second term to be explained here is the consumer behaviour. This term refers to the attitudes, preferences and intentions of consumers in relation to a product or service that they purchase in the marketplace (Nepalia, 2011). In other words, the perception of consumers that form their final purchase decision is termed as consumer behaviour (Mohammad, 2012). The major attention of this terms is on ultimate consumers, i.e. those individuals who purchase for the purpose of individual or household consumption (Price, 2010). 

Now, in next section we will describe how these two concepts of brand image and consumer behaviour are related and the impact of the brand image on the actual purchase behaviour of the ultimate consumer. 

2.2. Main body

2.2.1 Purchase behaviour of consumers

The attributes that people consider while making a purchase result in a perspective towards the brand and creates an overview of the product. As per the view of Schiffman and Kanuk (2010) a stage prior to purchase decisions is the purchase behaviour and it is possible to use attitudes for predicting the behaviour of consumers in relation to their interest in a product or service (Azoulay and Kapferer, 2003). As discussed by Hem and Iversen (2002), the elements of the marketing mix are regularly tested by marketers to understand the factors influencing the behaviour of consumers while making a purchase decision. Individuals with a positive perception towards a product or service are expected to have a positive (Assael, 2004). It has been mentioned by Schiffman and Knauk (2010); Helgeson and Supphellen (2004) that purchase decisions made by consumers are influenced by several measurements and include those associated with their culture, society, personality and psychology. 

2.2.2. Brand Image

The definition of the brand says that it is an image that people can memorize or remember over a long period of time (Aaker, 1997). In the words of Malhotra (2010) brand image is also defined as “the consumers’ perception associated with the reason or based on a rational basis or through more emotions towards a specific brand”. The basic focus of a brand is on saliency, the ability of differentiability, intensity and trust that are associated with a strong brand image (Tam, 2007).

A strong brand image can make a marketing program successful and capable of producing associations to the brand that is always remembered by people (Rubini, 2010). It has been explained by Pujadi (2010) that brand associations are the major factors describing the attributes of trust and benefits associated with a brand. Here it is to be noted there is a high dependency of this trust in the manner brands survive the information as part of the brand image (Alserhan, 2010). Thus, it is necessary that unique brand associations are developed and maintained that can easily be differentiated from the attributes of the products, its functional benefits or perceived image (Mohammad, 2012). Brand image has the power of creating a perception in consumers’ mind influencing their decisions associated with final purchases at the store (Malik and Ghafoor, 2013). This is so as the image of a brand is a psychological concept or aspect of impression built on the subconscious of consumers (Gobe, 2001). Therefore, the brand image creates a perception in the minds of customers that influence their purchase decisions in the marketplace (Bendapudi and Leone, 2002). In case a brand is capable of providing a unique advantage, good reputation and trust, it will acquire a goof impression or image in the mind of consumers (Keller and Kotler, 2012). 

2.2.3 Brand trust

Brand trust is a major concept associated with the brand image and refers to the consumers perception related to the brand quality that has been created by informational cues associated with the brand (Schiffman and Kanuk, 2010). There can be intrinsic, or an extrinsic gesture that can be seen in the brand and that becomes a key point forming a perception about the quality (Da Silva et al., 2006). Often it is the display of external cues that defines the quality of the brand and customers take a decision on the basis of price, image of brand, image of the corporate and the image of the showroom. As per the arguments presented by Khraim (2010) the perceived value in relation to a brand is reflected in the quality perception and at the same time it is influenced by the price perception of the product. 

 2.2.4 Brand image and purchase intention

The image of the brand is capable of providing a sustainable competitive advantage that can further influence the purchase decisions of consumers by moderating the effect of price and other attributes of the product (Fianto, 2014). The importance of brand image in relation to various products and services lies in the influence it has on the preferences and purchase intentions of people and also their willingness to pay a premium price and making brand recommendations in their group (Zhang, 2015). Apart from this the definition of brand awareness says that it is the extent to which people can remember the brand while making a purchase decision. It is essential that the brand has an image that is positive as well as strong that will result in the creation of brand awareness in the target market (Jamal and Goode, 2001). In the case where a brand is recommended strongly by the consumers, a unique relation is developed by them with the brand resulting in unique attitudes of people towards that particular brand that is generally positive in nature (Achouri and Bouslama, 2010). Brand image is considered as a key element deciding the success and long-term stability of the product in the market (Graeff, 1997). Also, the image that a brand carries has a great influence on the future behaviour of consumers and contributes towards brand equity in a significant manner (Lau and Lee, 1999). Additionally, the core brand attitude of consumers will have an impact on their purchase intentions of extended products too and therefore it is a critical factor playing a critical role in the process of consumer behaviour as a whole (Kotler and Armstrong, 2008). 

2.2.5 Conceptual framework

The above-discussed concepts and relation between the purchase decision and brand image provides the conceptual framework of the factors influencing the buying behaviour of consumers in relation to a beer company in Thailand. This theoretical framework will form the basis of the study where the determinants of consumer behaviour are focused and comprise of the major factors of brand image and brand trust. 

2.2.6 Conclusion

In this section, the relevant knowledge associated with Brand image and purchase behaviour were discussed. Therefore, it provides an overview of the topic and the related antecedents for selecting the proper methods of conducting this study. In other words the focus of this study will be on examining the way brand image have an impact on purchase behaviour of consumers of a beer company in Thailand while focusing on the concepts of brand trust, perception, awareness as the major determinant of perception of value and quality of the brand. Hence, this particular section provides a detailed knowledge of various facts and factors influencing the creation of a brand image and perception of people about its value and quality. Additionally, the conceptual model forming the basis of the study have also been provided in this section. 

Section 3: Research Methodology

This section will provide a holistic view of the methods and ways implemented to conduct the research study. Here a detailed description of research philosophy, research design and methods of collecting data have been provided to get clarification on the tools and methods used to reach research objectives. According to Bennison (2006), a structured diagram that is very useful for researchers to elaborate in terms of conducting a research (Figure 2):

 

Figure 2: Research Methodology Diagram

Source: Bennison (2006)

 

3.1 Research Philosophy

Research philosophy can take the form of positivism, or it can follow an interpretivist paradigm. The significance of each of these philosophies have been discussed as follows: 

3.1.1 Positivism

As per the views of Kothari (2004) positivism refers to the philosophy of focusing on the reality that is objective and argues that it is possible to examine real life issues through observations. The aim of this philosophy is to generate hypothesis that can be analysed in a research study and it is possible here to achieve knowledge, reliability and validity of data through the phenomenon of observation (Saunders et al., 2012). 

3.1.2 Interpretivist Paradigm

It is proposed under this philosophy that there are multiple interpretation that creates a social reality and results out of on the process of constructing meaning of social actions through expectations and perceptions of people (Flowers, 2009). 

3.1.3 Adopted philosophy

Under the present study, the focus is on studying a real life situation about the consumers’ behaviour of people in relation to the purchase of beer in a real life market of Thailand. Therefore, the philosophy of positivism have been selected to reach the research objectives and find answers to research questions. 

3.2 Research Approach

There are two major approaches to research work and specifically to research analysis, namely, deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning. 


3.2.1 Deductive reasoning 

Deductive reasoning refers to the approach where theory is already available and it is considered as the basis for conducting the study and driving collection of data much before real experimentation or observations are undertaken (Gray, 2004).

3.2.2 Inductive Reasoning

The inductive approach to data analysis the focus is on collecting the data first and then deriving conclusions from the experiments or observations made and reaching a theory associated with the concerned issue (Walliman, 2011). 

3.2.3 Adopted reasoning

Under the present study, the inductive approach to reasoning will be implemented while analysing the collected data. This is so as ample literature is available in relation to the phenomenon of consumer behaviour and factors influencing it. However, the need is to apply this available theoretical knowledge to the practical field of beer industry in markets of Thailand and therefore the research is to be conducted for reaching some theory and conclusions related to impact of brand awareness, perceived quality, brand associations and brand loyalty on consumer purchasing behaviour of Change beer in Thailand. 

3.3 Research Design

Research design refers to the creation of a structure to collect and analyse the data (Bryman and Bell, 2004). There are different types of research designs namely experimental design, case study design, action research design, and surveys. 

 

3.3.1 Experimental design

Under this research design the study is conducted through allocating participants in a random manner and forming two diverse groups named as control group and treatment group.

3.3.2 Case Study design

Under this design of research work, the specific case studies are considered for conducting empirical analysis and reaching conclusions. 

3.3.3 Action research design

Under this research design, a series of imbrication cycles are performed in order to select a suitable system to design and build an empirical system of study (Bennison, 2006).

3.3.4 Surveys

Here the research is conducted through collection of quantitative data through various types of surveys like cross-sectional survey, longitudinal survey and comparative survey. Various sources or cases are used to collect data in cross-sectional survey while a sequenced set of social study is conducted under longitudinal survey while more than one opposing cases is studied under comparative survey (Bennison, 2006). 

3.3.5 Adopted research design

Under the present study, the selection of cross section surveys has been made as it make it possible to explore the relationship between the behaviour of consumers and the concerned dimensions or factors. This particular research design will help in covering a large sample as the focus of this design is on collecting data from more than one case or participant (Saunders et al., 2012). 

3.4 Data Collection

3.4.1 Source of data 

There can be two major sources of data collection and includes the primary source and secondary source of collecting data. Primary data refers to the data form where information is collected through observations and experience and comprise of the first-hand information directly collected from the people experiences the issue. On the other hand, secondary data refers to a collection of data through secondary sources of information available in recorded documentary format in written or non-written manner (Walliman, 2011). 

There are merits and demerits of both the data sources and a selection needs to be made as per the nature of research study and its research objectives and questions. It is often said that primary data helps in collecting information directly from the specific target population of the study but carries the demerit of being time consuming and expensive as well as holds the difficulty of control (Walliman, 2011). 

In comparison to primary sources of data, secondary sources of data collection provides information from magazines, articles, previous studies, documentaries, etc. and it is easy to access this information. It is also considered that these data sources offer reliable information but at the same time secondary data fails to provide information directly from the population experiencing the issue.

Considering the aims and objectives of the present study, it is necessary that people directly involved as consumers of beer in Thailand are involved to understand their consumer behaviour while making a purchase decision. Therefore, the present study will prefer the primary source of data to collect the information required to reach research objectives and finding answers to research questions.

3.4.2 Data collection methods

The methods of data collection can take the form of the qualitative route of collecting data or quantitative route and even further a combination of both these methods to collect the required data for analysis. In the view of Saunders et al., (2012) the focus of qualitative methods of data collection is on the usage of data in the form of statements and views while quantitative data is focused on collecting data in the form of numerical information.

3.4.2.1 Qualitative data collection

The method of qualitative data collection involves four major categories namely focus group, participant observation, semi-structured interviews and open-ended questionnaires. The focus group method is where participants are interviews within a group that has been selected for the study. Here the members are clearly explained the objectives of the study and the focus is on recording the interactions among members of the group (Saunders et al., 2012). 

The method of participant observation required the researcher to get involved in the study completely and become part of the target group as well. Here the focus is on experiencing the issue along with the participants and feel about the research issue (Gill and Johnson, 2002).

Then there is the method of semi-structured interviews where the researcher prepares himself with a series of questions to conduct the interview of the selected participants and these questions are flexible to discuss any other concepts or focus elements arising during the conversation (Bennison, 2006). Finally, there are questionnaires with open-ended questions that provide the participants an opportunity to provide their perception or experience or views in the manner of statements where they can express themselves fully (Bryman and Bell, 2007).

 

3.4.2.2 Quantitative data collection

The collection of quantitative data can be done in a structured observation method, structured interview method or structured questionnaire method. The method of structured observation requires recording of behaviour and actions of participants by observing them over a period of time (Bryman and Bell, 2007). The method of structured interview involves collection of data by presenting some specific standardized questions in front of the respondents while structured questionnaire method required a series of fixed open ended and closed ended questions that participants have to fill as per their perception, understanding and experience about the concerned issue.

Under the present study, the method of the structured questionnaire will be used to collect the require data for analysis. The focus is on collecting the quantitative as well as qualitative data and, therefore, the questionnaire will comprise of closed ended as well as open-ended questions. This particular method has been preferred because of its benefits of avoiding the bias of participants as well as the researcher along with the capacity of covering a large sample size ensuring the generalization of results to the whole population. At the same time, a combined approach will help in getting an enriched data as the behaviour of consumers cannot be limited to numerical formats. 

 

 

3.4.3 Sampling

There are different methods of sampling where small number of participants are selected from the target population of the research work. The method of random sampling will be used in the present study where the data will be collected by presenting the questionnaire to the participants short listed in a random manner from the target population. 

Section 4: Data Analysis

As already discussed the research study will follow the route of a primary method to reach the research objectives. Therefore, the required data will be collected with the help of a structured questionnaire, and the collected data will be analysed with the help of SPSS program. Some key statistical tests will be conducted for the collected data in order to find the required results. Among these, the first one will be the descriptive statistics comprising of descriptive ad frequencies associated with demographics part of the data. Further, the bivariate descriptive statistical analysis will be performed in order to identify the correlation between variables. It is also proposed to perform a regression analysis in order to ensure analysis of the conceptual model. 

Section 5: Ethics, Validity and Presentation

5.1 Ethical Considerations

There are several issues associated with the ethical conduct of the study that needs to be considered while conducting the research work. As per the views of Kumar (2014) ethical consideration calls for avoiding any deception for respondents, maintaining anonymity and confidentiality of any personal information. Also, ethical conduct requires that the participants are well informed about the need and objectives of the research work so that an informed consent is available in relation to their participation in the research study. As the present study is following the primary data collection method it becomes important to ensure avoidance of researcher bias, researcher’s interpretation of collected information so as to present the collected data in its original form without any modifications. 

Under the present study, a questionnaire will be used for collecting the required information directly from the participants in a primary study format. Therefore, an informed consent will be taken from every participant ensuring that the data collected from the survey is of unbiased nature. The participants will be informed about the objectives of the research and importance of their responses to the questionnaire and also that the survey will be used only for academic purposes. Also, it will be ensured that any personal information regarding the participants is not disclosed in the research report to maintain the confidentiality of participants. 

5.2 Reliability and Validity

In the research work, the concept of reliability is associated with maintaining consistent and solidity of the research instrument. Thus, stability, internal reliability and internal consistency of the observer are some of the key factors ensuring research reliability (Bryman and Bell, 2007). Under the present study, the Cronbach’s Alpha will be conducted for the sacks for evaluating the study’s reliability through the coefficient result. 

Further, it is necessary to ensure the validity of results under any research work and refers to the capability of a research instrument to find answers as intended. Such validity of results will also ensure in increasing the generalizability of results making them valid in most of the associated situations. Under the present study, a structured questionnaire will be used to collect the data related to four major elements of brand equity and their impact on consumer behaviour in relation to Change beer in Thailand. Thus, the instrument to be used for collecting the data is valid in nature, and the conceptual model designed to guide through the study will help in ensuring the validity of the study. 

Section 6: Gantt chart and time scale 

 

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