Relation between Brand Image and Consumer Preference
Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 661
, Published on 14 June 2016
A brand is the term, symbol, design, or feature that distinguishes one seller’s product from their competitors. The brand image refers to consumer’s feeling and perception about the brand and has a significant role in consumer buying behaviour. All thriving firms across the world have the ultimate goal of strengthening their brand image. In the market, brand war can be seen among the competitors in which each one tries to gain the maximum market share, which will be possible only when the firm offers the best product/services at affordable price, So the main purpose of the marketing strategies is to influence the consumer’s attitude toward the brand and to develop the brand equity. Brand equity can be measured in both ways with perspective to the customer as well as the company.
Brand Equity is involved in acquiring, developing and leveraging a brand. Thus, it is difficult for the new firm to establish its image using traditional marketing strategies like sales promotion and advertising and it becomes more difficult because of the fragmented markets,. General perception is that any focal brand can create a differentiated position by having a unique brand association with the public. Consumer preference, loyalty, trust, emotional attachment and usage is influenced by brand personality. Despite randomly changing consumer lifestyle and technology, consumption decisions is still decided by brand image.
Brand awareness and Image together constitutes brand knowledge. As per research, it has been found that consumer purchases are directly affected by brand image and indirectly by brand awareness. There are several reviews about brand image and preference. The frequency of usage is one of the factors in the development of brand preference, as an increase in usage will create greater familiarity with the product. According to Park, brand management has prerequisites i.e., construction and maintenance of brand image. As per McCracken research, if in an advertisement both endorser and brand are positioned together, then the association transfer takes place from the celebrity endorser to the brand. As per J. Rapport and B. Jaworski purchase process is a complex process and is divided into three categories: pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase. In pre-purchase stage evaluation of the product is carried out by the customers by collecting the information. A satisfied customer will demonstrate brand loyalty by having the willingness to repeat the purchase and do word of mouth marketing for the brand. In the case of high involvement product brand loyalty can be increased by improving the quality of consumer brand relationship whereas in the case of low involvement product, brand loyalty is influenced only by self- image and brand personality. As customers tend to rely on the brand they know already and hence knowledge and awareness of the brand play a significant role while making purchases. Purchase approach of a customer can be spontaneous i.e. based on emotions, or is developed since childhood. Some brands are price premium which means that customers are ready to pay higher than the price of the same product but of a different brand.
Consumption behaviour is influenced by five consumption values which are able to explain why consumers prefer one product over the other brands:
1. Conditional: The perceived utility acquired by the alternative in the presence of specific situations. It is also related to the experience in the given situations.
2. Epistemic Value: The perceived utility acquired by alternative which can provide freshness, arouse interest and satisfy the desire for knowledge
3. Emotional Value: The perceived utility acquired from the alternative capacity to arouse feelings and affection.
4. Social Value: Are acquired by alternatives through association with cultural ethnic and socioeconomic group.
5. Functional Value: Alternatives acquire because of functional, physical performance or utilitarian.
Advertisement are used as a tool by the firms to create and modify the image of themselves and their brands. It is important how the consumers process and perceive the advertisements. The confidence of the customer in the brand is developed because of five reasons which are:
1. Sentimental attachment and consumer recognition of the brand
2. Performance of the brand as per the specifications
3. Social image of the brand
4. Balance between value of the brand and its functionalities
5. Consumer trusts in the brand
Customer Satisfaction is the general evaluation of the shopping experience by the consumer for some particular product or service. Customer satisfaction increases when the performance of the product or service exceeds the expectations and vice-versa. By identifying the difference towards a brand between an existing customer and non-users, firms can infer influence the potential of brand image on consumer satisfaction. In today’s scenario, the influential manner of brand management is emotional branding which can arise sentiments of customer toward the brand and finally form the connection and loyalty to the brand.
While making the decision based on consumer behaviour five approaches have been identified which are:
1. Economic Man: In this customer is totally rational and take decisions based on his own- interest which depends on the utilisation of product. People make the decisions integrated marketing communications (IMC) because of the social environment to which they belong.
2. Behaviourist Approach: Behaviour is a response to an external and internal stimulus and customer actions are based on unconscious drivers. Here, customers react as per already learned ways from the past. This is described by classical and operant conditioning.
3. Cognitive Approach: Here the customer is regarded as the information processor. Before making any purchase decisions, customers search actively and obtain a lot of environmental as well as social knowledge about the product. It also explains the complex behaviour and responses. Two behaviour model described are perspective and analytic.
4. Psychodynamic Approach: It explains the behaviour of the consumer is driven by instincts and which can influence the customers unconsciously. Assumed that most of the features of the behaviour of customers were formed in the early days of childhood.
5. Humanistic Approach: It explores the individual customer’s experiences and behaviour instead of having a general conclusion. It investigates the gap through behaviour perspective between customers intended purchase and outcome of the purchase.
Integrated marketing communications (IMC) in present scenario are important for brand management. As a large number of alternative methods of advertising are becoming the part of the marketing mix so it is important to have the common message which can also prove to be effective at reaching the target customer. By drawing the attention of the target customers towards the key factors underlying the brand effects. It can inspire the managers to develop the meaningful, functionally useful and relevant brand.
This article has been authored by Reena Pal from IIM Kashipur