152400285750MIDLANDS STATE UNIVERSITY
FACULTY OF COMMERCE
DEPARTMENT OF MARKETING MANAGEMENT
Name Susan Zimuto
Supervisor Mr Chokera
THE INFLUENCE OF BRANDING ON CONSUMER CHOICES FOR HIGH-TECHNOLOGY CONSUMER ELECTRONICS IN HARARE CBD.
Consumers are particular when it comes to brands, several research papers involving branding have been conducted were in most areas cases such researches mainly covered branding and consumer buying behaviour, quality. In this study, an investigation is going to be conducted into the influence that the impression of branding or the brand has on consumer purchase decisions of high technology consumer electronics, specifically mobile smart phones in Harare’s central business district. High Tech industry has made some developments in the past years according to TechGenic International currently, smartphones are slim, stylish, and are very easy to carry around. Essentially, these devices are now highly productive and useful. As far as connectivity standards are concerned, a rapid shift starting from the very basic 1G, which was the first generation of wireless telecommunication technology to the present day’s 4G LTE network, which can support a peak data transfer rate of 1GBit/second. Apart from Internet and voice calls, smartphones now support various other connectivity standards, including the Wi-Fi, GPS, infrared, Bluetooth, and more. This chapter will give a brief summary of how this researcher is going to carry out the study and will include the background of the study, statement of the problem, research objectives, research questions, and significance of the study, assumptions, delimitations and study limitations.1.1 Background to the Study
Consumer electronics such as mobile smart phones fall under the consumer product classification of shopping goods and these shopping goods are those that a consumer will really compare with other similar goods in terms of suitability, quality, price and style this is according to Kotler (2000). Shoppers will go to certain lengths to consider and compare the above mentioned variables. Tanner & Raymond (2011) states that shopping goods are those where the consumer will make an effort to compare and select a brand and invest an ample amount of time visiting websites and reading reviews about the product such as those found in consumer reports. Cognisant of the above it is hence apparent that the purchase decisions of consumers could be influenced by either one or a combination of any of the above-mentioned variables and it is the intention of this researcher however, to analyse how the issue of branding influences consumer choices.
As the telecommunications market in sub-saharan Africa continues to grow at a faster rate than any other region in the world, smart phone vendors on the local market including global brands are in severe competition to grab a substantial portion of the local market share for both the low-end and the high-end sections, newspaper harare24.com dated 08 December 2013.The consumers’ appetite for smart phones has been on the rise, partly because of the lifting of duty on information communication technology equipment by the government and increased investment by local mobile operators Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, Telecel Zimbabwe and Netone after 2009. The constant advancements in ICTs on a global scale have seen consumers all over the globe jostling to keep themselves up to date with the latest trends in smart phone technology that keep surfacing on the market and as such the smart phone market has become increasingly competitive with numerous electronics brands such Nokia, Samsung, HTC, Apple, Gtel, ZTE, Huawei and others stepping up to the plate with a variety of flagship phones to quench the rising consumer appetite for the same. Therefore, in such a competitive market the companies responsible for these brands are interested in developing brands that will lead to long-term customer relationships, Story, Hess ; Daness (2011). Branding is now considered as a key organisational asset by modern marketing strategies (Kotler, 2000). However one might ask what a brand is. A brand as defined by the American Marketing Association (AMA) as a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors, Kotler (2000) observed that, a brand is essentially a seller’s promise to deliver a specific set of features, benefits and services consistently to the buyers.
More so, there is now increased similarity in the smart phone market whereby although devices made by different manufacturers will have their differences, these differences are somewhat subtle in some instances or not very significant in other instances hence manufactures see the need to clearly differentiate their offering from the next offering through branding activities. Chernatony and Mcdonald (2007) stated that a successful brand delivers sustainable competitive advantage and invariably results in superior profitability and market performance. Consumers are now migrating from using the old mobile phones to smart phones due new technology. Smartphones now have features like 4G LTE network which is faster when downloading pictures and videos, they now support various other connectivity standards, including the Wi-Fi, GPS, infrared, Bluetooth, and more. Global researches were conducted, but the influence of branding on consumer choices for High technology consumer electronics have not been widely researched on hence this is going to be discussed more in this research. Consumer choice refers to the decisions that consumers make with regard to products and services. When we study consumer choice behaviour, we examine how consumers decide which products to purchase or consume over time. Solomon et al (2006) stated that Consumer Behaviour is the study of the process involved when individuals or groups select, purchase, use or dispose of products, services, ideas or experiences to satisfy needs and desires.
Consumer Behaviour model
Source- Seth (1961)
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as “A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.
Source Aaker (1991)
A research that was carried out by Hillenbrand et al (2013) in Mexico, on how brand names can influence consumer choice and the research findings shows that brand has a positive effect on consumer choice. Another study which was carried out by Shehzah et al (2014) in Pakistan conducted a research on the influence of brand name on consumer choice and decision and results concluded that brand image or brand name has strong positive relationship with consumer buying behaviour.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
With the telecommunications market in sub-Saharan Africa continuing to grow and also with Zimbabwe’s smart phone penetration standing at an average of 20-23%, and has increased by 7% from the previous financial results at which the smart phone penetration was standing at 15% this is according to Econet Wireless Zimbabwe’s financial results for the half year ended 31 July 2016 , many smart phone brands both local and global are visible on the market and streets today, indicating some degree of competition. The surplus of smart phones is quite evident.
A recent survey conducted by Techzim, a local mainstream news blog that covers information technology news, clearly stated that, factors such as price of the smart phone, availability of accessories and repair technicians and suitability were cited as being fundamental and influential to consumers when they are deciding on which smart phone to purchase.
1.3 Conceptual framework
4581525152400895350161925Independent variableDependent variable
3771901248286 Consumer Income
00 Consumer Income
2943225278765cnSource-Aaker 1991 and Seth 1961
For a consumer to purchase a product it must have a brand. The researcher believes there is an influence of brand awareness, brand loyalty, brand perception on consumer choice for High technology consumer electronics
1.4 Research Objectives
The overall objective of this study is to investigate the influence of branding on consumer choice for High-Technology consumer electronics in Harare Central Business District.
To determine whether consumer income has an effect on brand perception for consumer electronics such as smart phones in Harare CBD.
To evaluate the extent at which consumer beliefs has influence on brand loyalty for smart phones as compared to other influencers such as price and specifications.
To determine whether there is a relationship between consumer choice of smart phones and brand awareness.
1.5 Research Questions
Does consumer income have any effect on brand perception for smart phones in Harare’s CBD?
To what extent does brand loyalty influence consumer beliefs for smart phones as compared to other influencers such as price and specifications?
Is there a correlation between consumer choice and brand loyalty?
1.7 Significance of the Study.
The study is significant to the following relevant participant groups in terms of the expected benefits that would be derived from the research study to the:
1.7.1 To the Researcher this study will give a better and more comprehensive understanding of the concept of branding and the various aspects it encompasses and how it affects consumer buying behaviour.
1.7.2 To the companies whose smart phone brands are on the market this research will outline to them exactly how the issue of brand and brand perception influences consumer choice and the results will tell them how to structure their branding activities for them to ensure brand loyalty and remain competitive. The study will also put them in a position whereby they can decide, based on the study outcomes, to invest in improving their brand image or to dedicate their resources to other areas that they feel will ensure they survive in the market.
1.7.3 To the university
The research also benefited the University in a way that it will use the document for referral purposes in doing other researches.
Consumers will be willing to have time to answer the researcher’s questionnaire.
The sample size used is going to represent the whole targeted population.
Retail outlets shall be willing to disclose information concerning their sales of various smart phone brands.
The researcher assumes that resources needed for the study will be readily available
The researcher assumes that smart phone consumers will give accurate and true information.
Delimitation is a process that gives researchers control to limit the scope of the data included in their investigation. Variables are an important part of any research.
1.7.1 Geographical delimitations
The study is going to be confined to smart phone consumers in Harare’s central business district only but some smartphone consumers are outside Harare.
1.7.2 Theoretical delimitation
Literature for this research will be basing only on the consumer choice and branding. Although they are other several factors that could affect consumer purchase this study is going to include price, availability of accessories and repair technicians, suitability, technical specifications, look and feel as well as environmental friendliness.
1.7.3 Study participant Delimitation
Only participants in Harare Central Business District are the ones only participating in this study since the study is being carried out in the CBD.
1.7.4 Data delimitation
Data that is going to be used in this study will be from the period of 31 July 2016 to 31 May 2018.
1.8 Proposed Limitations
1.9.1 Methodological limitations
This research will have various methodological limitations such as sample size, sample size determination.
1.8.2 Limitations of the researcher
The researcher is a full time employee at a retail company hence due to the demands of the job time could be a major constraint. Inadequacy of financial resources may also hinder on the smooth flowing of this research in terms of stationery and means of getting around the Central Business District, this might reduce the quality of the results. In addition, the study uses some technical jargon such as brand equity which might be unfamiliar to some respondents. This might change the responses and likely tilt the findings.
1.8.3 Non co-operation of respondents’ limitation
Some respondents may not be able to participate well due to circumstances beyond their control, hence the will make their children complete the questionnaires on their behalf.
1.9 Definition of key termsHigh-technology – refers to “scientific technology involving the production or use of advanced or sophisticated devices especially in the fields of electronics and computers”
Smart phone – “A smartphone is a cellular telephone with an integrated computer and other features not originally associated with telephones, such as an operating system, Web browsing and the ability to run software applications.”
CBD – refers to the Central Business District which is “the focal point of a city. It is the commercial, office, retail, and cultural centre of the city and usually is the centre point for transportation networks.”
2.0 Literature Review
The purpose of this chapter is to explore the literature on branding with specific reference to consumer choices for High Technology consumer electronics. The literature explores what
has been postulated by various scholars and hence the need to identify areas of convergence and divergence as well as areas that need to be academically filled by the current research.
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as “A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. The legal term for brand is trademark. A brand may identify one item, a family of items, or all items of that seller. If used for the firm as a whole, the preferred term is trade name.” Brands are shorthand marketing messages that create emotional bonds with consumers. They are composed of intangible elements related to its specific promise, personality and positioning, and tangible components having identifiable representation including logos, graphics, colours and sounds. A brand creates perceived value for consumers through its personality in a way that makes it stand out from other similar products this is on the basis of Cohen (2011). Brands articulates the view or picture that a buyer holds in their cognition and how they ultimately feel whenever a certain brand is mentioned. Kotler (2000) goes on to say that a brand is basically a promise made by the seller to deliver a specific set of features, benefits and services consistently to the buyers. Just as any person values whatever promise is made to them, consumers also value the promises given to them and when those promises are fulfilled, the end result is satisfaction, which in business terms may translate to repeat purchases and the power of the brand is enhanced.
2.1.2 Brand Equity
The words “a powerful brand” or “a good brand” are commonly used by multitudes of consumers when they are describing various brands to other fellow consumers. In essence they will be referring to what is called brand equity. Kotler and Armstrong (2001) say that brand equity is the value that a brand possesses against the backdrop of extent to which it has high awareness, perceived quality, brand loyalty, good associations and other assets such as trademarks, patents and channel relationships. In Harare’s smart phone market where a vast number of brands are visible and extensively distributed, the brands value may as well be the determining factor of high or poor sales as it is that which drives consumers to select a particular brand. Chernatony and Mcdonald(2007) observed that Brand equity or rather high brand equity translates to brand success and successful brands are valuable because they guarantee future income streams. On the other hand, Keller (1993), defines Brand Equity as the marketing effects or outcomes that accrue to the product or service with its brand name, associated to the outcomes if the same product or service did not have a brand name.
2.1.3 Brand awareness
Kotler, et.al (2009) defined brand awareness is consumers ability to identify the brand under different condition, as reflected by their brand recognition or recall performance. Awareness if most of the target audience is unaware of the project, the communicator’s task is to build awareness.
2.1.4 Brand loyalty
Brand loyalty can be defined as the extent of consumer faithfulness towards a specific brand and this faithfulness is expressed through repeat purchases and other positive behaviours such as word of mouth advocacy, irrespective of the marketing pressures generated by the other competing brands (Kotler ; Keller, 2006)
2.1.5 Brand perception
According to Aaker (1991), perceived quality is generated by each buyer’s perception of up to seven elements. In evaluating these quality elements, consumers literally make up their mind about whether what you’re saying matches the qualities they’re seeing. Just as importantly, these elements are how they decide to choose your qualities over the qualities of others:
2.1.6 Consumer Behaviour
Consumer behaviour is the study of the process involved when individuals or groups select, purchase, use or dispose of products, services, ideas or experiences to satisfy needs and desires (Solomon et al, 2006).
2.1.7 The concept of consumer choice
Schiffman and Kanuk(2004) postulates consumer behaviour is the behaviour that consumers display in searching for, purchasing, using, evaluating or disposing of products or services that they expect will satisfy their needs.Themarketingteacher.com again explains consumer behaviour as the process which consumers use to choose, use and dispose of products and services and also how that entire process impacts the world. It is simply entails that which compels consumers to purchase goods and services, reasons and frequency with which they buy the same. Findings from the study of consumer behaviour enable sellers and manufacturers to focus on that which influences the buying behaviour of consumers and manipulate it in a way that is favourable to them, that is to say, in a manner that probably improves awareness and loyalty to their brand(s). Manufacturers and sellers of smart phones such as GTel can get a picture of how they can design, promote and come up with branding strategies to enhance sales. Consumer behaviour encompasses 3 behavioural processes namely Pre-purchase behaviour, Purchase behaviour and Post purchase behaviour.
This chapter clearly defines the research methods used to conduct the study. The researcher explains how the necessary data and information to address the research objectives and questions was collected, presented and analysed. Reasons and justifications for the research design, research instruments, data sources, data collection techniques, data presentation techniques and analytical techniques used are given. Chimedza et al (2000), proposed that research methodology is the researcher’s operational framework within which data is placed so that its meaning may be seen more clearly to obtain facts for the research project. Methodology also refers to the methods or strategies that the researcher is going to employ in collecting the data that is going to be analysed later to obtain results. It is a framework in which data is gathered and presented in an intelligible manner. This chapter will describe all the activities to be undertaken during the data gathering process and will entail the research design, data collection methods, sampling, research instruments and methods of data presentation and analysis
3.1 Research Design
Heppner et al (1992) describe a research design as a plan or structure for an investigation or a list of specifications and procedure for conducting and controlling a research project. In other words it can be described as a master plan which indicates the strategies for conducting a research. A research design serves as a master plan of the methods and procedures that should be used to collect and analyse data needed by the decision maker. The research design is a deliberately planned arrangement of conditions for the analysis and collection of data in a manner that aims to combine relevance to research purpose with the economy procedure. Base (2006) observed that, there is variety of research designs that one can employ when carrying out a research study which include experimental survey, descriptive survey, and correlation research design. Burns and Grove (2003) define a research design as a blueprint for conducting a study with maximum control over factors that may interfere with the validity of the findings. Parahoo (1997) describes a research design as a plan that describes how, when and where data are to be collected and analysed. This research is going to employ the descriptive survey research design.
Qualitative research design
In the handbook of qualitative research Denzin and Lincoln (2005) describe qualitative research as involving an interpretive naturalistic approach to the world. This means that qualitative researchers study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of or interpret phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them. The qualitative research process uses a smaller sample size than other research methods. This is due to the fact that more information is collected from each participant. Smaller sample sizes equate to lower research costs. Not only does this research process save money, but it can also produce faster results. If data is needed quickly for an important decision, this is one of the best research options that is available today.
Quantitative research design
According to Matthews ; Ross (2010) quantitative research methods are basically applied to the collection of data that is structured and which could be represented numerically. Generally quantitative data is collected when researcher has adopted the positivist epistemological approach and data is collected that can be scientifically analysed.
Polit et al (2001) explorative studies are undertaken when a new area is being investigated or when little is known about an area of interest. It is used to investigate the full nature of the phenomenon and other factors related to it.
According to Burns and Grove (2003), descriptive research is designed to provide a picture of a situation as it naturally happens. It may be used to justify current practice and make judgment and also to develop theories.
This research is going to use a combination of the quantitative approach and the qualitative approach. Quantitative research is an approach that uses statistics and numerical data to arrive at a fact(s).The data collected can be ranked or put in some unit of measurement. This method has the advantages of providing accurate and precise numerical data, results are significantly independent of the researcher and also data analysis may be less time consuming when dealing with a large sample size. The qualitative research approach, also known as constructivism, is the one that does not gather numerical data.
3.2 Target population
The target population for a survey is the entire set of units for which the survey data are to be used to make inferences. Kotler (2006) the target population defines those units for which the findings of the survey are meant to generalize. Establishing study objectives is the first step in designing a survey.
3.2.1 Sample frame
A sampling frame is the source material or device from which a sample is drawn.
Sampling frame is based on retail shops, smartphone manufactures and smart phone consumers
3.3 Sampling Techniques
This is a process of selecting appropriate number of features from the population so that by studying the sample and understanding the properties of the sample subjects, one will be able to generalize to the properties to the population elements. Saunders et al, 2003, postulated that the need to sample, arises when the entire population cannot be surveyed possibly because of budget constraints and time constraints. Cooper and Schindler (2003) clearly stated that some of the reasons for sampling are lowering costs, greater speed of data collection, greater accuracy of results, and availability of population elements.
Simple Random sampling
Easton and McColl’s(2005) states that, it is basic sampling technique where we select a group of subjects (a sample) for study from a larger group (a population) Each individual is chosen entirely by chance and each member of the population has an equal chance of being included in the sample. Every possible sample of a given size has the same chance of selection.
Simple Random Sampling is going to be the sampling technique that this researcher is going to use. This type of sampling is the purest form of probability sampling and each member of the population has an equal chance of being selected.
Sample size is the number of observations in sample (Evans et al. 2000). The research is involving a total of 60 respondents who use mobile smart phones and will be randomly selected from the CBD.
3.3.2 Sample Size Determination
This is the mathematical estimation of the number of subjects/units to be included in the study. This is to allow appropriate analysis and provide the desired level of accuracy. The researcher adopted the formula from Krejcie and Morgan (1970). The total number of respondents in this research are 60, who are going to be randomly selected in the mobile retail shops in Harare.
S = The required sample size, X = The z-value (z-value=1.96 for 95% confidence level),N = Target population size, P = Population proportion (This is assumed to be 50% or 0.5), d = Margin of error (This is assumed to be 5% or 0.05),For the case of calculating the sample size in the proposed research the terms defined above will take the following values:X = 1.96,N = 60, P = 0.5,d = 0.05
Inserting the values into the formula we get:
3.4 Data sources
Primary data refers to data collected for the first time in the field. Jewel (2001), defines it as data that has been collected for the purpose for which it is originally used. Primary data for this particular research was collected using interviews and questionnaires.
According to Jewel (2001), secondary data is data that is collected for purposes other than the original use. It is an analysis of data that have already been collected for some other purpose. These may be contemporary or historical and the data may be qualitative or quantitative and usually needs adjustments and validation before being put to use. This data can include survey data and documentary data. Sources used to gather secondary data were document analysis collected from published online source like Techzim, subject-relevant literature and newspapers.
Survey research is defined as the collection of information from a sample of individuals through their responses to questions” (Check & Schutt, 2012). This type of research allows for a variety of methods to recruit participants, collect data, and utilize various methods of instrumentation.
According to McNamara (1999) Interviews are particularly useful for getting the story behind a participant’s experiences.
A questionnaire is a printed document that has instructions and statements that are gathered to obtain answers from respondents. McMillan and Schumacher (1993) defined a questionnaire as a document normally distributed by the researcher, to be completed by the respondents, to seek either factual information or to determine attitudes, opinions and interests of the respondents. However questionnaires have an extensive use in both qualitative and quantitative researches. They are a valuable and valid method of collecting a wide range of information from a large number of respondents which gives the researcher useable information of the research under study. Furthermore good questionnaire construction is critical to the success of a survey. Questionnaires have the advantages of being able to collect information from a large number of respondents within a relatively short period of time and also a relatively cost effective way. More so, responses are gathered in a standardised manner hence questionnaires are more objective than other instruments. However, questionnaires have got their own disadvantages, there is no way to tell how truthful a respondent is being and respondents may answer superficially especially when the questionnaires takes too long to complete.
As research instruments, this research is going to employ the use of self-administered questionnaires for gathering all the necessary data to be used to reach a conclusion for the issue at hand. According to Saunders et al (2005) a questionnaire includes all data collection techniques in which each respondent is asked to answer the same set of questions in a particular or predetermined order.
3.6 Data presentation
The researcher will make use of pie charts and graphs because they summarize a large data set in visual form and easy to understand. The data took from questionnaires will be presented in a tabular form to show how many respondents have responded. Tables will also be used because they are easy to understand and construct.
3.7 Validity and Reliability
The credibility of a study is influenced by the degree of validity and reliability (Saunders, et al., 2009). Validity describes the quality of measurements, and addresses whether the study actually measures what the study tries to. According to Zikmund (2003) bias is seen as the tendency of a pattern of errors to influence data in an unrepresentative way. This can be due to selection procedures, structures and wording of questions, interviews or recording. To measure the Reliability we measure the Cronbach Alpha by using Statistical Package for Social Sciences. If the Cronbach alpha value is greater than 0.70 it is acceptable and good Cavana et al., (2001)
Methods for measuring validity and reliability are
Use of large sample
Asking sample and ambiguous questions
3.8 Data analysis and presentation tools
Once the data is collected it will be analysed. The data analysis procedure will take the following steps which are raw data collection, editing, coding, tabulating and charting. For analysis of closed-ended questions, a data analysis software called Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Data will be analysed by using descriptive statistics. Response tables will be constructed and from these, data will be presented in pie charts, bar graphs and tables.
3.9 Ethical considerations
The following ethical considerations provided by Patton ADDIN EN.CITE ;EndNote;;Cite ExcludeAuth=”1″;;Author;Patton;/Author;;Year;2002;/Year;;RecNum;14;/RecNum;;DisplayText;(2002);/DisplayText;;record;;rec-number;14;/rec-number;;foreign-keys;;key app=”EN” db-id=”02zeaef28easruex0enxzramvefxeepa9pw5″;14;/key;;/foreign-keys;;ref-type name=”Book”;6;/ref-type;;contributors;;authors;;author;Patton, M.;/author;;/authors;;/contributors;;titles;;title;Qualitative Evaluation and Research Methods;/title;;/titles;;dates;;year;2002;/year;;/dates;;pub-location;London;/pub-location;;publisher;London: Sage;/publisher;;urls;;/urls;;/record;;/Cite;;/EndNote;(2002) will be observed during the study. Data collection and questionnaire administration exercises and ethical issues are going addressed. For example, the researcher is going to make sure that all the potential participants in the study are informed well ahead of time about the researcher’s visit.
Principles of Marketing, Millennium Edition (Philip Kotler, 2000).
John.F.Tanner & Mary Anne Raymond, Principles of Marketing, Online, www.flatworldknowledge.com/bookhubwww.harare24.comWilliam M.K Trochim :Research Methods Knowledge Base, 2006