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Brand Loyalty from a Multi-Faceted Perspective Essay

Brand loyalty is the ‘Holy Grail’ to all marketing organizations. Marketing practitioners are consumed by it. They search. They try. They dream. They want to achieve the ultimate in brand loyalty, making it so airtight that no competition can lure their consumers from their brands of products. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fit-all methodology. Competition is dynamic. There’s no way to accurately anticipate what the creativity of their competitors can bring to the marketplace, which can lead to the eventual overwhelming of an established brand. There’s no telling how the motivations and perceptions of their customers may change, having inundated by communications in every conceivable fashion on a daily basis.

Yet the organizations that can achieve strong brand loyalty for their products can ensure profitability for their stakeholders. Those who cannot shall perish in the war of the marketplace. Building strong brand loyalty for a company’s products is not just an idea, or a one hit wonder. Rather, building strong brand loyalty is a process that requires management excellence. For this reason we look at brand loyalty from a multi-faceted perspective. Somewhere out there, among the numerous ideas and theories, may lie one that may help turn the fortune of an organization.

Härtel, C., Russell-Bennett, R., Worthington, S. (2010). Brand Management. A Tri-dimensional Approach for Auditing Brand Loyalty, 17(4), 243-253. Retrieved from http://palgrave-journals.com/bm/.

In this article, the authors outline a framework for conducting a brand loyalty audit that uses a tri-dimensional approach, which are, cognitive (I think), emotive (I feel) and behavioral (I do) response. With different levels and intensity of brand loyalty, the tri-dimensional approach allows the manager to target the significant market segments more effectively. The authors have very strong academic credentials from universities in Australia. Worthington is a Professor of Marketing at Monash University specializing in distribution of financial services. Russel-Bennett is an Associate Professor at Queensland University with research and consulting work on the role of emotions in organizational and consumer behavior.

Härtel is a Professor of Organizational Behavior and Development and Director of the Social and Economic Interface Research at Monah University. In conducting the audit, the first step is to measure the current level of emotional, cognitive and behavioral loyalty, and then, in step two, prioritize the segments. Once the priorities are set, the manager will have to strategize to increase loyalty (if it is low) or maintain loyalty (if it is high). Thus, this article is for managers looking to evaluate the strength and flaws of their product, with the goal of brand loyalty in mind.

This article has 24 references; nearly half of these references are based on the authors’ previous research involving brand loyalty and marketing, the other references help to build on concepts and research examples. The tri-dimensional audit faces two challenges. First, the framework is untested and therefore requires validation across product types. Second, the level of influence on priority and strategies is not knowable and therefore is subject to arbitration. More work has to be done on this model. Nevertheless, it introduces new ideas in understanding brand loyalty.

Babur, M. N. & Naveed, F. (2011). Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in

Business. The Real Battle Starts Now; Moving Beyond Brand Management, 2(12), 629-

635. Retrieved from http://ijcrb.webs.com.

This article looks to examine the steps an organization can take after establishing the brand to achieve sustained brand loyalty. This can be achieved through continuous advertising and managing ethical burden. The authors describe ethical burden as the necessity of company to charge real cost of doing business, ensure quality of products and services and develop strong customer relations. The focus group study with a sample of 50 business professionals contends that by managing ethical burden with continuous advertising, it can lead to creating positive brand image and hence, brand loyalty, that will sustain the brand in the long term through repeat buying phenomena.

Babur is an Assistant Professor and Principal at ISRA University, Islamabad Campus Pakistan. Naveed is a Senior Research Associate at Riphah International University, Islamabad Pakistan. There are 15 references in this article. The authors use these references to elaborate on concepts relating to marketing in regards to ethical burden, brand image, brand loyalty and, advertising in general. The results of the study indicate that a large portion of the repeat buying behavior is due to unexplained factors across purchasing occasions. The authors state that this study has a 72% of reliability, but did not show the calculation of how the number was derived.

The written English is weak and some descriptions are not so clear. Despite this deficiency, this article provides marketing managers with another perspective to sustain brand loyalty. In regards to the 72% reliability, further research can incorporate quantitative methods of research to indentify outliers, which can lead to a more accurate study. Furthermore, additional research should link the actual strategy of using ethical burden and continuous advertising to sustain brand loyalty – preventing or postponing the decline of a mature brand in its product life cycle.

Alwi, S. F. S. (2009). International Journal of Business and Society. Online Corporate Brand

Images and Consumer Loyalty, 10(2), 1-19. Retrieved from http://feb.unimas.my.

This article examines how, traditionally, organizations build their brand image targeting consumers through media such as television, newspapers, and radio. With the advent of online media, the author evaluates if offline brand success can be translated to a positive corporate brand image perception in the online environment. Using the personification approach, a sample of consumers was asked to rank a list of companies (by imagining the company was a human being) based on five main criteria: agreeableness; competence; ruthlessness; chic; and enterprise. The results were, then, compared to several pieces of previous research from both offline, and online perspectives.

Syed Alwi is a Professor in the Faculty of Business & Accountancy at the University of Malaya in Malaysia. She received an honors degree in Business Management, and completed her Masters in Marketing all at Salford University in the United Kingdom. She received her PhD in Marketing at the University of Manchester. Managers looking to integrate their marketing plans into the online environment would find this information extremely useful. The article has about 50 references; most of which are used to incorporate ideas and results from previous research. The other references are used to build concepts involving the transition of marketing and branding into online media.

When applying the personification results to previous research, it shows that there is a high correlation between high scores in the categories of agreeableness and informality, when compared to a high level of brand loyalty of online consumers. Therefore, for an organization to translate previous brand success to online success, it must portray itself as pleasant, friendly, supportive, open, easy and outgoing to targeted consumers. Using a research method like this seems arbitrary and a more structured research method like a longitudinal study would probably give less erratic results.

Anderson, K. & Sharp, B. (2010). International Journal of Market Research. Do Growing Brands win Younger Consumers?, 52(4), 433-441. doi: 10.2501/S1470785309201387 This article attempts to shed some light on the presumption that younger consumers are less loyal and more willing to try new brands than older consumers. The authors analyzed 230 brands from 12 categories such as coffee, beer, internet service provider, and mobile phone. By comparing two periods of data, the authors were able to determine which brands grew and which declined.

The results of each brand were, then, compared to an age profile. Consumers under the age of thirty were defined as ‘young’, and those over the age of fifty five were defined as ‘mature’. The research concludes that younger consumers are slightly easier to attract. This is because young consumers are more willing to take risks and their styles are not so fixed, whereas older consumers are more attached to certain existing brands. It is not easy to change the loyalty of buyers, but it is possible. Brand loyalty is indeed alive and well, it is not entirely entrenched.

Sharp is a Professor of Marketing Science and Director of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science at the University of South Australia. Anderson is a Research Associate at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science at the University of South Australia. Sharp has published several academic papers and books including, “How Brands Grow” published by Oxford University Pres. Only 10 references are used as most of their data was purchased from one source, the other references allow them to compare data with similar works and draw scholarly conclusions.

This article provides a new perspective that while the presumption that it is easier to attract younger consumers is true, the established marketers, to whom this article is intended for, should not target the younger consumers exclusively. Further research should use a larger variety of sources emphasizing exactly how a growing brand should target certain demographic groups in order to achieve greater sales volume.

Grzeskowiak, S., Krishen, A. S., Labreque, L. I. (2011). Journal of Brand Management. Exploring Social Motivations for Brand Loyalty: Conformity versus Escapism, 18(7), 457-472. doi:10.1057/bm.2011.12

The authors identify two central moderating variables that explain brand loyalty, which are product knowledge and self-image congruence. Self-image congruence enhances brand loyalty for consumers who desire to conform to the groups or societies they are in. However, those that want to break away from these groups are called escapism-motivated consumers. Escapism-motivated consumers derive their brand loyalty from product knowledge, but product knowledge inhibits brand loyalty for those who are bound to conformity. This study shows that common communications for these two groups are asymmetrical.

Labrecque is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Northern Illinois University. She received her PhD in Marketing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Krishen is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Krishen logged 13 years of corporate experience before receiving her Masters and PhD in Marketing from Virginia Tech. The authors used about 60 cited references. However, only a handful of these references are used to expand on key concepts.

Most of them are used to elaborate on results using graphs, tables, and cross tabulation. This study highlights the challenges facing the marketers when developing advertising messages for their intended audience. The marketers have to be mindful of the implication of their communications to their diverse group of consumers. This study, though, is limited to focusing only on two motivations – conforming versus escaping. But there are numerous other social motives that are likely to affect brand loyalty. Further research should be done to explore these boundaries.

References

Ahn, K., Hur, W., Kim, M. (2011). Management Decision. Building Brand Loyalty through

Managing Brand Community Commitment, 49(7), 1194-1213. doi: 10.1108/

00251741111151217

Alwi, S. F. S. (2009). International Journal of Business and Society. Online Corporate Brand

Images and Consumer Loyalty, 10(2), 1-19. Retrieved from http://feb.unimas.my.

Anderson, K. & Sharp, B. (2010). International Journal of Market Research. Do Growing

Brands win Younger Consumers?, 52(4), 433-441. doi: 10.2501/S1470785309201387

Babur, M. N. & Naveed, F. (2011). Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in

Business. The Real Battle Starts Now; Moving Beyond Brand Management, 2(12), 629-635. Retrieved from http://ijcrb.webs.com.

Balasubramanian, S. K. & Patwardhan, H. (2011). Journal of Product and Brand Management. Brand Romance: A Complementary Approach to Explain Emotional Attachment toward Brands, 20(4), 297-308. doi: 10.1108/10610421111148315

Grzeskowiak, S., Krishen, A. S., Labreque, L. I. (2011). Journal of Brand

Management. Exploring Social Motivations for Brand Loyalty: Conformity versus

Escapism, 18(7), 457-472. doi:10.1057/bm.2011.12

Härtel, C., Russell-Bennett, R., Worthington, S. (2010). Brand Management. A Tri-dimensional Approach for Auditing Brand Loyalty, 17(4), 243-253. Retrieved from http://palgrave-journals.com/bm/.

Kharaim, H. S. (2011). International Journal of Marketing Studies. The Influence of Brand

Loyalty on Cosmetics Buying Behavior of UAE Female Consumers, 3(2), 123-133. doi:

10.5539/ijms.v3n2pl23

Kwok, S., Uncles, M. D., Wang, C. (2010). Journal of Marketing Management. A Temporal

Analysis of Behavioural Brand Loyalty among Urban Chinese Consumers, 26(9-10),

921-942. doi: 10.1080/02672570903441454

Tsai, S. (2010). International Business Review. Fostering International Brand Loyalty through Committed and Attached Relationships, 20(5), 521-534. doi:10.1016/j.ibusrev.2010.10.001


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