Brand Marketing Literature Review and Methodological Critique
Literature Review and Methodological Critique
Brand image is the brand perception by the consumer, expressed in association enshrined in the mind of the consumer. Associations may be related to the functional characteristics of a product or service, and can transmit only abstract images and emotions. Brand in the modern sense is a way of goods perceived by the consumer's mind, expressed in symbols and characteristics that have some importance to the people. Therefore, the topic of brand image is under the great discussion in todays’ business world.
In the book “Brand marketing: image - the key to success” Maguire defines that for the brand - "Image is everything!". The image of the brand encourages consumers to satisfy their need by the particular product (Maguire, 2007). Maguire also argued that it is important to investigate the brand image. Methods of communication and messages that are used to create the desired image can be perceived by the target audience in different ways. A key challenge in the research of the brand's image is to identify and develop the most beneficial idea for the brand, in order to transform these ideas into key messages through the communication channels. He argued that in order measure brand image, it is necessary to use such measuring methods: projective qualitative methods, focus groups, quantitative methods, surveys, entrance test. In formulating statements for the assessment purposes, all levels of perception of the brand image should be taken into account: emotional, rational and social. Also tangible and "intangible" characteristics such as range, reliable advertising, background, reputation, personality should be measured.
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Maguire has focused on the methods of the brand image investigation, however it is necessary to critique the fact that the effect of the methods used can be different and it is necessary to take into account all possible areas of the specific brand (Maguire, 2007). It is important to apply the principle of rotation, dividing the sample into parts, giving representatives from each sample evaluated under part brands. These methods are not always effective in accordance to the specificity of the brand, thus, during the brand evaluation, it is also necessary to use the methods like questionnaires, customers’ responses analysis, specific data gathering and its comparison and analysis, etc.
Chen in his investigation article used the 300 questionnaires for the purpose to make the research how the brand image is influencing the consumers’ behavior and loyalty for the products purchasing decision (Chen, 2012). The effective rate of the study is near the 95%. It is important to note that the author came to the topic research in terms of systematic approach and used different approaches, such as descriptive statistics analysis, factor analysis, reliability analysis, correlation analysis, and regression analysis. That is fully incorporated the accuracy of the study.
Another empirical study
Another empirical study that investigated the importance of brand image in accordance to the green approach was also held by Chen. His investigation of the green concept awareness was also developed by the prism of brand image building. The results were obtained by the random questionnaires holding among the Taiwan customers that purchased information and electronics (Chen, 2010). It is necessary to mention that this empirical method usage has a number of limitations that cannot give the full answer on the research topics. However, the author has made the conclusion that green brand image influences the green brand equity that enhances the customers’ loyalty. It is necessary to mention that the entire direction of the brand image development in the accordance to the green strategy can be not the only cause that has created such effect on the customers’ loyalty level. Therefore, in term of the Chen’s study, the customers’ loyalty increase should be investigated in different perspectives, not only through the prism of the green brand equity. Thus, the results of this study cannot be fully reliable and should be perceived through the critique approach.
The term “brand image” is used not only to the products or services describing, but also to the companies and even people. The researches argue that most of the events that were impacted by the sponsorship have received high feedback, because of the famous people presence. This sponsorship image is aimed to create additional surplus for the company or product. Chien, Cornwell and Pappu hold the research and concluded that the experiments showed the categorical relatedness between sponsorships and brand image creation, as it leads not only to the formation of the unique sponsor brand association, but also promotes the clarity of the brand message (Chien, Cornwell, & Pappu, 2011).
It is important to mention the studies of the brand image that can be effectively used for the effectiveness and efficiency increase of the marketing campaigns of the company. Today, understanding of the motives of the customers’ willingness to pay additional sum for the product associations with brand is under the strict attention of the managers. Sonnier and Ainslie used the Bayesian simultaneous choice factor model to analyze the data of branded cars which customers prefer most of all, the data was taking by the consumers’ brand-image associations. The authors find that “there is substantial value for the specific dimensions of brand image, but only after controlling for the general brand effect with the higher-order factor decomposition”. (Sonnier, & Ainslie, 2011). This model usage has resulted into the obtaining quite authentic data that can be used in the further data analysis.
Germain, Wakefield, and Durkin argued that the brand image is associated with the images that the healthcare organizations are putting on the cigarettes packs. The purpose of their work was the examining of the plain packaging effect on the perception of adolescents as product customers by such cigarette packs (Germain, Wakefield, & Durkin, 2010). This experiment was held with the web-used methodology. This is effective method for such brand image topic analysis, as it presence the fullness and gives managers the picture of how the consumer perceives the brand and what views, images and associations has the brand. The investigation of the cigarette package effect on the people’s perception is under the great importance and significance, as the lack in today’s knowledge of such effects can lead to the ineffective governmental and health organization motivation campaigns.
Ingenhoff & Fuhrer used the method of correspondence analysis during the investigation of the importance of the brand positioning and differentiation (Ingenhoff, & Fuhrer, 2010).
Correspondence analysis method
Correspondence analysis method is effective in the brand image investigation in terms of marketing approach. Correspondence analysis is mainly common with the analysis of the main component, it also groups category in the contingency table. This method is rather effective as it shows all aspects of the brand image and its significant mistakes, however it should be noted that different people have different association with the brand picture, thus the findings should be approached in the critique way. The lack of knowledge in the area of brand promotion and understanding creates the potential areas for the future assessments and analysis of the customers’ behavior.
The analyzed literature shows that proper positioning, creation, retention and development of reputation are the basis of the formation of the image of the company or product. All authors are converging in the fact that for the efficient brand image creation it is necessary to remember that every detail is important: from the advertising campaign, product quality, relationships with the media till the promotion possibilities for employees. There are a lot of gaps in knowledge in the accordance to the proper understanding of the customers’ behavior that is influenced and formed by the brand image and its perception. The critique of the investigation of the brand image creation and perception is caused by the unilateral investigation of the brand image components.
Therefore, future investigation of the brand image should have more complex assessment and literature analysis.