The IDEA OF Brand Image Marketing Essay

The concept of brand image made an appearance in the 1950s and after that it has become a common matter of research in the buyer action field. Numerous studies of brand image have been reported and the expression has been widely used in a variety of application. Nowadays, professionals and academics adopt the idea of brand image. In its nature, such a thought embodies an abstract simple fact in which consumers buy brands for reasons beyond the physical features and functions of the merchandise. (Dobni & Zinkhan, 1990)

Building a strong brand is essential to many companies nowadays since it leads to a number of strategic advantages. Just to mention some, a solid brand name helps the business to make its individuality, become less vulnerable to competitors' activities, increase price mark-ups, provide a close intermediary cooperation and support, as well as create some brand expansion opportunities. (Yasin et. al, 2007)

Measuring the entire value of an brand is a complex task and the process of evaluating "brand equity" often entails some degree of doubt and even subjectivity. This is actually the circumstance because brand equity is measured by consumers' understanding in regards to a specific brand, which may be affected by various factors. To properly know very well what happens in the consumer's mind and how brand equity is made several key factors should be studied into consideration. To say some, studies often focus on advertising, distribution, product price and quality as adding factors. (Cobb-Walgren et. al, 1995; Yoo et. al, 2000)

Moreover, oftentimes consumers perceive confirmed brand focusing primarily on the country of origin. Specific stereotypes are shaped, such as "Japanese electronics are reliable" or "Swiss wrist watches are great". A brandname may be evaluated based entirely on its "Manufactured in. . . " label. Therefore, the conception of the country is also important plus some countries are "superior" compared to other ones in conditions of brand belief. (Yasin et. al, 2007)

Some clarifications have to be done when assessing brand image. It is vital to mention a unified academic approach to the idea of brand image continues to be missing. Variations exist in the interpretation of five independent, but related, areas of brand image: the brands that contain been ascribed to this happening, the formal explanations, the components and the musical instruments which have been found in calculating brand image, as well as its perspectives in relation to brand image source, creation, formulation and amount of manipulability. (Dobni & Zinkhan, 1990)

Consequently, the idea of subjectivity inevitably appears when calculating the brand image understanding among consumers. Particularly, the concept of subjectivity plays the key motivational role in the creation of the dissertation paper. So that they can measure brand belief relativity, a case study is likely to be undertaken. The primary object appealing is a well-established and well-known brand name- Adidas. The analysis will concentrate on the UK and Indian garments markets and try to identify the dissimilarities, if any, in consumers' brand image perception.

Problem statement

As previously mentioned, the concept of subjectivity prevails when calculating brand image. The difference in brand understanding will be tackled in this dissertation paper. For this function, a study of consumers' tastes will be conducted in the united kingdom and India all together. Moreover, the key selection of brand is located to Adidas due to worldwide familiarity and amount of consciousness with the brand. The following research question has been created:

What are the distinctions in brand image conception among the UK and Indian consumers?

Answering the research questions takes a consistent and detailed scientific strategy. Therefore, the paper will be segregated in several key parts. The first target will be to review branding and brand image from a theoretical point of view. Second, the proper technique will be established and the required data collected. For this function, the paper relies solely on the quantitative research methods- specifically, a questionnaire. Third, a separate section will be specialized in data evaluation and results. Fourth, based on the findings, a detailed list of ideas and recommendations will be elaborated. Finally, the dissertation will end with a conclusion section where all main conclusions will be summed up.

Literature Review

The subject matter of brand image and the distinctions in its way of measuring and notion has fascinated a great deal of attention in the academia. The idea behind this section is to give a summary of the most important scientific publications and results about the topic.

Peterson and Jolibert (1995) review the result of the country-of-origin (COO) on the brand image. They find out that in general consumers tend to generalize their attitudes and viewpoints across products from confirmed country. Such generalization is dependant on two factors. First, it is consumers' knowledge of the country; and second, their personal experience with the merchandise predicated on several standards, including product quality, design, status and esteem, affordability and trustworthiness of COO of any brand. It is worth talking about that writer find the COO factor to be with a predominant influence set alongside the other abovementioned factors influencing brand notion. Therefore, favorable/ unfavorable country organizations tend to affect the brand belief in a much better way, than the merchandise quality itself. (Peterson & Jolibert, 1995)

The process of globalization has led to hybridization of the production process. Therefore, associating brands with the COO is becoming a harder process because ordinarily a given product is designed, produced and sold in several countries. In this value Persson (2010) argues that the brand image is less reliant on its COO, but from other factors, such as brand familiarity, product solution and service, syndication and company associations. (Persson, 2010)

Reynolds and Gutman (1984) suggest that brand image can't be analyzed using rational basis. The authors dispute a product placement and differentiation should be elaborated over a "feelings" basis. The logical for such a proposal originates from the evidence that consumers tend to be irrational and, therefore, the emotional appeal to a given product will probably play the most significant role in brand notion. (Reynolds & Gutman, 1984)

Alternatively, the authors claim that brand image can be predicted based on "attitude". Such conceptualization can significantly improve the capability to evaluate consumers' perception of an brand and its own characteristics. In making use of the attitude strategy, the brand image is usually restricted to a set of product characteristics. The primary weakness of this approach originates from numerous pieces of empirical information where brands with similar product characteristics have different market talk about and consumers' notion. Hence, the thought of objectively measurement of brands appears to be impossible for practical application. (Reynolds & Gutman, 1984)

Kathiravana (2010) argues that the most important among all factors in brand image assessment is acceptability. Therefore, the brand with the largest market talk about is usually the the one that generates the best level of choice on the list of consumers. (Kathiravana, 2010)

Hoeffler and Keller (2002) state that the recent world changes to a greater environmental understanding has mirrored on brand image, as well, Therefore, products that are environmentally friendly and constitute social benefits tend to benefit from an improved consumers' attitude. Moreover, purchase of such products is often associated with a sense of fulfillment and realization of a moral action. (Hoeffler & Keller, 2002)

Gensch (1978) suggests a quite unconventional procedure in brand image evaluation. The author expresses that the "image" of the product is composed of factors that are extrinsic to the merchandise itself. In his impression, product perception consists of two components- the measure of the product attributes and the "image" of the merchandise. Therefore, brand image sometimes appears as a simply abstract theory which is primarily built on campaign, reputation and peer evaluation of the product. (Gensch, 1978)

To carry out with, Dichter (1984) advises even a more extreme view point. According to him, the most crucial characteristics of the brand image are "magic and product's morality". (Dichter, 1984)

Descriptive Part

The Indian consumer market

Indian consumer market has lots of details that are important to mention in order to accurately examine the retail environment. Therefore, this chapter focuses on the normal features and inclination in the market. A broad range of factors will be analyzed like the recent liberalization insurance policy, retail market composition, branding demand and notion, as well as some specific social issues.

To begin with, it is important to evaluate the recent monetary liberalization that has occurred in the Indian current economic climate. For a long period, restrictions were placed before the overseas companies to be able to protect the local suppliers. Such a hostile environment made the Indian overall economy to a great extend self-sufficient and isolated from the rest of the world. Lately, however, limitations have been loosened allowing international companies enter the local retail market. Thus, combined with solid economic development, has considerably increased the elegance of the united states for conducting business. (Lee et al. , 2010)

Consequently, because of this of the regulatory coverage changes and strengthened by the high economical growth, the Indian retail market size and development has accelerated significantly in the recent years. This year 2010 the industry size was projected to be around $500 billion in comparison to just $250 billion six years before. Such development dynamics is unprecedented and does not have any comparability in the Indian retail industry history. (Field, 2005)

Moreover, starting from 1990s and onwards, the Indian retail industry has changed in a way that significantly increased market competition, product supply in conditions of number and quality, as well as increased degree of understanding and propensity to consume. Therefore, it can be mentioned that nowadays Indian individuals are facing increasing sophisticated variety of alternatives in many types of retail products. (Kinra, 2006)

Although the majority of the Indian retail industry includes low-size, low-quality stores and the branded segment accounts for just 3% of the full total retail market, India's branded retail sector is expected to grow with about 30% in the years forward. Moreover, changes arise in how products are marketed. The looks of shops, hypermarkets and American style malls is a common phenomenon in India nowadays. (Lee et al. , 2010)

The biggest section of the Indian retail industry is the garments sector which takes its market show of around 39%. Traditionally, clothing emerges in small outlets offering low-price unbranded materials. However, consumer tastes shows a switch to the ready-made European style products. It has been acknowledged that Indian individuals are price delicate and value price before quality, style or brand names. Recently, various clinical tests show that Indian consumers have shown a higher amount of determination to pay top quality for top quality goods with international origin. (Lee et al. , 2010)

Such a tendency can be discussed with the actual fact that Indian middle income growth rapidly due to the solid economic growth in the modern times. Namely, the middle class signifies the largest potential buyers group of overseas branded apparel. In its characteristics, this is a recently available sensation because buying branded outfits was a privilege of a little group of abundant people only in the close to recent. (Kumar et al. , 2009)

To finish off with the quick summary of the Indian consumer market, it will probably be worth mentioning that using top quality products is often perceived as high status identification in Indian world. It is a specific social feature and foreigner companies need to understand it accurately to be able to successfully permeate the local retail market. (Lee et al. , 2010)


Theoretical Part

The theoretical section of the dissertation seeks to provide a clear theoretical overview of the brand image characteristics and determinants. Therefore, the aspects of brand image and brand collateral will be analyzed accordingly with respect to the matter of the paper.

Brand image

One of the meanings for brand image is"perceptions about a brand as reflected by the brand connection placed in consumer recollection". It could not be wrong to state that brand image describes consumers' thoughts and feelings towards confirmed product. Therefore, brand image is unique mental picture of your brand and it summarizes its uniqueness in comparison to other existing brands. (Lee, XXX)

A strong brand impacts costumers in such a way that they often times ignore monetary, social and safety dangers when undertaking purchasing. Successful brands often have a major market talk about, as well. (Management Research Guide, 2011)

The determinants influencing brand image can be divided into two categories. The first group includes all tangible characteristics of a given brand. The next group is the intangible characteristics. In many cases, the intangible characteristics will be the decisive factors in building the brand image. In literature, the intangible characteristics of any brand are called "brand equity".

Tangible characteristics of the brand

The tangible characteristics of the brand often make reference to the product characteristics itself. Product characteristics can vary greatly significantly from product to product. Typical positive features can be stability, functionality, safeness, etc. Depending on the brand, the tangible characteristics' importance can be of different magnitude. In gadgets and car developing, for illustration, the tangible characteristics of the merchandise might be vital. (Kyoung-Nan et. al, 2008)

The tangible characteristics of the brand are measurable, as well. They can be accurately assessed based on certain conditions. From a functional viewpoint, however, this isn't of high value in measuring the overall brand image. Problems happen from the fact that the intangible characteristics have a greater weight in building the brand image. In this esteem, it will probably be worth talking about that tangible characteristics take into account averagely of 20% of the entire brand image understanding. (Balakrishnan et. al, 2011)

Intangible characteristics of the brand (Brand collateral)

As already mentioned, each brand image has its tangible and intangible characteristics. Regardless of whether two products are similar, consumer preferences may usually be quite different. Such a phenomenon is related to the intangible qualities of the brand. Brand collateral refers to the worthiness covered in these intangible characteristics. It appears when consumers willingly will be ready to pay price high quality for the same level of quality due to the attractiveness of the brand name. (Yasin et. al, 2007) Such attractiveness is made on several key characteristics. In short, the intangible characteristics of your brand can be summarized in five particular groups:

Brand consciousness;

Brand associations;

Brand perceived quality;

Brand commitment;

Other proprietary factors, such as patents and trademarks.

Such department of the brand equity includes consumers' perceptions and activities into an individual theoretical platform. Thus, the easy reliance of attitudes as a leading brand image determinant is overlooked and a more thorough way is carried out. By combining perceptions and actions in one place, it is thought that an improved predictor of market behavior is designed. (Myers, 2003)

It is argued that brand collateral is actually a mental notion of the buyer in relation to a specific brand. Therefore, the value of confirmed brand is entirely determined by what the buyer thinks. A successful brand is likely to provoke certain thoughts, thoughts, associations and sensations in one's brain and, consequently leading to a workout in consumers' choices, behavior and buy decisions. (Yasin et. al, 2007)

The need for the intangible brand characteristics hails from the theory that customers often seek to meet needs beyond the functional aspects of the product only. Needs like self-expression, self-esteem, prestige, endorsement plus some other emotional worth are tackled by the intangible product features. These characteristics, however, tend to be subjective and impossible for way of measuring. (Balakrishnan et. al, 2011)

Moreover, the intangible characteristics of the brand may solve even the bigger order needs of the costumers, such as self-concept, lifestyle, intuitive likes and dislikes or simply to convey exclusivity and uniqueness to others. (Balakrishnan et. al, 2011)

Dimensions of brand equity

As already stated, brand equity contains five key measurements- brand consciousness, brand organizations, brand perceived quality and loyalty, as well as other proprietary factors, such as patents and trade markings.

Brand awareness is probably the most crucial part in building sturdy brand collateral. High brand recognition reflects into an increased degree of dominance of the brand. Such a situation increases the possibility of purchase of a given product. Undoubtedly, higher level of awareness leads to higher likelihood that a brand is well-positioned in the consumers' consideration set which eventually displays in the buying decisions. (Yasin et. al, 2007)

The results from numerous research documents confirm the key role of brand understanding in building brand equity. For instance, consumers have a tendency to choose familiar products, rather than new ones when undertaking a buying decision. Therefore, brand recognition seems to be the prominent consumers' purchasing technique. Moreover, it's important to say that high brand reputation is mainly powered by high product familiarity and understanding, too. (Yasin et. al, 2007)

A brand relationship is another important component in building brand collateral. Brand associations are important because they actually stand for the consumers' images and organizations for confirmed brand. In they characteristics, brand associations are quite complicated because they symbolize a network of multiple ideas, shows, facts and good examples in the consumer's mind. The main driving pressure in building brand organizations is consumers' values. Beliefs are made from earlier or present experience with the given brand or consequently of the brand representation, such as advertising. In some other cases, beliefs originate from consumers' already existing organizations. (Yasin et. al, 2007)

Therefore, consumers' beneficial beliefs are likely to substantially affect their buying decisions. In general, this may have an enormous impact on brand collateral. Brand association may originate from, both, the tangible and intangible characteristics of the brand. For instance, some tangible features may be features, efficiency and design of the product, whilst intangible ones can be the sense of prestige, innovativeness and distinctiveness. Through the abovementioned, it can be concluded that the id of a given brand eventually affects its associations and brand equity. (Yasin et. al, 2007)

Brand recognized quality occurs when consumers discover the superiority of any brand compared to other brands. High understand quality is influential over consumers' buying decision and, therefore, leads to a rise of the brand collateral. Perhaps, identified quality is the most important brand collateral feature. It justifies the marketers' activities of charging a higher price for the top quality products. (Yasin et. al, 2007)

Brand loyalty performs an important part in building the brand equity. This is actually the case, since the equity of any brand will depend on to a sizable extend on the folks who buy it regularly. The regular buyers symbolize a frequent and secure blast of revenue to the company using the brand. Additionally, if customers are loyal, they may refuse purchasing an alternative brand no subject of its superior or more attractive characteristics leading to an elevated value of the brand. (Yasin et. al, 2007)

Some other aspects, such as patents and trademarks should be included to the brand collateral proportions, as well. Patents and trademarks are essential in creating brand collateral, though they do not directly influence consumers' purchase habit like the abovementioned factors. Patents and trademarks should be seen as precautionary measures of the brand. Their proper execution permits successful brands to develop in monetary terms without the risk of dropping value scheduled to vicious competition who may directly misuse with the brand ideas and images. (BriefLetter, 2011)

Brand's country-of-origin (COO) and brand image perception

It is a medically proven fact that consumers tend to build values and assessments of a product over time. Usually the perception of the overall brand image is determined by the COO of the brand. The COO factor is considered as extrinsic product cue. Consumers are thought to build different stereotypes in respect to the COO factor. Therefore, certain countries are identified in a much better fashion then others. Such stereotypes are straight translated to the brand image of a product. (Yasin et. al, 2007)

Nagashima (1970) is the first researcher who studies the condition in details. His defines the image consumers relate to the COO as:". . . the picture, the reputation, the stereotype that entrepreneurs and consumers put on products of a specific country. This image is established by factors such as representative products, nationwide characteristics, monetary and political qualifications, history, and traditions. " (Nagashima, 1970).

The COO effect on brand image and notion is studied by Maheswaran (1994), as well. The writer confirms the decisive role of the COO to brand understanding and says that the COO factor is mainly determined by the united states in which the product of interest is manufactured. Additionally, COO is used as a primary cue by consumers in analyzing services under several conditions and minimum consideration is directed at other product related traits. (Maheswaran, 1994) Furthermore, a solid relationship is found not only between COO and conception of the merchandise, but also between COO and the judgment of people residing in the given country. (Iyer & Kalita, 1997)

Hong and Wyer (1989) monitor, however, that the COO factors are significant and predominant only in the situations when consumers are able to sophisticated on them before decision making. Baughn and Yaprak (1993) research the same topic and conclude that the COO factor actually is perceived quite subjectively and the main driven in COO estimation is the ethnic details of the consumers. (Hong & Wyer, 1989; Baughn & Yaprak, 1993)

Papadoupoulos et. al (1993) declare that the product's COO belief is based on three key components, called "cognitions". The three components include knowledge about the precise products and brands, consumer "affects" motivated from the favorable/unfavorable frame of mind towards COO and their patterns regards to the actual purchase of the international brand. It is discovered that the "affect" factor is mainly psychological and in the majority of the cases it's the dominants factor and overshadow the logical factor in perceiving a foreign brand. (Papadoupoulos et. al, 1993) In addition, it's important to mention that the amount of mental bias varies greatly over countries. For instance, it's estimated that in the Western societies an optimistic bias towards home goods prevails, within the developing countries international brands are perceived as superior. (Bannister & Saunders, 1978)

It can be concluded that COO significantly affects the brand image understanding. This influence originates from the existing values and evaluations among consumers toward a given country and its own characteristics. By creating certain stereotypes in consumers' mind, the COO factor immediately affects the brand image understanding mainly through two different programs- brand organizations and brand perceived quality.



The following chapter seeks to clarify the study approach adopted in the process of responding to our main research question. The section is about to follow a well-determined technique. First of all, a look at the research idea that is applied in the dissertation will be lay out. Secondly, the decision of applying the case study approach is brought up and justified. Finally, the applied most important and supplementary research methods are discussed accordingly.

Philosophical Approaches

Social methodical research is based on the specific values of the researcher which eventually affects the choice of research methodology. The initial and the most important factor that drives researcher's choice is usually the question about the nature of reality. In interpreting the reality, however, a consensus does not are present. Two different medical streams: 1) positivists and 2) interpretivists are recommending completely opposing view items. (Bryman, 2004)

Positive procedure is one of the primary scientific strategies nowadays. It is the hottest one, as well. A couple of structured tools are applied when learning a given trend. In positive methodology a theory is tested in attempt to increase predictive understanding of the problem of interest. In general, positive studies are easily recognizable due to several common features. They use hypothesis tests, quantifiable options and pulling of inferences about the happening from a sample. (Orlikowski & Baroudi, 1991)

An exception of the abovementioned guidelines is the category of descriptive studies. In descriptive studies the researchers attempt no theoretical framework or interpretation of the phenomena. On the contrary, they present what's perceived to be always a direct romantic relationship between "factual" and "objective". Even the execution of descriptive information is often dismissed in the band of descriptive studies. (Orlikowski & Baroudi, 1991)

Interpretive procedure is the counter-response to positivism. In interpretive studies it is assumed that a universal truth does not can be found and observers build their own subjective meanings when they interact with the encompassing world. Interpretive studies reject the idea of "factual" and "target" actuality and seek for relativistic and flexible response to simple fact. (Orlikowski & Baroudi, 1991)

In the interpretive any endeavors for generalization are prevented. Instead, desire to is the understanding of the deeper framework of a happening. A key feature of the interpretive studies is the existence of non-deterministic perspective. Therefore, the objective of the study is to increase the understanding of confirmed phenomena within various contextual situations. In addition, it's important for the experts never to impose their outsiders' understanding and interpretation of the situation. (Orlikowski & Baroudi, 1991)

Case Analysis Approach

The case study approach has become an increasingly applied choice in sociable research which is the preferred choice for the next dissertation paper, as well.

As described by Stake: "Case study is not really a methodological choice but a choice of what's to be analyzed. By whatever methods, we choose to review the case. We could examine it analytically or holistically, entirely by repeated options or hermeneutically, naturally or culturally, and by blended methods - but we concentrate, at least for the moment, on the case" (Stake, 2003)

Therefore, the research study approach does not limit itself to a specific epistemological platform and allows the research to be adaptable when choosing the appropriate way the research is applied. Within this study, the chosen research study way will be guided mainly by the interpretive position.

There are three types of case study- intrinsic research study, instrumental research study and collective case study. The intrinsic case study approach is concerned with the intricacies of the individual case and there is no particular dependence on generalization predicated on the studies though it can be possible. The truth is perceived to offer unique insights to a particular occurrence that are appealing. On the other hand, the instrumental research study is not interested in the specifics of the very case. It mainly focuses how the case can be employed in wider phenomena. Therefore, generalization is wide-spread and often in the heart of attention. In collective case studies the same wisdom is applied but usually several case can be used when making the generalization. Often, many conditions on a specific phenomenon are used in order to create a mixture of insights on this trend that is examined. (Stake, 2003)

Research Methods and data collection

The following newspaper depends on two types of research strategy- main and supplementary. The descriptive and theoretical parts of the dissertation are designed utilizing the secondary approach. Information is collected from lots of options, including literature, journal articles, online resources, etc. Through the use of the extra research approach, it is possible to accumulate data in a relatively fast fashion and at low cost. This technique, however, has some weaknesses. One of these is inability of the researcher to control the in formation quality and consistency.

However, it is relied totally on the primary research strategy when addressing our main research question. To be more precise, a questionnaire is designed and delivered to two quite different places- India and the united kingdom. The questionnaire endeavors to adequately solve the topic of branding and its own effect on consumers' purchasing decisions. In order to be as objective as is possible a relatively huge sample of 303 respondents is chosen in both places, India and the UK. The following webpages reveal the composition of the questionnaire itself and the details of its design.

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