Today, company′s real value lies outside the business itself, in the minds of potential buyers (Kapferer, 2002). This is reflected in the value of brands, which are the anchors of company’s value. Products are introduced, they live and disappear but brands endure (Kapferer, 2002). The term ``brand’’ holds multiple meanings. According to John Murphy, founder of Interbrand (Ingham, 2003), a brand is not only an actual product, but also the unique property of a specific owner. Brands are increasingly considered to be the primary capital in many businesses. The brand is “a name, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended for the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers to differentiate them from other sellers competitively” (Kevin & Keller 2006). Brand facilitates customers to cater their needs in the best possible way, having a perfect confidence in the quality of the product as they had relied on that particular product before. In addition, it is expected that this practice will increase the chances of repeat purchase. If people become loyal to a brand it is surely a great advantage for a company. For example, a repeat purchase relates to the fact, that the company has done something good with its consumers, therefore that holds them to stick with a brand.
Financial professionals have developed the notion that a brand has an equity which exceeds its conventional asset value. Therefore, the phenomenon of brand and brand equity valuation became the centre of interest of both academic and business experts. The main issues are how a company can build, nurture and use a brand in order to obtain and sustain the competitive advantage in the marketplace. Brand equity is a measure of the health of the brand. Thus, it can be used for marketing decision-making. In addition, brand equity cannot be viewed only from the companies’ perspective, but one must be concerned with the way customers perceive product or service brands. In the marketing literature, operationalisation of consumer-based brand equity usually falls into two groups (Cobb-Walgren et al., 2005, Yoo and Donthu, 2001): consumer perception (brand awareness, brand associations, perceived quality) and consumer behaviour (brand loyalty, willingness to pay a high price). The key sources of brand equity suggested by Aaker (2001) incorporate both perceptual and behavioural dimensions in the definition, whereas Lassar et al. (2005) strictly distinguish the perceptual dimension from the behavioural dimension, so that behaviour is a consequence of brand equity rather than the brand itself.
1.2 Statement of the Problems
Beverage firms are playing an important role in the economy of every country. As the beverage industry is growing faster and it is also expected that future growth June be higher than present. Therefore, it presents to the marketers some opportunities and threats. As far as opportunities are concerned, in growing industry firms have chances to increase their market shares. But this rewarding opening is also with some threats as this June attract many other local, national and international firms jump into that business. Therefore, in order to maintain their competitive position firms have to work on their brand loyalties. As these are low involvement products, therefore consumers June switch to other brands more often. Thus, marketers and brand managers need to be more interested in knowing about the antecedents of brand loyalty in Port Harcourt market.
The determinants of brand loyalty cannot be consistent in developing and developed economies. Some of the manufacturing firms, especially the food and beverage companies that are still in business and are listed in Nigeria stock exchange find it difficult pay dividend to their shareholders. Notable example include Champion Breweries which has not paid dividend since1988, Golden Breweries has not paid since 1997 (salandeen, 2001). Some Nigeria workers were forcefully disengaged from their services, example Ajaokuta steel industry reduced their staff from five thousand to one thousand in 2007, despite the above scenario, the companies post huge figures of their accounts receivables. It is as a result of the above problem that the researchers deemed it necessary to examine the effect of receivables management on corporate profitability of food and beverages manufacturing firms quoted on the Nigerian stock exchange. Substantial research has been done to analyze a brand loyalty for various categories of products and services around the globe. As, Nguyen, Barrett and miller (2010) found that due to dissimilarity in developing and developed markets, to manage international brands in emerging markets and to design loyalty programs, and to understand those markets is necessary for global companies.
Therefore, it is necessary to probe out different antecedents of brand loyalty and their significance. Growth in the beverage industry and customer loyalty to the firm is imperative to be learned. Firms can be possibly taking advantage of growth if their managers are able to formulate strategies to keep their customers and encourage them for repeat purchases, thus makes them loyal (Porter, 2008; Nwokah, 2008). Therefore, working on brand loyalty can be helpful for many firms. Due to the importance of brand loyalty for the competitive advantage of different companies, this study explicitly investigates the determinants of brand loyalty in the context of beverage Firm in Port Harcourt.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to examine Brand Equity and Marketing Performance of Beverage firms in Port Harcourt. The specific objectives of the study are to:
1) To examine the relationship between Brand Awareness and marketing Performance of beverage firms in Port Harcourt.
2) To examine the relationship between Brand Loyalty and marketing Performance of beverage firms in Port Harcourt.
3) To examine the relationship between Brand Associations and marketing Performance of beverage firms in Port Harcourt.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions will guide the study.
1) How does Brand Awareness affect marketing Performance of beverage firms in Port Harcourt?
2) How does Brand Loyalty affect marketing Performance of beverage firms in Port Harcourt?
3) How does Brand Associations affect marketing Performance of beverage firms in Port Harcourt?
The following hypothesis will be used in guiding the analysis of our findings:
Ho1. There is no significant relationship between Brand Awareness and Market Share.
Ho2. There is no significant relationship between Brand Awareness and Sales Growth.
Ho3. There is no significant relationship between Brand Loyalty and Market Share.
Ho4. There is no significant relationship between Brand Loyalty and Sales Growth.
H05. There is no significant relationship between Brand Associations and Market Share.
H06. There is no significant relationship between Brand Associations and Sales Growth.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The studies will a source of secondary data to other researchers who wish to conduct studies on related issues. It will again act as mainstream for generating, keeping and maintaining customers. The research will also provide the management of Beverages in Nigeria with a better understanding of the CRM concept and assisted them to improve their own service quality. The study will also serve as a useful reference material for students, academicians, institutions, corporate bodies and corporate managers who are interested in the subject of Beverages in Nigeria.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The general scope of this study covers Brand Equity and Marketing Performance of Beverage firms in Port Harcourt. The geographical scope is Rivers State of Nigeria. The units of analysis cover Beverages Industry in Rivers State.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Brand Equity: brand equity is defined as the incremental cash flows which accrue to branded products over unbranded products.
Brand Loyalty: Aaker (1991) defines brand loyalty as ‘the attachment that a customer has to a brand’.
Brand Associations: Brand associations are mostly grouped into a product-related attribute like brand performance and non product related attributes like brand personality and organizational associations.
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