THE EFFECTS OF BRANDING ON GODFREY OKOYE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS’ PATRONAGE OF GSM SERVICE PROVIDERS

ABSTRACT
The study investigated the effects of branding on Godfrey Okoye University students’ patronage of GSM service providers.  It sought to find out the most patronized GSM network by students of Godfrey Okoye University Enugu. A descriptive survey research design was used in carrying out this research work with a population of 1600 students. A sample of 309 students were used for the study. The researcher used Taro Yamane formula in determining the sample size for the students. The questionnaire contained both open ended and closed ended questions to elicit responses that were analyzed. In analyzing the data, percentages and frequency tables were used based on the research questions and the hypotheses were tested using chi square. The findings of the study revealed that the most patronized GSM network service is MTN. It shows that a brand name of a GSM network differentiates it from others. The result also shows that brand name does not have effect on GSM network patronage. It was also revealed in the study that awareness on the image of a product, serves as a means of corporate communication. Reenergizing market position and bringing new vision, mission and values are some of the effects of branding on patronage. It recommends that to improve on the strength and the appeal of a brand to consumers, there is need for the enterprise’s name to symbolize the makers’ promise that consumers’ expectations will be fulfilled; since brand name that differentiates a product from another, there is need for GSM providers to adopt names that attract retailers and consumers.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study
The world is fast becoming a global village. Information, communication and mobile telephony will certainly make it practicable. Using mobile phones has become indispensable. Mobile phones are fast dramatically spreading to the remotest parts of the world (Friedrich, Grone, Holbling, & Peterson, (2009). Reportedly, by 2015, more than half of the world inhabitants are expected to be using mobile phones (World Telecommunication /ICT Development Report, 2010). What is evident is that Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) has been playing a significant and stimulating role to most nations’ economic development in the last few decades (Paul, Howard & Alexia, 2010). In Nigeria, with democratization and the inception of GSM in 2001, and with a growing population of about 160 million people and 78% subscribers Tele -density, the industry has increased from NITEL (or government monopoly) to a highly competitive market with market share spread of 46.19%, MTN; 26.87%, Glabacom; 24.74%, Zain (Celtel, now Airtel); 1.76%, Etisalat; and 0.44%, Mtel (NCC Report, 2009). More operators are expected to be licensed in the near future. GSM has contributed significant increase of 3% - 4% in 2009 to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), to technology transfer, and employment in Nigeria (Gabriela and Badii, 2010). It has also contributed indirectly to the correction of market inefficiency, transport substitution, risk aversion and social cohesion (Asheeta, Rowena, Subramanian & peter, 2008).
Currently, GSM operators have realized that retaining existing customers is as important as acquiring new ones (Coyles and Gokey, 2005). In view of this, operators now strive to determine what factors influence customer patronage. Though, the complicated interrelationship among key constructs; service quality, brand image, customer value, customer patronage, and satisfaction have not been fully uncovered and understood (Jones and Sasser, 1995), yet it has been found that in different countries unique factors play active role in influencing customer patronage and loyalty in mobile telecom markets (Gerpott, Rams & Schindler2001; Ahn, Hun & Lee, 2006; Ranaweera and Neely, 2003; Lee and Feick, 2001). Aside these key factors -service quality (Wan-Jin, 2009); brand image (Boohene and Agyapong, 2011) and customer value are significant factors influencing attitudes have been done but we cross-validate these three key significant constructs in an emerging viable market segment in Nigerian growth stage of GSM industry.
Many authors have defined the term ‘brand’, among these is the Oxford American Dictionary (1980) defines brand as a trade mark, goods of a particular make. Also the American marketing association who defined brand as any name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or combination of these that identifies the maker/seller of the product or service and differentiates it from competitors. Similarly, Kotler, Bouden & Jane, (2006) defined brand as image or perception about a particular product as reflected in a consumer’s memory.
The phenomenon of brand is less common in industrial market and is the side of technical product. The efficiency of branding is in its ability to coalesce the constellation of ideas and concept surrounding a product or service there by facilitating the communication process, this is generally termed the brand image and reflects at any point in time the overall status of users’ perception of a company offering.
In the United States the earliest brand promotion was the patient after the civil war, with growth in branding firm and national media and with some early brands such as, condensed milks, oat and luxury soap (Kotler and Keller, 2006). Interest in branding has been so dramatic that today in United States hardly anything is sold unbranded. Therefore brand names should be treated highly as an integral strategy to reinforce a product. It is the duties of companies to build a unique brand name that can be easily identified with a generic product. It is worth recognizing at this state that many companies fail in their product because it lacks a good brand name.
Branding is major issue in product strategy, it is expensive and time consuming. It can make or break a product; marketing program/communication creates brand awareness or image that is used to influence consumer behavior or patronage.In Nigeria, many organizations including GSM service provider embark on sponsorship and public enlightenment programmes in order to make their brand name known to consumers, MTN Foundation and Glo sponsorship of football premier league are laudable examples. Brand cues are not only created by marketing program or communication but through direct experience, brand information, word of mouth, channel members, country of origin and place, In short, everything that has to do with the touch point between the brand and the customers. Ideally, for an organization to achieve brand reputation it must have huge brand equity.
Brand equity is a phrase used in the marketing industry which describes the value of having a well-known brand name, based on the idea that the owner of a well-known brand name can generate more money from products with that brand name than from products with a less well-known name, as consumers believe that a product with a well-known name is better than products with less well-known names (Aaker, 1991; Keller, 2003 & Leuthesser, Kohil & Harich (1995). Brand equity is strategically crucial, but famously difficult to quantify. Many experts have developed tools to analyze this asset, but there is no universally accepted way to measure it. Some marketing researchers have concluded that brands are one of the most valuable assets a company has, as brand equity is one of the factors which can increase the financial value of a brand to the brand owner, although not the only one ( Belk, 1975 & Grannell, 2009). According to Keller (1993), elements that can be included in the valuation of brand equity include (but not limited to): changing market share, profit margins, consumer recognition of logos and other visual elements, brand language associations made by consumers, consumers' perceptions of quality and other relevant brand values. Brand equity is created through strategic investments in communication channels and market education and appreciates through economic growth in profit margins, market share, prestige value, and critical associations. Generally, these strategic investments appreciate over time to deliver a return on investment.
According to Neumeier, (2006) consumers' knowledge about a particular brand determines the extent of patronage. Customers’ patronage or consumption can be viewed as a way defining oneself and developing links with likeminded others (Holbrook, 1992; Belk 1975; Zeithaml and Bitner 2000), and of connecting with others within a broader social system. Schiffman and Kanuk (2009) identified factors that positively influence and impact on social affinity group as: task/situational characteristics, group characteristics and personal characteristics, information experience, credibility, attractiveness, and more importantly the Brand characteristics, and power of the reference group. Social affinity acts in benefiting social approval, customer referral, and positive word- of- mouth communication, social cohesion, and loyalty (Vela-McCobbekk 1997; Solomon, 2009). Importantly, all these translate to the bottom line financial benefits. It is argued that brand affinity consists of the following components: Anticipation (Loewenstein, 1987), Trust (Morgan and Hunt, 1994) Social Attraction (Hogg and Hains, 1996), Loyalty and Commitment (Keller, 2001) and these components mutually combine in their right mix to exert influence on the group patronage. Contrary to positive membership or aspirational reference group, also anti groups may also exert negative influence on consumer purchase behavior.
Every customer has some level of social relationships and these relationships influence his /her purchase behavior. The issue is does customer’s social value and affinity differs in influencing customer patronage? Studies have revealed that customer social affinity, attachment and level of brand community influence attitude to use and behavioral usage (Tombs and McColl-Kennedy, 2003; Macchiete and Roy, 1992). Holbrook (1992) study posited that customer bond and intimacy both with other customer and the brand itself positively correlates with attitudinal patronage and behavioral usage.

1.2 Statement of the Problem
The customer is as old as business. The sole purpose of every business is to “create customers.” The only economic and social justification for the existence of any business is to create customer satisfaction. The importance of the customer and customer patronage per se is so profound. There is need for greater understanding of the role played by the consumer in the market place and the influence processes underlying this behavior. A good branding strategy would lead to improved management decision rules and patronage by the customers. It can potentially reduce incentives for investment and innovation, and prevent new entry.
In the light of this intense competition presently in the industry, the major challenge confronting all the mobile operators in Nigeria is the determination and execution of various marketing initiatives by promoting a brand name that would not only lead to attraction of new subscribers, but also retention of the existing ones who would then become loyal customers. It appears that there is an increasing relationship between brand name adopted by GSM service providers and their effects on customer’s patronage. That is why this study is designed to investigate the effects of branding on Godfrey Okoye University students patronage of GSM service providers.

1.3 Objectives of the study
This study seeks to assess the popularity of GSM network among students of Godfrey Okoye University Enugu, as well as the underpinnings of that popularity. It is guided by the following specific objectives
i.    To determine the most patronized GSM network by students of Godfrey Okoye University Enugu.
ii.  To determine whether brand name differentiate a GSM network from others used by students of Godfrey Okoye University Enugu.
iii.              To ascertain if a brand name help in GSM network patronage by students of Godfrey Okoye University Enugu.
iv.              To find out the effect of branding on the patronage of telecommunication services by students of Godfrey Okoye University Enugu.

1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study
i.    Which is the most patronized GSM network by students of Godfrey Okoye University Enugu?
ii.  Does brand name differentiate a GSM network from others used by students of Godfrey Okoye University Enugu?
iii.              Does brand name help in GSM network patronage by students of Godfrey Okoye University Enugu?
iv.              What are the effects of branding on the patronage of telecommunication services by students of Godfrey Okoye University Enugu?

1.5 Research Hypotheses
Hypotheses are ideas, beliefs and assumptions for guiding in a reasonable decision or conclusion. The study is guided by the following hypothesis:
H1:    There is no significant relationship between company name and sales volumeof GSM services.
H2:    There is no significant relationship between brand image and sales volume of GSM services.
H3:    There is no significant relationship between corporate name and profitability of GSM service providers.
H4:    There is no significant relationship between brand image and Profitability of GSM service providers.

1.6 Significance of the Study
It is expected that the result of this research work would be useful to the following people: management of GSM service providers, similar organizations, customers, researchers and marketing practitioners in general. This work will help management of GSM service providers and similar organization in formulating policies which will improve their efficiency and lead to maximum satisfaction of their customers. This is because the application of the findings of this research in their establishments will encourage customers in the purchase of their products.
The findings of this work will no doubt add to the existing knowledge in the area of marketing. It will also acquaint customers with the prevailing branding strategies and also help them to understanding how variables such as quality, and perceived societal status can influence consumer buying behaviour.
This study will help the present marketing managers to better reposition their advertising strategy to capture the correct target market to boost the sales in times where economy are at a challenge.
It will also help researchers and readers of this work to obtain a precise picture of how various brand names affect the customers’ patronage and motivate them for further study on related area.

1.7 Scope of the Study
This research is delimited to Godfrey Okoye University Enugu. It is located at Thinkers’ Corner near Emene, Enugu.

1.8 Limitations of the Study
The following are shortcomings of the study.
 i.      There is a limited time to complete the study.
  ii.   Paucity of funds is another great challenge.
iii.   Some students were reluctant to participate in the study.

1.9 Definition of Terms
Brand Name: This is a name given to a product by the company that produces or sells it. It is a specialized mark used to distinguish products from each other.
Customer: A customer (sometimes known as a client, buyer, or purchaser) is the recipient of a goodserviceproduct, or idea, obtained from a sellervendor, or supplier for a monetary   or other valuable consideration. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Customer).
Patronage: This is customers or the financial support from customers or guests. It is the support or encouragement of a patron, as for an institution or causewww.yourdictionary.com › Dictionary Definitions

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Attribute: 65 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: N3,000  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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