People in the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) region and around the world have great respect for their status. As such, they love to use branded products as their identities. Branding is an important factor that enables the customers to make informed decisions on the types of goods that they buy. Most buyers identify themselves with a particular brand of product through a proper branding awareness. In this regard, sellers ought to be more concerned on how to effectively market their brands to their customers. Today, a lot of companies in GCC are using online shopping as a way of increasing their sales (Brosdahl & Almousa, 2013). However, lack of branding awareness makes customers indecisive on what to buy. Specifically, the lack of proper communication denies the customers a chance to know and eventually enjoy certain products as well as lessen the profit margins for the sellers.
Effective communications is concerned with the proper transmission of information from the source (sender) to the recipient. In online shopping, the sender is the marketing company while the recipients are the customers. Indeed, there must be proper communication for the customers to be convinced by the selling company of their brands. In this regard, comprehensive branding awareness comes into play. Customers who are well informed are likely to buy more goods than those with little or insufficient information about a product. This study, therefore, aims to articulate how effective communication has boosted branding awareness in online shopping. Further, it will seek to show how that effective branding awareness influence how customers purchase certain brand products. Additionally, the research will discuss how online shopping can benefit from the proper use of the communication techniques.
A number of theories have been developed by different scholars on how branding affects the power of the customers to purchase products. De Chernatony et al. (2010) explained that, branding is a powerful tool in forging a customer relationship. This relationship is more sustainable and profitable compared to other regular unbranded products. Further, effective communication on brands enables customers to develop a stimulus from where they can relate, recognize and recall certain brands. As such, effective communication strategies that can be employed by companies to increase brand awareness include advertising and promotion. These strategies are important in online shopping because customers will be able to view the advertised goods at their own convenience.
Farris et al (2010) argues that the cognitive purchase decisions made by customers are significantly influenced by the brand image and its level of awareness in the target market. Online market brands that have a higher level of awareness and brand image to the consumers, are likely to be purchased on a repetitive basis. Further, the media based advertisement can be innovatively employed by businesses to introduce products to the market and make a more personal attachment with the consumers, as well as reduce the cost of advertising.
Brand loyalty is another theory that has been advanced to explain the effects of brand awareness. In this regard Ou et al (2011), explains brand loyalty as an inferred promise that customers will continue to purchase the solicitous goods. This loyalty can be enhanced by expanding the customers motivation through proper communication. This will involve singling out of the specific needs of a particular customer, and effectively explaining how a particular brand can be helpful and essential.
When a sender transmits a message, he not only wants the message to be delivered but also delivered clearly and directly. According to Brown (2015), the importance of communication is the understanding of the communicating parties. If the sender and the recipient do not understand either of their messages, then communication cannot be inferred. In this regard, effective communication requires that the recipient receives and understands the transmitted information in the way and manner that the sender intended. Effective communication is composed of encoding and decoding of information. Encoding is the relaying of the information in a clear and direct manner. This enables the recipient to decode the message back to the sender. Decoding requires that the receiver properly hears, understands and decodes the message. The online shoppers are the decoders of the information that is send by the vendors, who in this case are the encoders.
For them to get a better understanding of the products that are offered online by a particular company, online shoppers must get the information from the vendors in a clear and direct manner. This can be reflected on how they are going to respond to the products that are offered. If they respond by buying many products that means that the information that was communicated to them was understandable. Likewise, if they respond by not buying the commodities then an inference might as well be made that the communication between them and the vendors of the products was ineffective. This branding awareness is however, a task that can only be achieved through proper dissemination of information between the sellers, marketers and the buyer. If there is communication breakdown in any of the three, the awareness will more likely be negatively affected (Priyanka, 2012).
According to Heding et al. (2009), a brand is the tagging of a commodity. This tagging includes placing a name, term, sign, signal, symbol or a combination of any of them with an intention of making the identification of that particular product. This is done so as to differentiate it from those similar products and services offered by the other companies. Nowadays, branding is important in influencing the decision of a customer to purchase a particular product (Kathuria and Jit, 2009). In order for products to survive and attract the attention of most customers in the competitive market, they must have distinct and unique characteristics. According to Christiansen et al. (2009), branding eliminates the probability of the product being copied by similar products.
One of the main goals of effective communication in branding awareness is to generate, attract and maintain customer loyalty. The online shoppers identify themselves with a particular brand because of its uniqueness with regard to similar products in the market (Rafi et al., 2011). Additionally, branding differentiates a product from similar products that serve the same need. The following diagram reflects the characteristics of an effective communication in branding.
Easy to find
Up to date
Information characteristics (source; Chaffey et al., 2006)
Brand awareness involves the cognitive aspects of customers which can lead them to preferring one product over the other. Generally, online shoppers tend to buy branded products because they think that the products of a superior quality than the others. Additionally, customers are aware of a certain brand when they identify with certain characteristics of that certain brand. These features include guarantee, social and personal identification as well as the status symbol of the particular product. It helps the marketers consider the brand as a promise that in future the product will remain the same and that the sales will be enhanced over a certain period of time.
Branding awareness is of very great significance to the sellers and buyers a well. In this regard, it helps the buyers have a sense of identity and pride. As for online shoppers of the GCC region who are the buyers, it enables them to experience goods of a proven quality and standard. In this regard, the shoppers are able to maintain a particular standard and identification by associating with a particular product/service. The sellers are able to make increased outputs since most of the customers who are fond of a particular brand are likely to purchase it over a period of time. Additionally, the customers tell their friends who form part of the buying crew.
Customer Purchase Behavior
This alludes to the attitude that the customers have towards a particular product. More specifically, it refers to the number of goods and services that customers are able to buy over a particular period of time. Generally, customers with much branding awareness are likely to be fond of a particular brand than those who are not. Additionally, the number of products and services that they purchase is directly proportional to the amount of information that they have about a certain product/service. As such, the importance of branding awareness in determining the customer purchase behavior is profound.
This customer behavior is very important for the sellers of the products and services. With good and positive purchasing behavior, customers give the sellers a lot of profit due to increased sales. However, the negativity of the purchase behavior is a catastrophe to the sellers since the amount of sales and profits that sellers make goes down marginally. It is important to note that these behaviors are mostly controlled by how the sellers use their communication skills to convey information to the buyers. This information if conveyed well pays off well by earning them considerable profits. Additionally, the shoppers will be able to introduce their other buyers to that particular brand of product which they trust in.
Research Method and Design
Research methods are deductive, inductive or adductive. The deductive research method tests the hypothesis against the proven reality. Afterwards, the hypothesis is either partly verified or nullified. These methods are, however, qualitative. This research will employ the inductive methods which are quantitative in nature. The inductive methods are concerned with the empirical findings. Afterwards, the inductive approaches look for any laws, theories or generalizations that can be employed to describe the findings. The effects of the branding awareness on the purchase behaviors on online shopping will be analyzed based on the findings of data received from surveys and questionnaires. These surveys will be done on online shoppers who at one point were made aware of the brand effectively or ineffectively.
This research will be based on primary and secondary data obtained from various sources. In this regard, the primary data will be collected using communication with the effective utilization of surveys. These surveys will be based on the online shoppers in the GCC region. Additionally, questionnaires will be distributed by mail since the research is about the attitudes, intentions and personal purchasing behaviors of customers. Secondary methods such as books, articles and journals will be used to interpret and expound on the results obtained from the surveys and questionnaires. The library and other websites will be essential in obtaining the secondary data.
Pertaining to the designs, the questionnaires will be self-designed and issued to the online s...
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