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Marketing Research

Table of Contents

Introduction.

1.1 Background.

1.2 Statement of the Research Problem.

Literature Review

2.1 Hypothese

2.2 Research Question.

Sampling.

Costs and Timing.

References.

1. Introduction to Community Relationship Management and Social Media

Business in the contemporary world is nothing like it was merely two and a half decades ago. The use of technology, social media platforms to widen a business’ outreach and ever-evolving marketing strategies are the factors which make businesses thrive today. Kopp (2019) has defined brand loyalty as a constructive association with which customers connect to a specific product or brand. The customers who display brand loyalty are loyal to a product or service, something that becomes evident by their repetitive buying in spite of the company’s competitors’ attempts to attract them. Shaw (2018) has defined brand loyalty as a pattern of the behaviour of consumers by way of which they tend to get devoted to a particular brand or product and buy it repeatedly over time. The present research is being conducted as an academic response to the ongoing CoViD-19 pandemic which has hit businesses the world over. This research proposal will discuss the factors which influence university students towards brand loyalty, especially in such adverse scenarios as these.

1.1 Background

This study is being conducted to discuss the factors which guide students in universities to buy the product or take the services of one particular brand over others. The university chosen for this research is the Macquarie University (MQU) in Sydney, Australia. Amidst the ensuing CoViD-19 pandemic, businesses all over the world are facing economic downturns and are not running successfully. It is a whole cycle. Due to the pandemic, people are afraid of stepping out of their homes and have even been directed by their respective governments not to. People whose earnings are dependent on going out of their homes like cab drivers, daily-wage earners, construction labourers and small shop owners among others, are unable to earn in these times. While they cannot earn, they cannot even buy a lot of essential and non-essential commodities, as a result of which businesses are being hit (The Indian Express, 2020). Balu (2020) has reported that Nike, Inc.- the sports footwear and sports apparel brand- is in a no different position. Its sales have gone down significantly over the past few months. Bain (2020) has remarked that Nike had not expected such a downturn. Its sales went down by 4% from June, 2020 as compared to the same period last year. Bhasin (2020) has reported that Nike will not be investing in its Goodyear, Arizona factory and will be winding down its operations there due to the losses it has incurred during the pandemic. The Arizona factory, it must be noted, is a modern plant for the company’s Nike Air shoe segment. It is as clear as day that Nike is facing cost-related and financial issues at its end and this study is crucial because it will contribute in understanding the role the decision-makers in the company can play to build on their existing loyal customer base and boost their sales.

1.2 Statement of the Research Problem

The statement of the research problem is “factors influencing university students towards brand loyalty”. This problem is important to answer because it gives solutions to two pertinent questions which decision-makers in big companies are always thinking about. The first question is about the different ways in which they can hold their loyal customers and not let their competitors sway them away. The second and the most recent question is about the different ways in which they can hold their loyal customers, especially during this time when CoViD-19 has hit all major and minor businesses worldwide. Answering these questions would give the decision-makers in big companies a chance to ensure the sales profitability of their business as well as giving best values to their customers while retaining them.

2. Literature Review of Community Relationship Management and Social Media

2.1 Hypotheses

Ang (2011) has remarked that managers in big organisations are still not clear as to how they should make use of social media to the benefit of their organisation. Time and again, they confuse customers with their online community members. Both are not the same. All online community members may not necessarily be the customers of the company. In this case, a Community Relationship Management (CoRM) platform would simplify this task as it would more accurately reflect people’s connections, conversations, creations and collaborations online. This will further the company’s aim of retaining loyal customers and boosting its sales. Suki and Sasmita (2015) have pointed out that the awareness of a brand chiefly influences brand equity between young consumers like university students. Social media furnishes these young consumers with inputs and awareness about a particular brand, its products and services. They instantly form an image of the product in their minds and can easily distinguish and compare it with other competing products online. Thus, social media marketing forms an indispensable part of any organisation’s marketing strategy. Lau, et al. (2006) have highlighted that the name of a brand, its style and promotion strategies are the key factors which can differentiate amongst hardcore loyal buyers and switchers. The name of a brand and its style have a profound effect on the brand loyalty of hardcore loyal buyers, whereas promotion affects the buying practices of brand switchers. What is to be noted is that the quality of the product still remains the main aspect on which both loyal customers and switchers base their purchases on. Su and Chang (2018) had hypothesized in their research that customers’ ideas of fashion, brand awareness, perception of quality and brand personality, its associations and its uniqueness affect brand loyalty among college-going students. The results of the research indicated that brand awareness, perception of value or shopping value, organisational associations and the uniqueness of the brand are indeed factors which ensure brand loyalty among the young customers. Jun, et al. (2010) have discovered a cyclical chain of marketing, sales and response in the fashion clothing industry. Fashion and clothing involvement have been seen to influence innovativeness in fashion, which in turn has been seen to influence impulsive buying and enhancing brand loyalty. The outcome of attaining brand loyalty by a company is that it seeks to involve more and more people in its style of fashion and clothing by engaging more into innovation. Balakrishnan, et al. (2014) have concluded in their research that online marketing activities, online communities and advertisements become successful factors in fostering brand loyalty and purchasing intentions among the young consumers today, especially the technology savvy Generation Y. Their findings also suggest that social media marketing is a wonderful and fast way of reaching out to these younger generation of customers. Phau and Cheong (2009) have highlighted that an indistinguishable product quality and brand image assessment result is obtained when comparisons are made between sub-brands and nested brands from different countries and the parent brand. These sub-brands and nested brands are considered as alternatives to the opulent parent brand by the brand-loyal customers. Moreover, there were no differences identified between high- and low-involvement fashion products. Gözükara and Çolakoğlu (2016) have remarked that people belonging to the same generation have similar preferences, tastes, attitudes and behaviours. Generation Y is one of the largest customer segments and must be catered to by organisational managers and marketers because this generation has a huge attraction towards technology, innovation and adventure. To build long-term relationships with consumers in Generation Y, companies have to win their trust. This can happen through brand innovativeness. Once the trust is developed, they will prefer being loyal to the brand they trust. Bergkvist and Bech-Larsen (2010) have identified brand love as a new marketing theory. It has considerable impacts on brand loyalty and word-of-mouth. Brand identification and sense of community help in building brand love. Brand love then goes on to constructively impact brand loyalty and active engagement. Quester and Lim (2003) had studied the relationship between product involvement and brand loyalty. They chose two different commodities, viz., sneakers and pens to conduct their study. They discovered that the relationship between both the factors in relation to both the products involved taking into account different facets of product involvement. As a result of their research, they had cautioned future researchers in the field to not consider product involvement and brand loyalty as universal ideas and that they should be studied taking into account particular consumer and commodity parameters.

2.2 Research Question

The research question for this research is illustrated as follows.

  • Which factors influence university students towards brand loyalty?
  • What is the role of social media marketing and advertising in building brand loyalty among Generation Y consumers?
  • How do brand innovativeness and brand uniqueness ensure brand loyalty?
  • How do product quality and shopping value build young consumers’ trust on a brand?

3. Sampling

The dependent variable in this research is brand loyalty. The independent variables are social media marketing and advertising, product quality, brand uniqueness, perception of value, brand innovation and trust. Social media marketing and advertising activities will be measured through the number of people clicking on online ads and visiting the company’s website. Product quality will be measured through its ranking in the list of similar products of the competitors. Brand uniqueness will be measured through questionnaires which will be distributed to the consumers to fill out. Perception of value will also be measured through questionnaires. Brand innovation and trust will be measured through analysing the growth rate of customers and increase in sales. The data collection for this research will be done through surveys. This research study is of a mixed type using both quantitative and qualitative approaches of study and the population used in this research will be students of the Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. They will be both female and male students between the ages of 20 to 25. There is a need of at least 200 respondents to comply with discipline rules. The sample would be accessed through online platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook. The best method to select the sample would be going through their social media profiles and sending the questionnaire to them in the form of Google Docs if they fall in the aforementioned age category. The data collection method would be to record the Google Docs responses which are received.

4. Costs and Timing

Budget:

Activity

Expense

Designing the questionnaire

A$1

Internet Charges

A$54

Data Collection and Analysis

A$15

Concluding the Research

A$30

-

Total= A$100

Timeline:

Days

Tasks

1

2-17

18-25

26-30

Designing the questionnaire

       

Sending out the questionnaire to the population

       

Receiving responses

       

Collecting and analysing the data

       

Concluding the research with results

       

5. References for Community Relationship Management and Social Media

Ang, L. (2011). Community relationship management and social media. Journal of Database Marketing & Customer Strategy Management18(1), 31-38. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/dbm.2011.3

Bain, M. (2020). Even a retail powerhouse like Nike was no match for CoViD-19. Retrieved, September 11, 2020, from: https://qz.com/1874014/sales-at-normally-resilient-nike-plunged-due-to-covid-19/

Balakrishnan, B. K., Dahnil, M. I., & Yi, W. J. (2014). The impact of social media marketing medium toward purchase intention and brand loyalty among generation Y. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences148, 177-185. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.07.032

Balu, N. (2020). Nike posts surprise loss as CoViD-19 hits wholesale business. Retrieved, September 11, 2020, from: https://in.reuters.com/article/nike-results/nike-posts-surprise-loss-as-covid-19-hits-wholesale-business-idINKBN23X0H4

Bergkvist, L., & Bech-Larsen, T. (2010). Two studies of consequences and actionable antecedents of brand love. Journal of brand management17(7), 504-518. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/bm.2010.6

Bhasin, K. (2020). Nike to wind down operations at Arizona factory, citing CoViD-19. Retrieved, September 11, 2020, from: https://www.bloombergquint.com/onweb/nike-to-wind-down-operations-at-arizona-factory-citing-covid-19

Gözükara, İ., & Çolakoğlu, N. (2016). A research on generation Y students: Brand innovation, brand trust and brand loyalty. International Journal of Business Management and Economic Research7(2), 603-611.

Jun, D. G., Choo, H. J., & Kim, H. S. (2010). A study on the clothing involvement, fashion innovativeness, impulsive buying, and brand loyalty of male university students. Journal of the Korean Society of Clothing and Textiles34(3), 424-436. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5850/JKSCT.2010.34.3.424

Kopp, C. M. (2019). Brand loyalty. Retrieved, September 10, 2020, from: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/brand-loyalty.asp

Lau, M. M., Chang, M. T., Moon, K. L., & Liu, W. S. (2006). The brand loyalty of sportswear in Hong Kong. Journal of Textile and Apparel, technology and management, 5(1). Retrieved, September 11, 2020, from: http://ira.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/10397/7716

Phau, I., & Cheong, E. (2009). How young adult consumers evaluate diffusion brands: effects of brand loyalty and status consumption. Journal of International Consumer Marketing21(2), 109-123. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/08961530802153185

Quester, P., & Lim, A. L. (2003). Product involvement/brand loyalty: is there a link?. Journal of product & brand management, 12(1), 22-38. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/10610420310463117

Shaw, A. A. (2018). Brand loyalty definition and examples. Retrieved, September 10, 2020, from: https://www.marketingtutor.net/what-is-brand-loyalty/

Su, J., & Chang, A. (2018). Factors affecting college students’ brand loyalty toward fast fashion. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 46(1), 90-107. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJRDM-01-2016-0015

Suki, J. S. N. M., & Sasmita, J. (2015). Young consumers’ insights on brand equity: Effects of brand association, brand loyalty, brand awareness, and brand image. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management43(3), 276-292. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJRDM-02-2014-0024

The Indian Express. (2020). Explained: How CoViD-19 has affected the global economy. Retrieved, September 10, 2020, from: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-how-has-covid-19-affected-the-global-economy-6410494/

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