Impacts of Brand Awareness on the Online Consumer Purchase Decision | Assignment Collections | assignmentcollections.com

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1.1 Introduction

Marketing conditions have been continuously changing, and brand management has gained a new role, which has become an integral part of holistic marketing and whose importance has risen than ever before. The situation on online and retail marketing demands that enterprises manage their brands in a way that is flexible to fit the desires of their customers (Sam, & Chatwin, 2015. The brand name has gained an important role, and it has become a powerful tool to uplift the economy of a given nation (Hibić & Poturak, 2016). Research shows that a brand name can influence the buying behavior of the targeted audience (Ahmad & Hashim, 2010). It is said to help consumers quickly choose their preference, especially during the busy routines of their day to day lives as they plan to shop online. Additionally, people have grown more informed. Hence, they are more conscious of the brand name, which serves as a challenge to companies as they consider creating their competitive advantage in a highly competitive environment. Their brands should reflect in their target audience’s minds if they are to influence them using the brand name.

As such brand awareness has been termed to be a powerful tool when it comes to influencing the purchasing decision of the consumers since when a consumer intends to buy anything, a brand name or image comes to their mind, and this shows that a particular company has loyalty from its customers (Hibić, & Poturak, 2016). When consumers have higher brand awareness, they tend to have more loyalty to that company, which shows a positive picture of the company in the market image. Companies have used different factors in search of building their brand and hence raise brand awareness to their customers. These factors include symbol design, name, or a mixture of the two, and these aids the customer identify with a particular product or brand. Additionally, brands contain a symbolic value that becomes of help to consumers as they choose their products, for it aids them choose the best that will meet their needs. People do not only go for the brand due to the design, but they also do so as they attempt to raise their self-esteem in society. Brand awareness is also identified to be a tool that saves time for the consumers since they do not have to go about looking for what will meet their needs.

Various studies have recognized the need for a business organization to understand the dynamics behind consumer purchase decisions if they are to use brand awareness as a tool for influencing consumer decisions (Bahl, & Kesharwani, 2018). Cultural differences have been termed as factors that affect the consumer purchase decision-making process. Hence, when organizations are building information on their brand to the people, they should consider cultural factors crucial for the organization’s performance.

The brand awareness factor of marketing has gained recognition among Asian consumers as they continue to shop online, and for the last ten years, brand awareness has increased significantly (Sayed, Chaturvedi, & Patel, 2015). Brand awareness has a positive impact, especially on companies that have chosen to use social media as a marketing tool to reach online consumers. Consumers have also been known to share their shopping experiences, and when a brand is well built, this helps it to spread to more consumers through a strategy known as word of mouth marketing (Bahl, & Kesharwani, 2018). Brand awareness has widely been researched across the years, but research on how brand awareness affects the Indian people has been limited, especially evaluating how it affects online consumers.  As a result, the following study seeks to explore how brand awareness affects the online decision-making process in India.

1.2 Problem statement

Cultural differences and brand awareness have been termed key factors that influence consumers’ decision to purchase a particular product or service globally. Cultural differences could hold restrictions on the intention of the customer to purchase, while brand awareness attracts them to buy particular products again and again. Hence, it is advised that business organizations, and especially the brand managers, consider cultural differences while developing their brand awareness to attract more consumers. However, there have been limited studies on brand awareness and cultural differences, especially in India, and how they affect online consumers’ purchase decisions.

1.3 Purpose of the study

The following study intends to explore how brand awareness and cultural differences positively or negatively impact online customers’ decision-making process.

1.4 Significance of the study

The following study intends to be a useful tool that will provide the needed knowledge to future related studies on impacts of brand awareness and cultural differences in the online customer purchase decision. The study will also be useful to organizations and especially the brand managers responsible for developing the brand image and brand name of their institutions in understanding how impactful brand awareness can be and necessary factors to consider when developing one. The study will also inform on knowledge present for the research on brand awareness.

1.5 Research aims and objectives

The following projects aim to identify the impacts of brand awareness and cultural differences on the consumer decision-making process in India.

Objectives

To identify how online consumers are affected by brand awareness in purchasing products and services.

To identify how males and females are affected differently by cultural differences and brand awareness into buying products and services.

To identify what makes online consumers abandon a particular brand and start buying from another brand.

1.6 Research questions

RQ1. What are the differences in the effect of brand awareness and the cultural differences in consumers from India between the ages of 18 – 40 and 41- 65 when making purchases online?

RQ2. What are the differences in the effect of online brand awareness and the cultural differences between male and female consumers in India?

1.7 Structure of the proposal

The following proposal will be presented in three chapters. Chapter one will entail the introduction to the topic, problem statement, the purpose of the proposal, significance of the research, and research questions. Chapter two will contain the literature review. Chapter three will entail the research philosophy, strategy, design, population and sampling, data analysis techniques, and finally, a discussion and conclusion.

2.1 Introduction

Research has shown that online shopping has escalated in India, especially over the last ten years (Kalia, Kaur, & Singh, 2018). This increase in online shopping has had researchers investigate what could be triggering the increase, and some of the factors that include brand awareness. India is a country that is huge in terms of size and also in terms of population. In addition, climatic difficulties have been prevalent in the country, a condition that leaves online business suitable for the country. The advancement of technology and the rise of smartphones have also contributed to the increase in online purchasing (Kalia, Kaur, & Singh, 2018). As a result, e-commerce has been noted to have a great impact on the Indian economy. The Indian government has also made a step in helping the increase in e-commerce. The government launched the “make” campaign that allowed multinational and local organizations to launch their factories in India (Kalia, Kaur, & Singh, 2018). The following literature review intends to expound on previous studies on the impact of brand awareness on online consumers’ purchase decisions and discuss studies related to the consumer decision-making process.

2.2 Brand awareness

There is a limited academic study on the impacts of brand awareness and cultural differences on online consumer purchase decision-making process.  However, academic research on how brand awareness and cultural differences affect consumer’s decisions in the west is plenty. When it comes to studying the brand, researchers have termed it to be a complex phenomenon, and they have noted that the brand has been in existence for centuries. A brand has been termed a symbol, name, design, term, sign, or a combination of all. It is used to identify the services and goods of a particular seller and differentiate them from the rest of the competitors (Ahmad & Hashim, 2010). When it comes to the organization, a brand helps set stability for the business, for it is said to guard the business against competitive imitation. Customers can shop with confidence in the world full of competition.

2.3 Consumer behavior

When a consumer decides on a particular brand all the time, the consumer is said to be loyal to the brand, and there is a possibility of continuity in the use of the brand as well as use word of mouth to refer their friends to the brand.  Cheung, & To, (2020) have termed consumer behavior as the process of decision and physical activity that a consumer gets involved in when evaluating, acquiring, disposing, or using services and goods. When it comes to the activities involved in marketing, the people involved are expected to understand the process and pattern of consumer behavior, which have been termed as critical (Bahl & Kesharwani, 2018). The understanding of the behavior is said to allow marketers to identify the behaviors of the customers, find ways to influence the behaviors, and finally manipulate the behavior into the consumer buying the product.

Marketing research that gives birth to researching consumer behaviors has been a result of growth in companies’ size. Consumer behavior has developed into a focal point of marketing (Cheung, & To, 2020). Organizations are researching widely on consumer behavior, and use the knowledge acquired do develop products and services that fit the perceptions of the consumers. Distribution of the products is done according to the consumer’s convenience, and advertising is undertaken to communicate to the consumers in an attempt to influence the consumer’s behavior in favor of the offers the organization has. Gensler, Völckner, Liu-Thompkins, & Wiertz (2013) ascertain that in the highly competitive environment, the failure of a business is risky and, thus, assessing the behavior of the consumers and their preferences are essential if an organization has to stay afloat amidst the high competitions.

In consumer behavior, two fundamental factors have been identified that are said to follow all disciplines of consumer behavior (Farhangi, Abaspour, Farahani, & Ghasemi, 2014). The factors are the environment and the behavior of the members of society, how they influence an individual, and viewing consumer behavior as a mental process (Allman, Hewett, & Kaur, 2019). As such, the buying behavior of the Indians can be said to be influenced by social, cultural, personal, and psychological aspects. Of the factors listed, cultural and psychological aspects play a significant role in influencing the consumer decision of the Indians (Makri, Papadas, & Schlegelmilch, 2019).

Among the factors that influence the behavior of the consumers, is social comparisons. Social comparison is when consumers discuss the price differences of products with their friends or family (Argo, & Dahl, 2020). Researchers have it that such comparison is a powerful tool that influences the behavior of the consumer. It can also have a positive or negative image of the company, depending on the experience that the narrator had. The consumer experiences lead to the development of an attitude towards the brand (Farhangi, Abaspour, Farahani, & Ghasemi, 2014). A consumer’s attitude towards a brand determines the behavior that the consumer will portray towards a particular brand and everything related to it. The consumer’s attitude is said to go hand in hand with the behavior that a consumer will reflect towards the brand and the product or service it represents. However, Akpan (2016) states that an attitude can change depending on experiences, situations, or specific collective actions, and this means the behavior of the consumer changes too. Despite this, accessibility and feasibility are said to have the ability to alter the consistency between behavior and attitude.

The concept of marketing has come about with the study on consumer behavior and which is a focal point when it comes to the effects of brand awareness on consumer behavior (Bahl, & Kesharwani, 2018). If an organization is to meet the need of its target consumers, they have to get the prior knowledge on activities carried out by a consumer and the knowledge on service and products preferred by the consumers based on their activities. In studying consumer behavior, all actions involved in consumer behavior such as buying, searching, evaluating, and disposing of products are essential to study (Cheung, & To, 2020). Businesses that desire to establish their activities in a competitive environment are advised to understand consumer behavior if they are to influence consumers’ behavior. As such, they can gain stability in the market and seek to improve their services and products to avoid altering the consumers’ attitude, which directly affects the consumer’s behavior towards a given brand (Ahmad, & Hashim, 2010).

2.4 How brand awareness impacts consumer purchase decision

When it comes to consumers, brand awareness has been said to have a significant impact on making a purchase decision. Brand awareness is also said to have a hand in shaping consumers’ cultural perceptions and patterns (Ahmad & Hashim, 2010). On the one hand, brand awareness influences consumer purchasing decisions while, on the other hand, it achieves a competitive advantage. Additionally, brand awareness is applied in the marketing process as a psychological technique to understand consumer’s attention to other brands. It explores what consumers intend to purchase and how effective brand awareness is in their purchase decision-making process.

Brand recognition is the extent to which a consumer recognizes or acknowledges a brand or product. Ahmad & Hashim (2010) noted that brand recognition occurs due to a consumer identifying a particular product due to brand awareness. As a result, consumers who identify with a product are very likely to purchase the product or service (Sam & Chatwin, 2015). Hence when the technique of brand awareness is applied correctly, the sales of an organization are likely to go up. On the other hand, brand awareness plays a great role in influencing the consumer purchasing decision-making process.

2.5 How cultural differences impact consumer purchase decision

When operating in international markets, it is advised to consider national cultures and how they differ if the consumer decision-making process is to be achieved (Farhangi, Abaspour, Farahani, & Ghasemi, 2014). Adapting cultural peculiarities plays a role in how the business will maximize effective communications. Understanding cultural differences is essential for the excellent performance of any organization. For instance, among Americans, using an informal business language is acceptable and never a big deal. However, among the Indians, the use of formal language is much appreciated (Sayed, Chaturvedi, & Patel, 2015). Also, how different countries identify with a particular thing may vary with another country. For instance, in the Netherlands, orange color signifies the royal family while in Egypt, the same color signifies mourning. Hence, when a business chooses a color to identify with, they should research how that color is perceived in that country, among other aspects of a business. Consumers are said to make their purchases based on their social structure that consists of their cultures. As such, brand awareness and cultural differences determine if a given product meets the consumer’s shopping needs.

3.1 Research philosophy

Research philosophy is defined as how information to a project topic will be collected, analyzed, and used. On the other hand, a research strategy refers to the step by step plan of actions that guides the researcher on how to systematically conduct their research and come to thorough results and report. Exploring what impacts brand awareness and cultural differences have on the consumer decision-making process calls for quantitative research for numerals are going to be used in plenty. When it comes to research philosophy, there is a positivism philosophy and interpretivism philosophy (Leatherdale, 2019). Interpretivism philosophy holds that reality can only be well understood through a subjective approach to obtain knowledge, views, and experiences of the social actors.

On the other hand, the positivism view suggests that reality or knowledge of a particular phenomenon exist objectively, and scientific methods are better used to examine it with no involvement of the researcher (Leatherdale, 2019). In this study, the researcher intends to find out how brand awareness and cultural differences influence the decision-making process of online consumers. As such, the use of the positivism philosophy would be effective for it would allow the researcher to measure the relationship between the consumer decision-making process and brand awareness and cultural differences giving reliable research findings.

3.2 Research design and strategy

Research is either qualitative, quantitative, or mixed, where both qualitative and quantitative methods are used (Leatherdale, 2019). The following research study intends to use quantitative methods to find how the consumer decision-making process is impacted by brand awareness and cultural differences. Quantitative research allows the relationship between the independent variable and the dependent variable to be measured precisely. It also provides an opportunity for testing the hypotheses. However, quantitative research does not give rich data when compared to qualitative research.

The nature of the research is usually used in determining the strategy to be employed by the researcher, and the two strategies are either descriptive or explanatory. The mains strategies used in research are case studies, surveys, action research, ethnography, and experiments. In business, surveys and case studies are more preferred. For the case of this research, explanatory research will be compatible with quantitative research. Additionally, surveys will be used to gather data, since they allow the collection of data from large population samples as well as manage to achieve sufficient generalization of findings.

3.4 Population sampling and data collection

Deciding how samples of research will be collected is a crucial step before embarking on any study. This is because the use of wrong data can lead to wrong results and, as such, endanger the research. A sample is defined as a finite part of a statistical population, and a researcher studies its properties aiming to gather information of the whole population (Leatherdale, 2019). Various techniques of doing sampling are present such as probability, known possibility, and unknown possibilities. Before deciding on a sampling, four main steps should be considered: the right population, the right sample frame, sample size, and sampling technique.

The population of interest in this study is the Indian population and how brand awareness impacts their online purchase decisions. As a result, the purposive sampling method would be effective for it would be seeking for online consumers and learning of what impacts their purchase decisions.

3.5 Research instruments

Research instruments are the tools used by the researcher to conduct the research. They include questionnaires, case studies, interviews, and surveys (Leatherdale, 2019). The following research intends to employ the use of telephone surveys, personal interviews, and emails.

3.6 Data collection and analysis

Statistical analysis tools are used when it comes to analyzing data from quantitative research methods. Excel spreadsheets are used to code in raw data, which is then transferred to IBM’s SPSS, a complex tool for statistical analysis.

3.7 Research ethics

Ethics have been defined as morals standards that a researcher considers during a study (Resnik, 2015). Ethics are essential in every activity that we undertake. In this study, the researcher is expected to follow the principles of ethics, such as the principle of justice, respect, and beneficence, for it involves a study on human subjects. In respect to this, the researcher is first expected to have permission from the school; this would be done to ensure that the research follows the required formality and legality. The researcher is also expected to maintain the confidentiality of his research and the subjects of the study. The researcher should also ensure that the data obtained from the respondent is not accessed by other people who could be ensured by protecting the data using encryptions and lock and key for physical data (Resnik, 2015). The researcher should not be involved in any form of violence with the respondents, whether physical emotional or psychological.

3.8 Discussion and conclusion

The following study will be trying to find out how brand awareness and cultural difference impacts on the consumer decision-making process of the Indian online customers. The study will have focus on online consumers and what leads them to make purchases, what keeps them from buying from a particular brand consistently and what makes them change from a particular seller to another one. Similar studies have not been dwelled on, especially in India. Various studies have explained that the rise of technology that has allowed ease of access to the internet is a major contributor to online purchases and the country’s poor climatic conditions. However, understanding whether brand awareness and cultural differences impact Indian online consumers’ consumer decisions is also essential, and this study seeks to explore that.

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