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A research work done on the UK mobile market

A research work done on the UK mobile market

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  • 1. EXPLORING THE ROLE OF COMPETITIVE POSITIONING IN STRATEGIC BRAND MANAGEMENT IN THE UK MOBILE PHONE MARKET
  • 2. 1 Chapter 1 Introduction 1.0 Introduction the topic: As opined by Aaker (2011), competitive positioning indicates the image created by a brand in people's mind to get the customer attraction over other competitors. On the other hand, Berger, (2008) argued that competitive positioning is done by a company to spread the awareness of providing best product or services in terms of various factors like: quality, price, etc. than the other competitors.Competitive positioning determines what sets the product, service and the company apart from the rest of the players in the market. It also states the kind of value that the company provides and the manner in which it is different from that of the competitors. Defining what differentiates the product or service of the company and how the company strives to create value for the market is the main objective of competitive positioning. Barone et al. (2007) stated that the competitive positioning strategy of a company comprises of market profile, segments of the customer base, competitive analysis proposition of value and the positioning strategy of the company. For a company, it is very important to display their product or service to get positive influence on customers than the other competitors to grab the market. In that way, the company can create the attraction of customers which can lead to competitive advantage. However, Chadha and Husband (2006) have argued that competitive positioning process is not so easy or just a click away job. The company has to concentrate on various sides like: their loyalty towards the consumers in terms of quality, price, deliver value, customer satisfaction etc. Then it can produce best result to stay in consumers mind.This eliminates the position wherein companies have to compete solely on the basis of price which cannot be sustained over the long run (Berger, 2008). In the words of Aaker, D.A. (2011), competitive positioning plays a vital role in strategic brand management. The main aim of strategic brand management is to create and sustain the development of a brand. The marketing mix elements are assembled together to give the product an identity. One of the essential elements of strategic brand management is competitive positioning. Barone et al. (2007) have opined that the positioning strategy needs form in a creative way that the brand can stay impact on consumer’s decision making process. Once it able to create impression on its customers the profitability for that company has engaged for long time until other company create more effective strategy.
  • 3. 2 1.1 Aim and Objectives The study mainly concentrating on to explore the role of competitive positioning in Strategic Brand Management with specific reference to the UK mobile phone market. Objectives The objective of the research is highlighted as follows: • To analyse the essence of Strategic Brand Management for building brand equity. 1.2 Research Questions • What is the role of Strategic Brand Management in the brand building process? • What benefits does a company derive through the competitive positioning strategy of a brand? • What are the main factors affecting the dynamics of the UK mobile phone market? • Why competitive positioning is considered to be an important part of strategic brand management? 1.3 Hypothesis H1: Competitive positioning plays a vital role in Strategic Brand Management H0: Competitive positioning does not play a vital role in Strategic Brand Management 1.4 Background of the study In the current competitive business scenario the market is organic in nature and continuously evolves over a period of time. To stay in sync with the ever evolving market, companies should adopt strategic brand management. Consumers today prefer to buy only branded products and services. The companies thus have to continuously manage their brand so that the brand is considered to be attractive, reliable and affordable to the customers (Dacin and Smith, 2007). Strategic brand management has thus become an imperative part of the whole marketing strategy. Competitive positioning helps the company to refurbish the brand in such a manner that consumers consider it to be something unique when compared to the products of the same category. The real strength of a brand can be
  • 4. 3 measured through competitive positioning. How the consumers judge the products and services of the company with respect to that of its competitors can be measured through competitive positioning (Dahlén et al. 2010). In times of economic recession, a strong competitive positioning helps the company to avoid disaster. Without a proper competitive positioning strategy the strategic brand management process of the company does not yield good results. The UK mobile phone market has been taken into consideration through which the researcher will evaluate the impact of competitive positioning in terms of strategic brand management. As per the observation of Azoulay and Kapferer (2008), it can be said that cell phone market is influenced by high brand switching behaviour. In this kind of situation it is very essential for companies to adopt competitive positioning strategy. It will lead the company to get customer response towards the brand. It not only helps a company to increase sales of their product or service but also to build brand equality. 1.5 Rationale of the study Temporal (2011) has stated that cell phone business is amongst the fastest growing business around the globe.The technologies that have been used in mobile phones, innovation, add on features made this business to grow more.On the other hand, Apéria and Georgson, (2011) mentioned that competitive price and customers constantly switching brands has made it challenging for mobile phone companies to position their respective brands strategically and earn competitive advantage. Mobile phone firms and service providers are competing in advanced technology in the communication sector, thereby offering affordable mobile phones at lower service costs. Aaker (2011) has mentioned that mobile phone market is very much competency and challenging due to various competitors. The companies provide same product and services but it comes with different quality aspect and features.With great combination of technology cell phones has made up in such a way which can be used for many reasons. Due to its usefulness people prefer it more and more. It becomes necessary for people because of its multipurpose uses Mobile phones are not only used as a medium of communication but also known for add on features like camera, games, Mp3, net surfling, 3G etc that determine the buying pattern of these devices. In this context, growing number of mobile brands has made it challenging for the mobile companies to erect barriers against strong competitors. Hence, positioning a particular brand in a competitive manner to retain existing customers and acquire potential ones becomes necessary. In the mobile device market, it is also challenging for companies
  • 5. 4 to formulate correct and tactical strategies to maintain the strength of competitive positioning and manage their brand effectively. The study is justified as it identifies the issues relating to competitive positioning and how it impacts brand management in the current competitive U.K. mobile market. 1.6 Background of the UK mobile phone market The mobile phone market of the UK is one of the best in the world which offers nationwide coverage for both 2G and 3G networks. Adding more value to consumers, it introduces 4G also. The service providers offer innovative services and the companies provide its services to both price sensitive consumers as well as high end consumers who are ready to pay a premium for superior services. There are lots of good service providers in UK cell phone market like: like Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin Media, Talk Mobile etc. The UK cell phone market is combined various businesses such as manufacturers, network operators, service providers and mobile virtual network operators and dealers etc. These all builds the framework of UK mobile phone industry. [Available from: http://www.mobilesquared.co.uk/pdfs/mobile_market_trends_uk.pdf, 30 July 2012]. Companies like Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, etc. are in the business of manufacturing handsets and accessories and supply phones to network operators, indirect service providers and dealers. The network operators are the owners of airtime and they distribute this airtime to the different service providers with whom they have tie up with (Yoo and Donthu, 2006). These network operators also sell the airtime to the mobile virtual network operators and even sell complete packages to the customers directly. The service providers take the responsibility for network connection, billing of the customers and dealer management. The services providers tie up with a network provider and exclusively cater to the network they tie up with. Some service providers work independently to sell handsets, accessories and rental contracts to the dealers or even to the customers directly (Temporal, 2011). The service providers who work independently work over the phone or online rather than through retail outlets. The billing function and customer service are provided to the customers by the independent service providers. These service providers buy airtime from the network operators and handsets and other accessories from the manufacturers and set their own rates for selling them. The dealers have their own retail outlets and sell handsets, accessories and network connections through these outlets (Simon and Sullivan, 2007). The UK mobile phone industry is characterised by a high level of rivalry among the different players. This is so because the network operators and manufacturers strive to differentiate themselves from the others in order to attract new customers. This intense competition has
  • 6. 5 led to reduction in price, incentives to customers and increase in advertising costs. The network operating companies recognise the need to retain customers by reducing the customer switching between networks. The buying power of the service providers in the industry is more than the buying power of the dealers. Due to the presence of a large number of players, the bargaining power of the customers is high for the industry. The bargaining power of suppliers varied from supplier to supplier. Some of the manufacturers posed a threat to the network operators due to their wish for forward integration (Sharma et al. 2008). A big role is played by the UK government in promoting the growth of the mobile phone market. This is done by increasing competition by issuing licenses to operators. There is a threat of substitutes for the mobile phone industry as high price can make consumers to switch over to fixed line alternative. Moreover, other communication media like the internet, fax and pagers also pose a threat to this industry because the usage rate is less for these services. The threat of new entrants is low for this industry as there are high entry barriers. The main barrier to entry is high entry cost and the mandatory requirement of an operator’s license. 1.7Organisation of the study (Outline of each chapter) Chapter 1:It introduces readers with the topic of study followed by research aim, objectives and research questions. Background of the study has been provided along with rationale that provides justification behind the selected topic. A brief synopsis of the UK mobile phone market has been outlined as well. Chapter 2:Literature review supports the research with relevant theories, models, concepts and discourses obtained from books, journals, articles and websites. Chapter 3:This chapter will contain the research methodology which deals with research approach, research philosophy, research onion, data collection method, research design and research methods as well as ethical issues etc. Chapter 4: data analysis and findings practically solve the research questions by collecting relevant data and information. Obtained data is tabulated and explained in the form of graphs and charts with extensive use of SPSS. Chapter 5:In this chapter the final outcome is judged through comparing the result with objectives. It will outline the limitations of the research study suggest some recommendations focusing on the future prospect. The Recommendations have been provided based on the findings.
  • 7. 6 1.8 Conclusion The first chapter deals with the basic elements involved in a dissertation. Chapter introduction explains the topic, provides rationale, company background, aim, objectives and research questions. In this study it is to be seen whether competitive positioning plays a role in strategic brand management. The UK mobile phone market is a highly fragmented and segmented market where the loyalty of the consumers drifts from one brand to another. This study will prove whether the competitive positioning strategy would have an impact in the brand building process.
  • 8. 7 Chapter 2 Literature Review 2.0 Introduction to literature review: The present chapter consists of the theories and related concepts about the topic of his research study. As described by Czerniawski and Maloney (2010), “the theories justify the subject matters of the study, collected from various literary sources, journals, books and various websites”. The current chapter is the base of the whole research study. This describes the historical as well as the present aspect related to competitive positioning and its effects on strategic brand management. This research hyas been evaluated through the critical evaluation of previous research. It will provide a conceptual framework of the evaluation process. As suggested by Davis (2010), the different scholars in the same area are found out after studying all academic and non academic papers on the current research topic. This research is stand for evaluation of the impact of competitive position on brand management. The Nokia and Samsung's case study is taken for evaluation the whole process in UK market. In that way, the researcher's evaluation needs to consider the 7's of marketing, which is necessary for successful completion of the study. The promotional factor is very essential in terms of competitive positioning and branding as well.
  • 9. 8 Figure 1:7 P’s of Marketing and Competitive positioning (Source: Vesa, J., 2009, pp. 182) Promotion Place Price People Process Physical Evidence Product Competitive positioning
  • 10. 9 Product: As opined by Azoulay and Kapferer (2008), UK mobile industry is operated by various good companies like: Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, Ericsson, Siemens etc. On the other hand, Chadha and Husband (2006) have demonstrated that there are many service providers like: Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin Media, Talk Mobile etc. The combination of high definition product and services makes UK cell phone industry more competitive. The product service has been produces as per the customer needs. Accordingly, the product and service of the companies have to be produce as per the target segmentation. It is very important to slight differentiate the product or services through which customer can think to try it instead of others. Price: According to McLoughlin and Aaker (2010)), the price of the product or services of UK cell phone industry is varied in time as there have barriers of new entrance and need high investment at initial stage to start up a business. There have competitive price in the market set by different competitors. The buyers have also the influence in price of product or service. On the other hand Peter and Olson (2008) have argued that the companies should have a price which can maintain the cost of the company as well as reasonable to attract customer. It indicates that the price have to be influenced by cost of the product and competitive price or price in the market of other companies. Place: Aaker (2011) has noted that almost all product and services of UK mobile industry are convenient in terms of availability. Moreover, Azoulay and Kapferer (2008) have mentioned that they have been placed through various distribution channels.
  • 11. 10 Promotion: In the words of Barone et al. (2007), promotion of product or services is very important in terms of brand management. In terms of UK mobile industry, promotion helps in position the products or services which leads to strategic brand management. As opined by Berger (2008), the promotional activity helps the companies to position their product within the target customer. The effective positioning comes through creativity and unique process of promotion. On the other hand Bottomley and Holden (2009) have observed that there have many good players in UK mobile industry who are trying to fulfil the customer expectation. So, to ensure the success of the company, they need to try customer attraction through communication. The target and cost plays a very essential role in that. The companies of UK cell phone industry have to set target customer and to reach them through promotion and that should be cost effective. People: As opined by Buckingham (2011), when it says people, the whole business process depends upon this. Here, the terms comes customer relationship management through which the companies of UK cell phone industry connect with its customers to develop the business. Through CRM, companies need to build a strong relationship to choose the brand again and again. It indicates about the satisfaction of consumers. They will not satisfied until and unless get fulfilment of their requirements. The positioning will successful if satisfaction is there. Process: In the words of Chadha and Husband (2006), process indicates the linking of products and services of mobile companies of UK and customer requirements. This process is very crucial to get success in the business. The brand image can be put when it satisfied customers in all d way. To create a brand image one have to fulfil all requirements of buyer where they do not feel the advantage of substitutes. For example: if a customer is having Samsung phone, in that way he should not be given chance to think about Nokia or others. On the other hand Clifton and Ahmad (2009) have opined that the process of managing customer can lead the company to position their product which helps in brand management. Physical evidence: As opined by Czerniawski and Maloney (2010), the service delivered by a company has to be perfect for the consumers. The service will need to carry the evidence of effective through past experience. On the other hand Dacin and D.C. (2007) have observed that the Mobile industry of UK is experienced with various reputed companies which have very much influence on consumers. For the new comers it is not as easy to get customer belief.
  • 12. 11 Although, all factors of seven P's have effects on competitive positioning but the promotion plays the most important way in that way. Sekaran and Bougie (2010) have mentioned that without promotion the positioning is like catching the moon flying by own. So, the various promotional activities like advertising, personal sales, direct marketing, exhibition etc plays a crucial role in terms of positioning a brand. The cell phone industry of UK is also very influenced by the promotional activities of various companies who are doing business there. On the other hand Yoo and Donthu (2006) have commented that the companies have to concentrate on the creative activities which can lead to effective brand management through competitive positioning. In the opinion of Dahlén et al. (2010), following table will make to understand about the strategies of Nokia and Samsung as per the 4P’s.
  • 13. 12 Strategy Nokia Samsung Product Strategy Product Strategy: Lehu (2007) has mentioned that Nokia’s concentrates mainly goes on its handset produce. It is trying to improve the product portfolio by manufacturing new new models. They have the thinking like the products have to either cost effective or progressive technology. The products have positions in different area and different category people which are depend upon the market scenario as well. The modification have made in the handsets is varied in terms of regions. For example: In terms of language, it is quite different in UK than the rest. Product strategy: As mentioned by McLoughlin and Aaker, 2010, Samsung is stressing on producing various products in its mobile category for UK market. It includes latest technology to attract the youths where have more possibility to grow the business. The product variation is also including in product strategy of Samsung. It is concentrate on segment-wise production as per the requirements of UK customers.
  • 14. 13 Strategy Nokia Samsung Pricing Strategy As observed by Moore, et al. (2007), they have different price strategy for different category people which can be ranked as high and low category people living in UK. They mostly stressed on cutting edge technology. It helps in brand preference by the people ok UK O'Guinn et al. (2011) have opined that Samsung has been providing low price with good quality products which is the key factor to grow its business in UK market whereas other companies' products have higher price. Place Strategy Pricing Strategies: As mentioned by Parameswaran and Jacob, 2011), Nokia has introduced new placing strategy for UK and other country by opening retail outlets of its own. These are known as Nokia priority. It helps Nokia in brand positioning as it is more visualized for the people out there. In the words of Peter and Olson (2008), Samsung has effective distribution channel which makes UK customers to convenient in terms of availability. On the other hand, Davis (2010) has opined that it does not permit to sell improper place which could have bad impact on its brand status. So, it increases Samsung dealers where the products are available. It also concentrating on online distribution channels through which people can buy easily.
  • 15. 14 Strategy Nokia Samsung Promotion Strategy Promotion Strategy: Dillon et al. (2008) have illustrated that Nokia has great promotional strategies in UK market which come through effective marketing communication. They have more confident about their products and promotional activities mainly focus on the quality. So, it builds the trust among consumers which helps in competitive positioning. As mentioned by Evans (2008), Samsung is trying to grab every possibility to promote its products. Through media involvement it is trying to reach every people. In that way, the company is able to create brand loyalty to its customers which creates positive impact on consumers. It helps in competitive positioning of the brand which has influence on brand management. Table: 1: Strategy of Nokia and Samsung Source: Simon, C. J. and Sullivan, M. W., 2007 pp. 52) The above analysis is about the implementation of 7 P's in terms of UK mobile industry. The company, which have taken into consideration, are Nokia and Samsung. In present scenario, both Nokia and Samsung are doing good business in UK cell phone industry. Both have different strategy in terms of segmenting, positioning to manage their brand. As demonstrated by Fombrun et al. (2008), Nokia's branding strategy is consisting of two types, as per the consumer category. The brand focuses on glamorous buyers and the buyers who consider low economic factor. Nokia produces high rate cell phones for high class people whereas it produces lower range handsets for economy class people. On the other hand Giehl and Lepla (2012), have mentioned that Samsung branding strategy is more focusing on improve the brand value to position their brand. As stated by Gillett et al. (2011), Nokia and Samsung's strategy will evaluated in terms of UK mobile industry through following comparison. 2.1 Branding According to Aaker 2011, "A brand indicates about a name, logo, term, sign or a design which differentiate a product or service form others. The identity of the manufacturer is established with the help of the branding strategy of the company. Brands can be of two
  • 16. 15 types – manufacturer brands and private label brands. The majority of the brands which is seen in day to day life are manufacturer brands. These brands are the products and services produced by manufacturers but sold in different retail outlets (Apéria and Georgson, 2011). On the other hand brands which are produced by retailers themselves and sold in their own outlets are called private label brands or in store brands. The branding strategy becomes successful when customers after using the product or the service perceive the brand as one which satisfies their needs and which has value. However, the company must consistently provide value to the consumers over the years to establish an image in the mind of the customers (Azoulay and Kapferer, 2008). Moreover, for the brand to get established in the market, the consumers must experience good service from the product over the years. The kind of brand a customer chooses depends on his personality and he chooses a brand that closely resembles his personality type. In order to exploit this situation, marketers associate human characteristics with a brand and give the brand a personality. Thus, brand personality differentiates the brand from other competing brands (Barone, et al. 2007). The brand personality thus created has to be conveyed to the consumers through advertisement and other marketing communication media. 2.2 Brand Equity As opined by Berger (2008), the value and the strength of a particular brand can be mentioned as brand equity. This forms by the choice of consumers. There are various factors which contribute towards brand equity are like: brand awareness, brand loyalty, brand links etc. The professed superiority also has the influence on brand loyalty. On the other hand, Bottomley and Holden (2009) have argued that the brand equity forms when the consumers have willingness to buy that particular brand. It justifies the value of a brand which the company delivers to its customers. In terms of cell phone companies of UK, brand equity helps in competitive positioning. Accordingly, brand equity signifies the degree of attachment of customers towards the mobile brands capturing the UK cell phone market. As opined by Chaudhuri, (2007), the brand image has to be developed in such a way that it fulfils the requirement of target market. Marketing mix helps the companies in that situation. Strong brand equity enables the consumers to get familiar with the brand and remind the features of the brand when given a sign.
  • 17. 16 2.3 Segmentation Strategy in terms of UK mobile industry Haberberg and Rieple (2008) have analysed the importance of market segmentation which have very much influence on competitive positioning. In terms of UK mobile industry it is very essential to segment the target customer to implement proper positioning strategy. On the other hand Gunelius (2009) have acknowledged the variability which helps in set the target markets. There have some factors which are need to consider for segmentation. The size of the target market has to be determined in the way of forming effective segmentation policy. Haig (2008) has demonstrated that the product or service has to be reachable. If there have problem in availability, the segmentation will not be perfect. However, Haberberg and Rieple (2008) have opined that sustainability and action-ability is also need to forecast. It is need to be keeping in mind that the target group is large enough to create profit, otherwise the segmentation strategy will not effective. The product and service needs to be attratective to get the customer. As opined by Hatch and Schultz (2008), in order to evaluate various companies which are doing business in UK cell phone industry, it is important to evaluate the target customers first. There have similarities of the companies’ goals that concentrate on deliver high quality with lower price as well as high tech mobiles. Hoole et al. (2008),haveacknowledged that it helps the companies to gain customer attraction towards their company.
  • 18. 17 Figure 3: Source: Figure 2: Segmentation strategy as per the Brands (Source: Toloie-Eshlaghy, A., et al. 2011, pp. 152) Kapferer (2008) has suggested the followings to target the customer in terms of UK cell phone industry. The Segmentation should be based on Communication focused mobile users – TA1: T.A 1 Communicatio n focused mobile users Nokia 1110, Nokia 3310, Samsung Metro Samsung Chat T.A 2 Entertainment purposeful mobile users T.A 3 Business oriented mobile users Nokia Ngage, Nokia N72, Samsung Guru, Xperia Blackberry, NokiaE65, Nokia E 73 All basic models which have caling and messaging facilities Very specific gadgets which support features like high animation gaming, videos and gaming Business class device. Supports mainly the mailing facilities. Not much of entertainment Gaps exist in the current portfolio of products. There is not a single product which solely provides solution to all the TA in the market. To be a winner and carve out a name in this competitive market, brands need to come out with feature rich phones catering to majority of the TA and not just a single TA .
  • 19. 18 Kapferer (2012) has stated that there is some kind of people who used mobiles only for text, call as well as for other communications. They consider only communication rather than other. This kind of people likes to hang out with friends and other persons through various networks like face-book, twitter etc. They might have the multifunction cells but they use mobiles only for communication purposes. So, cell phone companies of have to consider those people who have in this category and manufacture the product as such for their convenient. It will help in positioning the product to those category people (Keller and Jacob 2011). The Segmentation should be based on entertainment purposefulmobile users – TA2: Keller and Lehmann (2006) have opined that the people include in this group are mainly youths. They used it for communication as well as for entertainment. These category people like to have multifunction in their mobile which is trendy as well as can use it for listening music, video, playing games, downloading etc. They are ready to expense more to buy multimedia smart-phones or super phones. So, mobile companies have to consider this factor and plan for the positioning accordingly. It will help companies to brand management. It should be based on business oriented uses – TA3: Klein and Dawar (2004) have demonstrated that there have some kind of people who nuse their mobiles mainly for business purposes. They use cell phones for e-mail and all to which helps their business rather than use of computers staying at office. So these category people tend to buy cell phones for office use. This situation has been seen in UK market also. Therefore mobile companies need to consider these factors in terms of manufacturing and positioning their product. Here, the office applications need to be functionized more in cell phones. 2.4 Strategic Brand Management The process by which marketing activities and programs are designed and implemented for the purpose of building, measuring and managing brand equity can be termed as strategic brand management. The competitive positioning of the brand has to be identified and established, marketing programs for the brand has to be planned and implemented, the performance of the brand has to be measured and interpreted and lastly the equity of the brand has to be grown and sustained (Chadha and Husband, 2006). These steps are involved in the whole strategic brand management process.
  • 20. 19 2.4.1 Competitive Positioning The very first step of the whole process involves the competitive positioning strategy for the brand. What the brand should stand for and represent and how it should be positioned in the mind of the customers with respect to its competitors is determined in this strategy. The products and services of the company are designed in such a manner that it occupies a unique position in the consumer’s mind and develop a positive image for the brand (Chaudhuri, 2007). The consumers need to justify the excellence of product or service of a particular brand in terms of monetary value and quality regarding comparison of brand with others. The advantages that a brand has over its competitors are termed as points of difference. Another aim of competitive brand positioning is to convince the consumers that the brand does not have disadvantages when compared to that of the competitor’s brand (Clifton and Ahmad, 2009). This process is known as establishment of points of parity. Due to competitive positioning, consumers develop different kinds of associations about the characteristics and benefits of the brand in their minds. A small expression for the most important element of a brand is used in the competitive positioning strategy which is known as the brand mantra. 2.4.2 Marketing Programs for the Brand Czerniawski and Maloney (2010) have demonstrated that strategic brand management is the process which gears the marketing activities in a right manner. It helps in spread the awareness of that particular brand. Moreover, the brand associations which can be associated to a brand must be strong, positive and unique. To facilitate this process the elements which comprise a brand are chosen. This includes the name of the brand, brand logo or symbol or any slogan which can represent a brand. A combination of the different brand elements is used by managers to represent the brand (Dacin and Smith, 2007). The next step involves developing marketing activities and programmes to communicate the different elements and characteristics of the brand to the consumers. This helps create unique brand associations in their minds. On the other hand, Dahlén et al. (2010) have illustrated various marketing activities like: Segmentation strategies, positioning strategies, marketing mix promotional mix etc. These help a company to maintain its customers. 2.4.3 Measurement and Interpretation of the performance of the brand As mentioned by Fombrun et al. 2008, a bran audit helps in evaluating the performance of a brand. Understanding the key sources of the equity of the brand and to implement ways to improve the brand’s equity is the main objective of brand audit. The performance of the brand in the market is determined using marketing research techniques. A value chain of the
  • 21. 20 brand is mapped and studied to identify whether the brand is creating value for the organisation (Davis, 2010). Through the brand value chain it is seen whether the marketing expenses and efforts are producing the desired effect. A system for the measurement of brand equity is used by managers to manage the brand of the company. 2.4.4 Brand Equity Growth and Sustainment In the opinion of Evans, (2008),another function of strategic brand management is enabling the growth of the brand equity which has been developed and sustaining this growth. The product matrix of the brand and the brand hierarchy are used to define the corporate branding strategy. All the brands and products sold by the company are represented graphically through the brand-product matrix. Common components of the brands of all the products of the company, their total number and nature are all displaced through the brand hierarchy (Giehl and Lepla, 2012). It displays the branding strategy of a company through a graphical representation. The set of all the brand and lines of a brand that a company offers to the customers for sale is known as brand portfolio. As opined by Gunelius (2009), the brand equity forms in contribution of strategic brand management. It manages the process of how a brand is placed in consumers’ preferable list. A long term view of strategic brand management enables the company to take marketing decisions based on future trends as the marketing environment continuously change and evolve over time (Fombrun, et al. 2008). Apart from taking a long term view the company should also take efforts to manage the equity of the brand over different geographic, cultural and market segments. If the company wishes to expand to different markets and even internationally then this perspective is very important. 2.5 Theories of Strategic Brand Management According to Grace and O'Cass (2005), the three components of brand management are strategic brand management, operative brand management and brand controlling. A framework consisting of strategic and operative brand management component known as Brand Concept Management determines whether the concept of a brand is functional, symbolic or experiential. The first stage of this framework is selection, followed by introduction, elaboration and then fortification (Gunelius, 2009). In the introduction stage, the right marketing mix that should be followed for developing the image is found out. In the next stage i.e. elaborating stage the right marketing mix for the development of the brand image is developed while in the fortification stage the right marketing mix for the development of the brand associations is found out. In this concept the three brand concepts of functionality, symbolic or experiential are separated (Haberberg and Rieple, 2008). Because of this a
  • 22. 21 debate arises as to why these three elements are separated. This is so because a brand is comprised of both functional and symbolic element. The symbolic component comprises the very essence of a brand and without it the very existence of the brand is questioned. Moreover, consumers never buy brands with a functional component. Thus, many researchers propose not to separate these three components (Haig, 2008). 2.6 Dynamics of Competitive Positioning The formulation of the offering which the company offers to the market is competitive positioning and this product or service is competitively positioned in the minds of the consumers. The minds of the consumers have limited space for information, hate confusion and are difficult to change. They lose focus easily and are full of insecurity (Hatch and Schultz, 2008). The UK market is full of marketing clutter because of a growing number of products and services. As the consumers do not like the confusion in the marketplace, they tend to focus on the market offering ladder. They buy what they think they should have. One of the objectives of competitive positioning is to make sure that that a new offering generates more buying interest in the consumers than the existing products and services (Hooley, et al. 2008). However, it is seen that consumers are more concerned with what they have with them than what is being offered in the market. Moreover, the market is characterised by brand extensions which result in loss of focus in the consumer’s mind. In the words of Keller and Lehmann (2006), a company has implements competitive positioning strategy to capture consumer’s perception and direct it in favour of the company. To start with the company should conduct a research to define the target market (Kapferer, 2008). For successful competitive positioning, the company should focus on the needs and wants of the consumers. It is required of the company to separate the components of the marketing mix and decisions should be taken individually for each element. The market offering is obtained after each of the components of the marketing mix is combined together and this combination and mixing of the elements creates a positioning in the minds of the consumers (Kapferer, 2012). 2.7 The Dynamics of the UK Mobile Phone Industry As opined by Lafferty (2007), the mobile industry is significantly growing as the users are increasing day by day. The mobile industry of UK is also stepping with international growth of mobile industry. Parameswaran and Jacob (2011) have mentioned that there have some factors which influence the UK cell phone market.
  • 23. 22 The new entrance to the industry can enhance the completion which will make more complex the term positioning. If new company exists in the market the competition goes to higher level. So, in that situation, it is very important for the companies to form strategies of their brand. On the other hand, Dawar (2004) have argued that to set up a business in cell phone industry is very challenging. There need to invest a heavy amount to do business in this industry. It makes the volume low of new entrance. So, the existing competitors have chances to show the power of brand image (Peter and Olson 2008). Pitsaki (2008) has been observed that suppliers are those who influence of the industry. In UK cell phone industry, the suppliers negotiate power is low due to the high volume of order provided by various operators. The operators put pressure on their suppliers by asking additional features in the handsets. Keller and Jacob (2011) have mentioned that through bargain the supplier doesn’t want to make the relationship critical with the company. As opined by Pitta and Katsanis (2009), buyer's negotiate power is taken into consideration to manage the business in terms of Uk cell phone industry. Here, buyers influence is low due to the termination price where they have difficulty to switch carriers. On the other hand, McLoughlin and Aaker (2010) commented that consumer may click to better service and in that situation the company might face the loss. So, a lower amount of buyer bargaining power is considers for mobile companies who are managing business in UK. In the words of Rubinstein and Griffiths (2007), there is another factor which has impact on UK cell phone industry. As mentioned by Knox and Bickerton (2007), there have so much alternate products of mobile phones but do not have so much control on mobile phones. There are internets, pagers as well as fax system which have popularity among consumers but does not have so much influence on mobile phones. On the other hand, Lafferty (2007) argued that due to up gradation of networks makes mobile phones industry to remove the threats of substitute. As demonstrated by Scholz (2012), the cell phone industry of UK has so much internal competition. Due to high level of rivalry of cell phone operators the consumers have options to switch to other companies. This shows the dynamics of UK cell phone industry.
  • 24. 23 Chapter 3 – Research Methodology 3.0 Introduction According to Brannen (2009), Research Methodology is the framework of the total research. Various tools and techniques and methods have been used to implement effectively and successful completion of the dissertation. In the words of Chaudhuri (2007), this chapter will adopt various measures and strategies for gathering and collecting various relevant types of data. This unit is of immense importance as it will throw light in understanding the importance of the various types of research methods that are being used in this dissertation as opined by (Denzin and Lincoln, 2011). According to Dul and Hak (2007), different stages of the research that have obtained valuable and relevant information’s have been discussed in this chapter. The analysis of the method will provide a base and inter-relation between the theories in use and in the research methodology. Significant aspects of this study are that it will identify the impact on the collection of data as suggested by (Gulati, 2009). 3.1 Philosophy of the Study In the words of Dillon and Mukherjee (2008), philosophy, a study of discipline that encourages in considering specific ways for accomplishing of the said study and this discipline provides a platform in making the study applicable and acceptable in the real corporate world. According to Ellis and Levy (2009), philosophy has been based upon the study of epistemology, ontology and axiology and has been shown and explained with a diagram: Figure 3: Philosophy of the Study Epistemology Ontology Axiology
  • 25. 24 (Source: Ellis, T. and Levy, Y., 2009, p. 337) 1. Epistemology of the research – According to Hair and Money (2011), this study has been conducted with respect to dissertation exploration the role of competitive positioning in strategic brand management in the UK Mobile Phone Market. The study of the epistemology provides genuine and realistic one. The study of epistemology has been based upon the aspects of positivism and realism as identified by (Hesse-Biber and Leavy, (2010). 2. Ontology of the research – On the other hand Keller and Lehmann (2006), the study of the second phase is that of the ontology. Ontology has three segments that are objectivism, subjectivism and realism. Without objectivism study become aimless and will be of no use in the research study. The next stage has been the subjectivism which has some justification in the said topic. The last one is that of realism which implies in analyzing the contribution of the study in real scenario as pointed out by (Lafferty, 2007). Figure 4: Ontology of the research (Source: Lafferty, B. A., 2007, p. 453) 3. Axiology of the research – In the opinion of Lodico and Spaulding (2010), this part of the philosophy discusses on the contribution part of the work that can help in the development research. Any failure in the findings will not provide appropriate results and this will be not provide appropriate research methodology or findings. Objectivism Subjectivism Realism
  • 26. 25 After careful analyze of the philosophy of the study it has been analyzed that Ontology will help in establishing the said topic, “role of competitive positioning in strategic brand management in the UK Mobile Phone Market.” This helps in justifying the topic in the real world as illustrated by (Yoo and Donthu, 2006). 3.2 Research Onion On the other hand, VanderStoep and Johnson (2009) opined that Research Onion has different layers which describe various stages of the research process. This research onion helps in understanding the deeper concepts of the research study and helps in making the study more effective. The research will also help in understanding the nature and scope of study. Figure 5: Structure of Research Onion (Source: Sunde, L. and Brodie, R. J.,2008, p. 53) In the opinion of Toloie-Eshlaghy and Chitsaz (2011), study of research onion will provide and enable the researcher to go deeper into the study so that more and more concepts of this research will come out. This will also help in establishing the various elements of the study which will create a concrete study of the dissertation as evaluated by (Karimian and Charkhchi, 2011).
  • 27. 26 3.3 Research Design According to Smith and Park (2007), research design is the framework of the researcher in which the research finds the best suitable path for the desired outcome. The research designs have been built upon three factors in which the research will work upon as highlighted by (Sekaran And Bougie, 2010). The research design helps the researcher to connect various studies in this design. The diagrammatic figure of research design has been shown below: Figure 6: Structure of Research Design (Source: Klein, G. and Dawar, N., 2004, p. 217) 1. Explanatory Design – According to Saunders and Lewis (2008), explanatory design has been conducted in order to explain the behaviour of the human beings in the given market. The best way to do is through the use of questionnaires, group discussions, interviews and random sampling. This will help in get definite answer to the given questions from the respondents. 2. Exploratory Design – In the words of Thornhill (2008), research design is the framework for conducting the researched projects. This helps in obtaining the information’s needed for solving the researched projects. This helps in getting the current scenario of the markets and the trend at which the market is going. Explanatory Design Exploratory Design Descriptive Design
  • 28. 27 3. Descriptive Design – According to Crowther and Lancaster (2012), descriptive design identifies the trends of the situation and not in the causal linkages among the different elements. Descriptive studies help in generating the hypothesis on which further research may be based upon. Descriptive design will not provide answer to specific questions under the analytic research. After careful analyze of the research design it has been analyzed that explanatory design will help in establishing the said topic, “role of competitive positioning in strategic brand management in the UK Mobile Phone Market.” This helps in justifying the topic in context to market scenario as illustrated by (Cameron, 2009). 3.4 Research Approach According to Brannen (2009), research approach has been based upon two aspects that are inductive and deductive approaches. Inductive approach has been based upon analysis of data and examination of the problems rather than from predetermined theoretical approaches. This approach moves from a specific to general approach. The Deductive approach has been based upon the process of reasoning from one or more general statements to reach to a definite conclusion as pointed out by (Bottomley and Holden, 2009). The diagrammatic figure for the research approach has been shown below: Figure 7: Structure of Research Approach (Source: Bottomley, P. P. and Holden, S., 2009, p. 501) Inductive Approach Deductive Approach
  • 29. 28 After careful analyze of the research approach it has been analyzed that inductive design will help in establishing the said topic, “role of competitive positioning in strategic brand management in the UK Mobile Phone Market.” This helps in justifying the topic as it examines the problem rather than that of the theoretical approach as justified by (Toloie- Eshlaghy, et al., 2011) 3.5 Sampling Method In the opinion of Yoo and Donthu (2006), the sampling method has been based upon the two aspects that are profitability and non-profitability methods. Profitability methods is the most simple and easy random method. There has been the chance to select equal number of population from total sampling. It is easy to analysis and collecting data from every respondent as mentioned by (Sunde and Brodie, 2008). This has been explained in the following diagram: Figure 8: Structure of Sampling Method (Source: Sunde, L. and Brodie, R. J., 2008, p. 53) After careful analyze of the sampling method it has been analyzed that profitability method will help in establishing the said topic, role of competitive positioning in strategic brand management. This helps in justifying the topic and will be helpful in formulation and findings of the data as mentioned by (Bottomley and Holden, 2009). 3.6 Data Collection Method According to Saunders and Lewis (2008), data collection is the process of improvement in the preparation and collection of data. In the opinion of Lodico and Spaulding (2010), the purpose of this collection is to obtain information to make or keep record, decisions about important issues or to pass the information on to others. Data are mainly collected and stored in order to provide information regarding a specific or given topic as suggested by (Smith and Park, 2007). Profitability Method Non-profitability Method
  • 30. 29 The researcher has gathered information from 55 respondents over 15 questions. About 18% of the respondents did not provide appropriate answers. The research questionnaire were distributed among 55 respondents were of multiple options ranging from 0-5 on Likert’s scale. 3.7 Research Methods According to Crowther and Lancaster (2012), research methods of collecting information’s and relevant data’s for the reason of creation organizational decisions. This helps in making relevant decisions for the company and can be used in evaluating the organization as established by (Denzin and Lincoln, 2011). The various research methods have been discussed with the help of a table below: Figure 9: Structure of Research Methods (Source: Ellis, T. and Levy, Y., 2009, p. 323) 1. Descriptive vs. Analytical – According to Dillon et al. (2008), a descriptive research includes surveys and facts findings of different kind of research. The purpose of this research is to describe the state of affairs as it exists at present. On the other hand analytical research is based upon the facts that already exists and analyze the critical evaluation of the findings (Gulati, 2009) Descriptive vs. Analytical Methods Applied vs. Fundamental Methods Quantitative vs. Qualitative Methods Conceptual vs. Empirical Methods
  • 31. 30 2. Applied vs. Fundamental – In the words of Hair and Money (2011), applied research has been based upon the aims in finding the perfect answer to the solution for an instant crisis facing the business whereas fundamental research is based upon the generalizations and with the formulation of a hypothesis (Keller and Lehmann, 2006). 3. Quantitative vs. Qualitative – In the words of Lafferty (2007), quantitative research is based upon the various dimension of quantity. This is appropriate to the phenomenon that can be expressed in terms of quantity. According to Lodico and Spaulding (2010), qualitative research has been based and is concerned with qualitative phenomenon that is related to quality. 4. Conceptual vs. Empirical – In the opinion of Sekaran and Bougie (2010), a conceptual research is related to an idea or a given theory. This is generally used by many philosophers and thinkers to develop new concepts in lieu of the existing ones. Whereas, empirical research, relies mainly on experience alone, often without regard for system and theory (Sunde and Brodie, 2008). After careful analyze of the research method it has been analyzed that quantitative and qualitative method will help in establishing the said topic, role of competitive positioning in strategic brand management. This will justifying the topic and will be helpful in findings of the data as analyzed by (Sunde and Brodie, 2008) 3.8 Sampling Size In the words of Keller and Lehmann (2006) sampling size is the number of definite observations for the calculation of the estimated data. The study of the research was based upon profitability and non-profitability where the researcher took profitability methods in the said dissertation. In sampling size, researcher had interviewed 55 respondents out of which 50 respondents were from quantitative method and the rest 5 were qualitative method. The researcher had framed and collected the set of questionnaire consisting of 15 questions. The research questions so framed had direct questions to the respondents. 3.9 Limitation Limitations on this research are an important factor for analyzing the short comes of the research methodology. Any research cannot be said to be completed without the limitation
  • 32. 31 on the methodology. Limitations have to be minimized in order to obtain quality results. The researcher in this research methodology found it difficult to get quality answers as the respondents hesitated to answer the questions that were being asked. As a result improper answers made impossible for the researcher to find the appropriate data and for the purpose of decision making process. However, to that this research is based upon the strategic brand management. Most of the respondents are not aware about the technologies that are connected to the strategic brand management. However, the global market scenario has been changing rapidly and it will change continuously. So it will be difficult to check the all updates of the strategic brand management. The answers of the questions of the respondents were of low quality and were very short. This is where the research faced a lot of problems in making evaluating the data. Some of the respondents were not fully understood by the questions and were not interested. The researcher could not get enough time and resources to complete the research effectively. Many wrong decisions were taken by the researcher so that the research cannot be complete. These limitations will help in overcoming the difficulties and will help in providing the future scope of the research study. 3.10 Ethical Issue In today’s world, the ethical issues now have been considered as an important factor to the environment and the organizations has to sustain the environment. These issues can be of internal issues and external issues. The company should provide quality products and services to the people and the society at large. The company should position the products and services in such a way that it builds goodwill for the company. The development of effective relationship with target audience is an essential element for brand management. An efficient manager has to oversee all the necessary things including the tangible and intangible elements of the brand. A good brand management aims at creating an emotional attachment towards the products and services. Every company should try to control the brand images towards customers. 3.11 Conclusion The research methodology of the deals role of competitive positioning in strategic brand management. The researcher has used explanatory design as it helped in understanding the
  • 33. 32 various aspects of the research methodology. The researcher has used axiology as a research proposition as it helps in the development and justification of the aims and objectives for the company. The researcher in this research has used both the quantitative and qualitative method to analyze the given data. The researcher provided 15 questions on the basis of Likert’s scale and had 55 respondents. The researcher has provided various ethical issues in this unit along with relevant topics have been discussed and elaborated.
  • 34. 33 Chapter-4 Data analysis and Findings 4.0 Introduction: According to Barone et al. (2007), the main objective of data analysis in any research is to explain the information collected from the respondent by using various types of statistical tools so that a meaningful result can be found. The whole process includes processing, editing and interpreting the data so that a logical conclusion can be drawn (Azoulay and Kapferer (2008). The entire data analysis chapter consist of two pats. Throughout the first part, researcher analyzed all the information sequentially which are collected with the help of questioner consist of 15 questions. There are graphical presentations of all information along with the proper interpretation throughout this part. In the second part information are analysed with the help of statistical tools. In this part the researcher using the coding processes for transparency in the calculation process. 4.1 Data analysis: Part-I: Q.1. Name top three brands Name top three brands # of Responden ts Total Respondents % ge I Samsung 21 50 42 ii Apple 12 50 24 iii Nokia 10 50 20 iv Motorola 7 50 14 Table 2: Name of the top three brands
  • 35. 34 Fig 10: Number of respondent Answer to Q.1: From the above figure it is found that out of 50 respondent 21 respondent (42%) chose Samsung as the top model, whereas 12 respondents (24%) chose apple as the top model which is followed by Nokia 10 respondent (20%), and Motorola 7 respondent (14%). Interpretation: Although in UK mobile phone market several brands are represented themselves, most of the target group of customer chose Samsung as the best preferable brand. So, Samsung is the prominent leader of the mobile phone market in UK, whereas Apple plays the role of main competitor of Samsung in UK mobile phone market. The other two brands mainly the follower in UK mobile phone market. Q.2. How do you differentiate these brands from each other? How do you differentiate these brands from each other? # of Responden ts Total Respondents % ge i. Features 9 50 18 ii. Looks 10 50 20 iii. Software 20 50 40 iv. Awareness 11 50 22 0 5 10 15 20 25 Samsung Apple Nokia Motorola 21 12 10 7 Samsung Apple Nokia Motorola
  • 36. 35 Table 3: How the respondents differentiates the brand Fig 11: How the respondent differentiates the brand Answer to Q.2: The above graphical representation shows that 20 respondent (40%) argued, they differentiate the brand by the software of the mobile phone whereas 11 respondent (22%) differentiates the brand depending the awareness program taken by the particular brand. 10 respondent (20%) differentiate the brand mainly for their looks and 9 respondents (18%) said that the differentiate the brand by the features of the mobile phone. Interpretation: From the information given by the respondents, it is clear that the target group of customer differentiate one brand from other by mostly depending the software package given by that particular brand. Not only that, awareness program is also important parameter for differentiating one brand from other. However, looks and feature also plays significant role for differentiating the brand. Q.3. what attributes according to you are important for the consumers? What attributes according to you are important for the consumers? # of Responden ts Total Respondents % ge i. Quality 16 50 32 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 Features Looks Software Awarness 9 10 20 11 Features Looks Software Awarness
  • 37. 36 ii. Price 13 50 26 iii. Availability 12 50 24 iv. Taste / flavour 9 50 18 Table 4: Important attribute according to the customer Fig 12: Important attribute according to the customer Answer to Q.3: The above graphical presentation of information provide that 16 respondent (32%) out of 50 gives important on quality provided by the particular brand. 13 respondent (26%) mentioned that price is the important attributes for choosing a particular brand. Not only that, 12 respondent (24%) argued availability is the main key factor for choosing particular brand whereas 9 respondent (18%) said taste or flavour is also important to choose the brand. Interpretation: Although there are several attribute present in the market, few of them plays the important role in case choosing a particular brand. According to the target group of customer, Quality is the most significant one which is followed by price, availability and taste or flavour of the brand respectively. 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 Quality Price Availability Taste/ flavor 16 13 12 9 Quality Price Availability Taste/ flavor
  • 38. 37 Q.4. which of the following is true about the brand? Which of the following is true about the brand? # of Responden ts Total Respondents % ge i. Its quality is equal to other brands 21 50 42 ii. Its quality is better than other brands 12 50 24 iii. Its quality is less than other brands 10 50 20 iv. Can’t say 7 50 14 Table 5: Relationship of quality of the chosen brand with other brands Fig 13: Relationship of quality of the chosen brand with other brands Answer to Q.4: The above figure indicates that 21 respondent (42%) mentioned quality of the chosen brands are equal to other brands. 12 respondent (24%) argued chosen brand quality is better than other brands quality whereas 10 respondent (20%) gave their vies that chosen brand quality is less than other brands quality and 7 respondent (14%) said they cannot anything about this ting. Interpretation: 0 5 10 15 20 25 Quality is equal with other brands Quality is better than other brands Quality is less than other brands Cannot say 21 12 10 7 Quality is equal with other brands Quality is better than other brands Quality is less than other brands Cannot say
  • 39. 38 Although quality of a particular brand plays significant role in the mobile phone market, the most of the customer from the target group indicates the quality of a chosen brand is equal to other brands and which implies not only the quality of the mobile phone, other attributes also important for choosing a p[particular brand. Q.5. how frequently do you change your brands? How frequently do you change your brands? # of Respondents Total Respondents % ge i. Very frequently 20 50 40 ii. Sometimes 12 50 24 iii. Never 18 50 36 Table 6: How frequent the customer change the brand Fig 14: How frequent the customer change the brand Answer to Q.5: From the above graphical presentation of information it is found that 20 respondent (40%) out of 50, change their mobile phone brand very frequently whereas 18 respondents (36%) never change their brand. A group of 12 respondents (24%) sometimes change their mobile phone brand. Interpretation: The research indicates that in UK market there is a balance between delighted customer and switcher. According to Bottomley and Holden (2009), the present of delighted customer will 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 Very frequent Sometimes Never 20 12 18 Very frequent Sometimes Never
  • 40. 39 enhance a greater effect for positioning the brand whereas switcher customer are not good in this regard. So, switcher customer is a threat to UK mobile phone industry. However, the number of loyal customer is also significant in the target group of customer which is also equally important for brand positioning. Q.6. How would you rate the purchase experience from brands? How would you rate the purchase experience from brands? # of Respondents Total Respondents % ge i. Very good 16 50 32 ii. Good 13 50 26 iii. Bad 12 50 24 iv. Very bad 9 50 18 Table 7: Rating of purchase experience from brands Fig 15: Rating of purchase experience from brands Answer to Q.6: The graphical presentation of the information regarding the rating of purchase from brands shows, 16 respondents (32%) argued very well, whereas 13 respondents (26%) mentioned 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 Very good Good Bad Very bad 16 13 12 9 Very good Good Bad Very bad
  • 41. 40 good. On the other hand, 12 respondents (24%) said bad and 9 respondent (18%) argued very bad. Interpretation: According to Chadha and Husband (2006), the positioning of branding positively impacts the consumer buying decision. The above data of the UK mobile phone market also support this statement. Again in contrast with it, certain group of people who also present in the UK mobile phone market argued that branding did not affect their purchasing decision. Q.7. what is the positioning of our brand in your mind? What is the positioning of our brand in your mind? # of Responden ts Total Respondents % ge i. Value for money 20 50 40 ii. Superior quality 12 50 24 iii. Consistency 18 50 36 Table 8: the positioning of a particular brand in the consumers mind Fig 16: the positioning of a particular brand in the consumers mind 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 Value for money Superior quality Consistenency 20 12 18 Value for money Superior quality Consistenency
  • 42. 41 Answer to Q.7: The above figure indicates that 20 respondent (40%) out of 50 argued the brand positioning of a particular brand is mainly for the value for money. According to 18 respondents (36%) the brand positioning of a particular brand in the customers mind is for consistency, whereas 12 respondents (24%) mentioned super quality is the main reason for positioning of a branding in the customers mind. Interpretation: The positioning of branding of a particular brand in the customers mind depends upon the thinking procedure of that particular customer (Azoulay and Kapferer (2008)). However, according to Czerniawski and Maloney (2010) the positioning of branding of mobile phone brand depends on three key factors: Value for money, consistency, and super quality. In the UK market it is found that most of the people of that target group of consumer support the value for money reason which indicates that the people are conscious about a particular brand for which they can pay a lump sum amount of money. Not only that consistency in the market also equally important for positioning the brand in the customers mind (Klein and Dawar (2004). UK mobile phone market also supported this statement without making any confusion. Q.8. what criteria affect your buying decision of products? What criteria affect your buying decision of products? # of Responden ts Total Respondents % ge i. Family pressures 20 50 40 ii. Cost of the product 12 50 24 iii. Durability of the product 18 50 36 Table 9: Criteria which affect the buying decision of the consumer
  • 43. 42 Fig 17: Criteria which affect the buying decision of the consumer Answer to Q.8: The above graphical presentation of the information provided that 20 respondents (40%) argued family pressure is the main key factor which influences the buying decision. On the other hand, 18 respondents (36%) mentioned durability of the product is also equally affect the buying decision of the consumer and 12 respondents (24%) said cost of product is another factor which influences the buying decision. Interpretation: According to Haberberg and Rieple (2008), at the time of purchasing a product, the first thing which plays a major role, is the branding strategy of that product. If any brand has strong brand positioning in the consumer mind, the chances of selling their product is also getting high. However, Hatch and Schultz (2008) have argued that there are certain factors which are present in the market, affect the buying decision majorly. In UK market, family pressure is the main key factor which influences the buying decision. Not only have that, durability of the product followed by cost of product also equally affected the buying decision. Q.9. How has been the experience with the usage of the product? How has been the experience with the usage of the product? # of Responden ts Total Respondents % ge i.Extremely satisfactory 16 50 32 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 Family presure Cost of product Durability of the product 20 12 18 Family presure Cost of product Durability of the product
  • 44. 43 ii. Satisfactory 13 50 26 iii. Unsatisfied 12 50 24 iv. Extremely unsatisfied 9 50 18 Table 10: The experience of the consumer with the usage of the product Fig 18: The experience of the consumer with the usage of the product Answer to Q.9: The above figure provided the experience of the consumer with the usage of the product, where 16 respondents (32%) mentioned that their experience with usage of the product is extremely satisfactory. 13 respondents (26%) out of 50 argued with satisfactory. On the other hand, 12 respondents (24%) gave their views as unsatisfactory whereas 9 respondents mentioned they are extremely unsatisfied with the usage of the product. Interpretation: According to Rubinstein and Griffiths (2007), usage of the product varies directly with the satisfaction level of the customer. In UK mobile phone market, as most of the consumer experienced the extremely satisfactory level, the above statement is proved in UK market also. Q.10. How much do you care about using brands? 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 Extremely satifactory Satisfactory Unsatisfied Extremely unsatisfied 16 13 12 9 Extremely satifactory Satisfactory Unsatisfied Extremely unsatisfied
  • 45. 44 How much do you care about using brands? # of Responden ts Total Respondents % ge i. Slightly 21 50 42 ii. Strongly 12 50 24 iii. Not much 10 50 20 iv. Never 7 50 14 Table 11: Care about using brand Fig 19: Care about using brand Answer to Q.10: The above graphical representation of information provided that 21 respondents (42%) out of 50 argued as slightly in response to the question of care about using brand whereas 12 respondents (24%) strongly recommend that they are very much careful about using brands. On the other hand, 10 respondents (20%) mentioned they care the brand image not that much and 7 respondents (14%) clearly said that they never take care about the brand image. Interpretation: 0 5 10 15 20 25 Slightly Strongly Not much Never 21 12 10 7 Slightly Strongly Not much Never
  • 46. 45 The care about the brand image of any product in any market indicates the future prospect of that particular brand (Keller and Lehmann (2006). Most of the consumer in the UK market mentioned that they take care about the brand image slightly. So, there is opportunity to position the particular brand in the mind of the customer and for that they should take some initiative. Q.11. Do the products align with the values and beliefs of people? Do the products align with the values and beliefs of people? # of Responden ts Total Respondents % ge i. Yes 25 50 50 ii. No 15 50 30 iii. Can't say 10 50 20 Table 12: products align with the values and beliefs of people Fig 20: Products align with the values and beliefs of the people Answer to Q.11: The above figure indicates 25 respondents (50%) agreed that the product is aligns with the beliefs and values of the people, 15 respondents (30%) mentioned product is no align with the values and beliefs of the people. On the other hand, 10 respondents (20%) argued that they cannot say whether product is aligning with values and beliefs of the people or not. 0 5 10 15 20 25 Yes No Cannot say 25 15 10 Yes No Cannot say
  • 47. 46 Interpretation: Pitta and Katsanis (2009) have argued that that different people have different values and ethics in their everyday life. In order to increase the sales volume of the product, there should be certain things so that the product will align with the people’s values and ethics (Yoo and Donthu (2006). In UK mobile phone market, most of the people from the target group of customer mentioned that the product align with their values and ethics. This is a positive aspect for all the brands who involve in the UK mobile phone market. Q.12. Do the products provide a sense of self-esteem to you? Do the products provide a sense of self-esteem to you? # of Respondents Total Respondents % ge i. Yes 16 50 32 ii. No 13 50 26 iii. Maybe 12 50 24 iv. Can't say 9 50 18 Table 13: whether the product provide a sense of self esteem to the customer Fig 21: whether the product provide a sense of self esteem to the customer Answer to Q. 12: 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 Yes No Maybe Cannot say 16 13 12 9 Yes No Maybe Cannot say
  • 48. 47 From the above mentioned information it is found that 16 respondents (32%) agreed with the things that the product gives a sense of self esteemed towards the customer, whereas 13 respondents (26%) mentioned that the product did not provide a sense of a self esteem to the customer. On the other hand, 12 respondents (24%) argued that may be the products provide a self esteem to the customer and 9 respondents (18%) told that they cannot say whether the product provide a self esteem to the customer or not. Interpretation: The design of a product should be such a way which will provide a sense of self esteem to the customer (Parameswaran and Jacob (2011). In UK market, there is a balance between views of two opponent subgroup who mentioned that the product provide a sense of self esteem to the customer and not. Therefore it is a matter of concern of the entire brand present in UK market. Not only that, they should take the initiatives so that the product of their brand should provide a self esteem to the customer. Q.13. what is the frequency of usage of this product? What is the frequency of usage of this product? # of Responden ts Total Respondents % ge i. Once a month 20 50 40 ii. Once a week 6 50 12 iii. Few times a week 18 50 36 iv. Less than once a month 6 50 12 Table 14: Frequency of usage of the product
  • 49. 48 Fig 22: Frequency of usage of the product Answer to Q.13: The above figure shows the frequency of the usage of the product where 20 respondents (40%) mentioned that the usage of the product is once a month. 18 respondents (36%) argued that the usage of the product is few times a week. On the other hand, 6 respondents (12%) mentioned the usage of the product is once a week whereas another 6 respondents (12%) argued that the usage of the product is less than once in a month. Interpretation: According to Rubinstein and Griffiths (2007), frequency of usage of the product will provide a clear picture about the market capabilities of different brand. The provided information of the target group of customer in the UK market clears the fact that the frequency of usage of mobile is mostly once in a month. Not only that another group of customer mentioned that the frequency of the usage of the product is few times a week. So there is a contradictory about the frequency of usage of the product. The entire brand present in the UK mobile phone market should concern about this things. Q.14. which of the following promotional campaigns are you aware of? Which of the following promotional campaigns are you aware of? # of Respondents Total Respondents % ge i. TV ads 25 50 50 ii. Newspaper print 15 50 30 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 Once a month Once a week Few times a week Less than once a month 20 6 18 6 Once a month Once a week Few times a week Less than once a month
  • 50. 49 iii. Point of sales 10 50 20 Table 15: Customer awareness about the promotional campaign Fig 23: Customer awareness about the promotional campaign Answer to Q.14: The graphical presentation of the information provided by the target group of customer shows that 25 respondents (50%) mentioned TV ads is the main promotional tools which provide the awareness about the product. On the other hand, 15 respondents (30%) argued newspaper print is the most important promotional tools whereas 10 respondents (20%) mentioned that point of sale is the main promotional tools about the product. Interpretation: Promotional campaign is very much needed in the modern market to enhance the sales volume (Sekaran and Bougie 2010). The information provided by the customer clears that TV ads is the most important powerful promotional campaign which will increase the awareness about the product which implies that the entire brand present in the market should take more initiative in this section. Not only that, newspaper also plays equal important role to enhance the customer awareness. Q.15. how did you form this brand association? 0 5 10 15 20 25 TV ads Newspaper print Point of sales 25 15 10 TV ads Newspaper print Point of sales
  • 51. 50 How did you form this brand association? # of Responden ts Total Respondents % ge i. By coming in touch with the employees of the firm 21 50 42 ii. Through advertisements 12 50 24 iii. Through the association with the owners of the company 10 50 20 iv. Word of mouth publicity 7 50 14 Table 16: Customer engagement in the brand association Fig 24: Customer engagement in the brand association Answer to Q.15: From the above figure it is found that 21 respondents (42%) mentioned they form the brand association by coming touch with the employees of the firm whereas 12 respondents (24%) argued that they form the brand association throughout the advertisement. On the other hand, 10 respondents (20%) told that throughout the association with the owners of the company, they form the brand association whereas 7 respondents (14%) argued they form the brand association through word of mouth publicity. Interpretation: According to Sunde and Brodie (2008) customer engagement is very much needed in case of brand association. There are several ways through which customer can engage in the 0 5 10 15 20 25 21 12 10 7 By coming in touch with the employees of the firm Through advertisement Through the association with the owners of the company Word of mouth publicity
  • 52. 51 brand association (Simon and Sullivan (2007). The above information clarifies that most of the customer of UK mobile phone industry engage themselves by coming in touch with the employees of the firm. The entire brand should take initiatives so that the other ways available in the market also plays equal role for customer engagement in the brand association. Part-II: 1. Gamma distribution (Z-test): Fig 25: Gamma distribution of the response over all the variables. Answer to Q.1: Ref to the questioner in the appendix, the above result illustrate the value of Z is -2.281 with p value 0.02257< 0.05 at 1% significance level and the result also implies that the z value (- 2.281) indicates that at 5% level of significance standard Z (1.96) value is more than the calculated value. Interpretation: Therefore, the value of p<0.05 indicates that at 5% level of significance the null hypothesis is rejected but at 1% significance level it is accepted. This shows that these entire variables are independent to each other. Not only have that, this entire variable had either an individual or combined effect on the customer brand retention process.
  • 53. 52 2. Normal distribution-chi square test (test of homogeneity): Fig 26: Normal distribution of all the customer response with respect to all the variables Answer to Q.2: Ref to the questioner in the appendix, the above result illustrate the value of chi square (4.009), P=0.1347 (p>0.05). It shows that both at 5% and 1% level; of significance all these variables are independent to each other. Interpretation: The above information indicates that the null hypothesis set up in chapter-1 is accepted. This result also confirms the significance of gamma distribution. Therefore it can be said that competitive positioning plays a significant role in strategic brand management. 3. Regression analysis- A cause effect relationship between brand retention with respect to all the independent variables:
  • 54. 53 Ref to the appendix, the R-square value 0.6836 indicates that 68% of the dependent variables can be explained with the help of these independent variables. According to () Beta coefficient value determine the level of relative impact of independent variables on the dependent one. Again F value 0.8248 at P (0.5930)> 0.05 indicates that variance across the group is not constant. 4.2 Conclusion: With the help of graphical interpretation as well as the statistical analysis, all the information collected from the target group of customer is analyzed sequentially throughout this chapter. After analyzing all these information different argument are found which will supported the brand positioning as well as sometimes criticize the brand positioning. However, all these information gives a clear idea about what have to do regarding competitive positioning in strategic brand management in UK mobile phone market and these are discussed in a proper way throughout the next chapter.
  • 55. 54 Chapter-5 Conclusions and Recommendations 5.0 Introduction The objectives of the research had to evaluate the important factors that are largely governed by assurance and responsiveness from different mobile companies. The researcher attempts to measure the relative importance of each of these factors and tried to correlate its interdependency with the strategic brand management process (Kapferer, 2012). Hatch and Schultz (2008) highlighted that UK Telecom sector is considered to be one of the largest industrial sector in entire Europe. This market is already characterized due its fierce competition among different market players. Innovative broad band services, immense competition enforce price elasticity to increase at a considerable extent. As a result of this, the mobile connection has comfortably gone much ahead of the European average. Statistics show that Consumer surplus has increased rapidly, which indirectly enable to expand the market base and investment. In the current scenario the present research uncovered the elements of brand value and its essence among consumers. Considering the need, demand and status of the consumers, industry establishes few important notions that are invariably, associated with customer perception in the UK market. Research unfolds and satisfies the objectives that have been set up in the beginning in chapter-1 and mentioned below. Linking the objectives with the conclusion: 5.1 To analyse the essence of Strategic Brand Management for building brand equity. (Ref to Question no-1) To establish a particular brand in the market, brand value should be explicitly communicated among the target audience. The senior management of the organization should seriously formulate the brand positioning strategy and communicate it clearly among the brand management team (Keller and Jacob, 2011). Ref to the questionnaire (part-b) Q.2 reveals that product attributes and performance of the product are quite important factors that influence customer attraction towards a particular brand. Klein and Dewar (2004, p.214) opine, “Organisation should portray its image/personality in such a manner so that the customer can understand its growing impact not only in the market but also within the
  • 56. 55 organisation. Therefore it is imperative to set up a benchmark to define the profitable segment need in the market.” 5.2 To find out the benefits of competitive positioning for building a brand (Ref to Question no-2) In most industrial and business to business (B2B) markets, during brand positioning an organisation should take care about the message which a brand transfers through its product or services. Customer perception about a particular brand is governed by numerous elements. According to customer based brand equity model, brand feelings, personality and imagery allow to develop a bonding between consumer and organisation. It creates a long lasting relationship which later develops loyalty among them. There are several factors that control customer retention in the telecom sectors (Berger, 2008). Present study reveals that few factors like quality of voice, network connectivity, billing errors and attractive contract plan of the organisation works as an important ingredient. Positioning of the brand would be such so that it can explain and cater the need of the customer. Keller and Lehmann (2006) proposed that Continuous product differentiation in terms benefit, features, and attributes allow a consumer to think differently about the company’s brand. Ref to question Q3, (part- C) explained that most of the managers are not well agree on the fact that the promotional mechanism executed by their present organisation is ethical and result oriented. Manager now days believe that customer likelihood of product purchase is an important instrument to measure the product benefit. 5.3To evaluate the dynamics of the UK mobile phone market (Ref to Question no-3) Ref to the Q.no.1, 2 and 3 (Part-C) the dynamics of the market is measured by the brand image , likelihood of purchase and customer sales and support system are the important elements that controls the dynamics of the brand elements. Analysis revealed that managers of different organisation are feeling that trust is an important issue to develop brand loyalty among customers. Employee of the organisation is the internal customer (Haig, 2008). They develop brand equity through an extraordinary customer interaction process. Demographics profile of the market normally assessed to give an idea about the targeted segment. As too many players have entered in the last few years therefore the market is highly fragmented and competitive. In such dynamic business environment it is imperative to examine the consumer’s purchase frequency on a continuous basis. In the line of this discussion it is essential for any organisation to identify the specific segment needs. Ref to the Fig no-(19), result describes the nature of the forecast against the actual demand. Ref to the fig-
  • 57. 56 1forecast graph is showing a downward trend, which indirectly means that mobile companies are losing their customer brand loyalty. 5.4 To find out how competitive positioning is an important element of strategic brand management (Ref to Question no-4) Ref to (4.3.3) multiple regression analysis- result explains that the ( R2 ) coefficient of determination (0.6846) is statistically robust and significant at 5% level of significance. Ref to annexure-2, the main reason (68%) of any particular brand retention process can be explained with the help of all the independent variables. The beta coefficient value (at 5% level of significance) has illustrated a statistically significant result in favour of v1 (ref annexure-2).So the relative impact of customer need fulfilment is quite imperative to explain the brand retention mechanism. In fact chi square test result [(4.00) p>0.05] illustrates that these variables are completely independent with each other. Therefore researcher concludes that brand building exercise and customer retention are interlinked and that need to be managed with careful monitoring of these key variables. Hooley et al. (2008) explain that fulfilling the customers’ current need by choosing the right perspective is the need of the hour. Therefore meticulous planning and aggressive brand building exercise can only visualise the need, demand and wants of the customer for any telecom player in UK market.
  • 58. 57 5.5 Hypothesis Ref to chapter-1(1.3) researcher has designed the following hypothesis H0: Competitive positioning does not play a vital role in Strategic Brand Management. H1: Competitive positioning plays a vital role in Strategic Brand Management. Ref to annexure-2 the result indicates that all the variables are independent with each other, and bears a statistically significant result at 10% level of significance. Further ref to (annexure-1) part-C, vide (Fig no-18) explains the nature of gamma distribution. Cameron (2009) explains that the unsymmetrical nature of the gamma distribution curve reveals that the variance across all the subgroups (e.g. age, income, educational qualification etc) is constant. It shows the absence of heterskedacity. So the strategic posture of the organisation should be different from one organisation to the other. The negative Z value indicates (p<0.05) that the null hypothesis is rejected. So it can be concluded that Competitive positioning plays a vital role in Strategic Brand Management process. 5.6 Recommendations: Telecom industry in the recent past has undergone a rapid change in the business policy making process to combat the competitors in the market. The concept of brand management exercise and its element has passed through a change mechanism to attain the future sustainability. Researcher has delivered few important guidelines and ideas that need to be reemphasized for an organization’s sustainability. 5.6.1 Actionable plan -1 There should be an enhancement in the number of distributers. Distribution strategy should upgrade to overcome the location disadvantage. More the number of distributors more will be the chances of earning revenue for the organization. Besides this, it also helps to address customer reprisals mechanism process in the long run. 5.6.2 Actionable plan-2 Business complexity has increased to a considerable extent in the last few years. The versatility of the product segment in the market has invited lot many options and alternatives. Nowadays, consumers, to certain extent are confused and muddled by the brand paranoia. Perplexed consumer is now forced to develop an impulsive buying decision. Such unrestrained behaviour adds more complexity in the brand building mechanism process. Quality now becomes a very abstract term to the consumer. During
  • 59. 58 brand encounter process customers face the reality which allows them to develop a certain level of interest or disinterest about the brand. Customer pyramid model explains that customers, who reside at the top of the level is more profitable for the firm. In any given situation these customers are mainly influenced by the value offered to them. It signifies that attributes, quality and features are more important for them as compared to price while selecting a particular brand. Therefore retention mechanism is largely controlled by this process. 5.6.3 Actionable plan-3 Organizations nowadays are more interested to elevate the services in terms of value addition. As value delivery process is the most critical element that normally control the behaviour of the consumers. Therefore mobile service providers must specify the need of the consumers and cater it accordingly. Customer with higher qualification and professional experience are more equipped to understand and handle the technological advancement. Therefore it is important for the organisation to train the staff (both technical and non technical) adequately so that they can understand and fulfil the needs of the customer. As mentioned in chapter-4, author recommends that most of the customers both inside and outside the organisation are influenced largely by feature, attributes and performance of the products. Therefore the mobile phone companies should develop a separate strategy to cater the specific needs of each customer. 5.6.4 Actionable plan-4 In the developed countries such as UK, almost all the companies deliver attractive packages to their customers under a contractual obligation that the customer has to continue the service for at least a minimum period of 12 to 18 months. Therefore researcher suggests that organisations should prepare a lucrative contract agreement to entice the customer easily. Strong legal system of the country (UK) will assist to materialize such plan for its appropriate fulfilment. As far as IT solution is concerned, the official should figure out the new advancement tool for designing, formulating and maintenance for the ICT service. At the same time, non –technical staff should deliver uninterrupted services and assure that the service will provide adequate solution with all the desired features and quality. 5.6.5 Future Implication of the research Though the study has intervened the factors controlling the brand loyalty both from the customer and organisation point of view, but ironically the result is still complete unless it examines the details. Various components like - attributes, ethical issues, cost component
  • 60. 59 factors, promotional and advertisement tools and techniques are not considered in details. The entire study revealed that loyalty programme offered by the service providers have not delivered a substantial effect on the customer. The factors that are considered to identify its effect on the dependent ones are quite limited in number. There are numerous variables that may control or influence brand retention is not considered in the present research. Therefore exercising this study, programs about customer retention can provide a better result to others. Secondly the research is carried out in the consumer market but as such corporate communication market is not covered in this study. This is an area where organisations can optimise their resources if demand continues. 5.6.6 Limitations Study conducted with a very small number of samples. Therefore the level of standard error is quite high. The coronach alpha test has not been executed in an unidirectional manner. Therefore the data set considered for analysis has failed to demonstrate adequate reliability test. Data collection time frame was limited. The entire study was conducted within a span of 3 months. In fact collection of data was executed within a span of 1-4 weeks. During study the data was collected through the stratified sampling process. The result could have also been obtained by using the cluster sampling too. This option has not been executed in the present study. 5.7 Summary Researcher observes that comparatively higher ranked factors such as product attributes, performance, quality components associated with service design and delivery process are mainly controlled through people contribution. Therefore result indicates that service providers should spend adequate time to improve the skills of people in increasing the customer retention. The findings of the research can be summarised as the loyalty building program and customer retention mechanism are not separated inseparable elements of strategic brand management process.