BRANDING AS A MARKETING TOOL IN SALES PERFORMANCE: THE CASE OF NIGERIAN BREWERIES PLC ABSTRACT This study was carried out to ascertain consumer perception towards leading brands of beverage produced by the Nigerian Breweries Plc and how branding can be used by brewers as a marketing tool to increase or boost its sales. I employed a combination of tabulations and weightings to arrive and consumer ratings of brands. The result showed that taste and flavour emerged as the most important attribute to respondents in the research sample. This was followed by alcoholic content, price and aroma/smell in that order. The questionnaire method of data collection was adopted and administered to a systematic random sample of respondents. The results of the study revealed that consumers preference for a brand is a function of the relative importance of the product attributes and beliefs about the brand. In the preference ranking by consumers, star emerged as the most preferred brand and legend extra stout as the least preferred brand. Results revealed that there was no relationship between brand preference and the demographic variables like sex, age and income level. Therefore, it was recommended that brewing firms should use “consumer is king” concept in dealing wit their consumers and not just paying jip services. They should also be carrying out periodic research on consumer brand preference. TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background to the Study 1.2 Statement of Research Problem 1.3 Objectives of the Study 1.4 Significance of the Study 1.5 Scope of the Study 1.6 Limitations of Study 1.7 Hypothesis of the Study 1.8 Definition of Terms CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Marketing Brands 2.2 Brief history into the World of Branding 2.3 The Concept of Branding and Brand Management 2.4 The Power of Branding 2.5 Manufacturers and Consumers Perception Towards Branding 2.6 The Development of Brand Promise and Brand Preference 2.7 Attitudes towards Alternatives and Brand Preference 2.8 Approaches to Buy Behaviour 2.9 Consumer Personality and Brand Preference 2.10 Demographic and Cultural Variables as Determinants of Brand Preference 2.11 Instrumentality and Dissonance Theories as Related to Brand Preference References CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 2.0 Introduction 2.1 Research Design 2.2 Sample Design 2.3 Data Collection Methods 2.4 Primary Data 2.5 Field Research 2.6 Secondary Data 2.7 Desk Research 2.8 Method of Data Analysis 2.9 Scope of Operations 2.10 A Brief History of Nigerian Brewery Plc References CHAPTER FOUR: 4.1 Presentation and Analysis of Data 4.2 Consumers Evaluation and Brand Rating on Relevant Attributes CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION 5.1 Summary of Findings 5.2 Policy Implications 5.3 Implication for Product Management, Development and Marketing 5.4 Implications for Distribution 5.5 Recommendations and Conclusion 5.6 Suggestion for Future Research References Bibliography Appendix CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY One of the most recent ideas in the history of exchange relations is the marketing concept. The marketing concept is a management orientation that holds that the key task of the organization is to determine the needs and wants of target markets and to adapt the target organization to delivering the desired satisfaction more effectively and efficiently than its competitors. Economic history is well stocked with enough insight into the humble beginnings of present-day great corporations. Evidence abound that about all of the multi-national giant corporations in America, Europe and Nigeria were once cottage enterprises that grew as a result of the sheer ability and especially the marketing skills and efforts to produce and reproduce existing products better and cheaper. The adoption of a customer orientation, which forms the basic assumption of the marketing function of a firm, places a high premium on customer satisfaction. This of course has very wide applications for all areas of the organization. One major implication is that if the firm or organization has to manage its limited financial resources profitably, there is an acute need to identify consumers’ needs and wants before actual production or provision of the goods is undertaken. In the absence of this, the company may be faced with the threat of product failure in the face of more competitive brands. One of the most frequently used for identifying consumers’ needs and wants is the study of brands and brand preference patterns. Brand preference consists of a customer’s perception of a brand’s ability to satisfy his prescribed set of needs more than similar brands in the product class. A consumer’s preference for a particular brand among alternative brands is an indication that ceteris paribus, he will translate this preference to a purchase action when the situation arises. Consumer preference therefore is a crucial factor for management consideration especially in an attempt to implement the marketing concept. Since modern marketing holds the consumer as the centre-piece of all marketing actions, it appears logical to state that no fruitful marketing programme can be formulated and implemented without vigorously attempting to identify the tastes and preferences of the target market. The need for this becomes even more crucial in a developing economy like Nigeria’s at the threshold of technological take-off. An understanding and determination of consumer preference and the factors that give rise to them ultimately becomes highly fundamental in planning and implementing the company’s marketing strategies. Brand and brand preference do result from both the nature of the product, the characteristics of the producer, the seller and the consumer as well as the prevalent situation. In an attempt to understand consumer preference on the basis of the nature of the product, one basic approach is consumer attitude measurement. Hence the inefficiency and ineffectiveness in the distribution management of the brewery industries in Nigeria prompted this research and also to investigate the factors responsible for this poor sales performance and also to proffer some workable solutions to them. 1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM Numerous researches have been carried out to investigate the relationship between brand preference and consumer characteristics, characteristics of the product and the existing economic situation. Most have used numerous measures which are not products of brand-specific to establish the relationship. Majority of these researchers have attempted to study consumer preferences and choice on the basis of personality, psychograghic and demographic characteristics. However, Engel, Kollat and Black well pointed out that since World War II, economic and demographic variables have become less reliable determinants of products and brand preferences and choice, while personality variables have made minimal contributions to the understanding of consumer behavior. The research work is embarked upon due to the problems encountered by the Nigerian Breweries Plc., in the course of branding and promoting their products. 1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY Due to the fact that we have many brewers in the country today, there are many brands of lager beer in the market. The variety of brands of beer in the market has increased the consumer’s ability to exercise choice with less restraint. Therefore, the objective of the study is: i. The primary motives underlying the choice and subsequent purchase of a brand. ii. The consumer’s preference pattern for each brand. iii. The attributes that appeal to the consumers in their order of importance. iv. The average beer consumption rate of respondents per week. v. How the Nigerian Breweries Plc can improve sales performance through branding. vi. How the company, Nigerian Breweries Plc, decides on the particular to use in distributing its products. vii. To make recommendations in form of proffering solutions to the existing problems. 1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY The significance of brand and brand preference as a marketing tool such as this one is relevant in present-day Nigeria’s dynamic socio-economic environment to which the brewery industry belongs. Products are subject to life cycles. A particular may emerge suddenly, enjoy rapid growth and reach a point of relative maturity and eventually move into a period of slow decline. The implication of this is that a company needs to identify consumers’ needs and wants before producing its brand of beer otherwise, chances are that it may be faced with a threat of product failure in the face of more competitive brands in its product class. I therefore intend to find out among other reasons: a. If the Nigerian Breweries’ pattern of branding conforms with what obtains in management literatures. b. To ascertain whether it is adequate and dynamic enough with the ever changing economy. c. The relative importance of specific attributes of beer to consumers and how they relate to brand preference will be highlighted in this study. d. This study would be of immense assistance to brewery companies that want to formulate or reformulate their product strategy. e. This study would enable the brewers to know what attributes to improve on in their existing brands of beer and therefore plan marketing strategies to exploit their strengths. f. The findings of this study will be useful in the development of new product brands, improvement of existing brands and the planning of marketing strategies to exploit the preferences advantages. 1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY The study is focused on the beer industry with particular reference to Nigerian Breweries Plc and taking a cursory look at its lager beer and non-alcoholic beverages viz.: i. STAR ii. GUILDER iii. HEINEKEN iv. MALTINA These brands were selected because a. They are familiar enough for consumers to be reasonably knowledgeable about them. b. They are easily and readily available in retail outlets. c. There is some degree of price variation amongst them. d. They are sufficiently advertised in the various mass media. The geographical coverage of this study was limited to Benin City because of time and financial constraints. The limitation of geographical coverage is occasioned by the need for greater effectiveness of the research, given the constraints of time and finance. It is hoped however that the findings of this study will allow for a more meaningful comparisons to be made with findings of similar studies conducted in other towns in Nigeria. This is because most experts agree that Benin City is a microcosm of the behavior of the entire Nigerian Federation. 1.6 HYPOTHESIS OF THE STUDY A hypothesis is a tentative answer to a research question. It is often stated in the form of a relationship between a dependent and independent variable (Agbonifoh and Yemore, 1999). A hypothesis may be stated in a null form (Ho) or in the alternative (Ha). Thus, the following hypotheses are to be tested: Hypothesis I Ho: Consumer buying decision is not dependent on their perception of a brand’s attribute. Ha: Consumer buying decision is dependent on their perception of a brand’s attribute. Hypothesis II Ho: The way a product is branded does not affect its sales. Ha: The way a product is branded affect its sales. Hypothesis III Ho: Branding does not affect the way a product is distributed. Ha: Branding affect the way a product is distributed.
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