Purpose of the Proposed Research
It is expected to give clear information on the possible reception of the SABIC brand in the Australian market and reveal the gap for entry and brand building for competitive advantage.
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What role will SABIC brand play in the Australian market and what factors are likely to influence its success?
Definition of terms
To be based on the pilot study, the respondents response questionnaire will be based some terms like “I prefer A to B” for a particular purpose because it is “stronger”, “more durable” and many more reasons. Others such as “I will buy a new brand if is has the following quality”, “I will purchase or not purchase the new product if it fails to accomplish some criteria”. Some of the question terms to be asked are like, “what will you want to be the composition of the new product?”, “If you prove the strength of the product will you go for subsequent purchases in case you are in need?”
The rising cost of living in Australian major cities has led to a good number of populations resorting to leave in smaller cities, with newly upcoming housing projects (Marc 2008, p.48). According to Nielsen’s consumer confidence index report in November 2008, the rising cost of living as well as the concern about the economy is digging dip into most families’ income who struggle to make ends meet (Marc 2008, p.49). This trend is likely to increase the internal migration from main metropolitan cities like Sydney and Melbourne to smaller cities like Perth and Darwin, a phenomenon that could explain declining trend in housing demand and prices in these major cities while increasing the same in the smaller cities as reported by ABS (2008, P.6). Interestingly, the impact of housing needs in some of the major cities such as Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney are correlated in that the rise in price of building in one of the cities is likely to raise the price in other cities and vice versa. The same study also highlighted the continuous increase in the number of immigrants in the country that consequently increases the pressure in the housing demands.
In his review of the impact of adverse weather on the housings in Australia and UK entitled “Caught in the Rain”, Jones (2008, P.18) states that Australia’s experiencing terrestrial rain after a long period of time has caused an unexpected damage to the housing units. In this review, Insurance Council of Australia revealed that about 90,000 claims came in as a result of the storm, where the Hunter Valley became the most hit. Australia is particularly lowly-populated outside the coastal cities; with long rivers that are isolated from one another thus less impact in terms of flood damage is experienced. No wonder the Insurance companies cite hailstone damage to their rooftops to be their main worries when offering insurance covers to the buildings in the terrestrial rains prone areas.
These studies have one thing in common, the increase in housing demand. However, there is an evidently lack of proper information on the perception of the Australian consumers on new brands. It is thus important to note that the studies show some relative increase in the housing demands in the country in question, subsequently the increased possibility of high demand for SABIC products, which are credited for their quality and durability.
According to Ham (2004) cited by Liu, Luo, Le, & Picken (2008, p.237) in his research entitled “Norm- First Casualty in the Marketing Upheavals”, he states that Australian consumer market, just like US market, is fragmented into target groups with individual needs and that mass marketing to the traditionally “typical consumer” is not viable. The study also revealed that familiar brands with strong images have an edge over the new brands (Liu et al. 2008, p.239). The proliferation of new brands in the Australian market has created a lot of anxiety for the shoppers, and that traditional brands with strong authority in the market always have strong profit affinity (Liu et al. 2008, p.240). It was also established that generic brands have an upper hand in acquiring more market share, especially the basic commodities like household items and luxury products thus making many existing companies to cut back on new product introductions and instead increase advertising support for their existing brands (Liu et al. 2008, p.240). It is therefore recommended that introducing a new brand in this continuously fragmented market will need both accurate quantitative and qualitative research that would enable better understanding of the consumers, their needs and the emotional response to new products (Liu et al. 2008, p.241). However, this study is said to be insufficient in terms of information on wide range of products, because it preferably concentrated on the basic household products at the expense of other consumer goods just like many of the past consumer studies in Australia. Despite this shortcoming, this study is important as it provides a background for this proposed research since it provides an information on the general nature of the Australian market.
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The survey instrument to be used is a four-page questionnaire adopted from Huefner & Hunt (2000, p.31). This established scale will be modified to suit this research question. It will be subdivided into four distinct sections. Section A will contain two questions meant to screen the respondents such as: “have you purchased a new product from a new brand in the past 12 months?” together with “when did you purchase the new brand last and why?” This last question is meant to assess that frequency and ability to do repeat purchase, a concept that has theoretically believed to show either brand satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The next level of this questionnaire instrument will be section B that entails measuring psychographic variables using a 40-item scale, also adopted from Hunt (2000, p.31). These variables include preference, opinions, as well as attitudes towards the present and new products and brands and the respondents will be expected to do their own ranking on a 5-point Likert scale as has been used by past similar studies notably Hunt (2000, p.31). Section C on the other hand consisted of a 10-item scale that notes consumer response to new brands and factors that influence their purchase of the existing products rather than the. This section will also provide the respondents room to answer the open-ended questions just in case they have general opinion on what new products should entail to seal the gap left by the current similar product (Holliday 2002, p.41; Preece 1994, p.79). This is because the scale as has been used in other studies does not provide anything beyond “yes” or “no” answers, hence restricting access to some crucial information that may not be noticed when designing the questionnaire (Preece 1994, p.82). The last section D of the instrument will mainly focus on the demographic data of the respondent such as age, gender, income, education, nationality, marital status, family size, and occupation. These variables are very important considering the stage analysis and the business plan that invoked the idea of this proposal. The survey form will go through pre-test and is expected to be approved by the ethics committee before the due date for data collection (Locke, Spirduso & Silverman 2000, p.21).
A total of 1,500 questionnaires are expected to be distributed randomly to the expected respondents who would be reached through their addresses at the white pages (www.whitepages.com.au) (Hunt 2000, p.239). The target response is 1200, but the 300 plus questionnaires are meant to take care of the expected returned mails since the targeted respondents no longer resides in Australia, or the expected omission since the respondent has lived in Australia for less than 5 years or are less likely to stay permanently in the country. If all the 1200 questionnaires are answered, then a response rate would be 80%, however, a response rate of 60% will be considered a success for the study.
An analysis of the quantitative data will be done using the SPSS software (the available version) to classify the consumer behaviors and perception in relation to parameters highlighted in the questionnaires; with clear information to be backed by the accompanying qualitative data answered in the open ended questions in section C of the questionnaire. SPSS has proved to be very important statistical software for analyzing social data and most of the business researches have seen any quantitative data being analyzed by the use of SPSS due to its broad perspective (Liu, Luo, Le & Picken 2008, 237).
A pilot study will be carried out to test the questionnaire instruments and adjustments will be made where appropriate to ensure an all inclusive and focused data is collected.
Limitation of the study
The research is likely to face the increased number of non-response to the questionnaire from a section of the population especially the working class and city dwellers because this group prefer buying completed houses rather than build their own houses and that they are non-committal on the state of the roofing and other building materials as long as it looks beautiful. The non-response may also be as a result of lack of commitment from the target respondents and the migrants who have already left the country or changed their location hence physical address. This problem will be fixed by the use of additional questionnaires (300) to carter for the any emerging non-response. Again, the study gives allowance of about 40% non-response and ineligible respondents like those who have not stayed in Australia for the last 5 years.
The other likely problem is the risk associated with increased use of technology like internet in Australia. Many people especially the younger generations (below the age of baby boomers) do prefer paperless activities like surfing and taking online questionnaires rather than handling a huge volume of questionnaire which they are likely to leave incomplete. If this is realized after the data collection, a stratified online research will be conducted to ensure the group is not left out. This will only happen if the few younger generations who answer the questions are found to be interested in building houses.
Significance of the Research
The research is critical in that it will reveal the perception of the Australian on the new brands that will be helpful in establishing the brand identity, which other past studies have revealed to reign supreme in the minds of Australian consumers.
The research will require that the respondents reveal their identities including names, age, occupation, location, marital status and any other personal details. In practice, it is ethically understood that many informed respondents will not be willing to divulge all these information hence the need put assurance. Accompanying the questionnaire in the mail will be a legally binding contract agreement form to be signed by the respondent. It will contain agreement terms such as the researcher’s commitment to keeping all the information given and the respondent’s commitment to not produce the copy of the questionnaire for any other reason. This form will be produced in two copies, one for the respondent to mail back together with the completed questionnaire and the other for him or her to remain with.
|Activity||Jan 09||Feb 09||Mar 09||Apr 09|
|Designing Questionnaires||▲▲▲▲▲ |
|Pre-test/ Pilot Data Collection||▲▲▲▲▲ |
|Actual Data Collection||▲▲▲▲▲ |
|Data Cleaning, Analysis and Result Presentation||▲▲▲▲▲ |
|Activity||Per cost||Sub Total|
|Designing Questionnaires with assistance|
|Data Collection (Cost of postage)|
|Data entry and analysis with Assistance from statisticians (3 statisticians)|
|Presentation of Results|
ABS (2008) House price indexes: eight capital cities, Australian Bureau of Statistics. Web.
Holliday, A. (2002) Doing and Writing Qualitative Research, London. Sage.
Hunt, P. (2004) Housing prices in Australia: 1970 to 2003, Sydney: Department of Economics, Macquarie University.
Liu C, Luo, Z, Le M, & Picken D (2008). Identifying house price diffusion patterns among australian state capital cities, International Journal of Strategic Property Management,Vilnius: Vol. 12, Issue 4; pp. 237-242.
Locke, L F, Spirduso, W & Silverman, S (2000). Proposals that Work: A Guide for Planning Dissertations and Grant Proposals 4th Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA. Sage.
Marc, J (2008). “Caught in the rain”, Best’s Review. Oldwick: Vol. 109, Issue 2; pp. 48-51.
Preece, R (1994). Starting Research- An Introduction to Academic Research and Dissertation Writing, London. Pinter.
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