In the contemporary world, individuals are surrounded by numerous choices when purchasing this or that product. Since the global market is full of high-quality goods that are manufactured to meet all the needs and preferences of the population, people have to engage in a specific thought process when making a serious decision. Therefore, brands are investing substantial efforts in creating positive associations, advertising their products effectively, and targeting particular layers of society in order to ease consumers’ choices and benefit the business. It is stated that brand image is the primary driver of brand equity that refers to individuals’ “general perception and feeling about the brand that has an influence on consumer behaviour” (Zhang, 2015, p. 58). If consumers develop a correct and positive image in their mind, they are more likely to buy products from this specific enterprise and spread information about its effectiveness or quality. Thus, it is in every business’s interest to encourage the purchasing behaviour of people by associating their products with positive emotions, portraying them in a modern way, and creating an outstanding brand.
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On the other hand, the tendency of focusing a considerable amount of attention on developing a unique brand image contributes to the problem of overpricing. People can experience that many brands are starting to increase the cost of their merchandise while keeping the quality on the same level or not advancing the production process at all. As a result, particular brands become overrated, and consumers pay for the image rather than the product. For this reason, the topic regarding the effect of brand image on consumer taste preferences should be researched not just to understand the significance of a striking appearance on the market but also with the purpose of distinguishing the complications that consumers face. While being blinded by compelling descriptions and professionally designed images, individuals need to learn to distinguish fair price-quality balance and overpriced products.
Consequently, there are two specific objectives of the following study. The first is to deepen the readers’ knowledge about the impact of brand image on customer taste preferences. In other words, the research proposal will discuss how the creation of emotional appeals and positive associations contribute to people’s better view of a particular product and change consumer behaviour. The second goal of the study is to raise awareness among people concerning the tricks of advertisers that have an indirect influence on their choices. The research will teach consumers that while being affected by branding too much, they may favour overrated products and pay more for a smaller value. Thus, the paper will achieve these goals by responding to the following research questions:
- How does effective branding influence consumers’ behaviour?
- Why are people unable to distinguish a quality product from an overrated one?
Overall, the study will examine the relationship between branding and consumer taste preferences. The readers will have a chance to investigate how the first concept, which is an independent variable, impacts the other idea, which is a dependent variable. Hence, the conceptual framework will represent the interdependency between the mentioned variables and prove that a powerful brand development strategy has a direct impact on people’s perceptions about a specific product or business and affects their choices. By providing a literature review on the topic of branding and constructing a research design and methodology, the following proposal will demonstrate the relationship and highlight the issue regarding overrated products being favourable in the eyes of the public.
Brand Image Definition and Development
In order to explore the interrelation of this concept with any other idea, it is crucial to define it and understand its significance and distinguishing features. Kaemingk (2019) defines brand image as a customer’s perception of an organisation or a business based on its interactions with them. In other words, it is a picture or a narrative constructed in the minds of individuals after being exposed to information about a specific brand. This image can evolve and advance over time and does not necessarily connect to customers’ purchases and their use of specific products or services (Kaemingk, 2019). The most vital thing is individuals’ opinions about the business because it influences their future purchases and the ideas they deliver to other people through word-of-mouth communication. Since people’s perception is a foundation of success, companies claim that it is essential to work hard in order to maintain a positive brand image that will be consistent and unique (Kaemingk, 2019). Therefore, businesses spend a considerable amount of time on establishing a brand personality, making the most outstanding designs, writing narratives, and curating brand positioning on the market.
Brand creation is not an easy process that requires managers to ask for additional assistance from marketers who have extensive knowledge of advertising products in an excellent way. The techniques that corporate and personal brand executives use to develop a trademark that will be liked by the population are complicated since they include various elements. The first stage of creating a brand image for any company is clearly defining the brand and what it stands for (So et al., 2017). This practice includes identifying a specific vision, mission, purpose, and values of the brand because every single activity conducted by the business has to match their statements and goals (So et al., 2017). In addition, it is believed that prestige and distinctiveness have a considerable indirect impact on customer brand identification (So et al., 2017). Thus, companies have to put much effort into making the product unique and luxurious so that it matches the needs and preferences of the target audience. In general, in order to receive a successful outcome, businesses go through different stages of brand development and engage educated professionals in the procedure.
The Effect of Brand Image on Consumer Behaviour
As it can be seen, brand image is a fundamental component of any business which differentiates it from the competitors and has a massive influence on the customer. One of the most noticeable impacts of effective brand perceptions is their contribution to establishing a trustful relationship between a specific product and a consumer. As suggested by Islam and Rahman (2016), people “are more likely to create stronger emotional bonds with those brands whose image is congruent with the consumer’s self-concept” and whose portrayal is unique (p. 48). Positive brand associations inspire the motivation to love certain products and share the received emotions with the surrounding world (Islam & Rahman, 2016). Furthermore, some researchers on the topic of branding also conclude that when individuals create a bright picture of a brand in their mind, they establish a personal bond with it (Islam & Rahman, 2016). People may attribute products with human characteristics that match their personal values and act according to the symbolic qualities of a brand (Islam & Rahman, 2016). Hence, brand image is powerful in encouraging clients to develop an emotional connection with the business.
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Another influence of a positive brand image on consumer behaviour is its ability to encourage customers to buy a product by proving that it should be trusted and is of the highest quality. Lien et al. (2015) discussed that when customers develop favourable associations with the company, they are less likely to feel risks when purchasing any of its products. By helping individuals to recognize their needs and preferences, brand image establishes the best attitude towards the product and its attributes and motivates people to buy it (Lien et al., 2015). For example, research regarding “consumption in nostalgic restaurants indicated that restaurant image has a positive impact on consumption intention” (Lien et al., 2015, p. 215). A professional portrayal of the processes happening in the business, a satisfactory value, and an established trust make people have a more significant intention to purchase a service or a product (Lien et al., 2015). Therefore, it can be noted that by affecting consumer behaviour brand image plays a critical role in the future effectiveness of sales.
In addition, an effective brand image helps the business to earn a high reputation on the market and influences the choice of customers regarding the purchase of luxury products. As noted by Tekin et al. (2016), brand image is a critical concept “in apparel shopping behaviour since it impacts consumers’ preferences and intentions as well as their willingness to pay a premium price and recommend the brand to others” (p. 2). For instance, some businesses are able to create positive associations and receive the status of a luxury brand through effective advertising and representation on the market (Tekin et al., 2016). Therefore, while people shop based on the distinctiveness of a product, its features, unique experience, design, and emotions, they perceive this specific good to be extravagant and do not pay attention to financial expenses associated with it (Tekin et al., 2016). This tendency means that when people develop a constructive brand image in their minds, they become more likely to evaluate it higher and buy it regardless of the price. Consequently, achieving the status of being lavish puts brands into an advantageous position of rising prices without losing their customers.
Brand Image and Overpricing
As it was previously mentioned, a positive brand image allows businesses to shift the attention of customers from the product and its price to the feelings of emotional attachment and luxury. It can be stated that the representation of a good or service in the eyes of consumers is more important than the merchandise itself. For this reason, contemporary managers are concerned with their corporate reputation and image on the market because they build loyalty and trust and make products appear more valuable for individuals which, eventually, makes them pay more (Nathani, 2018). Various researches on the topic of marketing and branding revealed that people are able to pay extra for the brand with a positive reputation but, at the same time, are not ready to spend money on something with similar features but a worse representation (Nathani, 2018). Thus, when customers feel that the brand can be trusted because of its positive appearance on the local and international market, outstanding design strategy, and communication with the clients, they see it as luxurious and pay high prices.
Even though developing a positive and compelling brand image is vital for the establishment of reputation and impacts consumer taste preferences, it is also responsible for the issue of overpricing and people’s inability to understand what they are paying for. When individuals are blinded by professionally designed images and advertisements, they forget to take into consideration the features of the product, its usefulness, and its effectiveness, making it impossible for them to distinguish an overrated product from a high-quality one (Nathani, 2018). Hence, while managers continually learn to advertise their products and apply new techniques to influence people’s choices, they no longer care about the goods themselves and deceive customers who pay high prices for low-quality merchandise. Since there is a lack of literature regarding the mentioned problem, it is essential to research it more and prove the idea that brand image influences customers’ preferences and makes them unable to distinguish a reasonably priced brand from an overrated trademark.
Research Design and Methodology
The proposed study on brand image and its influence on consumer behaviour will apply an explanatory research design. It should primarily be mentioned that this part of the research sets the foundational parameters for the project and establishes a framework for its planning and implementation. Its primary function is to ensure that the evidence collected will effectively address the research questions and provide definite conclusions. Therefore, by using an explanatory research design, the following project will focus on explaining the processes and aspects of the topic in more detail. It will help readers to see the correlation between the variables and understand the issue better. More specifically, the explanatory research design will aim at discovering new insights and discoveries regarding the problem and answering the questions of how brand image influences consumer behaviour and why people are unable to identify good quality and favour overrated products.
The proposed study focuses on understanding how individuals’ preferences are influenced by brand image; therefore, it is necessary to develop a clear sampling framework that will represent the population of the project. The sampling framework should be specific since it is one of the main elements that ensure a specific study’s effectiveness and relevance. In the case of the following research, the target audience will include middle-class adults who work and engage in purchasing behaviour. While it is impossible to assemble data from the whole target population, a sampling framework should be created.
The sampling frame for this study will be a complete list of individuals who are eligible to participate in the study. The record will include residents of a particular city who are older than 30 and are a part of the working class with an average income. The framework will include an identifier for every unit and all the needed contact information of the audience. Eventually, the framework will help to select a sample population for the proposed study.
One of the purposes of the study is to produce results that will represent the whole population. For this reason, the probability sampling technique will be used. This particular method will help the project to receive satisfactory outcomes that will be able to provide the most reliable information regarding the researched problem. While there are different types of probability sampling, the following project will use the random one. Random sampling is a part of the probability technique that gives every member of the population an equal opportunity to participate in the study. A sample that is chosen randomly aims should be an unbiased representation of the target audience.
The proposed research will choose up to 20 individuals from the sampling frame who will have a chance to take part in the study. In order to conduct this type of sampling, the project will use the random number generator tool, which will select specific individuals from the list. Particular people will then be contacted and informed about the requirements and processes of the study they can choose to participate in.
The proposed research is qualitative since it aims at expanding knowledge concerning a certain issue that has not been researched enough; hence, the collected data will not consist of numbers or figures that can be counted. Various methods exist to measure qualitative data which can be used both separately and collectively. The primary method used in qualitative studies is conducting interviews. This approach will give a possibility to meet with individuals participating in the research directly, ask questions, and discuss personal experiences regarding the problem. It is necessary to mention that people will not be required to respond to questions that they will perceive as inappropriate or too personal. In addition, it is essential to keep track of the details by making handwritten notes. These outlines will give a chance to compare the data correctly and make reliable conclusions in the end. Consequently, while being a vital part of the research, data measurement should be conducted with caution and determination.
The Procedure of Data Collection
As has already been mentioned, data for the research will be collected through interviews. First of all, individuals will be provided with an informed consent form which will include all the information regarding the purpose, procedures, and requirements of the study. Once they voluntarily sign the following document, an individual interview, which will be up to 20 minutes in length, will be conducted. During the conversation, participants will be asked questions on the topic of their experience while purchasing particular products. People will have a chance to share their feelings about brands, details they pay attention to while purchasing a product, and their satisfaction with the goods of famous trademarks. Afterwards, information collected during the interviews will be organized and compared to the already existing research on the topic of brand image and its influence on consumer behaviour.
The last but the most critical part of any research is the process of data analysis. This procedure includes various elements necessary to make conclusions about the received knowledge on a particular topic. Since qualitative data consists of words and stories, the first step towards its analysis is its careful investigation. During this stage, the researcher will be able to get familiar with the material and look for fundamental observations. After that, it is essential to compare the existing literature with new information given by the study participants and identify different patterns and connections which will help to respond to the research questions successfully. Furthermore, it is essential to point out the areas for further research and their significance.
The research proposal focuses on examining the topic of brand image and its impact on consumer taste preferences. The paper identifies that, in the contemporary world, businesses are putting significant effort into creating the best representation of their brands in the eyes of customers in order to establish a high reputation, increase their sales, and, potentially, raise prices without harming the process. It is proved that when people create positive associations about the brand, they are more likely to perceive it as favourable and establish a personal connection with the products. Nevertheless, brand image contributes to people’s inability to distinguish an excellent price-quality balance from overrated goods. While focusing their attention on designs, product positioning, luxury, and emotions, people forget about the features and pay more for an overpriced product. At the same time, businesses take advantage of this tendency and deceive customers about the quality of their goods. Since the following problem is not researched enough, it is essential to conduct further investigation and respond to the questions of how brand image affects consumer behaviour and why people choose to favour overpriced brands. By conducting qualitative interviews with the representatives of middle-class adults and carefully analysing the information provided by them it will be possible to respond to the research questions and achieve the main objectives of the study, such as expanding the readers’ knowledge on the topic and raise awareness about the issue of overrated products.
Zhang, Y. (2015). The impact of brand image on consumer behavior: A literature review. Open journal of business and management, 3(1), 58-62.
Kaemingk, D. (2019). What is brand image and how do you measure it. Qualtrics.
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So, K. K. F., King, C., Hudson, S., & Meng, F. (2017). The missing link in building customer brand identification: The role of brand attractiveness. Tourism Management, 59, 640-651.
Islam, J. U., & Rahman, Z. (2016). Examining the effects of brand love and brand image on customer engagement: An empirical study of fashion apparel brands. Journal of Global Fashion Marketing, 7(1), 45-59.
Lien, C. H., Wen, M. J., Huang, L. C., & Wu, K. L. (2015). Online hotel booking: The effects of brand image, price, trust and value on purchase intentions. Asia Pacific Management Review, 20(4), 210-218.
Tekin, G., Yiltay, S., & Ayaz, E. (2016). The effect of brand image on consumer behaviour: Case study of Louiss Vuitton-Moet Hennessy. International Journal of Academic Value Studies, 2(1), 1-24.
Nathani, K. (2018). How to get your consumers pay more. Entrepreneur.