True Brand Loyalty Essay

This essay has a total of 1668 words and 8 pages.

True Brand Loyalty

Introduction

A company's main question in relation to selling their products or services use do be:
,,How do I get people to buy my product?" Nowadays companies still greatly appreciate the
answer to this question but they have also realized that getting customers is not the only
thing they need to do. In today's rapidly moving world consumers don't stick with products
for life. Advertisements and an increased feeling of independence have created consumers
that will switch brands or products as soon as the feel the need to do so. What company's
look for in this consumer environment is creating a so-called brand loyalty.

This paper will explore the ways companies go about in creating this brand loyalty and it
will investigate the circumstances and effects that come with it. It will start of by
thoroughly explaining what brand loyalty exactly is. After that an overview of key success
factors stimulating brand loyalty will be given and we will have a look at how these
factors are influenced by different conditions. Examples will be provided. The
relationships between brand loyalty and brand commitment and satisfaction will be
explored. Finally a conclusion will be reached on how important brand loyalty is to
companies and for what reasons.


What is Brand Loyalty?

Before one can give a definition of brand loyalty one first has to make the distinction
between repeat purchasing behavior and brand loyalty. ‘Repeat purchasing behavior is the
actual rebuying of a brand.' So the behavioral aspect of this action. Brand loyalty also
includes ‘that behavior's antecedents'. This means the reason or fact occurring before
the behavior. When talking about brand loyalty we can yet again make a distinction between
two types: On the one hand we have spurious brand loyalty and on the other true brand
loyalty. The former was defined by Bloemer and Kasper as the ‘(1) biased (2) behavioral
response (3) expressed over time (4) by some decision-making unit (5) with respect to one
or more alternative brands out of a set of such brand, (6) which is a function of
inertia.' The key word here is inertia meaning without commitment towards the brand. Their
definition the latter, and the most important one in this paper, is exactly the same on
the first five points but differs for the sixth adding ‘is a function of psychological
(decision making, evaluative) processes resulting in brand commitment.' In this definition
brand commitment is the key word.

In laymen's words true brand loyalty refers to consumers sticking with a brand out of
feelings of commitment towards that brand. For instance, when you bought a tube of Prodent
toothpaste and you found it ok, you will not have to spend any valuable time on looking
for other toothpaste brands, because you are already familiar with it. However, for a more
brand-loyalty-sensitive product class like beer, the probability that a consumer will
stick to one brand (like Grolsch Beer) is much higher.

In the next paragraph we will now look at the relation between brand commitment and brand loyalty.

Brand commitment

Brand loyalty is based on the amount of brand commitment. The amount of commitment is not
fixed, but can be considered as a continuum. The amount of commitment is based on the type
of brand satisfaction. In this article, two types of satisfaction are taken into account.
For the sake of this paper, a distinction has to be made between manifest and latent brand
satisfaction.

First, what is brand satisfaction? Bloemer defines it as "the outcome of the subjective
evaluation that the chosen alternative (the brand) meets or exceeds the expectations" (pp
314). Bloemer then makes a distinction between manifest and latent satisfaction. The
distinction basically rests on the degree of elaboration. This in turn depends on the
level of motivation and capacity that a certain consumer needs in order to evaluate the
product. Manifest satisfaction is the result of a high degree of elaboration. Latent
satisfaction is based on the fact that "the consumer is not fully aware of his/her
satisfaction, because of a lack of motivation and/or ability of the consumer to evaluate
his/her brand choice" (pp.315).


The linkage between satisfaction and brand loyalty

Many literatures have been written on the relation between brand loyalty and consumer
satisfaction. This relation seems quite obvious. Later on we will deal with an article
from Bloemer and De Ruyter (forthcoming) in which they introduce some moderating effects
on this relation. But before we do this, we will describe factors that influence consumer
satisfaction. In this respect Oliver (1981 & 1993) provides us with some interesting
insights. Oliver describes the process of consumer (dis)satisfaction with help of the
disconfirmation theory. Shortly explained, this theory assumes that consumer satisfaction
or dissatisfaction results from a positive or negative discrepancy (or disconfirmation)
between the outcome and the expectations regarding a purchase" (Antonides and Van Raaij,
1998) (See appendix I).

How exactly do these disconfirmations arise? With respect to services provided to
consumers, the SERVQUAL model (see appendix II) gives some interesting explanations for
these disconfirmations or discrepancies. The model goes further on Oliver's
disconfirmation theory by defining and explaining other forms of disconfirmations than the
one that arises out of the difference between expected and experienced service. These
other discrepancies e.g. arise as a result of how consumer expectations are perceived by
the service provider or how the actual service provided differs from the directives given
about how to provide the service. The article of Antonides and van Raaij (1998) continues
with how these discrepancies can result in consumer (dis)satisfaction and eventually
Continues for 4 more pages >>




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