What is The Influence of Corporate Branding towards Consumer Perception in Thailand?

| December 6, 2012

Table of Contents

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of corporate branding towards consumer perception as well as to understand the associative relationship between those factors in Thailand market. Four main dimensions of corporate branding including identity, image, reputation, and loyalty were explored and studied through literature reviews in order to establish hypotheses and a research model. Therefore, Samsung brand in Thailand was selected to be a case study of this research due to the fact that this brand used to be perceived as a low-quality product imitated from a Japanese brand. Samsung has finally become well-known and has gained high-innovative image and reputation.

According to the Epistemology, the research employed deductive approach and positivism in order to test the hypotheses. With the scientific procedure, the quantitative research was conducted to collect data from 352 Samsung consumers in Thailand. The samples were randomly selected and asked to fill in the question via the google spreadsheets website posted through social media networks i.e. facebook. The questionnaires were also printed out and distributed in several huge shopping malls around Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand. After that, the data gained were transferred to and analysed by Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS) programme version 18.

Finally, the results received from the tests indicate that corporate identity, image, and reputation significantly affect consumer perception of the Samsung brand. It was also found that there were positive relationships between those dimensions and consumer perception as well as the perception and the corporate brand loyalty. Managerial and theoretical implications were then provided Samsung for maintaining and improving its potential brand strategic management.

Chapter One

Introduction

1.1 Introduction

Branding has been used by firms as a strategic tool for building a sustainable and for gaining competitive advantage (O’Malley, 1991; Xie and Boggs, 2006). It has been diversely using in order to build up their image and to enhance their reputation, even though, branding concept is not considered as a new strategy (Wentz and Suchard, 1993; Fombrun and van Riel, 1997; Aaker and Joachimsthaler, 2000). It can be said that brand image and brand reputation may influence consumer perception towards merit of products, boost up prestige and value of brands, enhance brand loyalty, as well as create a sustainable business at the end (Ginden, 1993; Fombrun and van Riel, 1997; Morsing and Kristensen, 2001). Moreover, Duncan and Moriarty (1998) also affirmed that perception is very crucial to build a brand which exists in customers’ mind. As a consequence, brand management is about how to deal with customers’ perception. Firms then need to understand the way to utilise power of brands in order to change customers’ product experience and their perception (Elliott and Percy, 2007).

However, in today’s fast-changing and complex marketplaces, it is not easy to keep customer loyalty with one company since there has been a significant increase in product and service innovation of many organizations (Morsing and Kristensen, 2001). Building a strong corporate brand in the high-technology segment would enable companies to have a confident that its products would not be imitated easily (Keller, 2003). Premium brands such as Apple, Sony and IBM receive positive perception of product quality, image, and trust (Xie and Boggs, 2006). This is the reason why corporate branding has become a fascinating and useful approach in the 21th century (Hatch and Schultz, 2003; Balmer and Greyser, 2003).

This study primarily focuses on four dimensions of corporate branding which include corporate identity, corporate image, corporate reputation, and corporate brand loyalty relating to consumer perception of a brand. Therefore, Samsung brand was selected to represent as a corporate brand in Thailand in order to investigate how it is perceived by Thai consumers. Samsung was selected because of the fact that it is one of the best high-technological companies which is moving and expanding rapidly (Roll, 2006; Temporal, 2006). It also implements corporate brand strategy to distribute its products in the global marketplace (Roll, 2006), including in Thailand (Samsung, 2011). Moreover, after facing its brand management crisis leading to be perceived as a low image and bad reputation brand in the past decade, Samsung brand got recovered and gained higher acceptance of consumers when the corporate branding strategy has been inclusively implemented (Ind, 1998; Roll, 2006). Samsung Company and its brand background will be described next.

1.2 Samsung Company and Brand Background

Samsung was founded and has been producing technological products in South Korea in 1969 (Roll, 2006; Temporal, 2006; Samsung, 2011). Firstly, it was negatively perceived as a low-class brand imitated from Japanese electronic products (Roll, 2006).  The company had also been completed with many other brands such as Sony, Canon, LG group of South Korea, as well as potential competitors from China and Taiwan (Roll, 2006).   However, in 1993, a new corporate philosophy was launched encouraging the company to put more effort on developing innovative technology (Roll, 2006; Temporal, 2006; Samsung, 2011). After that, this brand has been well-known and has become a global brand in the top rank (Haig, 2004; Roll, 2006).

Samsung’s philosophy emphasizes on creating special talents which would enhance superior products and services as well as build a better society in the world (Samsung, 2011). With its new motto “Inspire the world, Create the future”, Samsung organization could leverage three competitive advantages in terms of “New Technology”, “Innovative Products” and “Creative Solutions” (Samsung, 2011). Samsung name has been used in order to represent and characterise Samsung products including, mobile device, home appliances, television, camera, camcorder, print solutions, as well as personal computer and peripherals (Roll, 2006; Samsung, 2011). Moreover, new strategic brand management of Samsung together with its consistent policy enables the company to gain a better market positioning (Roll, 2006). It was changed from a cheap electronic manufacturer to a world-class design and cutting-edge technology provider by implementing an aggressive branding strategy — internal branding as well as world best talents development. Samsung also uses beneficial communication channels i.e. public relation, event marketing, advertising, and Samsung experience gallery (Roll, 2006; Temporal, 2006). This could upgrade this brand to be a global brand providing premium assess a particular brand and product (Mitchell and Olson, 1981; Dowling and Uncles, 1997, de Chernatony and Dall’Olmo Riley, 1998; Lee and Ganesh, 1999; Ruyter and Wetzels, 2000). It has also become more popular among several Asian brands such as Sony, Toshiba, Toyota, Honda, Canon, Mitsubishi, LG, and etc (Roll, 2006; Temporal, 2006; Muhlbacher et al., 2006). Moreover, Consumers in Asia, particularly Thailand, consider more about how brands perform and how they reflect their characteristic and lifestyles. Most of previous researches mainly focused on American and European countries while there are only a few researches product quality and design (Haig, 2004). As a result, it was ranked as the best Information Technology (IT) by Business week since 2002 (Roll, 2006).

1.3 Problem Identification and Research Objectives

Nowadays, corporate branding has been widely discussed in many literatures about how consumers perceive, select, and studying on corporate branding in Asian perspective (Ind, 1998). Consequently, the main point of this study is to understand how consumers perceive the Samsung corporate brand in Thailand market by considering four key elements – corporate identity, corporate image, corporate reputation, and corporate brand loyalty.

In order to clarify this research problem, it can be divided into the following objectives:

  1. To determine the influence of a corporate brand towards consumer perception in terms of its identity, image, and reputation in Thailand;
  2. To examine the relationship between consumer perception and corporate brand loyalty in Thailand market and;
  3. To discuss and provide management recommendation to develop corporate branding in Thailand.

1.4 Value of the Study

The value of this study is to identify and highlight the importance of each dimension of corporate brand towards consumer perception. It helps investigating how those dimensions — identity, image, reputation — influence consumer perception towards Samsung brand in which provides high-technological product and service in Thailand as well as examining a relationship between the consumer perception and corporate brand loyalty.

1.5 Organisation of the Study

The study has been organised and divided into seven chapters. Firstly, an introduction part, Samsung background, as well as research problem and research objectives are provided in Chapter 1. After that, Chapter 2 is thoroughly reviewing the relevant theories and concepts such as consumer behavior, consumer perception, branding, and corporate branding. Then, based upon the study of previous literatures, research model and hypotheses are formulated in Chapter 3 in order to illustrate the influence of corporate branding dimensions — corporate identity, image, reputation — towards Thai consumer perception and the association between consumer perception and corporate brand loyalty. Thereafter, Chapter 4 is describing about how the research was designed and which research methods were implemented, followed by the presentation of research results and data analysis in Chapter 5. Next, discussion and implication are done in Chapter 6. Finally, in the last chapter, conclusion and limitation of this study are clearly explained at the end.

Chapter Two

Literature Review

In this chapter, related literatures on consumer behaviour, brand and branding, and corporate branding with its dimensions will be discussed.

2.1 Understanding Consumer Behaviour

2.1.1 Consumer Behaviour and Consumer Decision Making Process

Solomon et al. (2009, p.148) also defines consumer behaviour as “The process individuals or groups go through to select, purchase, use or dispose of products, services, ideas or experiences to satisfy needs and desires.”  This can be described by the behavioural process (Schiffman and Kanuk, 2007) as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Consumer Behavioural Process

Source: Adapted from Schiffman and Kanuk (2007)

In addition, it can be understood by the model of consumer decision making process (Figure 2) which consists of three key elements, there are external influence factors, consumer decision making process, and post-decision behaviour (Schiffman and Kanuk, 2007; Kotler and Keller, 2009). Schiffman and Kanuk (2007) also mentioned that marketing and socio-cultural stimuli –e.g culture, sub-culture, social roles and statuses, and family– is an external influence that persuades consumers to acquire, consume, or refuse the products. Kotler (2000) argued that personal factors and psychological factors –e.g age, economic circumstants, lifestyle, perception, attitude, and motivation– are the internal influences that also persuades them. Also, Kotler and Keller (2009) stated that buying decision process could be divided into five stages–problem/need recognition, information search, evaluation of alternative, purchase decision, and post-purchase evaluation.

1) Problems recognition: This stage may happen when consumers recognise a difference between actual state and ideal state (Solomon, 2009). The difference will create their “Needs” and they will want to respond and fulfil those needs by doing or acting something such as buying, consuming, watching etc. Finally, target customers can be obviously seen if marketers discover the level of hierarchy of their needs — Physiological Needs, Safety Needs, Belongingness Needs, Esteem Needs, and Self-actualisation Needs — (Maslow, 1970).

2) Information Search: Being satisfied by closing the gap of the actual and ideal states, consumers have to seek information from many sources. Four types of sources which were stated by Kotler and Keller (2009) are personal source, commercial source, public source, and experiential source. These sources will bring about a set of choice in order to be evaluated in the next step.

3) Evaluation of Alternatives: Information gathered will be considered and evaluated through four criteria including performance of products, financial issues, social factors, and personal attitudes (Masterson and Pickton, 2004). Consumers, then, will realise the certain benefits of the product or service and will be able to make purchase decision.

4) Purchase Decision: After consumers have their preferences, their intention to buy will be found and executed by considering six sub-decisions which are product, brand, dealer, quantity, timing, and payment method. However, there are some intervene factors which include functional risk, physical risk, financial risk, social risk, psychological risk, and time risk (Kotler and Keller, 2009). These risks could be perceived and could influence consumer’s decision.

5) Post – purchase Evaluation: This step will influence customers to purchase again or refuse to purchase in the future. Therefore, marketers should monitor customers’ satisfaction, actions, product use and disposal after they buy and use the products (Schiffman and Kanuk, 2007; Kotler and Keller, 2009)

Figure 2: The Consumer Decision Making Process Model

Source: Adapted from Schiffman and Kanuk (2007, p.513)

2.1.2 Consumer Perception

Perception is defined as the way in which an individual selects, receives, organises, and interprets stimuli (Russ and Kirkpatrick, 1982; Mowen, 1987; Schiffman and Kanuk, 2007; Kotler, 2000). It also can be described that perception is the meaning that people see and understand information around them (Nelson and James, 1996; Schiffman and Kanuk, 2007). People may recognise and expose to the same stimuli in the different process, based upon individual’s beliefs, needs, and expectation (Schiffman and Kanuk, 2007). As a consequence, from the marketing side, Russ and Kirkpatrick (1982) stated that consumer individually perceives those stimuli though distinctive specification and characteristic of product, brand, and price.

According to Solomon (2007), the stimuli include light, colour, and sound. Boone and Kurtz (1995) also mentioned that the stimuli can be perceived though the five senses which are touching, hearing, seeing, smelling, and tasting. Moreover, they explained that interacting between stimuli factors and individual factors would create individual’s perception of things and situations (Boone and Kurtz, 1995). Stimuli factors are features of an object that psychologically motivate one’s belief and thought (Hanna and Wozniak, 2001) whereas individual factors consist of sensory process, experiences, motivation, and expectation (Boone and Kurtz, 1995). Furthermore, Kotler (2000) also suggested three perceptual processes; Selective Attention, Selective Distortion, and Selective Retention, causing individuals to perceive the same stimulus differently. However, Schernerhorn, Hunt, and Osborn (2000) suggested that there are four stages of perceptual process which include not only Kotler’s three perceptual process — Attention and Selection, but also Organization, Interpretation, and Retrieval has been included. A diagram shown in Figure 3 illustrates the four stages of perceptual process which influences one’s perception and response (Schernerhorn, Hunt, and Osborn, 2000).

Figure 3: The Four Stages of Perceptual Process

Source: Adapted from Schernerhorn, Hunt, and Osborn, (2000)

According to Figure 3, the perceptual process can be divided into Attention and Selection, Organisation, Interpretation, and Retrieval stages.

1) Attention and Selection stage: Lewison (1994) and Kotler (2000) divided this stage into three groups which are;

-          Selectivity exposure is the process of receiving in which individuals screen out unimportant information and pay attention to only potential messages matching to their attitudes and beliefs (Berkowitz et al., 1994).

-           Selective Distortion occurs when people organises and adapts incoming information to support their own beliefs and thoughts (Kotler, 2000).

-          Selective Retention describes that consumers do not receive and remember everything they exposed to. They usually retain only some parts which support their beliefs (Kotler and Armstrong, 1999).

2) Organisation stage: Lewison (1994) explained that each individual has various ability to receive, store, organise, and simplify data mentally; therefore, consumer will interpret and react to problem when making purchase decision differently. Furthermore, people should be able to develop and organise their knowledge though their experience efficiently (Schermerhon et al., 200)

3) Interpretation stage: This process is to assign meaning to stimuli by mentally comparing what consumer sees, knows, and feels from his past experiences (Hanna and Wozniak, 2001).

4) Retrieval stage: This process is different from the previous since those processes is about how people receive and store information in our memory. However, this stage is to retrieve the stored information when it is needed to be used. Schermerhon et al., (2000) also described that only some stored data can be retrieved from our memory.

Based upon consumer perception, everybody has different knowledge of products and brands. Some may think positive towards a brand while others may not even though they have never bought or used it before (Arnold, 1992). This is because individual’s beliefs, experiences, and perception could influence customer trust in a brand (Buttle and Burton, 2002). Kotler (2000) also stated that consumer decides to purchase base upon his perception of reality, not reality itself. Therefore, consumer marketer should have deep understanding of perceptual process in order to comprehend how he perceives a brand or a product and makes his purchase decision (Keith, 1992).

2.2 Brand and Branding

With the intense competition in the today’s marketplace, a firm with only product focus may not be capable to run a successful business. Branding strategy has now become widely discussed among the business since its function not only means an established brand name, but also “a direct consequence of the strategy of market segmentation and product differentiation” (Kapferer, 1992, pp.46).

According to Kotler (2000, p.396), brand is “the name, associated with one or more items in the product line, that is used to identify the source of character of the item(s).” Previously, brand was considered as ‘an off-hand’ concept or a step in the whole marketing process (Urde, 1999). However, nowadays marketers divert their focuses to the brand since it is believed to function as ‘an identifier’ differentiating one product or service from one another as well as to gain consumer awareness towards the product (Ind, 1997; Kay, 2004). Literatures in brand subject have addressed the significance of brand as something unique which cannot be imitated or copied (Ind, 1997; Aaker & Joachimsthaler, 2000). This statement has been accepted as it is obviously shown that when a new product or service has been launched, it must be accompanied with ‘brand’ (i.e. name, logo and symbol) (Keller, 2003). This can be exemplified by Apple brand which strongly focuses its technological product innovation leading this brand to gain high awareness and positive perception from global market. Kapferer (1997) and Kohli and Thakor (1997) explained the significant difference between traditional and current brand concepts as traditional concept is used to build distinctive brand image among the similar products or services whereas present concept emphasises on the quality of the products or services which cannot be accessed from external. Building brand image is identical for those who mainly focus on short-term outcome whilst revealing the hidden product quality can be used as a long-term strategy (Kohli and Thakor, 1997). Aaker and Joachmisthaler (2000) mentioned that traditional branding model creates a distinctive product image for the short-term result. Branding strategy can be basically implemented with the cooperation of other related-departments (manufacturing and sales departments) to increase sales volume and market shares (Aaker and Joachmisthaler, 2000). However, to deliver long-term plan, educating and raising consumer awareness towards the distinctive characteristics of the products are vital (Kohli and Thakor, 1997). Davis (2002) and Davis and Dunn (2002) noticed that at present, most firms heavily rely on advertising campaigns since they believe that the campaigns can expose their brands to the public. This can be seen in advertisements of Coca-Cola, Addidas, and HSBC which advertise their one global message about their elegant products and services — Coke Open Happiness, Addidas Impossible is Nothing, HSBC World Local Bank” — in order to persuade consumers’ thought and belief and increase their sale volume.  As a consequence, brand is portrayed to be more than a strategic or visionary plan but become a crucial marketing tactic instead (Davis and Dunn, 2002).

2.3 Branding Models

Kapferer (1997) clarified the significant change of branding approach, as previously firms were more likely to focus on a product capability and capacity (i.e. chocolate or pasta). However, at present they shifted their interests to own product’s brand instead (i.e. KitKat or Buitoni)(Kapferer, 1997). This signifies that firms are more aware in ‘identifier’ which plays a major role in consumer’s mind (Kapferer, 1997). Kapferer (1997) categorised brand functions into 8 vital consumer perceived functions: identification, practicality, guarantee, optimisation, characterisation, continuity, hedonistic, and ethical (Table 1). ‘Identification’ and ‘Practicality’ are systematically and directly concern with the importance of brand recognition as it facilitates consumer’s choice and loyalty (Kapferer, 1997). ‘Guarantee’ and ‘Optimisation’ are served to mininise the perceived risk whereas ‘Characterisation’ is used to indicated consumer values and consumption aspect as products can be represented their self-image (Kapferer, 1997). ‘Continuity,’ ‘Hedonistic,’ and ‘Ethical’ reflect consumer’s pleasure towards the brand as it brings consumers familiarity, intimacy, satisfaction, and relationship towards the society (Kapferer, 1997). Kapferer (1997) also added up that in the ‘economic function’ aspect, brand values basically come from the positive and exclusive attitudes of the public towards the brand.

Table 1: Brand Functions Categories

Source: Adapted from Kapferer (1997)

As a consequence, developing brand value is one of the most important aspects marketers should not omit in the branding strategy process. Kapferer (1997) considered brand value as an intangible and monetary assets. Implementing branding strategy without good orientation and understanding in brand value may reduce potential in maximising sales volumes and profit gains (Doyle, 2001). Four significant factors determining consumer attitudes towards perceived brand value are what marketers should be aware of: brand awareness; perceived quality level; level of confidence, of significance, of empathy, of liking; and expressive value and attractiveness enhanced by the brand (Doyle, 2001). Based on the brand orientation model, the departure point of the model is to seek for brand mission, then followed by building the brand by creating a vivid picture and forming characteristics of the internal brand identity (Urde, 1999). Later, the brand can perform as a comprehensive strategic foundation providing a guideline on how to response to customers’ needs and wants; how to understand what customers value; and what identification they would like to express themselves (Urde, 1999). With the better understanding on brand orientation model, it encourages the strong attachment and commitment between the brands and customers in the end.

Figure 4: Brand Hexagon

Source: Derived from Urde (1999)

Urde’s Brand Hexagon (1999) portrays brand equity and identity integration in accordance with firm’s direction, and brand strategy leading to consumers’ brand awareness, brand association, and brand loyalty (Figure 4). The right side of the figure shows rational factors as consumers purchase the products from ‘product category’ and ‘product’ whereas the left side presents emotional references that consumers select the products from ‘company name’ and ‘brand name’ (Urde, 1999). Urde (1999) elaborated that a brand is formed when both rational and emotional references are integrated. Moreover, firm’s vision and mission are also vital since it signifies firm’s intentions to the product and its brand name (Urde, 1999). At the centre of the figure, brand positioning and core values are the central linkage between product and brand which leads to the interpretation process and target audience in the end. In conclusion, the core objective of the brand-oriented organisation is to establish ‘value’ with a strategic fundamental to create product awareness, product, its brand name association and consumers’ loyalty towards the brand name in the end (Urde, 1999).

However, Aaker and Joachimsthaler (2000) controverted the traditional model and instead illustrated the brand leadership model. In this case, a strategic and visionary perspective is emphasised. Brand managers’ responsibility become boarder and horizontally authorised as they are in charge of strategic planning, and team communication (Aaker and Joachimsthaler, 2000). Main objective of this model is to leverage brand equities as well as to develop the measurement of the brand equity (Aaker and Joachimsthaler, 2000). Since the model tends to emphasise on multiple brands, products, and markets, as a result; brand identity and building value of the brand are considered as the core factors of the strategy (Aaker and Joachimsthaler, 2000). According to Aaker and Joachimsthaler (2000), in order to construct the brand leadership model, four challenging tasks must be concerned as follows:

1) The organisational challenge: firm needs to agree on structures and processes which later become the important elements to create the strong brands as well as to appoint a strong brand managers or leaders for individual product, market and country. This includes sharing common knowledge, information, an up-to-date IT system, structures, news, experiences and initiatives across the firms. McWilliam and Dumas (1997) added that to accomplish the task, every team member must understand the process of brand building as it is metaphorically considered as an intelligent transmitting tool transferring firm’s value across. Moreover, brand management itself should not be viewed as only the market activity but the important part of the whole management process (Doyle, 2001).

2) The brand architecture challenge:  it is a brand portfolio’s organising structure which helps the firm to identify the brand roles, the relationships between brands and sub-brands involved, and how they connect to one another (Aaker and  Joachimsthaler, 2000). Effective brand architecture will create a clear and positive clarification for customer offering as well as build synergies in the brands and communication approaches (Aaker, 2004). A key concept in building an effective brand architecture is the better understanding of what the brand role, sub-brands and endorsed brands are as well as possible action on how to determine their respective roles in the portfolio (Aaker and Joachimsthaler, 2000). This would lead the firm to be able to find a right time to stretch a brand over the product. Aaker (2004) defined brand architecture as brand portfolio since its main strategy is to identify the brand portfolio and relationships between each portfolio brands.

3) The brand identity and position challenge: the brand identity is important in the way that each brand should present its own identity, characteristics and proper position to provide a vivid clarification to consumers (Aaker and Joachimsthaler, 2000). Speak (1998) suggested that this task can be set as a long-term plan as it takes part in brand building process of the firm.

4) The brand building programme challenge: the key function is to create the synergies in the firm’s communication programme and related-product actions to perform brand building and identity on those particular products (Aaker, 2004). Encouraging any necessary activities will bring clarity and focus to a brand. As a consequence, consumers are able to gain awareness and knowledge towards the brand and at the same time to strengthen their positive attitudes and brand loyalty in the end (Aaker and Joachimsthaler, 2000). In addition, with the fact that some strategies appear to be ambiguous and difficult to explain in word, an advertising including various media channels can bring in consumers’ attention and provide confidence to support the strategies (Aaker and Joachimsthaler, 2000).

With the fast growing of the current market situation, it is necessary to continuously implement the strategic plans to keep firms informed and updated to the today market environment. External environment and unpredictable factors produce a complicated condition to the brand and consumer equity (Logman, 2004). As a result, the Logical Brand Management (LOGMAN) model was introduced to cope with these key issues as firms need to answer the following statements (Logman, 2004):

-       Do customers perceive the firm’s brand drivers in the way firm requires them to be?

-       Do customers perceive the firm’s brand drivers in the way customers require them to be?

-       Do customers perceive the external brand drivers in the way the firm require them to be?

-       Any rational interaction among the firm’s brand drivers?

-       Any rational consistency among the firm’s brand drivers and each customer group/segments?

-       Any rational consistency of the firm’s brand objectives at each level of products and cultures?

-       Any rational consistency of the brand drivers in the past, and the present?

Firms need to answer these key questions as it would help the firm to identify the real condition, problem, and proper solutions to deal with including developing more potential to implement any related analysis (Logman, 2004).

2.4 Corporate branding

According to Balmer (1995), it was mentioned that brand management could be divided in three different approaches including; Brand Dominance (making use of different product names unrelated to the corporate name), Equal Dominance (making use of different product names related to the corporate name), and Corporate Dominance (making use of a corporate name as a product name). Morover, brand architectures can also be categorized to four basic types which are corporate, product, corporate-and-product, as well as product-and-corporate (Urde, 2003). While the corporate-and-product is mainly about using the corporate brand, product-and-corporate focuses on use of product brand. Nestle can be an example of using both corporate and product since it contains various names of products e.g. Nescafe, Perrier, Maggi, and Carnation. Consequently, it could be summarised that branding strategy consists of two main approaches which are product branding and corporate branding (de Chernatony, 1997). Product branding strategy is to create identities of different brands for different products (Davies and Chun, 2002) whereas de Chernatony (1997) defined corporate branding as the approach that use corporate name as its brand. For example, Vasaline, Aviance, Sunsilk, and Dove are the product brands under Uniliver while Addidas, IBM, BMW, and Canon are endorse their products by their corporate name with a single brand.

Balmer and Gray (2003) pointed out that corporate brand adopts same methodology and toolboxs from product brand, however; some differences can be found in the light of their composition, constituencies, maintenance, management, and disciplinary approaches.  Hatch and Schultz (2003) categorised these approaches as follows:

1)  The practice is shifted from product focus to corporate branding;

2)  More attempt to expose the brand equity to be more visible and recognisable in the public;

3)  The purported aim to strengthen its stakeholder relationship;

4) The requirement of high-level management personnel’s commitment and support to implement concrete corporate branding strategy;

5) The focus on all dimensions (i.e. past, present experiences and future prediction) of corporate brands;

6) The focus on the practice of using firm’s name as a product name in order to raise consumers’ product awareness and recognition and

7) The greater views on corporate brand as it produces more meaningful strategic significance than solely based on product brand.

According to Aaker (2004), a corporate brand acts as a brand representative of the firm which portrays its background, values, culture, strategies and people. Corporate branding is applied when the product(s) and firm name become the brand name (de Chernatony, 1999; Aaker, 2004). Corporate branding has been recently received more attentions from firms rather than attachment with the product brand (de Chernatony, 1999; Hatch and Schultz, 2003). Corporate branding needs to be managed by a multidisciplinary approach — a development of marketing – which both generates and results from the strategic landscape of brands (Balmer and Grayser, 2003; King, 1991). Hatch and Schultz (2003) also stated that it is an essential asset of the company which shows its value, cultures, characteristics, strategic management, and people. Many literatures on branding indicates the development of corporate branding during the past few years and it has come to a conclusion that it is now paving a foundation to a new concept of marketing – ‘corporate-level marketing’ (Balmer and Gray, 2003).

With the congruity between the corporate branding and the strategic brand vision, it would leverage on the brand development (Knox and Bickerton, 2003). This requires an interaction between the firm and its multi-stakeholder (Balmer and Gray 2003, Knox and Bickerton, 2003; Hatch and Schultz, 2003; Aaker 2004). The organisational association first named ‘the corporate brand’ as a key discipline of an organisational characteristic development with its products and services (Aaker, 2004).  Urde (2003) mentioned that corporate brand concerns the establishment of the firm’s long-term visions and core values which lead the firm’s operation to reach the objective with the sophisticated brand building process, both internally and externally. Furthermore, the strong corporate brand should reflect depth and value of the products, behaviour and communication offering as Urde (2003, p.1036) explained “core values influence continuity, consistency and credibility in the building of a corporate brand.”

With the above characteristic of the corporate branding, a model can be framed as in Figure 5 (Hatch and Schultz, 2003). The framework is composed of three elements – strategic vision, corporate image and firm’s culture. Hatch and Schulz (2003) claimed that corporate branding can produce an efficient outcome when these 3 attributes are involved either in articulating or aligning directions by entailing an effective communication between high-level firm management, stakeholders, and members of the firm’s cultures (Hatch and Schulz, 2003).

Figure 5:  Elements of Corporate Branding

Source: Adapted from Hatch and Schultz, 2003

However, Knox and Bickerton (2003) argued that multiple stakeholders should have involved in corporate branding. An additional variable – a competitive environment of the firm including the perspective of its present image and culture – should be added to enlarge the framework (Knox and Bickerton, 2003). Six corporate brand building attributes are discussed to produce more effective branding strategies as follows (Knox and Bickerton, 2003) (Figure 6).

1) Brand context: understanding what is the position of the brand and where it is in the market;

2) Brand construction: how to position the brand with regards to consumers and stakeholder’s viewpoints and values;

3) Brand confirmation: the way to present the brand to the firm and its people;

4) Brand consistency: delivering the relevant, clear and precise message to all stakeholders (i.e. shareholders, media, competitors, and governments) via its effective communication channels;

5) Brand continuity: how to discipline corporate branding process into one alignment and

6) Brand conditioning: how the firm manages and/or deals the brand on a regular basis.

Figure 6: The Six Conventions of Corporate Branding

Source: Derived from Knox and Bickerton (2003)

Current marketing phenomenon is overpopulated with large, medium and small firms, as a consequence; firms are forced to arrange its resources and manage the process to elevate the core values since it is believed to strengthen corporate brand and help identifying added values to the customers (Urde, 2003). Urde (2003) addressed that corporate brand architecture is basically promoted by core values which can be shared by other products in the same family branding. It functions as a coordinator in the process of brand building as well as provides a reliability and credibility when communicating with stakeholders (i.e. the government, financial sectors, labour association, public, etc – Urde, 2003). Three main constructs – firm values, core values, and added values– are found significantly necessary when forming the foundation for corporate brand and producing a comprehensive value-creating process (Urde, 2003). Furthermore, the interaction between corporate brand and core values is vital for leveraging corporate brand equity as well as identifying firm’s competitive position (Urde, 2003). An addition issue regarding high-level personnel attention and firm-wide support are also crucial in this stage (Urde, 2003). Balmer and Gray (2003) noted that the corporate branding approach can be applied to either single or multi-corporations such as subsidiaries, and groups of firms which are under the same umbrella brands.

Today, many markets have become more complex with the increase in competitions among the firms. Firms are now experiencing difficulty to expose their products and get a market noticed. Retaining their corporate identity and differentiating the products from other competitors become a great challenge. Maintaining products’ credibility, corporate values, and images which cannot be imitated or homogenised is what firms should emphasise. This is why corporate branding is significantly important as it help to create a strong protection upon firm’s corporate brands (Balmer, 1998). The whole corporation position is required and regarded as a powerful competitive advantage rather than a product-focused marketing plan (Balmer, 1998; Hatch and Schultz, 2001). Many literatures view the assumption of forming a corporate brand as it educates consumers to be able to distinguish the firms and help encouraging the firms to put an effort to get the product offering become successful (Harris and De Chernatony, 2001; Ind, 1997; Balmer, 2001). Kelly (1998) and Sharp (1995) also added that establishing a positive attitude upon consumer perception is necessary.

In conclusion, Knox and Brickerton (2000) explained the development of the corporate brand as it originates from corporate image, to corporate identity, to corporate reputation, and at last to corporate branding respectively. Commitment and attention are required from firm’s members especially from high-level management. Gaining public awareness, recognitions and positive attitudes are what firms need to work on (Knox and Brickerton, 2000).

However, it is found that most of literatures reviewed above are derived from English literature while there is only limited study on Thailand country perspective. Most of Thai literatures related on brand and corporate branding are translated from English academic textbooks and journals which could not specifically identify how corporate branding affects consumer perception in Thailand. Hence, dimensions of corporate branding related and affected to consumer perception are explained next in order to set up a research model and hypotheses according to Thai perspective later on.

 

Chapter Three

Research Model and Hypotheses Formulation

According to Miles and Huberman (1994, p.18), a research model or a conceptual framework explains “either graphically or in narrative from, the main things to be studied — the key factors, constructs or valuables – and the presumed relationships among them”. In order to gain precise and accurate results, research framework should be well-designed encouraging the researcher to gather correct and useful information. Therefore, a research model and hypothesis formulation is presenting in this chapter.

3.1 Research Framework

According to the literatures reviewed in the previous chapter, a research model is developed as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7: Research framework

Source: Other’s own

3.2 Hypotheses Formulation

According to the Figure 7 above, it can be described how each hypothesis was formulated explain as follows;

3.2.1 Corporate Identity

At present, scholars and marketers have now considered corporate identity as one of the most effective strategic constructs to complete the competitive advantage (Schmidt, 1995). However, due to the limited corporate identity-related materials, resources and its vague definition, this subject is left at the back stage where marketers and executives have a few knowledge on how to implement or manage this concept (Balmer and Greyser, 2003; Melewar and Jenkins, 2002; Melewar et al., 2003).

Corporate identity can be referred as ‘a strategic manifestation’ where firm proposes its vision and mission into the strategic plans and employs it at the operation level (Melewar and Wooldridge, 2001). Some major issues are prior considered – ethical and cultural values, firm history, background, and philosophy (Ind, 1992). Balmer (1998) outlined the corporate identity’s general basic characteristics as 1) it is a multidisciplinary approach 2) it integrates the unique characteristics of the firm (i.e. background, philosophy, values and cultures) along with communication and corporate industry 3) corporate identity should be conducted with firm’s corporate personality since it can represent firm’s external personality. Corporate identity involves in the marketing area as it helps highlighting the firm’s visual identity, its strength and uniqueness to consumer and other stakeholder (Melewar and Jekins, 2002). Relating elements – firm’s strategy, philosophy, values and cultures, behaviour and certain corporate design instructions are identical to each individual firm (Van Riel, 1997).

Melewar’s further study (1993) explained the multidisciplinary function of corporate identity and pointed out the analysis of each component relating to the corporate identity. The important dimensions were consolidated into 7 categories – corporate communication, corporate design, corporate culture, behaviour, corporate structure, industry identity, and corporate strategy (Melewar, 1993). Apart from the seven factors, the visual component is also dominant in creating positive attitude in prospective’s mind (Melewar, 1993; Suvatjis and de Chernatony, 2005). Corporate visual identity (CVI) is referred to contain the most tangible characteristics among any other groups since its 5 main aspects (firm name, symbol/ logotype, typography, colour and slogan ) are the most physical recognitions reflecting the firm’s message as well as setting the firm independently from the others (Simo˜es et al., 2005). Balmer (1995) coined the word ‘visual identification’ representing the visual components such as logos, general look, design, style, etc. in order to deliver the its ‘visual corporate philosophy and personality.’ Dowling (1994) termed corporate identity as the symbols firms used to present itself and convey a convincing message to the target audiences. Similarly, Van Den Bosch et al. (2005) used ‘corporate visual identity (CVI)’ as additional graphical instruments in the corporate identity. Interestingly, corporate visual identity is considered equally important to the firm’s identity. This signifies a traditional perspective in which a visual identity still strongly remains in the corporate identity concept whereas other elements – behaviour and communication – are left behind (Dowling, 1994).

Hence, on the basis of the above review, the first hypothesis can be formulated as follow.

H1: Corporate identity has a positive impact on consumer perception in Thailand.

3.2.2 Corporate Image

According to Johnson and Zinkhan (1990), corporate image is an overall image including the perception of the firm. Each segments or prospective may have different points of view towards the firm (Johnson and Zinkhan, 1990). Corporate image can be created from either individual (a person) or collective (a group of people) level of environment (Barich and Kotler, 1991). Aaker (1996) proposed that firm’s vision is the first step of brand management. A persuasive, positive and consistent image can lead impression and credibility of the firms to the stakeholders and public as well as elevate the firm’s confidence and reputation (Barich and Kotler, 1991; Ditchter, 1985; Topalian, 2003; Alessandri, 2001). Many literatures address the importance in managing corporation reputation as building the brand would help defining the firm’s position and reputation in the market (Hatch and Schultz, 1997; Fombrum and Van Riel, 1997). Repeating consumers’ impression towards corporate image would also stimulate consumer to get strong attachments to the firms (i.e. corporate commitment) (Gray and Balmer, 1998; Bhattacharya and Sen, 2003). It is noted that the increasing attention in corporate image has reflected the importance and development of corporate branding as a brand is used to differentiate the product from the others by the judgment of customer perceptions (Abratt, 1989; Aaker, 1996).

Even though, some scholars consider the functions of corporate image and corporate identity as interchangeable, some argue that each concept is not identical (Hsieh et al., 2004; Balmer, 1998; Christensen and Askegaard, 2001). Corporate image refers to the company facts whereas the latter is what the company’s stakeholders perceive (Balmer, 1998; Christensen and Askegaard, 2001). Since the study aims to investigate on consumer perception towards the corporation, corporate image will be addressed. Shapiro (1982) believed that corporate image can positively increase the sales and market share of the firm as well as establish and retain customer loyalty in the end (Andreassen and Lindestad, 1998; Nguyen and Leblanc, 2001).

Keller and Aaker (1997) mentioned that an efficient communication can be increased by a mean of strong corporate image. de Ruvter and Wetzels (2000) clarified the nature of consumer behaviour as consumers are more likely to apply some criteria (i.e. credibility, perceived quality and purchase intentions) to judge each product. Hsieh et al. (2004) and Andreassen and Lindestad (1998), therefore, added that corporate image has an impact upon consumer behaviour as it helps influencing consumer perception towards product quality, as well as evaluating their satisfactions and loyalty. Thus, based upon this review, the second hypothesis is developed as follow.

H2: Corporate image has a positive impact on consumer perception in Thailand.

3.2.3 Corporate Reputation

According to Fombrun and Rindova (1996, p.10), corporate reputation is “a collective representation of a brand’s past actions and results that describes the brand’s ability to deliver valued outcomes to multiple stakeholders.’’ Balmer (1998) and Bromley (2000) discussed that corporate reputation is a comprehensive measuring instrument used to particularly capture the collective perception on how the firm’s stakeholder groups response to the firm. Nguyen and Leblanc (2001) and Fombrun (1996) formed the model using ‘trust’ factor to categorise what has influenced customers’ expectations on each driver, each attribute and finally evaluate an overall standard from the firm’s key attributes.

Main differences between corporate image and corporate reputation is that corporate image focuses on current perception while corporate reputation reflects a broaden picture of the firm which has been distilling over years (Fombrum and Van Riel, 1997). The objective of corporate identity measuring method is to establish a reliable and favourable reputation in the viewpoints of the stakeholders (i.e. consumers, investors, or key influentials). Evaluations from the corporate stakeholder group are what firms need to capture since they signify the performance of the brand (Balmer, 1995). Their perceptions are important to manage corporate brand (Van Riel and Balmer, 1997; Balmer, 1995).  de Chernatony’s (1999) conceptualised model illustrates the brand building process as it concerns its identification. At the same time, it reduces gaps between its identity and reputation (de Chernatony, 1999). As a consequence, narrowing the gaps and diminishing any incongruity should be co-implemented by related departments as well as conducting fine-tuned strategies to match identity and reputation. Furthermore, internal and external constructs should be included in the process since these constructs help balancing brand-building approach. It is specially efficient in the game theory where the reputation is considered as customers’ preference (Weigelt and Camerer, 1988).

Many marketers agree that consumer perceptions towards the role of the firm are the main drivers affecting their purchase behaviour (Kowalczyk and Pawlish, 2002). Consumers would consider buying the product by a mean of corporate reputation since it is believed that firm’s corporate reputation has a great impact upon consumers’ behaviour. Consumers may buy, support or withdraw themselves from the firm. The firms with favourable and reliable corporate reputation are more likely to encourage consumers’ commitment and trust (Bhattacharya and Sen, 2003; Gray and Balmer, 1998). Therefore, according to previous review, the third hypothesis is formulated as follow.

H3: Corporate reputation has a positive impact on consumer perception in Thailand.

To sum up, according to the literature reviews on corporate branding and it major dimensions — corporate identity, corporate image, and corporate reputation — the researcher set up the forth hypothesis in order to evaluate overall associative relationship between corporate branding dimensions and consumer perception in Thailand as shown below.

H4: There is a significant relationship between three dimensions of corporate branding–corporate identity, corporate image, and corporate reputation–and consumer perception in Thailand.

3.2.4 Consumer Perception and Corporate Brand Loyalty

Today, gaining and retaining customers’ loyalty is regarded as an ultimate purpose for the firms when conducting marketing activities. According to Jacoby and Olson (1970), brand loyalty is viewed in a form of psychological aspects and defined as a consumers’ behaviour response which is more likely to occur from their mental purchase-decision process. It is a long existence and customers consider it more than a brand (Jacoby and Olson, 1970). The early concept of brand loyalty is expressed by the act of repurchase as a measurement of loyalty level (Bennett and Rundle-Thiele, 2000). At present, however; the measurement is shifted to affective loyalty that consumers’ fovourable and positive attitudes towards a certain brand or product are used (Bennett and Rundle-Thiele, 2000). Groth and McDaniel (1993) supported the affective loyalty concept as it will occur to the certain brand at all ways. Dowling and Uncles (1997) controverted the current concept and proposed polygamous loyalty theory in which their research has shown the actual consumers’ purchase behaviour that consumers are more likely to select variety of brands depending on the occasions and usages, however; it is not considered as brand switching. With overall mentioned above, Assael (1993) and Rust et al. (1995) concluded that brand loyalty comes from the link between customer satisfaction rating and repeated purchase behaviour towards the specific brands. The increase in their satisfactions would bring in the rise in loyalty, then loyalty can lead to the higher level in purchase respectively (Rust et al., 1995). Baldinger and Rubinson (1996) explained the two-stage loyalty model: affective and action loyalty. After forming affective loyalty, the action loyalty is the strongest stage where the actual purchase behaviour towards the particular brand or product has been developed (Baldinger and Rubinson, 1996; Eisman, 1990). Day (1996) supported the importance of these two variables – action, and affective variables – and categorised brand loyalty into true and spurious brand loyalty. The true brand loyalty relates to consumers’ psychological dimension as well as commitment which can finally lead to repurchase behavioural consistency (Day, 1996). On the other hand, the spurious brand loyalty occurs in a circumstance that consumers may not have other alternatives resulting in purchasing only one particular brand (Day, 1996).

Given an amount of research to strengthen the concept, Bhattacharya and Sen (2003) believed that corporate commitment/loyalty can build, gain, and sustain consumer loyalty for all the firm’ products or services. It should be noted that some corporate-related variables – corporate image/reputation and perception/beliefs of firm’s characteristics (i.e. culture, skills, values, and competitive position) – are what firms need to be aware of when establishing brand loyalty (Bhattacharya and Sen, 2003). Customer loyalty could strengthen the relationship of consumers’ individual attitude and their repeated buying behaviour (Bhattacharya and Sen, 2003). In the case of competitive markets where firms are not able to create strong corporate brand loyalty, once similar or imitative products/services are launched, it is predicted to see the emerge of divided loyalty (Bhattacharya and Sen, 2003).

Kotler and Keller (2005) pointed out the fundamental benefit of loyalty scheme as the top 20% of the high- valued/loyal customer purchase can elevate 80% of the firm’s profits. Therefore, main revenues of the firms lie on a longer-term and concrete relationship between the firm and customers (Kotler and Keller, 2005). Slightly smaller proportion of heavy buyer/loyal customer defection involves significant outcome in profit increase since loyalty customers are believed to obtain less price sensitivity and have less attention to other competitive brands (Reichheld and Sasser, 1990). Delivering service to the existing customers minimises firm’s service operational cost since firms have already acknowledged their customer’s preferences while customers, in turn, familiarise with the firm’s product/service and its processes (Reichheld and Sasser, 1990). This would bring customers to engage in the positive word-of mouth (WOM) which is referred as one of the cheapest but most powerful marketing communication tools (Reichheld and Sasser, 1990).

For Thai perspective, brands which present their success and renown of reliability, quality, healthy, and safety will be accepted by Thai society (Lucksitanon, 2001; Teerasorn, 2008). Other Thai researchers (Sirichantanun, 2001; Chaipranee et al., 2003; Laokraikul, 2007; Wongmondra and Detchkana, 2007) also found that global brands which represent their images being able to persuade and convince consumers’ belief and value of their products and services. When making a purchasing decision, these characteristic of the brands would lead their perception and behaviour to positive believe and trust in the brands (Lucksitanon, 2001; Teerasorn, 2008). Jirangkul, (2002) and Khorpornprasert et al. (2005) also stated that consumer loyalty in Thai society was influenced by their perception of the brands. Furthemore, according to the most-admired and trusted brand survey on Thai consumer perception in BrandAge magazine (a well-known and reliable marketing magazine in Thailand marketing society), Samsung was rated in top 5 ranking of consumer technological products including home appliance e.g. television, refrigerator, audio and video, and washing machine, mobile device, and digital camera (Sirichantanun, et al., 2011). Therefore, based on the above review, the fifth hypothesis is set up as follows:

H5: There is a significant relationship between consume perception and corporate brand loyalty in Thailand.

After the research model had been drawn up and the hypotheses had been formulated, methodology describing about research philosophy, marketing research process, and ethical consideration were clarified in the next chapter.

 

Chapter Four

Research Design and Methodology

To conduct a research is to investigate an issue in order to solve the problem and improve the situation systematically (Collis and Hussy, 2003). Moreover, Bryman and Bell (2003) described that research is a tool employed by a researcher in order to collect data such as observation, interview, and questionnaire etc. It is also defined as systematic and scientific investigation for finding a solution to a problem (Sekaran, 2003). For marketing perspective, marketing research defined by Wilson (2006, p.4) is “the collection, analysis and communication of information undertaken to assist decision making in marketing”. It is very necessary for businesses to gain market and customer information to effectively satisfy customer needs (Churchill 1999, Malhotra and Birks, 2003; Wilson, 2006). Therefore, this chapter will clearly identify and explain research philosophy and marketing research process of this study, followed by ethical consideration.

4.1 Research Philosophy

Research philosophy is recognised as a way or a technique that researchers use to conduct the research such as research process and design, questionnaire design, sample formulation (Saunders et al., 2003; Skarmeas, 2009). The philosophy is crucial as it helps simplifying the research methods and facilitating researchers to find an appropriate method with a particular project or which will inappropriate. It also guides researchers how to be creative when selecting or adapting the methods which they have never experienced before (Easterby-Smith et al., 2002; Skarmeas, 2009).

This study is based on Epistemology which try to find out the answer of “How can we know?” and “What can we know?” (Willig, 2001). This means that Epistemology is about the theory of knowledge. Besides, another type of philosophy is to decide whether it is “Deductive” or “Inductive”. While deductive approach is to understand some specific problems or things by hypothesis testing, inductive was used to find the other way — generalization and theory development (Willig, 2001). Since this study aims to study on consumer perception of Samsung corporate branding by employed a questionnaire tool by using hypothesis testing, the quantitative approach or questionnaire design, deductive approach is then applied. Furthermore, it can be said that this research is also relies on Positivism philosophy due to the fact that it is “possible to describe what is out there and to get it right” (Willig, 2001, p.3) and is based on theoretical (survey-based) method.

As a consequence, it can be summarized that deductive approach and positivism were applied to test the hypotheses with scientific procedure, according to the Epistemology.

4.2 Marketing Research Process

According to Malhotra and Birks (2003), marketing research process consists of 6 stages which are defining a problem, developing research approach, designing a research, doing fieldwork or collecting data, analysing data, and preparing analytical issues and report (Figure 8). This process was used as a platform to systematically conduct the research, clarified as follows.

Figure 8:  Marketing Research Process

 

Source: Adapted from Malhotra and Birks (2003)

4.2.1 Problem Definition

Problem definition is defined as “a board statement of the general problem and identification of the specific components of the marketing research problem” (Malhotra and Birks, 2003, p.31). As mentioned earlier in the problem identification and research objectives in Chapter 1, corporate branding has become more popular in both Western countries and Eastern countries (Mitchell and Olson, 1981; Dowling and Uncles, 1997, de Chernatony and Dall’Olmo Riley, 1998; Lee and Ganesh, 1999; Ruyter and Wetzels, 2000). However, after reviewing the previous studies, it was found that most of the researches mainly focused on American and European countries. This means that there are only a few researches studying on corporate branding in Asian perspective, especially in Thailand (Ind, 1998). Consequently, it can be summarized that the main point of this study is to understand how consumers perceive Samsung corporate brand in Thailand by considering four key elements – corporate identity, corporate image, corporate reputation, and corporate brand loyalty.

4.2.2 Developing Approach to the Problem

After defining the problem, an approach should be developed in order to clarify, broaden, and narrow down the research problem (Wilson, 2006). The deductive approach was applied in this research in order to test the theories found in the literature reviews. In this case, the hypotheses were formulated based upon consumer behavior and consumer decision making, consumer perception, brand and branding, corporate branding theories. Those relevant theories could significantly determine variables which have an effect on consumer perception. Corporate branding identity, image, and reputation were identified as the crucial factors which should be tested and measured. Moreover, variables were found to have a positive correlation between three corporate branding dimensions — identity, image, and reputation — and consumer perception, as well as between consumer perception and corporate branding loyalty. Even though a large number of researches on corporate branding are found, the study towards Asian country such as Thailand is not extensively mentioned. The research design is then purposed in the next step.

4.2.3 Research Design

Research design is an essential stage of marketing research since it is an outline or a roadmap to solve the research problem and achieve the research objectives (Malhotha and Birks, 2003). This means that it helps reducing risk and error of management encoraging managers to make a right decision and to predict market situation (Malhotha, 2009). Research design is divided into exploratory research and conclusive research (Malhotha, 2009). Malhotha (2009) explained that exploratory research is conducted in order to comprehend and find out causes of problem whereas conclusive research — descriptive and causal research — is to acquire in-depth information. Furthermore, Cresswell (2009) divided research design into three types which are qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods. Observation, interpretation, and other descriptions are the examples of qualitative method which is not about numbers or quantity (Zikmund, 2000). On the other hand, quantitative research is a numeric and statistic approach of data collection. However, many techniques are sometimes combined in one research such as conducting a survey together with an interview. This method is called “Mixed Method” combining qualitative technique and quantitative technique in a single study.

For this report, exploratory research has been implemented though literatures reviewed in order to discover important factors and create marketing research model. Moreover, according to the information and theories gained from literature reviews, quantitative method was then applied by developing questionnaire to collect data and test hypothesises set. Owning to time constraint and budget limitation, the researcher only used one technique in order to gain high numbers of respondents. Then, Causal research was also used to explore relationship between corporate branding dimensions and Thai consumer perception as well as the perception and consumer loyalty. After the research had been designed, fieldwork and data collection for both secondary and primary research were set up next as illuminated in the following section.

4.2.4 Fieldwork and Data Collection
4.2.4.1 Secondary Data Collection

Secondary data refers to information previously gained for other objective, not for the current project (Wilson, 2006). Malhotra and Birks (2003) as well as Wilson (2006) also recommended that it is a faster and less expensive way to gather information before primary research is conducted. They described the advantages of secondary data as follows;

  • To save cost and time.
  • To help better clarifying and redefining the research problem.
  • To be a useful guideline before conducting a primary research.
  • To provide more comparative data which will be reliable for primary research.
  • To find out a suitable method to solve a research problem.
  • To gain specific information from particular organisation or government.

Therefore, Malhotra and Birks (2003) mentioned that secondary data should be gained in the first stage in order to explore important information previously found. It also helps identifying other points which are needed to solve the research problem and accomplish the objectives.

For this research, relevant and reliable materials including text books, academic journals, electronic database, and other publication were thoroughly reviewed enabling researcher to develop key dimensions of corporate branding which influence consumer perception. After that, wider and deeper concept of this research was gradually discovered. However, secondary data may also contain some limitation such as accuracy and congruity of the information (Churchill, 1999). As a consequence, primary research is then required for this study in order to gain data which are suitable for Thai consumer perception towards Samsung corporate brand.

4.2.4.2 Primary Data Collection

Sekaran (2003, p. 219) defined primary data as the “information obtained firsthand by the researcher on the variables of interest for the specific purpose of the study”. This would help gaining specific knowledge which could not be found in other sources such as age, education, lifestyle, and perception (Ghauri and Grønhaug, 2005). Since validity and credibility are needed (Maholtra & Birks 2003; Wilson, 2006), quantitative research has been carried out after receiving secondary data.

Research Approach and Questionnaire Design

Maholtra (2009) suggested that questionnaire is a reliable and simple tool in term of data interpretation, data coding, and data analysis. Therefore, with time constrains and budget limitation, a questionnaire was selected as a tool for collecting primary data.

The questionnaire divided into three sections which asked about how consumers recognised and consumed products under Samsung brand, about their attitude towards Samsung corporate branding — identity, image, reputation, consumer perception, and loyalty , as well as about respondent’s general information. For Section A, respondents were asked to choose the most appropriate answer regarding to their relationship with the brand. According to literatures reviewed, questions in Section B of the questionnaire (Appendix 1) were developed to ask about Samsung corporate brand identity, Samsung corporate brand image, Samsung corporate brand reputation, overall perception of Samsung corporate branding, Samsung corporate brand loyalty. The questions in Section B were designed to attain respondents’ rate in which level they agree to each attitudinal statement. Malhotra and Birks (2000) stated that a five-point Likert scale is more appropriate, less complicated, and clearer than the seven-point scale. Four-scale Likert scale however was implemented in order to reduce social desirability bias (Garland, 1991). This is because when answering the questionnaire, respondents tend to be helpful and kind by selecting the mid-point (Garland, 1991). Questions asking about respondents’ general information — gender, age, marital status, education background, occupation, and monthly income — were finally provided in section C. Thus, respondents would not feel uncomfortable when they had provided their personal information at the end of the questionnaire.

After designing questionnaire and before conducting the primary research, a pilot study is needed to be held in order to validate the scale being used. The questionnaire designed was checked and suggested by British academic personnel in order to ensure that its structure is completely well-organised and all sentences are clear to be understood. After that, it was translated into Thai language and proved by a director of brand studies and research center of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Mana Kuntaraporn. This stage enables the researcher to gain reliability and validation of measurement and data collection when the questionnaire is finally launched (Douglas and Craig, 198; Malhotra and Birks, 2000). Finally, all responses from the questionnaires were translated back to English language in order to ensure that information was precise and accuracy (Douglas and Craig, 1983).

Sampling Design

To achieve the research purpose, a sample and its size should be identified in order to understand population’s parameters and their characteristics (Malhotra and Birks, 2007). Sampling is “the process of studying a sufficient number of elements from the population, so that a study of the sample and an understanding of its properties or characteristics would make it possible for us to generalize such properties or characteristics to the population elements” (Sekaran, 2003, p. 267).

After questionnaire development, questionnaire will be completed by sample — someone who have been bought and/or consumed Samsung products. Sampling collection of this research was based upon non-probability sampling which relies on the convenience and judgments of respondents (Sekaran, 2003). Aaker and Day (2007) also suggested that non-probability sampling or convenient sampling technique would enhance respondents’ reaction and answer effectively. It was applied to this research by randomly choosing samples from different geographical location in Thailand to answer the questionnaires. Furthermore, the sample size was calculated with 95% or 1.96 confidence level and 60,916,441 people of Thai population (National Statistical Office Kingdom of Thailand, 2011) as demonstrated in Figure 9.

Figure 9: Sampling Calculation


According to the sampling calculation formula presented in Figure 9, the total figure of respondents required is approximately 384 samples. The researcher finally acquired only 352 responses or about 92% of the total sampling size because of the time and budget limitation. However, Aaker and Day (2007) stated that 200 samples are sufficient to check the reliability and possibility of the results. As a consequence, in the next stage, data received can be coded and interpreted describing as follows.

Collecting Quantitative Data

Mc Givern (2006) recommended that self-completion survey is one of the most effective and efficient way to gather data. Hence, in order to obtain a sufficient number of responses within a short period, questionnaires were set up online with a website survey service provider, called http://spreadsheets.google.com. A link of the website survey was sent through social network — facebook — such as Camera Lover, Computer Arts Thailand, ARiP I Love IT, Samsung Mobile Thailand, Samsung society, and top universities in Thailand e.g. Chulalongkorm University, Thammasart University, Kasetsart University, The University of the Thai chamber of Commerce and Assumption University. Moreover, they were printed out and distributed in the famous department stores and shopping malls in Bangkok; for example, Siam Paragon, Central Plaza, MBK Center, and Esplanade Shopping Center. Next, data gathered were transferred and analysed by SPSS software.

4.2.5 Data Analysis

The data received from both the online survey and the hard copies were transferred, coded, and interpreted by Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) programme version 18 which enables researcher to gain more critical, insightful, and accurate analysis (Malhotra, 2009). All attitudinal statements were tested in order to check the hypotheses and to accomplish the research objectives. Generally, Descriptive statistic was used to quantitatively explain and summarise basic and main features of the data collected. Frequency analysis, for example, could help comparing the frequency of each response by showing the amount and the percentage. One Sample T-test was also applied to evaluate the impact of each corporate branding dimension which is hypothesis 1, 2, and 3. Furthermore, the data were tested by Regression analysis — both Bi-variate regression and Multiple regression — in order to examine an associative correlation between two or more variables. Multiple regression was used to analyse hypothesis 4 – the association between two or more predictor variables and a criterion variable Bi whereas-variate regression was implemented to test hypothesis 5 — the relationship between an independent variable and a dependent variable. Consequently, insightful and in-depth knowledge could be gained from these useful statistic analysis leading to obtain beneficial and helpful management discussion and conclusion (Aaker et al., 2007).

4.3 Ethical Consideration

When conducting a marketing research, ethics should be taken into account throughout all stage of research process e.g. problem definition, research approach development, research design, data collection, result analysis, and data presentation (Saha and Kulkarni, 2011). For this project, the researcher focused and concerned more about respondents’ right and privacy during questionnaire development stage. Their willingness and their consent were required to reply and answer the questions, according to the convenient sampling selection method. Moreover, at the beginning of the questionnaire, it was stated and assured that all responses and information would be confidentially treated. The personal information section were also arranged and provided at the end of the questionnaire in order to ovoid their discomfort.  Furthermore, the questions asking about personal details e.g. gender, age, marital status, education, occupation, and income were not mandatory to be answered; therefore, respondents could decide whether to fill in those questions or not.


Chapter 5

Research Results and Data analysis

This chapter is thoroughly presenting the statistical analysis of the research results. Data’s possible violation including outliers and non-regularity had been checked before running the data analysis programme. The results being analysed were based on the total number of sample size which is 352 samples. At first, Frequency analysis of Descriptive statistics were employed to look for the frequencies, standard deviations and means of respondents’ demographics and other factors, as well as to find out the liaison between consumers (respondents) and Samsung brand. After that, SPSS software version 18 was implemented by running One-sample T-test and Regression Analysis in order to test the hypothesis and to achieve the research objectives.

5.1 Basic Diagnostic

5.1.1 General Information of Respondents

Descriptive statistics of respondents’ general information — Gender, Age, Marital Status, Occupation, and Income per month — were obtained from Frequency analysis and are summarised as demonstrated in the following table (Table 2).

Table 2: Summary of Respondents’ Personal Information

Gender

Age

Marital status

Education

Occupation

Income per month

N

Valid

351

352

350

348

347

351

Missing

1

0

2

4

5

1

Mean

1.4957

2.2330

1.2057

3.0776

2.3746

2.2564

Std. Deviation

.50070

.70184

.40480

.78697

1.14207

1.37417

According to the Table 2, it can be clearly illuminated by charts in Figure 10 – Figure 15. First of all, the gender pie chart in Figure 10 shows that the data was collected from 352 respondents comprising approximately 50.3% of male and around 49.4% of female. The column of gender in Table 2 also indicates that there is one missing which is approximately 0.3% as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10: Gender Profile

Next, the frequencies of age data are obviously presented by an age pie chart (Figure 11). It explains that 64.3% of total respondents are aged between 20 and 29 years old which is the biggest group, followed by the group of 30-39 years old, less than 20 years old, and 40-49 years old at 21.0%, 9.7%, and 6.0% respectively.

Figure 11: Age Profile

The information about marital status is then displaying in Figure 12. It can be depicted that most of respondents or 79% are single while 20.5% of those are married. However, there are 2 people or almost 1% who did not provide the answer for the marital status question.

Figure 12: Marital Status Profile

After that, the frequencies of respondents’ educational background are demonstrated by a bar chart (Figure 13). It can be said that the major groups of respondents are in undergraduate and postgraduate levels which are approximate 58.5% and 27.6% respectively. Also, around 13% of respondents indicated their education level at school certificate and diploma. Besides those, the Figure 13 and the column of education in Table 2 indicate that there are more than 1% of 352 respondents or 4 people who did not mention their educational level.

Figure 13: Educational Profile

 

 

Then, the following figure is representing the information about respondents’ occupation. It explains that employee gains the highest percentage which is almost 50% while the rest consists of student (25.9%), self-employed or owner (21.6%), and housewife (1.7%). Moreover, there are less than 2% of total respondents or 6 people who chose other occupation such as a professor and a lawyer. Figure 14 also illuminates that about 1.4% of those or 5 respondents did not answer this question.

Figure 14: Occupation Profile

Finally, the questionnaire asked the respondents to provide information about their monthly income displaying in Figure 15. The result shows almost 40% of total respondents earn lower than 400 pounds a month, followed by 400-600 pounds, more than 1,000 pounds, 600-799 pounds, 800-999 pounds which are around 29.5%, 13.1%, 11.9%, 6.6% respectively. Also, it is found that there is only 1 people or 0.3% missing this question. The relationship between the consumers and the brand is then illuminated in the next section.

Figure 15: Monthly Income Profile

5.1.2 The Liaison between Consumers and Samsung Brand

After gaining basic understanding of the respondents, the frequency analysis was also implemented in order to describe the statistic of respondents’ general perception and their relationship with Samsung brand. To gain clearer and better understanding, the following results were presented by grouping the associated questions; for example, how long have you known about Samsung brand? and how long have you been using Samsung product(s)?, what are the first three categories of Samsung product that come up into your mind when you think about this brand? and what categories of Samsung product are you using?, as well as in your opinion, which communication channel makes Samsung well known.

To begin with, both of the pie charts in figure Figure 16 shown that most of respondents have known and been using the Samsung products more than five years which are almost 90% and almost 50% respectively. While around 10% of the 352 respondents have known this brand for 1-5 years, almost half of those have been using for the same period. Moreover, Figure 16 shows that there are only a few who have known and been using the products less than 1 year.

Figure 16: Samsung Corporate Brand Knowing and Using Period

Next, according to Figure 17, Mobile device, TV/ Audio/ Video, and Home Appliances are the first three groups of Samsung products — around 70% – 80% of respondents recognizing and using them. On the other hand, “Print Solutions” gains less than 3% which is the lowest percentage among Samsung products.

Figure 17: Samsung Corporate Brand Architecture Perceived and Product Usage

Finally, a bar chart of Samsung communication channel performance is displayed in Figure 18. It can be explained that various communication channels has been consumed by Samsung consumers. Around 40% of them think that advertising is the most effective channel, internet (15.7%), point of purchase (15.7%), public Relations (14.1%), event marketing (9.4%), and Word of mouth (4.4%). A few stated that sport marketing is the other way to get closer to Samsung brand. In the next stage, hypotheses were tested by the One-sample T-test and Regression Analysis and those results are demonstrated in the next page.

Figure 18: Communication Channel Consumption

 

 

5.2 Hypotheses Results

In this part, the results receiving from the One-sample T-test are described by Mean, Standard Deviation, Standard Error Mean, and Significant Value in Table 3 – 9 in order to analyse the hypothesis 1-3 testing. The means scores states whether they are extensively higher or lower than the midpoint of 2.5 on the 4-likert scale which is rate 1 to 4–(1) strongly disagree to (2) disagree to (3) agree and to (4) strongly agree. For the Regression Analysis, Adjust R-square, Beta Value, and Significant Value of each predictor variables are summarised in Table 3 – 9 in order to explain the hypothesis 4-5 testing. The explanation of each table for every hypothesis testing is illuminated as follows.

H1: Corporate identity has a positive impact on consumer perception in Thailand.

Table 3: One Sample T-test on Corporate Identity

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Std. Error Mean

Sig. (2-tailed)

Overall corporate identity

352

3.1477

.37408

.01994

.000

The name of the company is well known.

352

3.5227

.54907

.02927

.000

The company name is clearly marked on all the products.

352

3.1705

.61272

.03266

.000

The logo of the company is easy to remember and recognise.

352

3.3409

.55236

.02944

.000

The corporate colour (Blue and White) of the company represents its organisation and brand.

352

2.8807

.68560

.03654

.000

The corporate vision, “Inspire the World, Create the Future”, reflects its organisation and brand.

352

2.8239

.68163

.03633

.000

A sample t-test was implemented to find out the mean score relating the mid-point (2.5). According to Table 3, the overall corporate identity receives relative high mean score which is approximately 3.15. The mean score of “The name of the company is well known” is the highest score which is about 3.54 whereas that of “The corporate vision, “Inspire the World, Create the Future”, reflects its organisation and brand” is only 2.82 presented as the lowest score.

Table 3 also indicates that the hypothesis is supported regarding to the attitudinal statements about name, logo, colour, and vision of the company. It is found that every statements has been supported at level p<.01. This means that most of respondents agree that Samsung brand has significant corporate identity influencing their perception. Hence, it can be said that hypothesis 1 is supported.

H2: Corporate image has a positive impact on consumer perception in Thailand.

Table 4: One Sample T-test on Corporate Image

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Std. Error Mean

Sig. (2-tailed)

Overall corporate image

352

3.0597

.33921

.01808

.000

SAMSUNG brand is innovative and pioneering.

352

3.1506

.53648

.02859

.000

SAMSUNG brand is successful and reliable.

352

3.2244

.48707

.02596

.000

SAMSUNG brand is persuasive.

352

3.0114

.54942

.02928

.000

SAMSUNG brand does business in an ethical way.

352

2.9574

.39354

.02098

.000

SAMSUNG brand is open and responsive to consumers.

352

2.9545

.48708

.02596

.000

A sample t-test was implemented to find out the mean score relating the mid-point (2.5). According to Table 4, the overall corporate image receives relative high mean score which is approximately 3.06. The mean score of “SAMSUNG brand is successful and reliable” is the highest score which is about 3.22 whereas that of “SAMSUNG brand is open and responsive to consumers” is only 2.95 presented as the lowest score.

Table 4 also indicates that the hypothesis is supported regarding to the attitudinal statements about innovative and pioneering, successful and reliable, persuasive, ethical, and open and responsive brand. It is found that every statements has been supported at level p<.01. This means that most of respondents agree that Samsung brand has significant corporate image influencing their perception. Therefore, this means that hypothesis 2 is supported.

H3: Corporate reputation has a positive impact on consumer perception in Thailand.

Table 5: One Sample T-test on Corporate Reputation

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Std. Error Mean

Sig. (2-tailed)

Overall corporate reputation

352

3.0774

.55297

.02947

.000

SAMSUNG brand is emotionally appealing.

352

3.1250

.44177

.02355

.000

SAMSUNG brand is known for its high quality products and services.

352

3.1080

.56964

.03036

.000

SAMSUNG brand is the market leader.

352

3.1108

.57159

.03047

.000

SAMSUNG brand carefully considers its social responsibility.

352

2.9659

1.66546

.08877

.000

A sample t-test was implemented to find out the mean score relating the mid-point (2.5). According to Table 5, the overall corporate reputation receives relative high mean score which is approximately 3.06. The mean score of “SAMSUNG brand is emotionally appealing” is the highest score which is about 3.13 whereas that of “SAMSUNG brand carefully considers its social responsibility” is only 2.97 presented as the lowest score.

Table 5 also indicates that the hypothesis is supported regarding to the attitudinal statements about emotionally appealing, high quality products and services, the market leader, social responsibility brand. It is found that every statements has been supported at level p<.01. This means that most of respondents agree that Samsung brand has significant corporate image influencing their perception. Thus, hypothesis 3 is supported.

H4: There is a significant relationship between three dimensions of corporate branding–corporate identity, corporate image, and corporate reputation–and consumer perception in Thailand.

The Multiple Regression was computed to test the above hypothesis measuring the correlations between three predictor variables i.e. corporate identity, corporate image, and corporate reputation and the criterion variable i.e. consumer perception. A significant model emerged (F3,348 = 86.599, p < 0.01) as shown in an Anova table (Table 10 in Appendix 2). Adjusted R square = 0.423 as demonstrated in Table 11 in Appendix 2. Significant variables derived from the below table (Table 6).

Table 6: Multiple Regression on Corporate Branding Dimensions

Predictor variable

Beta

p

Corporate Identity

.028

>.1

Corporate Image

.515

<.01

Corporate Reputation

.211

<.01

According to the Table 6, it is found that corporate identity is not a strong predictor of the dependent variable or consumer perception since the result shows corporate identity (beta = 0.28 p>0.1). This means that it is not a significant predictor of the criterion. However, there are two independent variables i.e. corporate image and corporate reputation being strong predictors of consumer perception. The results indicate that corporate image (beta = 0.515 p<0.01) and corporate reputation (beta = 0.211 p<0.01) are significant independent variables of the criterion. As a consequence, it can be summarised that hypothesis 4 is partially accepted.

Furthermore, Bivariate Regression was then used to analyse the correlation between one predictor which is corporate identity and one criterion which is consumer perception. A significant model emerged (F1,350 = 39.261, p < 0.01) as shown in an Anova table (Table 12 in Appendix 2). Adjusted R square = 0.098 as demonstrated in Table 13 in Appendix 2. Significant variables derived from the below table (Table 7).

Table 7: Bivarate Regression on Corporate Identity and Consumer Perception

Predictor variable

Beta

p

Corporate Identity

.318

<.01

According to the Table 7, the results indicate that corporate identity variable (beta = 0.318 p<0.01) is a significant predictor of the criterion. This can be assumed that corporate identity is significant when it stands alone.

Moreover, after adding corporate image variable in a Multiple Regression, the results become not to be significant which is beta = 0.033 and p>0.1 (See Table 14 in Appendix 2). Corporate identity and corporate reputation were then measured together by a Multiple Regression as well. The results show corporate identity (beta = 0.223 p<0.01) as show in Table 15 in Appendix 2. These can be summarised that corporate identity is not significant when corporate image is put together. On the other hand, it is significant and has stronger correlation with consumer perception when it is measured together with corporate reputation; however, it is still lower than those associative relations when corporate identity is tested alone.

H5: There is a significant relationship between consume perception and corporate brand loyalty in Thailand.

The Bivariate Regression was implemented to analyse the above hypothesis measuring the correlations between one predictor variable i.e. consumer perception and one criterion variable i.e. corporate loyalty. A significant model emerged (F1,350 = 501.488, p < 0.01) as shown in an Anova table (Table 16 in Appendix 2). Adjusted R square = 0.588 as demonstrated in Table 17 in Appendix 2. Significant variables derived from the below table (Table 8).

Table 8: Bivarate Regression on Consumer’s Perception and Corporate Brand Loyalty

Predictor variable

Beta

p

Consumer perception

.767

<.01

According to the Table 8, it is found that a predictor variable — consumer perception — is a strong variable of corporate loyalty. The result shows consumer perception (beta = 0.767 p<0.01). Consequently, it can be summarised that hypothesis 5 is supported.

Finally, the table 9 illuminates the results of all hypothesis testing.

Table 9:  Hypotheses Summary

Hypotheses

Results

H1: Corporate identity has a positive impact on consumer perception in Thailand.

Supported

H2: Corporate image has a positive impact on consumer perception in Thailand.

Supported

H3: Corporate reputation has a positive impact on consumer perception in Thailand.

Supported

H4: There is a significant relationship between three dimensions of corporate branding–corporate identity, corporate image, and corporate reputation–and consumer perception in Thailand.

Partially Supported

H5: There is a significant relationship between consume perception and corporate brand loyalty in Thailand.

Supported

 

Chapter 6

Discussion and Implication

According to the previous results and analysis, the data gained are interpreted and discussed as shown below. Managerial recommendations and implication are provided next.

6.1 Discussion and Implication

The corporate branding dimensions which include corporate identity, corporate image, and corporate reputation have been investigated and analysed in this study. This research also clarifies the correlation between those factors and consumer perception as well as between consumer perception and corporate brand loyalty. At the same time, the results gained are further discussed according to relevant theories.

6.1.1 Corporate Identity

The results of One-sample T-test on corporate identity shown in Table 3 explain that corporate identity is an important factor as its mean score is higher than 3 — agree. What this means is that most of respondents agree that corporate identity has a significant effect towards their perception. According to Melewar and Jekins (2002), they mentioned that corporate identity plays an important role in marketing since it could strengthen the uniqueness of the brand in consumers’ minds and other stakeholders’ perception.

After that, with regards to the specific significant value of each corporate identity dimension, the results also indicate that the name of the corporate is the strongest element influencing how people perceive the brand. The logo of the Samsung name could also bring about customer’s positive perception towards its brand. Then, it could be implied that people pay high attention on the name and the logo of the company when they make their purchasing decision. Kowalczyk and Pawlish (2002) also stated that consumer perception can be influenced by the corporate identity because of the value added to products and services of a company.

On the other hand, the least important element is the corporate vision which gains the lowest mean score. This means that Samsung vision derived from top management does not effectively reflect and convey its brand to its consumers or the external stakeholder. Corporate vision however is one of the most important management principles of the corporation which represents and reflects company itself. It is recommended that deciding and selecting the right corporate vision for organisation could be done in order to gain positive consumer perception. Thus, managements should always take corporate vision as an important issue and always pass it to targeted consumers.

6.1.2 Corporate Image

Regarding to the results of One-sample T-test on corporate image (Table 4), it implies that corporate image has a positive effect towards consumer perception since the mean score is higher than the mid-point score (2.5) as well as all values are significant. This could justify that the corporate image could influence consumer behaviour and perception of brand relating to consumer trust in product and service quality (Hsieh et al., 2004; and de Ruyter and Wetzels, 2000).

Moreover, success and reliability of the brand gains the highest means score; therefore, it could have a great impact on consumer perception. Consumers also concern about innovative and pioneering image of the brand since its mean score is quite high — above 3.0. However, the lowest mean scores of an open and responsive brand image as well as ethical business image point that it has minor to moderate effect on customer perception. Therefore, it is recommended that Samsung should improve its corporate image by presenting the image of success and reliability, along with innovative and pioneer image in marketing communication campaigns.

6.1.3 Corporate Reputation

The significant values in Table 5 indicate that corporate reputation has positive effect towards consumer perception; therefore all corporate reputation elements should be concern. The most important element is the reputation of emotionally appealing brand which gains the highest mean score, compared to the others. Next, the reputation of the market leader and high quality product and service brand are also crucial since their mean scores are quite high. According to a study of Gray and Balmer (1998), it was also found that corporate reputation could affect consumers’ attitudes towards the company’s products. This means that consumers buy and use the products when considering about company’s reputation, especially about an emotionally appealing and technological brand leader.

Nevertheless, the reputation of social responsibility is not concerned much since its mean score is the lowest. This may because consumers pay less attention on the company’s social responsible activities, or the company does not prioritise them effectively. The company may also not widely and obviously communicate to the public. Acknowledging the targeted customers about the corporate social responsibility may result in gaining higher reputation in their minds. Therefore, marketing managers should carefully handle company reputation by avoiding unprofessional and undesirable activities which may destroy the corporate reputation.

6.1.4 The Associative Relationship between Three Corporate Branding Dimensions and Consumer Perception

The result received from the Multiple Regression (Table 6) indicates that only corporate image and reputation are significant factors when all three dimensions i.e. identity, image, and reputation are put together. Corporate identity was found to be significant when it was calculated on its own and when corporate reputation. What this means is that there is a positive relationship between corporate identity and consumer perception when it is promoted alone or with corporate reputation. On the other hand, the relationship would be lessened when it was advertised or communicated with corporate image. It can also be assumed that corporate image will degrade the importance of corporate identity if both of them are shown together.

For the case of Samsung brand, it is suggested that Samsung should advertise or promote its identity individually rather than combining all corporate branding together in one message. This is because mixed corporate branding dimensions could decrease the importance of Samsung identity which affects consumers’ belief in the brand. For example, Samsung name, logo, and its blue-white colour should be presented alone in one shot of a television commercial. Samsung vision should be emphasized even more through various kinds of marketing activities such as corporate events and exhibitions. However, promoting Samsung corporate image and reputation can be done at the same time. Samsung then is recommended that not only should it advertise its innovative technology and high quality of product and service; an image of ethical Samsung business and corporate social responsibility should also be put in a marketing message as well. As a consequence, these activities could enhance the power of Samsung image and reputation leading to gain better consumer perception, satisfaction, and loyalty respectively.

6.1.5 The Associative Relationship between Consumer perception and Corporate Loyalty

The results in Table 8 show that there is a strong correlation between consumer perception and corporate loyalty. Therefore, customer trust could be increasing if consumers have better and more positive perception of the brand. This can be supported by the statement of Assael (1993) and Rust et al. (1995) that brand loyalty comes from the link between consumer rating of perception and satisfaction, as well as their repeated purchase behaviour of specific brands. It should be noted that the increase in their perception and satisfaction would bring in the rise in loyalty leading to the higher level of products or services purchasing. In addition, Iniesta and Sanchez (2002) also stated that corporate brand loyalty had been considered as an important task for many organizations in order to achieve higher or better market position in their marketplace. Furthermore, it is recommended that marketers should take consumer perception into their accounts and avoid negative identity, image, and reputation of the corporate brand. Offering better products and services quality as well as presenting a sustainable image could develop and enhance how people perceive the brand. Lastly, it can be said that corporate brand loyalty is a challenging work for not only the top managers, but also every members of the operation teams. Hence, gaining a great public awareness, recognitions and positive attitudes are the crucial tasks that everybody in company needs to work on.

 

Chapter 7

Limitations and Conclusion

In this section, the conclusion of this research will be firstly provided. After that, limitations as well as recommendation for further study will be describe at the end of this chapter.

7.1 Conclusion of this research

The main point of this study is to understand how consumers perceive the Samsung corporate brand in Thailand market. In order to achieve this research aim, the objectives have been established which were included; determining the influence of a corporate brand towards consumer perception in terms of its identity, image, and reputation, examining the relationship between consumer perception and corporate brand loyalty in Thailand, as well as providing managerial implications and recommendation.

The model of the research was developed to demonstrate a simplified aspect corporate branding dimensions and its relation to consumer perception. As a consequence, four contributing dimensions of corporate branding — corporate identity, corporate image, corporate reputation, and corporate brand loyalty — have been investigated and discussed in the light of five hypotheses as follows;

H1: Corporate identity has a positive impact on consumer perception in Thailand.

H2: Corporate image has a positive impact on consumer perception in Thailand.

H3: Corporate reputation has a positive impact on consumer perception in Thailand.

H4: There is a significant relationship between three dimensions of corporate branding–corporate identity, corporate image, and corporate reputation–and consumer perception in Thailand.

H5: There is a significant relationship between consume perception and corporate brand loyalty in Thailand.

After that, the questionnaires were created and launched in order to randomly collect data from almost 400 respondents. The results of this study show that, each corporate branding dimension has a significant impact on consumer perception about Samsung corporate brand. Also, the associative relationship between those dependent variables and independent variables were obviously found. Samsung management, therefore, should carefully handle corporate branding dimensions when planning business strategy and marketing activities. However, corporate identity is recommended to be promoted or presented on its own since its relation to consumer perception is found to be less significant when combining with other corporate dimensions i.e. image and reputation. Name, logo, as well as colour of the corporation should be emphasised in order to add product and service value. Promoting corporate image and corporate reputation together are also crucial factor for Samsung to achieve its company vision and mission, therefore, it is strongly suggested that Samsung should maintain its images of success, reliability, innovative and pioneer, as well as premium quality of product and service. Moreover, other weak points such as open and responsiveness image and corporate social responsibility should be focused and improved in order to gain better and higher corporate image and reputation in customers’ minds. These could effectively affect consumer perception which is related to corporate brand loyalty. As a result, it can be said that Samsung should professionally manage its corporate branding strategy in order to gain positive perception from the consumers leading to create trust and loyalty as well as gain competitive advantages over its competitors in Thailand market finally.

7.2 Limitations of This Study

Firstly, time and budget constraint lead to insufficient data. The questionnaires were completed by only 352 respondents or approximately 92% of the total sampling target (384 respondents). This is because time was limited at two week and there is no budget spent during the data collection procedure. Thus, if extra time were provided, more data would be collected encouraging higher reliability and validity of the results.  Distance limitation and limited literatures also hindered the researcher from sufficient and qualified literature review. After spending many weeks in Leeds, England, the researcher realised that literatures related to Thai corporate branding and consumers could not be found. As a consequence, the study was delayed when the researcher made a decision and preparation to fly back to Bangkok, Thailand in order to relevant researches and articles. Furthermore, a qualitative research was disregarded in this study since the research philosophy emphasised on quantitative work which could explore only basic and superficial knowledge. Therefore, underlying messages such as consumers’ thought, belief, and feeling had not been discovered.

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