brand loyalty thesis

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Children are naturally curious—they want to know "how" and "why. In this minilesson, students organize the information they have compiled through the research process by using sentence strips. Students first walk through the process using information on Beluga whales as a model. Students match facts written on sentence strips to one of four categories: appearance, behavior, habitat, and food. Sentence strips are color-coded to match each category. The sequence of notes sentence strips under each category are case studies page in an indented outline form, and regrouped so that similar facts are placed together.

Brand loyalty thesis best dissertation abstract ghostwriters sites us

Brand loyalty thesis

Ethical activities include using different hiring practices and employee relations such as high moral values, fair pay, equal treatment, and equal opportunity for all workers. Organizations that do not treat workers fairly have the risk of lowering their brand image. Brand image should start with internal operations; there is no point of trying to show the external clients that business ethics are good while simultaneously engaging in unethical activities towards the employees.

Employees play an important role in advertising the organization to outside clients more than any other marketing strategy. The question of how brand loyalty affects product evaluation was examined by Brown and Dacin In their first research, students analyzed their hypothetical scenarios. The outcome was that brand loyalty had a significant effect on the way consumers evaluated the product attributes and the overall image of the organization.

Their second study found out that social responsibility became significant predictor of product loyalty in the consumers and its evaluation. In any organization, quality of products can be determined according to the consumer attitude towards the product with other products available to the consumer in the market. Zeitmal further assert that few consumers are able to analyze and measure the objective properties of a product.

This is because the objective assessment depends on the verifiable standards, the objective measurement can be questioned because it depends on who set the standards. According to Lunn , the theory introduces theories and concepts from other disciplines including behavioral sciences.

The value of behavioral sciences has been used in consumer knowing what the consumer wants. Well known examples are included in the manifestations of motivational research and such attitude theories as those of Festinger and Fishbein. The strength of the a priori lies in the organization and the systematic basis of knowledge provided about certain aspects of the consumer.

According to Katz , Brand loyalty theory has three distinct dimensions. The first dimension is referred to as emotive tendency towards products and services. The emotive tendency refers to the consumer likes and dislikes which is manifested on how they purchase a particular brand in the market. The second dimension is known as evaluative tendency towards products and services.

Katz refers to this tendency as positively biased evaluation of a product or service. Organizations use positive characteristics to define brand utili6ty to the customers. The evaluative tendency of the product or service can also be determined from past experience in using the brand. Behavioral tendency towards the brand is the next dimension.

Katz refers to the behavior tendency as the biased responses consumers have towards a particular product or service regarding its procurement, purchase and consumption characteristics. Consumer characteristics such as shopping, paying for the product, as well as its consumption determine the behavior tendency.

Behavior tendency is developed after using the product for a long period of time. In addition, behavior tendency can be developed from good or bad tendencies toward other brands. Sandhusen assert that the black box model is an interaction of several perspectives concerning a specific brand. The perspectives include the stimuli, consumer characteristics, choice patterns and consumer responses. The focus of the organization is not in the internal processes within the customer: the organization focuses on the relation between stimuli and response of the customer.

Stimuli are related to the marketing characteristics developed by an organization in order to lure the customer in purchasing of the brand. The environmental stimuli are determined by social factors such as politics, economy and the culture in which the brand is to be used.

The black box symbolizes the buyer characteristics and their choice patterns, which determine their response towards a particular brand. From the various factors that influence brand loyalty, below are the hypothesis derived. H1: There is a positive correlation between brand loyalty product and brand name. H2: There is a positive correlation between brand loyalty and product quality. H3: There is a positive significant relationship between brand loyalty and product design.

H4: There is a positive significant relationship between brand loyalty and product price. H5: There is a positive correlation between brand loyalty and promotion. H6: There is a significant correlation between service quality and brand loyalty.

H7: There is a positive significant relationship between store environment and brand loyalty. The main objective of this research was to establish how brand loyalty influences cosmetics buying behavior of UK female consumers. This section also highlights the various processes undertaken in obtaining and analyzing the information gathered for this research.

This includes a description of the research design and methods used in collecting the data that were analyzed to arrive at a conclusion in the study. Based on the nature and the topic to be studied, this research will be conducted on positivist philosophy.

It will be based on this philosophy because the research will involve testing of hypothesis developed from deductive theory, involving measurement of observable social realities. This research will be conducted on deductive approach based on hypothesis testing from the data collected. Data will then be analyzed to either confirm or disapprove the hypothesis.

Data collection will consist of surveys, filling in questionnaires and conducting interviews with cosmetic consumers and dealers in London, UK. Qualitative evaluation shall be employed in this research besides using subjective techniques such as interviews and observations to gather relevant and substantive data.

Quantitative approach is preferred for this research due to the varying experiences of the consumers of these products. Upon collecting data using interviews and questionnaires, the data will then be carefully analyzed. In this research, a questionnaire was developed, and pilot tested through personal interviews with seven senior-most managers at Superdrug, which is the second largest health and beauty retail shop in UK. The questionnaire used for collecting data was divided into two segments: the first section concerns the demographics of consumers and the second were about brand loyalty factors.

This research involved sampling randomly female cosmetic consumer of between 18 to 42 years of age. In order to obtain a reliable data, the survey was distributed in London City at five major cosmetic shops. Yet again, the table reveals that close to half of the respondents ages varied between years. This research used the One-way ANOVA to establish whether there is any significant correlation between independent variables product quality, brand name, design, price, service quality, promotion, and store environment and age and income the consumers interviewed.

The main reason for adopting the One-way ANOVA as the most appropriate tool is that it was found to be the best for testing the hypothesis when at least two groups are measured on an interval scale. The purpose of the One-way ANOVA is to show the degree of variability of the sample values taken by considering to what extent the observation within each group differs and how much the group means differ. Apart from the One —Way ANOVA, the researchers also found it appropriate to use the Pearson Correlation for purposes of analyzing the relationship between the two variables, which are both ratio and interval-scaled.

In this regard, the research used Pearson correlation principle to test the independent variables product quality, brand name, price, promotion, design, store environment and service quality that influenced consumer brand loyalty and to establish if there is any correlation between the variables.

The findings reveal that all the variables have a high degree of reliability. Table 3, on the other hand, shows the seven autonomous variable factors of brand loyalty that were experimented during the research through questionnaires given out to the respondents. The results were also ranked using the Likert scale in the questionnaire: strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree and strongly agree.

The result is then gotten from the uppermost average score of brand loyalty factors based on the answers provident by the respondents. In overall, the result reveals that product quality is the most vital factor. In UK environment, most respondents choose product quality as the core aspect that influences their brand loyalty. This was meant to establish if there could be any significant relationship between the two variables.

Here, there are four variables that are most significant according to the study, which include brand name 0. In overall, the result shows that, in UK, majority of the consumers prefer brand name, promotion, and product and service quality as factors of brand loyalty. According to table five below, only two variables that are significant. These are price 0.

An analysis of this data reveals that, among the age groups surveyed, female consumers aged between prefer brand names more compare to other age groups. As revealed in Table 4 below, brand name was found to have considerable positive relationship with brand loyalty. The results of this research revealed that consumers preferred brand image only when they foresee positive functions or benefits from the product in question. It is then that they will recommend the brand, react positively to the price premium and accept brand extension to other categories of products within the same brand.

The quality of the products was shown to have a positive correlation with brand loyalty. Therefore, based on these statistics, the finding showed that product quality has a lot of significance with regard to consumer decision-making process. The findings of this research revealed that brand loyalty and price had a positive relationship. In this case, price was found to be more important for any average consumer in the market.

Nevertheless, those consumers with high brand loyalty were not very much sensitive to prices. The research showed that as long as these consumers were satisfied with a given brand, they would continue buying the product with the same brand irrespective of the price increase.

On the other hand, the findings did not show any correlation between product design and brand loyalty. Out of all the seven variables tested, many consumers did not consider product design as an important factor for UK consumers to become loyal to a given cosmetic brand. According to the findings, promotion and brand loyalty were found to have a positive relationship. This includes the use of sales promotions, commercial adverts, personal and public selling. In fact, the research revealed that many female consumers spent considerable time reading product labels before purchasing the product.

The research also revealed that brand loyalty and service quality had a positive relationship. Findings showed that service quality encouraged many consumers to prioritize a store. The result indicated that salesperson consumer relationship results in long-term orientation of customers towards a given store.

The findings also showed that the environment of the store is also positively related to brand loyalty. The store environment is seen as major factors that influence consumer brand loyalty. This research revealed that many consumers were much sensitive to attributes of the store such as a variety of selection, merchandise displays, packing space, and ease of accessibility to vehicles and the overall goodwill of the store in buying products. Brand Loyalty factor Ranking. Various studies have focused on understanding the concept of brand loyalty and the factors influencing it.

Product attributes, after sale service, marketing capabilities, perceived quality or aesthetics, depth of product line as the key difference factors influencing the behavior of purchasers. Brand commitment is also a necessary condition for true brand loyalty to occur. Packaging, new product trial, price, store location corporate social responsibility and advertisements influence consumer behavior. While several factors influencing brand loyalty have been studied in the extant literature, this research has revealed that brand loyalty influences consumer behavior.

Consumers may also compel entrepreneurs to change the brand image in terms of product or service quality. Similarly, the brand image has been proven to satisfy the consumer expectations. This is followed by an assessment of the product to decide if they will buy it or not. The assessment also referred to as evaluative tendency compels organizations to brand their products to attract customers, an aspect of competition. Product branding can be enhanced by advertising, changing the brand name and promoting it to improve recognition.

The behavioral tendency proposed by Katz is creations of a bandwagon effect among consumers to enable them continue buying the product. The initial products are branded in a way of attracting customers though subsequent ones show depreciation, a strategy used by marketers.

Branding through advertisement show some favor of the product while despising others, thus discouraging customers from using those other products whether related or not. The characteristics of the buyer determine their choice of product. From this research, the brand name and image has a significant impact on customer choice with all factors kept constant.

As part of consumer behavior, every brand has some features which consumers always associate the brand with. They consume a given brand on the basis of its features. Attitudinal refers to emotional attachment towards a community, while behavioral means more than emotional --it could lead to actual behavior beyond that. In this study both attitudinal and behavioral commitments were measu red using six items 92 : 1 I feel loyalty to this community; 2 I feel any problem that this community is faced with is the same as my own problem s ; 3 I often talk about this community to my family and friends; 4 If this community off er ed an opportunity to work for the community, I would do it; 5 I would like to help any member in this community if they ha d either an online or offline problem; and 6 I feel empty when I do not use this community website for more than a week.

Brand loyalty 86 was measured using three item scales: 1 I think this brand is the best compared to others in the same category, 2 I would like to introduce this brand to others; and 3 I would choose this brand even if there were disadvanta ges to the product. Purchase intention was measured using 2item scales: 1 If I buy a product in the brand s product category, I will choose this brand; and 2 I would consistently choose to use this brand s product.

Moderator Variable According to Baron and Kenny , a moderator variable is a qualitative e. PAGE 32 32 In this study, the consumers needs to use an online brand community were considered as a moderator variable which can affect the result of testing the hypotheses.

Consumer needs were measured using a 23 item s cale adopted from Sunanda s study Sunanda divided the consumers need into three: functional needs, emotive needs, and contextual needs. Functional needs 79 were measured by using 6 item scales including objective information, infor mation of high value, information for my exact needs, expert information, information from opinion leaders, and trust information for investments.

Emotive needs have three dimensions social interaction, personal uses, and self expression uses which were measured by 12 item scales. First, social interaction 76 was measured by visit threads, enjoy ment of discussion and participation, enjoy ment of virtual companionship, interaction with people, and large number of membership.

Second, persona l uses 67 were measured with items such as meet ing peer group, easy to find people in a community, and meet ing industry leaders and influential people. Third, self expression uses 66 were examined by items such as express es my knowledge, reader and a contributor, moderation of content, and community as extension of me. Finally, contextual needs were divided into two dimensions: entertainment and host. Entertainment 63 were measured using 3 item scales: chat groups, the site surfing and navigation, and offline expert seminars are useful.

Host 47 will be measured by rules and regulations, and posting from CEO. A revision for the all questionnaires was conducted from November 10, to November 13, to refine and clarify the survey questionnaire First of all all survey items were double checked by translators two graduate student s who can speak both Korean and English. After that, f ive graduate students major ing in A dvertising at a southeastern American university participated PAGE 33 33 in this revision process.

Some of students reported that given words need ed more specific definitions or examples Based on their reports, some examples for content of comm unity, communication channel, and reward for activity were added for the actual survey. Because of the unique nature of this study which focus es on only online brand community users experi ences with their communities, 21 subjects who did not have any experience with an online brand community or who dropped the survey at the very beginning were eli minated in the data analysis.

As a result, the total valid sample was Table 41 shows the descriptive statistics of the sample characteristics. Among the respondents, The subjects age ranged from 18 to 60 years old, but the majority of participants were between 18 to 30 Of the total respondents, This indicates that online brand community users are relatively young with a high education back ground. In the case of the number of an online brand community membership most of respondents T he result also illustrate s that Most respondents Also, m ost respondents PAGE 35 35 Table 4 3 shows the mean score comparison between iLounge members and other online brand communities members for all variables.

In order to achieve the goal of this study, structural equation modeling will be needed to see relationships among variables. However, the samp le size was not large enough to conduct structural equation modeling. Therefore, in this study series of multiple regressions were performed to test the hypotheses. After scale validation, further analyses were performed to test the hypotheses of this study. Effect of Online Brand C ommu nity Characteristics on Online Brand C ommunity L oyalty H 1 expected that online brand characteristics positively influence online brand community loyalty.

Multiple regressions were conducted to test H1, with four online brand community characteristics as independent variables, and one dependent variable, online brand community loyalty. Multiple regression analysis is used to measure the linear association among variables Hair et al. As shown in Table 45, Interactivity and reward for activity are found to be more significant predictors of online brand loyalty. In order to investigate the relationship between the main effect four major online brand community characteristics and online brand community loyalty and moderating ef fect users needs: functional, emotive, and contextual , multiple regressions were conducted to test H2.

After a series of multiple regressions, different sets of analyses were done to illustrate the interaction effects more specifically. First of all, mu ltiple regressions were conducted to reveal a relationship between online brand community characteristics and online brand loyalty as a main effect and functional needs as an interaction effect.

Ther efore, contextual needs in using an online brand community are positively associated with the relationship between convenience of use and online brand community loyalty. In sum, the results indicated that there were significant interaction effect s between online brand community characteristics and emotive needs and contextual needs, respectively, in using an online brand community on online brand community loyalty. In addition, previous investigation has show n no significant interaction effect between online brand community characteristics and functional needs on online brand community loyalty.

Therefore, H2 was partially supported. For a detailed explanation of the significant interaction effects, the interaction term was explored by conducting twoway AN OVA analyses for convenience of use and emotive needs, and convenience of use and contextual needs, separately in terms of online brand community loyalty Subjects were categorized by a median split to see interaction effects visually As shown in Table 48 and Table 49, there is a statistically significant main effect of emotive needs and convenience of use p PAGE 39 39 Table and Table show that there is a statistically significant main effect of contextual needs and convenience of use p PAGE 40 40 Table 4 1.

Interactivity iLounge 32 4. Online brand community c haracteristics Online brand community loyalty H1 , result of multiple regression s Effect B t Sig. Descriptive statistics for measures: Convenience of use vs. EN Constant 1.

In addition, by adapting a uses and gratifications theory the study also examined why consumer s use online brand communities and how their needs affect the relationships between online brand community characteristics and their loyalty toward communities.

Based on Sunanda s study , three key motivat ions for an online brand community use functional, emotive, and contextual were used in this study. Regarding the study hypotheses, Hypothesis 1 was supported. The findings from the previous chapter showed that there is a relationship between four major characteristics of online brand communities interactivity, convenience of use, reliability of information, and reward for activity and online brand community loyalty.

This finding supports Jang and colleagues study that interactivity and reward f or activity significantly affect community commitment. According to their study, information quality and system quality exert a greater influence upon community commitment. Based on the results of this study, b ecause of the unique nature of the online comm unity, users seemed to have more loyalty toward their online brand community if it offers a way of interaction among users and administrators, is well designed and easy to use website, has believable and useful content, and includes monetary or emotional r ewards for activities.

In H2, this study attempted to explain how motivations of online brand community users moderate the effectiveness of online brand community characteristics on online brand community loyalty. O nline brand community users might have their own needs and motivations for using it such as information acquisition or entertainments. The more an online brand PAGE 49 49 community fulfills its members needs with its own successful characteristics, the more loyal th eir members will feel.

After conducting separate multiple regression analyses by consumer needs such as functional, emotional, and contextual, H2 was partially supported. The results indicated that there were significant interaction effect s between online brand community characteristics and emotive needs, and online brand community characteristics and contextual needs on online brand community loyalty. However, the interaction effect of functional needs was not supported.

The results imply that online brand community characteristics and functional needs do not have a direct effect on online brand community loyalty. This result may be explained by sample characteristics which were collected from not only one online brand community but from many other random communities. If the samples were collected from one online brand community then users motivations for use might be relevant.

For example, an e lectronic product community may be built around users interested in useful information about t heir products or contents such as mp3 file s Based on this assumption, if an online brand community offers believable information and useful content the users commitment or loyalty toward community might be positively affected.

However, in this study, sa mples that come from various online brand communities might be comprised of different levels of motivations. And this may affect the result of this hypothesis testing. Based on the results, H3, online brand community loyalty predicts brand loyalty, was supported. There was a positive effect of online brand community loyalty on brand loyalty which is consistent with Jang and colleagues study Finally, H4 was also supported. The study results revealed that positive brand loyalty can subsequently affect online brand community users purchase intentions.

It shows that increasing brand loyalty through an online brand community can benefit the company after all. One of the major benefits of virtual community is interactivity among community members. Rheingold describes virtual communities as hav ing a sufficient human feelin g to form webs of personal relationships p.

In this respect, this study improves our understanding of how online brand community characteristics influence users positive feeling toward community and brand through online brand community loyalty, brand loyalty and purchase intention. In practice, the findings of this study suggest that creating a well o rganized online brand community can benefit a company in terms of improving financial performance.

An online brand community can be a new marketing communication tool which allows for interact ion among existing customers who already own the brand and are already strongly attached to it, and potential customers as well. Therefore, by understanding existing and potential customers characteristics and their needs, marketers should strive to provide believable information about a brand and its products, a well designed and systemized website, a proper way of interaction with customers and among customers themselves, and tangible or intangible reward s such as monetary reward or upgrade membership program.

Limitations and Future Research This study has sever al limitations that mostly relate to sampling issues. First of all, not enough samples were collected due to the unique nature of this study. The aim of this study was PAGE 51 51 to seek knowledge of online brand community users Hence, data should be collected among online brand community users.

Therefore, in this study, an online survey was inevitability used for collecting valid data. However, because of the nature of online survey, the re were many respondents who dropped out of the survey right after the informed consent form or in the middle of the survey. A larger sample would be expected to show more significant results and is, therefore, recommended for future research Second, it is a limitation that large portion of samples were drawn from one online brand community.

This has the potential to skew the result s of this study due to the unique character of this community. Therefore, future examination should recruit a more balanced sample to see if this model can be projected in to in the real world. Third, participants who were recruited from iLounge chose to participate in t his online survey themselves, since this survey was posted on the website with an announcement requesting participation.

There is a high possibility that people who decided to participate in the survey already have a high interest or loyalty toward communi ty or brand. Therefore, the results may have been different had more general members from the population been recruited in the sample.

For future study, more updated recruit ing method will be needed. Forth, the scale for each variable has the potential be another limitation in this study. This study examined the interaction effect of consumers needs by applying a uses and gratification theoretical framework to an online brand community. In this study Sunanda s scales that were used to examine th e relationship between consumers motivation and virtual community in general were adopted. However, there is a need for further study on the relationship between an PAGE 52 52 online brand community and consumers motivation with an appropriate scale.

In future studies, it would be valuable to have a more precise scale to measure each variable. Please respond to the following questions. Section 1: This section is asking you about your internet usage and your interest on brand community. Please choose one answer. How often do you use the Internet in an average week?

Everyday 4 6 days 13 days None How many hours on average do you use the Internet per day? Less than 30 minutes 30 minutes Less than 1 hour 1 Less th an 3 hours 3 Less than 5 hours Over 5 hours How many online brand communities have you participated in including iLounge? How long have you been a member of iLounge? Less than 6 months 6 month less than 1 year 1 year less than 2 years 2 less than 3 years More than 3 years An online brand community is the specialized, non geographically bound community based on a structured set of social relationships among interest of a brand.

How many times do you visit online brand communities in a month? On a daily basis, approximately, how much time on average do you spend with online brand communities? Less than 30 minutes 30 minutes less than 1 hour 1 hour less than 3 hours 3 hours less than 5 hours More than 5 hours Section 2: The following questions ask about your use of and participation in iLounge community. Please rate the following statements according to your own opinion.

I use this community to obtain objective information in my area of interest. I use this community to receive highly qualified information. I use this community to get information from experts. I use this community to get information from opinion leaders. Opinion leader: an individual whose ideas and behavior serve as a model to others. I use this community to get trust information for investments. I use this community to visit threads. I enjoy discussion and any other participation in this community.

I enjoy virtual compa nionship among members in this community. I use this community to interact with people. I use this community because of the large number of membership. I use this community to meet people who have same interests strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 strongly agree I use this community because I can easily find people that I want to know from this community.

I use this community to meet industry leaders and influential people. I use this community to express my knowledge. I use this community as a contributor. I use this community because I can share the information such as up to date data or personal experience about the brands product.

I think of this community as extension of myself. I use this community to enjoy the site surfing and navigation. I use this community to participate in offline meeting with others e. I use this community because I like the rules and regulations that are applied to this community. I use this community to read postings from the CEO of this brand. I can believe the information in this community.

This community has diverse information that I need about the brand. This community has interesting upto date information. This community has a lot of information about the brand. This community has valuable information about the brand and product. T his community provide s enough information that I need to know strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 strongly agree I can easily find the information that I need. The website is well designed. The page loads up quickly.

This community is generally easy to search for information. This communitys concept matc hes my interest. The other members of this community have the same interest s as I do. This community provides proper communication channel s among members e. C hat room and discussion forum strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 strongly agree Other members respond quickly to my inquiries. The community managers respond quickly to members inquiries. This community provide s an off line meeting for members.

If there are off line meetings with community members, I would like to participate in them strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 strongly agree This community manager sends messages or newsletters to each member individually. The community manager sends messages to the members on a regular basis. This community offers monetary rewards, such as mileage, to proactive members. This community recognizes to proactive members i. This community provides product coupons for its members.

Level of membershipetc. M anagers or members of this community believe your own information and know ledge. Managers or members of this community believe you own information and knowledge. You are known as an information giver in this community strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 strongly agree You have an ability to give information about this brand and product that other members want.

Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statements I feel loyalty to this community. I feel any problem that this community is faced with is the same as my own problem. I often talk about this community to my family and friends. I f this community offer ed an opportunity to work for the community, I would like to do it strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 strongly agree I would like to help any member in this community if they had either an online or offline problem.

I feel empty when I do not use this community website for more than a week. I think this brand is the best compared to others in the same category. I would like to introduce this brand to others. I would c hoose this brand even if there were disadvantages to the product. If I buy a product in the brands product category e. MP3 player, phone, etc I will choose this brand. I would consistently choose to use this brands product e.

Please answer the following questions by filling in the blank or checking one option. What is your gender? Male Female What is your age? What is the highest level of education you have completed? What is your ethnicity? Do you own any product from this brand such as iPod or iPhone? Ye s No go to the question 57 If yes, How many do you own? Below, please provide me with any comments regarding the website you browsed and the questionnaire you completed: This is the end of the survey.

Thank you for your participation and contribution to the social research. Interactive home shopping: Consumer, retailer, and manufacturer ince ntives to participate in electronic marketplaces. Journal of Marketing, 61 3 , 38 Andersen, P. Relationship marketing and brand involvement of professionals through web enhanced brand communities: The case of Coloplast. Industrial Marketing M anagement 34 4 , Arker, D. Armstrong, A. Harvard Business Review 74 3 , Arm strong, A.

Expanding markets through virtual communities McKinsey Quarterly, 1, Arnould, E. Consumer culture theory CCT : Twenty years of research. Journal of Consumer Research, 31 4 , Babbie, E. The pr actice of social research 11th. Belmont: Thomson Learning, Inc. Baron, R. The moderator mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations.

Journal of Pers onality and Social Psychology 51, Bloch, P. Journal of Consumer Research, 13, Broussard, G. How advertising frequency can work to build online advertising effectiveness. International Journal of Market Research, 42 4 , Casal, L V. Flavin, C. Promoting c onsumer's participation in virtual brand c ommunities : A new paradigm in branding s trategy.

Journal of Marketing Communications 14 1 Chan, M. Choi, S. Evaluation of cyber community. Dholakia, U. Measuring motivations for online opinion seeking. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 6 2 , 1 Ebersole, S. Floyd, J. Survey research method 3rd. London: Sage Publications. Ferguson, D. Hair, J. Multivariate Data Analysis. Consumer Behavior 4th. Jang, H. The influence of online brand community characteristics on community commitment and brand loyalty. Jones, Q. Virtual communities, virtual settlements and cyber archaeology: A theoretical outline.

Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 3. Kalman, M. Terrella Media Kang, M. The research regarding the introduction and an activity of community concept from marketing. Katz, E. Utilization of mass communication by the individual. Keller, K. Conceptualiz ing, measuring, and managing customer based brand equity. Journal of Marketing, 57 1 , 1 Kim, J. Kotler, P. Lee, J. Interactivity: A new approach. Exploring success factors of virtual communities: The perspectives of members and operators.

Mathwick, C. Building loyalty b y sponsoring virtual peer to peer problem solving communities. American Marketing Association, Summer, McAlexander, J. Building brand community. Journal of Marketing, 66 1 , McWilliam, G. Sloan Management Review 41 3 , 43 Micheal, B. On the road of electronic commerce: A business value framework, gaining competitive advantage and some research issues. InfoWorld, Mittal, B.

Morris, M. Journal of Communication, 46, Muniz Jr. Brand community. Journal of consumer research, 27, Negroponte, N. Electronic word of mouth. Wired 4

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Their second study found out that social responsibility became significant predictor of product loyalty in the consumers and its evaluation. In any organization, quality of products can be determined according to the consumer attitude towards the product with other products available to the consumer in the market.

Zeitmal further assert that few consumers are able to analyze and measure the objective properties of a product. This is because the objective assessment depends on the verifiable standards, the objective measurement can be questioned because it depends on who set the standards.

According to Lunn , the theory introduces theories and concepts from other disciplines including behavioral sciences. The value of behavioral sciences has been used in consumer knowing what the consumer wants. Well known examples are included in the manifestations of motivational research and such attitude theories as those of Festinger and Fishbein. The strength of the a priori lies in the organization and the systematic basis of knowledge provided about certain aspects of the consumer.

According to Katz , Brand loyalty theory has three distinct dimensions. The first dimension is referred to as emotive tendency towards products and services. The emotive tendency refers to the consumer likes and dislikes which is manifested on how they purchase a particular brand in the market. The second dimension is known as evaluative tendency towards products and services. Katz refers to this tendency as positively biased evaluation of a product or service.

Organizations use positive characteristics to define brand utili6ty to the customers. The evaluative tendency of the product or service can also be determined from past experience in using the brand. Behavioral tendency towards the brand is the next dimension. Katz refers to the behavior tendency as the biased responses consumers have towards a particular product or service regarding its procurement, purchase and consumption characteristics. Consumer characteristics such as shopping, paying for the product, as well as its consumption determine the behavior tendency.

Behavior tendency is developed after using the product for a long period of time. In addition, behavior tendency can be developed from good or bad tendencies toward other brands. Sandhusen assert that the black box model is an interaction of several perspectives concerning a specific brand. The perspectives include the stimuli, consumer characteristics, choice patterns and consumer responses. The focus of the organization is not in the internal processes within the customer: the organization focuses on the relation between stimuli and response of the customer.

Stimuli are related to the marketing characteristics developed by an organization in order to lure the customer in purchasing of the brand. The environmental stimuli are determined by social factors such as politics, economy and the culture in which the brand is to be used. The black box symbolizes the buyer characteristics and their choice patterns, which determine their response towards a particular brand. From the various factors that influence brand loyalty, below are the hypothesis derived.

H1: There is a positive correlation between brand loyalty product and brand name. H2: There is a positive correlation between brand loyalty and product quality. H3: There is a positive significant relationship between brand loyalty and product design. H4: There is a positive significant relationship between brand loyalty and product price. H5: There is a positive correlation between brand loyalty and promotion.

H6: There is a significant correlation between service quality and brand loyalty. H7: There is a positive significant relationship between store environment and brand loyalty. The main objective of this research was to establish how brand loyalty influences cosmetics buying behavior of UK female consumers. This section also highlights the various processes undertaken in obtaining and analyzing the information gathered for this research.

This includes a description of the research design and methods used in collecting the data that were analyzed to arrive at a conclusion in the study. Based on the nature and the topic to be studied, this research will be conducted on positivist philosophy. It will be based on this philosophy because the research will involve testing of hypothesis developed from deductive theory, involving measurement of observable social realities.

This research will be conducted on deductive approach based on hypothesis testing from the data collected. Data will then be analyzed to either confirm or disapprove the hypothesis. Data collection will consist of surveys, filling in questionnaires and conducting interviews with cosmetic consumers and dealers in London, UK. Qualitative evaluation shall be employed in this research besides using subjective techniques such as interviews and observations to gather relevant and substantive data.

Quantitative approach is preferred for this research due to the varying experiences of the consumers of these products. Upon collecting data using interviews and questionnaires, the data will then be carefully analyzed. In this research, a questionnaire was developed, and pilot tested through personal interviews with seven senior-most managers at Superdrug, which is the second largest health and beauty retail shop in UK. The questionnaire used for collecting data was divided into two segments: the first section concerns the demographics of consumers and the second were about brand loyalty factors.

This research involved sampling randomly female cosmetic consumer of between 18 to 42 years of age. In order to obtain a reliable data, the survey was distributed in London City at five major cosmetic shops. Yet again, the table reveals that close to half of the respondents ages varied between years. This research used the One-way ANOVA to establish whether there is any significant correlation between independent variables product quality, brand name, design, price, service quality, promotion, and store environment and age and income the consumers interviewed.

The main reason for adopting the One-way ANOVA as the most appropriate tool is that it was found to be the best for testing the hypothesis when at least two groups are measured on an interval scale. The purpose of the One-way ANOVA is to show the degree of variability of the sample values taken by considering to what extent the observation within each group differs and how much the group means differ.

Apart from the One —Way ANOVA, the researchers also found it appropriate to use the Pearson Correlation for purposes of analyzing the relationship between the two variables, which are both ratio and interval-scaled. In this regard, the research used Pearson correlation principle to test the independent variables product quality, brand name, price, promotion, design, store environment and service quality that influenced consumer brand loyalty and to establish if there is any correlation between the variables.

The findings reveal that all the variables have a high degree of reliability. Table 3, on the other hand, shows the seven autonomous variable factors of brand loyalty that were experimented during the research through questionnaires given out to the respondents. The results were also ranked using the Likert scale in the questionnaire: strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree and strongly agree.

The result is then gotten from the uppermost average score of brand loyalty factors based on the answers provident by the respondents. In overall, the result reveals that product quality is the most vital factor. In UK environment, most respondents choose product quality as the core aspect that influences their brand loyalty.

This was meant to establish if there could be any significant relationship between the two variables. Here, there are four variables that are most significant according to the study, which include brand name 0. In overall, the result shows that, in UK, majority of the consumers prefer brand name, promotion, and product and service quality as factors of brand loyalty. According to table five below, only two variables that are significant.

These are price 0. An analysis of this data reveals that, among the age groups surveyed, female consumers aged between prefer brand names more compare to other age groups. As revealed in Table 4 below, brand name was found to have considerable positive relationship with brand loyalty. The results of this research revealed that consumers preferred brand image only when they foresee positive functions or benefits from the product in question. It is then that they will recommend the brand, react positively to the price premium and accept brand extension to other categories of products within the same brand.

The quality of the products was shown to have a positive correlation with brand loyalty. Therefore, based on these statistics, the finding showed that product quality has a lot of significance with regard to consumer decision-making process. The findings of this research revealed that brand loyalty and price had a positive relationship. In this case, price was found to be more important for any average consumer in the market. Nevertheless, those consumers with high brand loyalty were not very much sensitive to prices.

The research showed that as long as these consumers were satisfied with a given brand, they would continue buying the product with the same brand irrespective of the price increase. On the other hand, the findings did not show any correlation between product design and brand loyalty. Out of all the seven variables tested, many consumers did not consider product design as an important factor for UK consumers to become loyal to a given cosmetic brand.

According to the findings, promotion and brand loyalty were found to have a positive relationship. This includes the use of sales promotions, commercial adverts, personal and public selling. In fact, the research revealed that many female consumers spent considerable time reading product labels before purchasing the product.

The research also revealed that brand loyalty and service quality had a positive relationship. Findings showed that service quality encouraged many consumers to prioritize a store. The result indicated that salesperson consumer relationship results in long-term orientation of customers towards a given store. The findings also showed that the environment of the store is also positively related to brand loyalty. The store environment is seen as major factors that influence consumer brand loyalty.

This research revealed that many consumers were much sensitive to attributes of the store such as a variety of selection, merchandise displays, packing space, and ease of accessibility to vehicles and the overall goodwill of the store in buying products. Brand Loyalty factor Ranking. Various studies have focused on understanding the concept of brand loyalty and the factors influencing it. Product attributes, after sale service, marketing capabilities, perceived quality or aesthetics, depth of product line as the key difference factors influencing the behavior of purchasers.

Brand commitment is also a necessary condition for true brand loyalty to occur. Packaging, new product trial, price, store location corporate social responsibility and advertisements influence consumer behavior. While several factors influencing brand loyalty have been studied in the extant literature, this research has revealed that brand loyalty influences consumer behavior.

Consumers may also compel entrepreneurs to change the brand image in terms of product or service quality. Similarly, the brand image has been proven to satisfy the consumer expectations. This is followed by an assessment of the product to decide if they will buy it or not.

The assessment also referred to as evaluative tendency compels organizations to brand their products to attract customers, an aspect of competition. Product branding can be enhanced by advertising, changing the brand name and promoting it to improve recognition. The behavioral tendency proposed by Katz is creations of a bandwagon effect among consumers to enable them continue buying the product.

The initial products are branded in a way of attracting customers though subsequent ones show depreciation, a strategy used by marketers. Branding through advertisement show some favor of the product while despising others, thus discouraging customers from using those other products whether related or not. The characteristics of the buyer determine their choice of product. From this research, the brand name and image has a significant impact on customer choice with all factors kept constant.

As part of consumer behavior, every brand has some features which consumers always associate the brand with. They consume a given brand on the basis of its features. Again, the consumers take into account the quality, and price while making buying decisions.

Being a highly demanded product by women, they want to buy cosmetics from a good reputed and trustworthy purchase point. Exhibition malls serves as favorite consumer purchase point. Other factors like age, occupation and education of consumers will influence buying decisions following the way each group has been exposed about the product.

Young people will have more taste of cosmetics because they want to look good while old ones are slightly less concerned with beauty. Exposure and knowledge of a product affects its demand. The raw materials making the brand also play a vital role of its choice. They were given an invitation with survey related information. In the notification for the survey, the researcher introduce d herself and explained the purpose and a nature of the study and also notified the participants that the all information and responses will be for confidential us e by the researcher for this study not for the sales or marketing.

Measures and Instrument The questionnaire Appendix A shows the online survey. The questionnaire for this online survey consisted of five main sections. The measurements included were: internet usage and consumer interest in brand communities, n eeds for using online brand communities, attitude toward the online brand community according to the brand community characteristics, brand community loyalty, brand loyalty, purchase intention, and demographic variables.

Besides the initial screening question and demographic, all questionnaires were measured using scale s that Jang and his colleagues and Sunanda employed in their stud ies Generally, research focuses on the causal relations, which contain the variables. Variables are classified by their location in the causal relationship Neuman, Generally, a basic causal relati onship has two variables, i.

A more com plex causal relationship has additional variable s i. Online brand community character istics are employed as an i ndependent variable to test hypothese s And, online brand community characteristics are composed of four major dimensions i. For all the variables, t he respondents were asked to describe their feelings about an online brand community using a seven point Likert scale ranging from 7 s trongl y agree to 1 s trongly disagree.

PAGE 30 30 F or convenience of use, four items w ere used 77 The questions are 1 I can easily find the information that I need; 2 The website is well designed; 3 The page loads up quickly; and 4 This c ommunity is generally easy to search for information Reliability of information show s the quality of information that is provided through the online brand community 91 For this characteristic, six items were included.

The survey used the following items: 1 I can believe the information in this community; 2 This community has diverse information that I need about the brand; 3 This community has interesting up to date information; 4 This community has a lot of information about the brand; 5 This community has valuable information about the brand and product; and 6 This community provide s enough information that I need to know Finally, there are nine items used for reward for activity 89 : 1 This community offers monetary rewards, such as mileage, to proactive members; 2 This community recognizes members activities on the website i.

Dependent Variable Three depen dent variables were measured in this study: online brand community loyalty, brand loyalty and purchase intention. The set of items for each variable were also borrowed from Jang and his colleagues study For this study, t he wording of scale items was PAGE 31 31 modified to appropriately fit in the context of the current study. These variables were measured using seven point Likert scale ranging from 7 s trongly agree to 1 s trongly disagree To measure online brand community loyalty, the respondents were asked to describe their feeling s about the community itself.

In this study, commitment toward the online brand community was used as the indicator to measure online brand community loyalty. Staw classified commitment into two ty pe s : attitudinal and behavioral. Attitudinal refers to emotional attachment towards a community, while behavioral means more than emotional --it could lead to actual behavior beyond that.

In this study both attitudinal and behavioral commitments were measu red using six items 92 : 1 I feel loyalty to this community; 2 I feel any problem that this community is faced with is the same as my own problem s ; 3 I often talk about this community to my family and friends; 4 If this community off er ed an opportunity to work for the community, I would do it; 5 I would like to help any member in this community if they ha d either an online or offline problem; and 6 I feel empty when I do not use this community website for more than a week.

Brand loyalty 86 was measured using three item scales: 1 I think this brand is the best compared to others in the same category, 2 I would like to introduce this brand to others; and 3 I would choose this brand even if there were disadvanta ges to the product. Purchase intention was measured using 2item scales: 1 If I buy a product in the brand s product category, I will choose this brand; and 2 I would consistently choose to use this brand s product.

Moderator Variable According to Baron and Kenny , a moderator variable is a qualitative e. PAGE 32 32 In this study, the consumers needs to use an online brand community were considered as a moderator variable which can affect the result of testing the hypotheses. Consumer needs were measured using a 23 item s cale adopted from Sunanda s study Sunanda divided the consumers need into three: functional needs, emotive needs, and contextual needs.

Functional needs 79 were measured by using 6 item scales including objective information, infor mation of high value, information for my exact needs, expert information, information from opinion leaders, and trust information for investments. Emotive needs have three dimensions social interaction, personal uses, and self expression uses which were measured by 12 item scales.

First, social interaction 76 was measured by visit threads, enjoy ment of discussion and participation, enjoy ment of virtual companionship, interaction with people, and large number of membership. Second, persona l uses 67 were measured with items such as meet ing peer group, easy to find people in a community, and meet ing industry leaders and influential people.

Third, self expression uses 66 were examined by items such as express es my knowledge, reader and a contributor, moderation of content, and community as extension of me. Finally, contextual needs were divided into two dimensions: entertainment and host. Entertainment 63 were measured using 3 item scales: chat groups, the site surfing and navigation, and offline expert seminars are useful.

Host 47 will be measured by rules and regulations, and posting from CEO. A revision for the all questionnaires was conducted from November 10, to November 13, to refine and clarify the survey questionnaire First of all all survey items were double checked by translators two graduate student s who can speak both Korean and English. After that, f ive graduate students major ing in A dvertising at a southeastern American university participated PAGE 33 33 in this revision process.

Some of students reported that given words need ed more specific definitions or examples Based on their reports, some examples for content of comm unity, communication channel, and reward for activity were added for the actual survey. Because of the unique nature of this study which focus es on only online brand community users experi ences with their communities, 21 subjects who did not have any experience with an online brand community or who dropped the survey at the very beginning were eli minated in the data analysis.

As a result, the total valid sample was Table 41 shows the descriptive statistics of the sample characteristics. Among the respondents, The subjects age ranged from 18 to 60 years old, but the majority of participants were between 18 to 30 Of the total respondents, This indicates that online brand community users are relatively young with a high education back ground. In the case of the number of an online brand community membership most of respondents T he result also illustrate s that Most respondents Also, m ost respondents PAGE 35 35 Table 4 3 shows the mean score comparison between iLounge members and other online brand communities members for all variables.

In order to achieve the goal of this study, structural equation modeling will be needed to see relationships among variables. However, the samp le size was not large enough to conduct structural equation modeling. Therefore, in this study series of multiple regressions were performed to test the hypotheses.

After scale validation, further analyses were performed to test the hypotheses of this study. Effect of Online Brand C ommu nity Characteristics on Online Brand C ommunity L oyalty H 1 expected that online brand characteristics positively influence online brand community loyalty. Multiple regressions were conducted to test H1, with four online brand community characteristics as independent variables, and one dependent variable, online brand community loyalty.

Multiple regression analysis is used to measure the linear association among variables Hair et al. As shown in Table 45, Interactivity and reward for activity are found to be more significant predictors of online brand loyalty. In order to investigate the relationship between the main effect four major online brand community characteristics and online brand community loyalty and moderating ef fect users needs: functional, emotive, and contextual , multiple regressions were conducted to test H2.

After a series of multiple regressions, different sets of analyses were done to illustrate the interaction effects more specifically. First of all, mu ltiple regressions were conducted to reveal a relationship between online brand community characteristics and online brand loyalty as a main effect and functional needs as an interaction effect.

Ther efore, contextual needs in using an online brand community are positively associated with the relationship between convenience of use and online brand community loyalty. In sum, the results indicated that there were significant interaction effect s between online brand community characteristics and emotive needs and contextual needs, respectively, in using an online brand community on online brand community loyalty.

In addition, previous investigation has show n no significant interaction effect between online brand community characteristics and functional needs on online brand community loyalty. Therefore, H2 was partially supported. For a detailed explanation of the significant interaction effects, the interaction term was explored by conducting twoway AN OVA analyses for convenience of use and emotive needs, and convenience of use and contextual needs, separately in terms of online brand community loyalty Subjects were categorized by a median split to see interaction effects visually As shown in Table 48 and Table 49, there is a statistically significant main effect of emotive needs and convenience of use p PAGE 39 39 Table and Table show that there is a statistically significant main effect of contextual needs and convenience of use p PAGE 40 40 Table 4 1.

Interactivity iLounge 32 4. Online brand community c haracteristics Online brand community loyalty H1 , result of multiple regression s Effect B t Sig. Descriptive statistics for measures: Convenience of use vs. EN Constant 1. In addition, by adapting a uses and gratifications theory the study also examined why consumer s use online brand communities and how their needs affect the relationships between online brand community characteristics and their loyalty toward communities.

Based on Sunanda s study , three key motivat ions for an online brand community use functional, emotive, and contextual were used in this study. Regarding the study hypotheses, Hypothesis 1 was supported. The findings from the previous chapter showed that there is a relationship between four major characteristics of online brand communities interactivity, convenience of use, reliability of information, and reward for activity and online brand community loyalty.

This finding supports Jang and colleagues study that interactivity and reward f or activity significantly affect community commitment. According to their study, information quality and system quality exert a greater influence upon community commitment.

Based on the results of this study, b ecause of the unique nature of the online comm unity, users seemed to have more loyalty toward their online brand community if it offers a way of interaction among users and administrators, is well designed and easy to use website, has believable and useful content, and includes monetary or emotional r ewards for activities.

In H2, this study attempted to explain how motivations of online brand community users moderate the effectiveness of online brand community characteristics on online brand community loyalty. O nline brand community users might have their own needs and motivations for using it such as information acquisition or entertainments. The more an online brand PAGE 49 49 community fulfills its members needs with its own successful characteristics, the more loyal th eir members will feel. After conducting separate multiple regression analyses by consumer needs such as functional, emotional, and contextual, H2 was partially supported.

The results indicated that there were significant interaction effect s between online brand community characteristics and emotive needs, and online brand community characteristics and contextual needs on online brand community loyalty. However, the interaction effect of functional needs was not supported.

The results imply that online brand community characteristics and functional needs do not have a direct effect on online brand community loyalty. This result may be explained by sample characteristics which were collected from not only one online brand community but from many other random communities. If the samples were collected from one online brand community then users motivations for use might be relevant. For example, an e lectronic product community may be built around users interested in useful information about t heir products or contents such as mp3 file s Based on this assumption, if an online brand community offers believable information and useful content the users commitment or loyalty toward community might be positively affected.

However, in this study, sa mples that come from various online brand communities might be comprised of different levels of motivations. And this may affect the result of this hypothesis testing. Based on the results, H3, online brand community loyalty predicts brand loyalty, was supported.

There was a positive effect of online brand community loyalty on brand loyalty which is consistent with Jang and colleagues study Finally, H4 was also supported. The study results revealed that positive brand loyalty can subsequently affect online brand community users purchase intentions.

It shows that increasing brand loyalty through an online brand community can benefit the company after all. One of the major benefits of virtual community is interactivity among community members. Rheingold describes virtual communities as hav ing a sufficient human feelin g to form webs of personal relationships p. In this respect, this study improves our understanding of how online brand community characteristics influence users positive feeling toward community and brand through online brand community loyalty, brand loyalty and purchase intention.

In practice, the findings of this study suggest that creating a well o rganized online brand community can benefit a company in terms of improving financial performance. An online brand community can be a new marketing communication tool which allows for interact ion among existing customers who already own the brand and are already strongly attached to it, and potential customers as well.

Therefore, by understanding existing and potential customers characteristics and their needs, marketers should strive to provide believable information about a brand and its products, a well designed and systemized website, a proper way of interaction with customers and among customers themselves, and tangible or intangible reward s such as monetary reward or upgrade membership program. Limitations and Future Research This study has sever al limitations that mostly relate to sampling issues.

First of all, not enough samples were collected due to the unique nature of this study. The aim of this study was PAGE 51 51 to seek knowledge of online brand community users Hence, data should be collected among online brand community users. Therefore, in this study, an online survey was inevitability used for collecting valid data.

However, because of the nature of online survey, the re were many respondents who dropped out of the survey right after the informed consent form or in the middle of the survey. A larger sample would be expected to show more significant results and is, therefore, recommended for future research Second, it is a limitation that large portion of samples were drawn from one online brand community.

This has the potential to skew the result s of this study due to the unique character of this community. Therefore, future examination should recruit a more balanced sample to see if this model can be projected in to in the real world. Third, participants who were recruited from iLounge chose to participate in t his online survey themselves, since this survey was posted on the website with an announcement requesting participation.

There is a high possibility that people who decided to participate in the survey already have a high interest or loyalty toward communi ty or brand. Therefore, the results may have been different had more general members from the population been recruited in the sample. For future study, more updated recruit ing method will be needed.

Forth, the scale for each variable has the potential be another limitation in this study. This study examined the interaction effect of consumers needs by applying a uses and gratification theoretical framework to an online brand community. In this study Sunanda s scales that were used to examine th e relationship between consumers motivation and virtual community in general were adopted. However, there is a need for further study on the relationship between an PAGE 52 52 online brand community and consumers motivation with an appropriate scale.

In future studies, it would be valuable to have a more precise scale to measure each variable. Please respond to the following questions. Section 1: This section is asking you about your internet usage and your interest on brand community. Please choose one answer. How often do you use the Internet in an average week? Everyday 4 6 days 13 days None How many hours on average do you use the Internet per day?

Less than 30 minutes 30 minutes Less than 1 hour 1 Less th an 3 hours 3 Less than 5 hours Over 5 hours How many online brand communities have you participated in including iLounge? How long have you been a member of iLounge? Less than 6 months 6 month less than 1 year 1 year less than 2 years 2 less than 3 years More than 3 years An online brand community is the specialized, non geographically bound community based on a structured set of social relationships among interest of a brand. How many times do you visit online brand communities in a month?

On a daily basis, approximately, how much time on average do you spend with online brand communities? Less than 30 minutes 30 minutes less than 1 hour 1 hour less than 3 hours 3 hours less than 5 hours More than 5 hours Section 2: The following questions ask about your use of and participation in iLounge community.

Please rate the following statements according to your own opinion. I use this community to obtain objective information in my area of interest. I use this community to receive highly qualified information. I use this community to get information from experts. I use this community to get information from opinion leaders.

Opinion leader: an individual whose ideas and behavior serve as a model to others. I use this community to get trust information for investments. I use this community to visit threads. I enjoy discussion and any other participation in this community. I enjoy virtual compa nionship among members in this community.

I use this community to interact with people. I use this community because of the large number of membership. I use this community to meet people who have same interests strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 strongly agree I use this community because I can easily find people that I want to know from this community.

I use this community to meet industry leaders and influential people. I use this community to express my knowledge. I use this community as a contributor. I use this community because I can share the information such as up to date data or personal experience about the brands product. I think of this community as extension of myself. I use this community to enjoy the site surfing and navigation. I use this community to participate in offline meeting with others e.

I use this community because I like the rules and regulations that are applied to this community. I use this community to read postings from the CEO of this brand. I can believe the information in this community. This community has diverse information that I need about the brand. This community has interesting upto date information.

This community has a lot of information about the brand. This community has valuable information about the brand and product. T his community provide s enough information that I need to know strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 strongly agree I can easily find the information that I need.

The website is well designed. The page loads up quickly. This community is generally easy to search for information. This communitys concept matc hes my interest. The other members of this community have the same interest s as I do. This community provides proper communication channel s among members e. C hat room and discussion forum strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 strongly agree Other members respond quickly to my inquiries.

The community managers respond quickly to members inquiries. This community provide s an off line meeting for members. If there are off line meetings with community members, I would like to participate in them strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 strongly agree This community manager sends messages or newsletters to each member individually.

The community manager sends messages to the members on a regular basis. This community offers monetary rewards, such as mileage, to proactive members. This community recognizes to proactive members i. This community provides product coupons for its members. Level of membershipetc. M anagers or members of this community believe your own information and know ledge.

Managers or members of this community believe you own information and knowledge. You are known as an information giver in this community strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 strongly agree You have an ability to give information about this brand and product that other members want.

Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statements I feel loyalty to this community. I feel any problem that this community is faced with is the same as my own problem. I often talk about this community to my family and friends. I f this community offer ed an opportunity to work for the community, I would like to do it strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 strongly agree I would like to help any member in this community if they had either an online or offline problem.

I feel empty when I do not use this community website for more than a week. I think this brand is the best compared to others in the same category. I would like to introduce this brand to others. I would c hoose this brand even if there were disadvantages to the product.

If I buy a product in the brands product category e. MP3 player, phone, etc I will choose this brand. I would consistently choose to use this brands product e. Please answer the following questions by filling in the blank or checking one option. What is your gender? Male Female What is your age? What is the highest level of education you have completed?

What is your ethnicity? Do you own any product from this brand such as iPod or iPhone? Ye s No go to the question 57 If yes, How many do you own? Below, please provide me with any comments regarding the website you browsed and the questionnaire you completed: This is the end of the survey. Thank you for your participation and contribution to the social research.

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Choi, S. Evaluation of cyber community. Dholakia, U. Measuring motivations for online opinion seeking. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 6 2 , 1 Ebersole, S. Floyd, J. Survey research method 3rd. London: Sage Publications. Ferguson, D. Hair, J. Multivariate Data Analysis. Consumer Behavior 4th. Jang, H. The influence of online brand community characteristics on community commitment and brand loyalty. Jones, Q. Virtual communities, virtual settlements and cyber archaeology: A theoretical outline.

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Mathwick, C.

HEALTHCARE RESUME HELP

The increasing population is bombarded with information about maintaining a youthful look, making women seek for cosmetics that suit them. With this knowledge in mind, beauty manufacturing product companies make every effort to brand them to capture the booming market. Companies are competing on the basis of firm grasp of the local and international market, their well acknowledged brands and hold over wide distribution network.

The penetration level of consumer products remains high. This research is scoped down to understand the relationship between consumer behavior and brand loyalty, factors affecting consumer decision making, the role of brand loyalty in consumer durable goods and the position of the individual consumer in the segment.

The path forward will be to study the secondary data for industry overview, collect primary data for more insight and derive conclusions based on primary and secondary data. The research findings will be addressed based on the theories of consumer buying behavior and brand loyalty. To be specific, these image enhancing strategies ensure that the organization increase the loyalty of the current customers. In addition, the image enhancing strategies should help in the attraction of new customers to the organization.

Strategic decisions that can bring enhanced image to the organization have included the selection of target markets, and modification of products to suit the demands of the customers. The implementation of these strategies ensures that there is a solid background for effective image in the organization. The main concern of this research is to determine whether the perception about the brand image affects customer behavior.

The interest of the research is to determine if brand loyalty influences consumer behavior. This study would be of value to those organizations concerned about the society and those concerned with the attaining off the highest possible profit. Further, the study aims to find if consumers have positive attitudes for those organizations that improve their brand loyalty and social responsibility. The main focus of this study is to measure the attitudes of customers in relation to brand loyalty and to ascertain its influence of this attitude on brand loyalty.

Study of attitudes enables organization managers to answer questions as to why a consumer purchased one product over another. The understanding of the consumer attitude towards particular products ensures that they come up with strategies and decisions on major products and market decisions.

The image associated with a particular product or service ensures that it has a competitive advantage over other products and services. Brand loyalty can be referred to as the consumer decision; whether conscious or unconscious concerning the use of a product or service. It may also refer to the intention to buy or use a particular product for a long duration of time.

Brand loyalty is achieved due to the right features, and the quality of the brand. Quality of the product must be at the right price for the consumer to perceive the brand as being loyal to their needs. Organizations can change consumer behavior concerning a particular product or service through advertising.

Advertising ensures that consumers acquire new habits, and instill those habits by telling the consumers how the product is of value to their money. Consumers should also be encouraged to continue using the products and services in the future Hoyer and Maclnnis, , p. According to Pride and Ferrel , p. In addition, the message should distinguish the product in a positive and memorable manner. The major challenge of organizations is to avoid the disadvantages of portraying a particular product or service as having negative image.

Most organizations have adopted marketing strategies that focus on societal needs. Each of these strategies is philosophical or operational concepts used by organizational leaders to enhance the objectives of their businesses. The following are some of the concepts widely used in organizations Phillips, , p. Brand loyalty can be exercised in several ways. The main activities that organizations can do to improve brand loyalty include environmental friendly activities, philanthropy, ethical activities with local, national, and international communities, customers, and employees.

Philanthropic activities include engaging donations of money, food, facilities, and time. These activities are classified under the title known as cause related marketing Kahren, , p. According to Dutton , organizations have been turning philanthropy activities inward towards their employees. This is done through paying them in order to volunteer for their favorite charities.

She, however, notes that they mean nothing if they are not adopted by organizations. Ethical activities include using different hiring practices and employee relations such as high moral values, fair pay, equal treatment, and equal opportunity for all workers.

Organizations that do not treat workers fairly have the risk of lowering their brand image. Brand image should start with internal operations; there is no point of trying to show the external clients that business ethics are good while simultaneously engaging in unethical activities towards the employees.

Employees play an important role in advertising the organization to outside clients more than any other marketing strategy. The question of how brand loyalty affects product evaluation was examined by Brown and Dacin In their first research, students analyzed their hypothetical scenarios. The outcome was that brand loyalty had a significant effect on the way consumers evaluated the product attributes and the overall image of the organization.

Their second study found out that social responsibility became significant predictor of product loyalty in the consumers and its evaluation. In any organization, quality of products can be determined according to the consumer attitude towards the product with other products available to the consumer in the market. Zeitmal further assert that few consumers are able to analyze and measure the objective properties of a product.

This is because the objective assessment depends on the verifiable standards, the objective measurement can be questioned because it depends on who set the standards. According to Lunn , the theory introduces theories and concepts from other disciplines including behavioral sciences.

The value of behavioral sciences has been used in consumer knowing what the consumer wants. Well known examples are included in the manifestations of motivational research and such attitude theories as those of Festinger and Fishbein. The strength of the a priori lies in the organization and the systematic basis of knowledge provided about certain aspects of the consumer.

According to Katz , Brand loyalty theory has three distinct dimensions. The first dimension is referred to as emotive tendency towards products and services. The emotive tendency refers to the consumer likes and dislikes which is manifested on how they purchase a particular brand in the market. The second dimension is known as evaluative tendency towards products and services. Katz refers to this tendency as positively biased evaluation of a product or service.

Organizations use positive characteristics to define brand utili6ty to the customers. The evaluative tendency of the product or service can also be determined from past experience in using the brand. Behavioral tendency towards the brand is the next dimension. Katz refers to the behavior tendency as the biased responses consumers have towards a particular product or service regarding its procurement, purchase and consumption characteristics.

Consumer characteristics such as shopping, paying for the product, as well as its consumption determine the behavior tendency. Behavior tendency is developed after using the product for a long period of time. In addition, behavior tendency can be developed from good or bad tendencies toward other brands. Sandhusen assert that the black box model is an interaction of several perspectives concerning a specific brand.

The perspectives include the stimuli, consumer characteristics, choice patterns and consumer responses. The focus of the organization is not in the internal processes within the customer: the organization focuses on the relation between stimuli and response of the customer. Stimuli are related to the marketing characteristics developed by an organization in order to lure the customer in purchasing of the brand.

The environmental stimuli are determined by social factors such as politics, economy and the culture in which the brand is to be used. The black box symbolizes the buyer characteristics and their choice patterns, which determine their response towards a particular brand. From the various factors that influence brand loyalty, below are the hypothesis derived. H1: There is a positive correlation between brand loyalty product and brand name. H2: There is a positive correlation between brand loyalty and product quality.

H3: There is a positive significant relationship between brand loyalty and product design. H4: There is a positive significant relationship between brand loyalty and product price. H5: There is a positive correlation between brand loyalty and promotion.

H6: There is a significant correlation between service quality and brand loyalty. H7: There is a positive significant relationship between store environment and brand loyalty. The main objective of this research was to establish how brand loyalty influences cosmetics buying behavior of UK female consumers. This section also highlights the various processes undertaken in obtaining and analyzing the information gathered for this research.

This includes a description of the research design and methods used in collecting the data that were analyzed to arrive at a conclusion in the study. Based on the nature and the topic to be studied, this research will be conducted on positivist philosophy. It will be based on this philosophy because the research will involve testing of hypothesis developed from deductive theory, involving measurement of observable social realities.

This research will be conducted on deductive approach based on hypothesis testing from the data collected. Data will then be analyzed to either confirm or disapprove the hypothesis. Data collection will consist of surveys, filling in questionnaires and conducting interviews with cosmetic consumers and dealers in London, UK.

Qualitative evaluation shall be employed in this research besides using subjective techniques such as interviews and observations to gather relevant and substantive data. Quantitative approach is preferred for this research due to the varying experiences of the consumers of these products.

Upon collecting data using interviews and questionnaires, the data will then be carefully analyzed. In this research, a questionnaire was developed, and pilot tested through personal interviews with seven senior-most managers at Superdrug, which is the second largest health and beauty retail shop in UK. The questionnaire used for collecting data was divided into two segments: the first section concerns the demographics of consumers and the second were about brand loyalty factors.

This research involved sampling randomly female cosmetic consumer of between 18 to 42 years of age. In order to obtain a reliable data, the survey was distributed in London City at five major cosmetic shops. Yet again, the table reveals that close to half of the respondents ages varied between years. This research used the One-way ANOVA to establish whether there is any significant correlation between independent variables product quality, brand name, design, price, service quality, promotion, and store environment and age and income the consumers interviewed.

The main reason for adopting the One-way ANOVA as the most appropriate tool is that it was found to be the best for testing the hypothesis when at least two groups are measured on an interval scale. The purpose of the One-way ANOVA is to show the degree of variability of the sample values taken by considering to what extent the observation within each group differs and how much the group means differ.

Apart from the One —Way ANOVA, the researchers also found it appropriate to use the Pearson Correlation for purposes of analyzing the relationship between the two variables, which are both ratio and interval-scaled. In this regard, the research used Pearson correlation principle to test the independent variables product quality, brand name, price, promotion, design, store environment and service quality that influenced consumer brand loyalty and to establish if there is any correlation between the variables.

The findings reveal that all the variables have a high degree of reliability. Table 3, on the other hand, shows the seven autonomous variable factors of brand loyalty that were experimented during the research through questionnaires given out to the respondents. The results were also ranked using the Likert scale in the questionnaire: strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree and strongly agree. The result is then gotten from the uppermost average score of brand loyalty factors based on the answers provident by the respondents.

In overall, the result reveals that product quality is the most vital factor. In UK environment, most respondents choose product quality as the core aspect that influences their brand loyalty. This was meant to establish if there could be any significant relationship between the two variables.

Here, there are four variables that are most significant according to the study, which include brand name 0. In overall, the result shows that, in UK, majority of the consumers prefer brand name, promotion, and product and service quality as factors of brand loyalty. According to table five below, only two variables that are significant.

These are price 0. The questionnaire for this online survey consisted of five main sections. The measurements included were: internet usage and consumer interest in brand communities, n eeds for using online brand communities, attitude toward the online brand community according to the brand community characteristics, brand community loyalty, brand loyalty, purchase intention, and demographic variables.

Besides the initial screening question and demographic, all questionnaires were measured using scale s that Jang and his colleagues and Sunanda employed in their stud ies Generally, research focuses on the causal relations, which contain the variables.

Variables are classified by their location in the causal relationship Neuman, Generally, a basic causal relati onship has two variables, i. A more com plex causal relationship has additional variable s i. Online brand community character istics are employed as an i ndependent variable to test hypothese s And, online brand community characteristics are composed of four major dimensions i.

For all the variables, t he respondents were asked to describe their feelings about an online brand community using a seven point Likert scale ranging from 7 s trongl y agree to 1 s trongly disagree. PAGE 30 30 F or convenience of use, four items w ere used 77 The questions are 1 I can easily find the information that I need; 2 The website is well designed; 3 The page loads up quickly; and 4 This c ommunity is generally easy to search for information Reliability of information show s the quality of information that is provided through the online brand community 91 For this characteristic, six items were included.

The survey used the following items: 1 I can believe the information in this community; 2 This community has diverse information that I need about the brand; 3 This community has interesting up to date information; 4 This community has a lot of information about the brand; 5 This community has valuable information about the brand and product; and 6 This community provide s enough information that I need to know Finally, there are nine items used for reward for activity 89 : 1 This community offers monetary rewards, such as mileage, to proactive members; 2 This community recognizes members activities on the website i.

Dependent Variable Three depen dent variables were measured in this study: online brand community loyalty, brand loyalty and purchase intention. The set of items for each variable were also borrowed from Jang and his colleagues study For this study, t he wording of scale items was PAGE 31 31 modified to appropriately fit in the context of the current study.

These variables were measured using seven point Likert scale ranging from 7 s trongly agree to 1 s trongly disagree To measure online brand community loyalty, the respondents were asked to describe their feeling s about the community itself. In this study, commitment toward the online brand community was used as the indicator to measure online brand community loyalty.

Staw classified commitment into two ty pe s : attitudinal and behavioral. Attitudinal refers to emotional attachment towards a community, while behavioral means more than emotional --it could lead to actual behavior beyond that. In this study both attitudinal and behavioral commitments were measu red using six items 92 : 1 I feel loyalty to this community; 2 I feel any problem that this community is faced with is the same as my own problem s ; 3 I often talk about this community to my family and friends; 4 If this community off er ed an opportunity to work for the community, I would do it; 5 I would like to help any member in this community if they ha d either an online or offline problem; and 6 I feel empty when I do not use this community website for more than a week.

Brand loyalty 86 was measured using three item scales: 1 I think this brand is the best compared to others in the same category, 2 I would like to introduce this brand to others; and 3 I would choose this brand even if there were disadvanta ges to the product. Purchase intention was measured using 2item scales: 1 If I buy a product in the brand s product category, I will choose this brand; and 2 I would consistently choose to use this brand s product.

Moderator Variable According to Baron and Kenny , a moderator variable is a qualitative e. PAGE 32 32 In this study, the consumers needs to use an online brand community were considered as a moderator variable which can affect the result of testing the hypotheses. Consumer needs were measured using a 23 item s cale adopted from Sunanda s study Sunanda divided the consumers need into three: functional needs, emotive needs, and contextual needs.

Functional needs 79 were measured by using 6 item scales including objective information, infor mation of high value, information for my exact needs, expert information, information from opinion leaders, and trust information for investments. Emotive needs have three dimensions social interaction, personal uses, and self expression uses which were measured by 12 item scales.

First, social interaction 76 was measured by visit threads, enjoy ment of discussion and participation, enjoy ment of virtual companionship, interaction with people, and large number of membership. Second, persona l uses 67 were measured with items such as meet ing peer group, easy to find people in a community, and meet ing industry leaders and influential people.

Third, self expression uses 66 were examined by items such as express es my knowledge, reader and a contributor, moderation of content, and community as extension of me. Finally, contextual needs were divided into two dimensions: entertainment and host.

Entertainment 63 were measured using 3 item scales: chat groups, the site surfing and navigation, and offline expert seminars are useful. Host 47 will be measured by rules and regulations, and posting from CEO. A revision for the all questionnaires was conducted from November 10, to November 13, to refine and clarify the survey questionnaire First of all all survey items were double checked by translators two graduate student s who can speak both Korean and English.

After that, f ive graduate students major ing in A dvertising at a southeastern American university participated PAGE 33 33 in this revision process. Some of students reported that given words need ed more specific definitions or examples Based on their reports, some examples for content of comm unity, communication channel, and reward for activity were added for the actual survey.

Because of the unique nature of this study which focus es on only online brand community users experi ences with their communities, 21 subjects who did not have any experience with an online brand community or who dropped the survey at the very beginning were eli minated in the data analysis. As a result, the total valid sample was Table 41 shows the descriptive statistics of the sample characteristics. Among the respondents, The subjects age ranged from 18 to 60 years old, but the majority of participants were between 18 to 30 Of the total respondents, This indicates that online brand community users are relatively young with a high education back ground.

In the case of the number of an online brand community membership most of respondents T he result also illustrate s that Most respondents Also, m ost respondents PAGE 35 35 Table 4 3 shows the mean score comparison between iLounge members and other online brand communities members for all variables. In order to achieve the goal of this study, structural equation modeling will be needed to see relationships among variables. However, the samp le size was not large enough to conduct structural equation modeling.

Therefore, in this study series of multiple regressions were performed to test the hypotheses. After scale validation, further analyses were performed to test the hypotheses of this study. Effect of Online Brand C ommu nity Characteristics on Online Brand C ommunity L oyalty H 1 expected that online brand characteristics positively influence online brand community loyalty.

Multiple regressions were conducted to test H1, with four online brand community characteristics as independent variables, and one dependent variable, online brand community loyalty. Multiple regression analysis is used to measure the linear association among variables Hair et al.

As shown in Table 45, Interactivity and reward for activity are found to be more significant predictors of online brand loyalty. In order to investigate the relationship between the main effect four major online brand community characteristics and online brand community loyalty and moderating ef fect users needs: functional, emotive, and contextual , multiple regressions were conducted to test H2.

After a series of multiple regressions, different sets of analyses were done to illustrate the interaction effects more specifically. First of all, mu ltiple regressions were conducted to reveal a relationship between online brand community characteristics and online brand loyalty as a main effect and functional needs as an interaction effect.

Ther efore, contextual needs in using an online brand community are positively associated with the relationship between convenience of use and online brand community loyalty. In sum, the results indicated that there were significant interaction effect s between online brand community characteristics and emotive needs and contextual needs, respectively, in using an online brand community on online brand community loyalty.

In addition, previous investigation has show n no significant interaction effect between online brand community characteristics and functional needs on online brand community loyalty. Therefore, H2 was partially supported. For a detailed explanation of the significant interaction effects, the interaction term was explored by conducting twoway AN OVA analyses for convenience of use and emotive needs, and convenience of use and contextual needs, separately in terms of online brand community loyalty Subjects were categorized by a median split to see interaction effects visually As shown in Table 48 and Table 49, there is a statistically significant main effect of emotive needs and convenience of use p PAGE 39 39 Table and Table show that there is a statistically significant main effect of contextual needs and convenience of use p PAGE 40 40 Table 4 1.

Interactivity iLounge 32 4. Online brand community c haracteristics Online brand community loyalty H1 , result of multiple regression s Effect B t Sig. Descriptive statistics for measures: Convenience of use vs. EN Constant 1. In addition, by adapting a uses and gratifications theory the study also examined why consumer s use online brand communities and how their needs affect the relationships between online brand community characteristics and their loyalty toward communities.

Based on Sunanda s study , three key motivat ions for an online brand community use functional, emotive, and contextual were used in this study. Regarding the study hypotheses, Hypothesis 1 was supported. The findings from the previous chapter showed that there is a relationship between four major characteristics of online brand communities interactivity, convenience of use, reliability of information, and reward for activity and online brand community loyalty.

This finding supports Jang and colleagues study that interactivity and reward f or activity significantly affect community commitment. According to their study, information quality and system quality exert a greater influence upon community commitment. Based on the results of this study, b ecause of the unique nature of the online comm unity, users seemed to have more loyalty toward their online brand community if it offers a way of interaction among users and administrators, is well designed and easy to use website, has believable and useful content, and includes monetary or emotional r ewards for activities.

In H2, this study attempted to explain how motivations of online brand community users moderate the effectiveness of online brand community characteristics on online brand community loyalty. O nline brand community users might have their own needs and motivations for using it such as information acquisition or entertainments.

The more an online brand PAGE 49 49 community fulfills its members needs with its own successful characteristics, the more loyal th eir members will feel. After conducting separate multiple regression analyses by consumer needs such as functional, emotional, and contextual, H2 was partially supported. The results indicated that there were significant interaction effect s between online brand community characteristics and emotive needs, and online brand community characteristics and contextual needs on online brand community loyalty.

However, the interaction effect of functional needs was not supported. The results imply that online brand community characteristics and functional needs do not have a direct effect on online brand community loyalty. This result may be explained by sample characteristics which were collected from not only one online brand community but from many other random communities. If the samples were collected from one online brand community then users motivations for use might be relevant.

For example, an e lectronic product community may be built around users interested in useful information about t heir products or contents such as mp3 file s Based on this assumption, if an online brand community offers believable information and useful content the users commitment or loyalty toward community might be positively affected. However, in this study, sa mples that come from various online brand communities might be comprised of different levels of motivations.

And this may affect the result of this hypothesis testing. Based on the results, H3, online brand community loyalty predicts brand loyalty, was supported. There was a positive effect of online brand community loyalty on brand loyalty which is consistent with Jang and colleagues study Finally, H4 was also supported.

The study results revealed that positive brand loyalty can subsequently affect online brand community users purchase intentions. It shows that increasing brand loyalty through an online brand community can benefit the company after all. One of the major benefits of virtual community is interactivity among community members. Rheingold describes virtual communities as hav ing a sufficient human feelin g to form webs of personal relationships p.

In this respect, this study improves our understanding of how online brand community characteristics influence users positive feeling toward community and brand through online brand community loyalty, brand loyalty and purchase intention.

In practice, the findings of this study suggest that creating a well o rganized online brand community can benefit a company in terms of improving financial performance. An online brand community can be a new marketing communication tool which allows for interact ion among existing customers who already own the brand and are already strongly attached to it, and potential customers as well. Therefore, by understanding existing and potential customers characteristics and their needs, marketers should strive to provide believable information about a brand and its products, a well designed and systemized website, a proper way of interaction with customers and among customers themselves, and tangible or intangible reward s such as monetary reward or upgrade membership program.

Limitations and Future Research This study has sever al limitations that mostly relate to sampling issues. First of all, not enough samples were collected due to the unique nature of this study. The aim of this study was PAGE 51 51 to seek knowledge of online brand community users Hence, data should be collected among online brand community users. Therefore, in this study, an online survey was inevitability used for collecting valid data.

However, because of the nature of online survey, the re were many respondents who dropped out of the survey right after the informed consent form or in the middle of the survey. A larger sample would be expected to show more significant results and is, therefore, recommended for future research Second, it is a limitation that large portion of samples were drawn from one online brand community.

This has the potential to skew the result s of this study due to the unique character of this community. Therefore, future examination should recruit a more balanced sample to see if this model can be projected in to in the real world.

Third, participants who were recruited from iLounge chose to participate in t his online survey themselves, since this survey was posted on the website with an announcement requesting participation. There is a high possibility that people who decided to participate in the survey already have a high interest or loyalty toward communi ty or brand.

Therefore, the results may have been different had more general members from the population been recruited in the sample. For future study, more updated recruit ing method will be needed. Forth, the scale for each variable has the potential be another limitation in this study. This study examined the interaction effect of consumers needs by applying a uses and gratification theoretical framework to an online brand community.

In this study Sunanda s scales that were used to examine th e relationship between consumers motivation and virtual community in general were adopted. However, there is a need for further study on the relationship between an PAGE 52 52 online brand community and consumers motivation with an appropriate scale. In future studies, it would be valuable to have a more precise scale to measure each variable.

Please respond to the following questions. Section 1: This section is asking you about your internet usage and your interest on brand community. Please choose one answer. How often do you use the Internet in an average week? Everyday 4 6 days 13 days None How many hours on average do you use the Internet per day?

Less than 30 minutes 30 minutes Less than 1 hour 1 Less th an 3 hours 3 Less than 5 hours Over 5 hours How many online brand communities have you participated in including iLounge? How long have you been a member of iLounge? Less than 6 months 6 month less than 1 year 1 year less than 2 years 2 less than 3 years More than 3 years An online brand community is the specialized, non geographically bound community based on a structured set of social relationships among interest of a brand.

How many times do you visit online brand communities in a month? On a daily basis, approximately, how much time on average do you spend with online brand communities? Less than 30 minutes 30 minutes less than 1 hour 1 hour less than 3 hours 3 hours less than 5 hours More than 5 hours Section 2: The following questions ask about your use of and participation in iLounge community.

Please rate the following statements according to your own opinion. I use this community to obtain objective information in my area of interest. I use this community to receive highly qualified information. I use this community to get information from experts. I use this community to get information from opinion leaders. Opinion leader: an individual whose ideas and behavior serve as a model to others.

I use this community to get trust information for investments. I use this community to visit threads. I enjoy discussion and any other participation in this community. I enjoy virtual compa nionship among members in this community. I use this community to interact with people. I use this community because of the large number of membership.

I use this community to meet people who have same interests strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 strongly agree I use this community because I can easily find people that I want to know from this community. I use this community to meet industry leaders and influential people. I use this community to express my knowledge.

I use this community as a contributor. I use this community because I can share the information such as up to date data or personal experience about the brands product. I think of this community as extension of myself. I use this community to enjoy the site surfing and navigation.

I use this community to participate in offline meeting with others e. I use this community because I like the rules and regulations that are applied to this community. I use this community to read postings from the CEO of this brand. I can believe the information in this community. This community has diverse information that I need about the brand.

This community has interesting upto date information. This community has a lot of information about the brand. This community has valuable information about the brand and product. T his community provide s enough information that I need to know strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 strongly agree I can easily find the information that I need. The website is well designed. The page loads up quickly.

This community is generally easy to search for information. This communitys concept matc hes my interest. The other members of this community have the same interest s as I do. This community provides proper communication channel s among members e. C hat room and discussion forum strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 strongly agree Other members respond quickly to my inquiries. The community managers respond quickly to members inquiries.

This community provide s an off line meeting for members. If there are off line meetings with community members, I would like to participate in them strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 strongly agree This community manager sends messages or newsletters to each member individually. The community manager sends messages to the members on a regular basis. This community offers monetary rewards, such as mileage, to proactive members.

This community recognizes to proactive members i. This community provides product coupons for its members. Level of membershipetc. M anagers or members of this community believe your own information and know ledge. Managers or members of this community believe you own information and knowledge.

You are known as an information giver in this community strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 strongly agree You have an ability to give information about this brand and product that other members want. Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statements I feel loyalty to this community. I feel any problem that this community is faced with is the same as my own problem. I often talk about this community to my family and friends.

I f this community offer ed an opportunity to work for the community, I would like to do it strongly disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 strongly agree I would like to help any member in this community if they had either an online or offline problem. I feel empty when I do not use this community website for more than a week. I think this brand is the best compared to others in the same category.

I would like to introduce this brand to others. I would c hoose this brand even if there were disadvantages to the product. If I buy a product in the brands product category e. MP3 player, phone, etc I will choose this brand. I would consistently choose to use this brands product e. Please answer the following questions by filling in the blank or checking one option. What is your gender? Male Female What is your age? What is the highest level of education you have completed?

What is your ethnicity? Do you own any product from this brand such as iPod or iPhone? Ye s No go to the question 57 If yes, How many do you own? Below, please provide me with any comments regarding the website you browsed and the questionnaire you completed: This is the end of the survey. Thank you for your participation and contribution to the social research. Interactive home shopping: Consumer, retailer, and manufacturer ince ntives to participate in electronic marketplaces.

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