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Research Methods for Strategic Managers

1.0 Introduction:
The overall business objective all over world is the creating and maintaining competitive
advantage over competitors and sustaining the advantages for longer period of time. Extensive
research of emotions and realities of consumers life in short consumers behavior is the key for
the successful branding strategies. Consumers purchasing behavior must be analyzed
meticulously to find out the key lever that will lead us to make consumers satisfied and to
develop high brand royalty.
One of the old concepts of business literature is branding and consumers behavior. However the
business scholars recently noticed the influence of these concepts on each other in the real
market setting are remarkably high.

Task One: Understanding and Selection of Research Question


1.1 Selection of Research Question
Today greatest need of business organization is the examination of consumers. The economic
strength of a nation is significantly influenced by the consumers behavior said Blackwell in
2006. Goods and services are purchased by customers from the known retailers. The retailers
having brand equity would attract the customers attentions. In this research the researcher will
explore the public image of British Airways that means how its brandis influencing consumer
behaviour.

1.2 The Factors Involve in Selecting Research Question


The researchers selection of appropriate research topic depends on several factors. The interest
and competency of researchers, usefulness of research are some of the contributing factors.
Interest: A topic must be selected by a researcher that is interesting and motivating to him to
conduct research initiatives. The prior understanding of researcher about the research subject is
not the prime concern. If the researcher has genuine interest about the topic, s/he can find out the
way.
Competence: The basic level of understanding is essential for studying on research subject
along with having the interest on that subject. So both interest and competence is essential for the
research. Methodological demand of a research is fulfilled by the competence.

Usefulness: Adding useful insight to the crib of human knowledge is the main objective of a
research. An idle research topic must be useful, relevant and practical and also is drive for
solving practical problem.
Research Feasibility: There must have feasibility of the proposed research project. There must
have full prospect to complete the research otherwise the invested efforts of researcher will be
void and valueless. A topic must be selected by a researcher that is executable and availability of
data.

1.3 Justification for the Selected Question


Now all business organizations nurse the notion The consumer is king. Consumers attraction
must be ensured by the organizations to be successful. The impact of brand on consumers
behavior is to be evaluated through the research topic. Organizations will know how their
customers behave with them. So it is totally logical and contemporary research topic to assess the
impact of brand on consumers behavior in fashion industry.

Task Two: Literature Review


Consumers purchasing facts and patterns are analyzed for detecting the reasons of the
consumers, behavior (Hoyer and MacInnis, 2010). Consumers purchasing decisions structuring
development independently and in clusters are afforded in the analysis. Significant and
influencial role is played by brand in the consumers buying process for having market success of
products and services (Zebet al., 2011). The impact of branding on market share is examined
through the research of consumer analysis of branded consumer clothing industry. Aaker (1991)
and Murphy (1998) said that the customers differentiation of the products and services is forced
by the brand from the competitors.

2.1 Brand: The Concept


American Marketing Association defined branding is the name, term, symbol, or combination of
them that are employed to differentiate goods or services of one seller from the rest of the sellers
in the market (Kotler and Keller, 2005). Two discussion issues are rendered from the above
definition. Firstly, customers compare the goods and services with the concept of brand or brand
name. This is identified by the Kotler and Andreasen (1991) in their Multi level approach in
revealing products offering. Kotler and Andreasen define it as brand. The most important and
critical element of brand is brand name together with other marks to differentiate the products.
Steenburgh (2001) observed that major element of the brand is the brand name but there are
some contradictory observations. Sometimes other element of brand plays dominate role than
brand name.
Moreover, Adcock (2001) described that the prominent features of any brand are equally
important as brand name. Products of one producer is differentiated from the others through
creating a certain awareness, reputation, prominence and so no in the market plane is called
brand referred by the Keller (2003).

2.2 Brand Equity


Unique marketing sound effects are intensified by brand equity on the brand (Keller, 1998).
Customers are assisted by brand equity to be able with knowledge as a result the trustworthiness
of customers toward brand and the firms during the purchasing process may be swayed by the
brand equity (Wreden, 2005). Customers purchase the products from the store with having goods
experience rather than the store having poor products performance experience.

According to the Wreden (2005), Cash flow can be generated and strengthened by firms having
the attractive brand equity. For example, the two renowned firms, Adidas and Reebok
amalgamated in the 2005. After the merger, they capture more market share of total market share
and also challenge the competitors such as Nike. Maintaining existing market share of total
market share becomes difficult for the Nike. The investors were attracted by the merger of two
big corporations for the hope of growth potential and future return and they are persuaded to
proud of having the share of big corporation. The brand name of the products is considered
equally with the promotional activities and advertisement by the customers in the real world. The
brand equity has broad concept.

2.3 Brand Awareness


According to the Kapferer (2008), Brand awareness is the one of the main component of brand
equity mentioned in the earlier parts. The ability of possible customers to easily bear in mind and
being familiar with the brand is the main connotation of brand awareness and detecting the brand
from its consequent commodities group (Zeb et al., 2011).
According to the Zeb et al., 2011, several components such as geographical and political modify
the level of brand awareness of the customers. Keller (1998) said that creating the exposure
repletion of customers regarding the perceived brand will impinge on the brand awareness.
According to the Desai and Keller (2002), the important tasks such as the increased brand name
identity and association it with goods class must be completed with a view to achieving brand
awareness. According to the Elliot and Yannopoulou (2007), one of the useful techniques in
favor of raising brand awareness is the brand advertisement through using celebrity endorsement.
Different organizations are developing different advertizing campaign throughout the world in
recent times. Relative benefits of products are measured by customers while evaluating the
performance of goods and service said by Alvarez and Casielles (2005).

2.4 Consumer Behaviour


According to the Hoyer and MacInnis (2010), Consumers behavior is a process involving about
the decision on buying certain products or service described in most of the literature on
consumers and marketing.
2.4.1 Stages of Consumer Behaviour:

The consumers overawed the sequential ladders in their purchasing of goods or services:

Stage One- Need Recognition: Solomon (2006) indicated the need recognition that the efficacy
consequential in customers consumption will be surged through exploring minute sense of
individual dispossession. Organizations identify the discontented need of customers through the
need recognition procedures and offer accordingly (Levy and Weitz, 1992). There are two forms
of individuals needs such as functional needs and emotional needs (Parsons and Madaran, 2009).
State two- Information Search: The necessary related information of expected product or service
is hunted by the customer after the need recognition. According to the Kotler & Keller (2005),
every customer has their own process of finding information about realizing their need.
Stage three- Pre purchase evaluation: different products and services are compared and evaluated
by customers before taking purchase decision. According to the Kolter (2005), the extra amount
may willingly be paid by customers to consume the variables that satisfy them. There are some
of the variables such as products quality, products size, products prize, products packaging
etc. that are stable in consumers consideration list.
Stage four- Purchase Decision: The products and services offering from diverse stores are
assessed by the customers even though determining about purchasing. The customers will review
the choice of seller and store from where they would like to purchase (Blackwell et al., 2006).
The impression of customers may be triggered by the competency of sale people and their
elegance and convincing capacity. The customers purchasing decisions (where and what
products) are based on these variable.
Stage five and Six- Purchase and Purchase Evaluation: The last step of purchasing process is the
measurement of the product or services to be consumed by customers. The degree of consumers
satisfaction or dissatisfactions is calculated in the level. According to the Park & Kim (2003), the
worth of a product or service offered to the customers is evaluated by the level of customer
satisfaction. The high level of customers satisfaction indicates the better products having
superior quality to the customers and vice versa. After the purchased products or service have
been consumed by customers, the process of re-marketing is begun by the firms. The
fundamental phase for any organization is the purchase and purchase evaluations because the
new value proposals and offerings are designed in according with the consumers preference. It
is a continuous process (Rayport and Jaworski, 2003).

Task Three: Interpretation of Research Data


3.1 Techniques to Evaluate Quantitative Data
3.1.1 Confirmatory statistics:

As opposed to the EDA techniques, classical statistical techniques are discussed in this section.
Both EDA and classical statistics can be used in complementary fashion and both of them are not
mutually exclusive. If the graphical analysis does not match the conclusion provided by the
classical methods, then efforts will be given to explain this discrepancy. This aberration often
indicates the violation of some of the assumptions of the classical techniques.
3.1.2 Interval Estimates

Estimation of parameters from sample research data is a common thing in statistics. In statistics,
all possible data is used to determine population parameter or the exact value of the parameter.
On the other hand, a point estimate or a sample estimate is determined by using the sample data.
3.1.3 Hypothesis Tests

Uncertainty of the sample estimate is also addressed by hypothesis tests. A hypothesis test tries
to disprove a claim about a population parameter on the basis of sample data instead of
presenting an interval.

3.2 Techniques to Evaluate Quantitative Data


Analysis of data is the most complex aspect of qualitative research and for a novice researcher it
is even more complex because of inadequate detailed guidelines regarding handling and analysis
of qualitative data. There are three types of techniques to analyse quantitative data: grounded
theory analysis, content analysis, and narrative analysis.
3.2.1 Grounded Theory:

Grounded theory is probably the most well-known approach. Grounded theory has conceptual
orientation to symbolic interactionism (Blumer, 1969). Symbolic interactionism assumes that
humans are more likely to act rather respond to situations. Every human action has purpose; it is
based on certain meaning apparent to that person only (Nusbaum and Chenitz, 1990). Thus data
for the research are required to be collected through a variety of methods such as observation and
interview.

3.2.2 Qualitative content analysis:

Text, in this method, is broken down into small units. Then it is evaluated through developing
further analysis process. However, breaking text into small units reduces meaning of the original
text radically (Kracauer, 1953). According to Kracauer (1953), this limitation can be overcome
through quantitative content analysis. Content analysis keeps meaning and insights, while
extracts data more rigorously. In the view of Altheide (1996), a new form of qualitative data
analysis procedure was developed and it is also known as the ethnographic content analysis.
3.2.3 Narrative analysis:

Story telling is a common communication technique used by human beings (White 1981).
Identity, relationships, and emotions of the people can be expressed through story telling.

Task Four: Research Methodology


4.1 Evaluating Appropriate Research Methodology
There are different research methods from which a researcher is to select appropriate methods.
At the same time, s/he has to consider and evaluate many factors.
4.1.1 Experimental Research Methods

The straightforward experiment is the base of experimental method. It also involves with the
standard practice of manipulating quantitative and independent variables. The manipulative
quantitative and independent variables generate statistically analyzable data. The ratio or interval
is used as a standard of system of scientific measurement. The experimental method is
considered as true scientific method because it meets all the criteria of true science. Either the
null or alternative hypothesis is accepted by the researchers. The information generated through
using statistical method is applied for testing hypothesis. The statistical information shows the
transparent and clear picture of the hypothesis. The rigorous design and great deal of expenses
along with larger experiment are required by this nature of research. The behavior is affected for
the escalating from own natural environment is one of the problem. The experimental research
is too accurate is argued by the researchers. It requires high costs and time and in some field, it
is not possible conducting experimental research such as ethical considerations. A good example
of experimental research is the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. The study, fixated on result, failed to
count the moral consideration. There are many fields of study where researchers cannot apply the
experimental method for its nature. They need other types of research.
4.1.2 Opinion Based Research Methods

collection and design of qualitative data are involved in the opinion based research method. The
arbitrary or ordinal or interval type is used in this research category. Questionnaires are making
use of collecting information from the sample group survey and testing emotion and preferences
and convert information into quantitative forms. This method asks for least costs and time. The
method also gives an element of scale to opinion and emotions. A direction of measuring
intensity is gotten from the opinion research though the figures are subjective. The other way of
performing this kind of research is quantifying the information. The researcher develops
numerical scales for the extent of behavior. The examples of opinion based researches are
Bandura Bobo Doll experiment and Asch Experiment. Emotion and behavior are measured in the

opinion research experiment because the variables are difficult to define. This types of research
is not too accurate like experimental research and it may falsify by other opinion research.
4.1.3 Observational Research Methods

A different kind of research method is the observational research method. The researchers
observe the phenomenon with little or no interfering. The experimental research and the
observational research (such as case study) are positioned in total opposite direction. Many
scientists claimed that this types of research is quasi experimental. It also has an unfair criticism.
The nominal or ordinal scale is applied in the observational research. There is no clearly defined
research problem in this type of research. The problems or questions begin during conducting the
study by researcher. For example, an unusual behavior is noticed by researcher and ask What is
happening or Why? The applicable field of observation research is social science, behavioral
studies, and anthropology. It is the studying of a group without affecting their behavior. The
experiment is unique in nature and human knowledge is advanced by this type of research.
Researcher uses case study as a precursor to study more rigorous method. One of the example
observational research method fields is ethics problem.

4.2 Selection of Appropriate Research Method


Interprevitism Philosophy of the researcher is the main reason for in this paper to use both open
ended and close ended questions. Unlike a traditional science research, this study aims at
inquiring the service factors within a hospital administration and requires interprevitism
philosophy by the researcher as indicated by Shaw, (1990) who states that researchers can get
close to the participants and penetrate into their internal logic and interpret their subjective
understanding of reality through this approach. Furthermore, as the research advances data
analysis through questionnaire deriving, discussion of statistical data, semi structured in depth
deriving codes and theme will be done. It is imperative n this case to use both thematic analysis
and philosophy of intervitism.
The statistical analysis uses descriptive method and also investigates into places where there is
little information available. The researcher uses both descriptive and exploratory studies to
investigate available evidence and gather demographics.

4.3 Justification of the Selected Method


In order to measure and determine characteristics of the population or sample, their needs, beliefs
and opinion mixed research design is followed by the researcher (Bryman, 1988). Descriptive
research is used according to the suggestion of the literature in the above (Zikmund, 2007) for
attitude among subgroups. Descriptive research is perfect for investigating the influence of brand
on purchase decision of people of UK for BRITISH AIRLINES.

Task Five: The Research Proposal Findings


5.1 Findings on the Research Question, Literature Review, and Methodology
Harmonizing with Mooij (1998) considers brand as a concept. Customers contain the brand in
their mind set and the products and services of the competitors are distinguished by the brand.
According to the Aaker (1999) as well as Fennis and Pruyn (2006), during the diverse
conditional state of affairs, the purchase and use of brand name of goods and services may be
chosen by a customers with a view to exposing their own individuality. However the
organizations are offering extensive selection options for the customers so that they can pick
merchandises while going into the market to buy goods (Gilmartin, 1996).
It is clear shown that the purchasing behaviors of the customers may be influenced by the
emotion and feelings of the customers. The core value of a brand may be preferred by the
customers while making the decision about the selection of goods for buying. The customers
consciousness would be required for making a successful brand. The possibility of purchasing
the goods and services provided by the company may be raised by successful brand (Doyle,
1999).

5.2 The Summarised Findings


According to the (Vieira, 2009), the four fundamental such as physical goods, the benchmark
brand, increased and emerging brand, are the building blocks in forming a perfect and effective
brand. The main and core desires of concerned consumers are mitten by the physical goods.
Hoyer and MacInnis (2010) said that Alternative the physical goods are wrapped in the package
so that it can attract the attention prospective customers. Most significantly, the customers
fondness and faithfulness about the product can build a potential brand. Housden and Thomas
(2001) told that customers likeness of particular goods can establish the brand in their mind.
Subject areas which are difficult to access with traditional research methods can be easily
accessed with inductive examination of the grounded theory (Rennie et al., 1988). Grounded
theory helps data analysts to break down the original data, conceptualizing it, and rearrange it in
new ways by using three sets of coding stages. The three coding stages are named as open
coding, axial coding, and selective coding (Strauss and Corbin, 1998).

5.3 Critical Analysis of the Findings


Brand equity needs to be managed properly nor could it be wrecked (Foxall et al., 2006). For
example, the brand image could be impinged on severely for the poor quality of goods and
services that can result reduction of sale. Brand is considered as equity is a mentionable example
that may work as enforcement of legal system and guard scholarly belongings. Different
countries build their laws and legal systems. The cooperation between customers and
manufactures considers the brand value of brand in different countries over the world (Elliot and
Yannopoulou, 2007). The ordinances of laws are levied by states, due to maintain the privacy of
the brand equity over the worlds, for the protection of patents, brand name and other intangible
resources. Brand is both intangible and tangible goods measurable in term of financial values
said by scholar Murphy in 1998. The most common well-known brand is listed in the stock
market and their shares are traded in the market (Fitzsimons et al., 2008).
Noel (2009) defined the customers behavior as process of decision making along with some
other activities such as acquiring, evaluating, utilizing, and disposing of goods and services. It is
more than the purchasing behavior of the customers during their buying of particular goods. The
process starts before purchasing take place and customers go for analyzing alternative product
offering. The alternative products are analyzed with advantages and disadvantages by the
customers during their purchasing in the market. The internal and external research may inscribe
the process through proving information about purchase decisions, use of goods and also post
purchase behaviors. The marketers can identify whether the customers are satisfied, through
assessing the post purchase behaviors of customers (Zaltman and Zaltman, 2008).

6.0 Conclusion:
Customers have the information about the goods and services, are important. The information of
customers about the goods and services can play the role to the customers of purchasing choices.
A company can ensure a superior opportunity through awareness of brand to the customers
during launching new products or services in the new market as the same time in existing
market. The brand that processes high level of brand awareness, the customers will be interested
to purchase more goods of that brand. A familiar branded product is purchased by the customers
rather than the buying an unknown product is the explanation the reason of customers about the
brand awareness of that particular product. The customers buying behavior is the peoples
buying decision on products used for domestic or personal purpose while using value able
personal resources such as money, time and effort. The consumer behaviors will be assessed in
many aspects for its essentials. Scholars developed various representations to realize the
consumers buying behaviors.