BY NOBERT NHETE
The effects of brand equity on consumer purchase preferences: A case for mobile telecommunication industry in Zimbabwe 1) Introduction
This study investigates the effects of brand equity on customer purchase preferences in the mobile telecommunication industry in Zimbabwe. My chapter one will cover the background, followed by problem statement, followed by research questions, followed by the significance of the study, then delimitation of study, then theoretical/conceptual framework, followed by limitations, followed by definition of terms and finally the chapter summary. 1.1 Background
Despite the growth of mobile telecommunication industry in Zimbabwe, only one player( Econet wireless) is taking about 67% of the customer base. This makes the company a defacto monopoly. High brand equity brings an opportunity for successful extensions, resilience against competitors’ promotional pressures, and creation of barriers to competitive entry (Farquhar, 1989).This means that other players can be pushed out of business. This is not good for the economy and for the future viability of other players. It is not good for the customers as well since the company can end up cheating customers using its position advantage.
In mobile telecommunication, purchase settings are continuous and different than the purchase settings of retail stores (Ranaweera & Prabhu, 2003). In this industry most of the customers maintain long term relationships with the operators (Ranaweera & Prabhu, 2003). It is not easy for the consumer to transfer from one mobile operator to another because of switching barriers. Contact number for a consumer can be as good as an office. The customer has brand building in his mind through the process of controlled and uncontrolled communication (Ozer, 2004). Kay (2006) argues that brand meanings are incorporated into the lives of consumers so brands are social or cultural property rather than company property.
Some people believe that Econet gets most of the customers because of innovation. Some believe its because of its political alignment, and some believe its because of its financial muscle. This research is not going to look at these various thoughts but to scrutinize the role of brand equity on consumer choice in mobile telecommunication industry in Zimbabwe. 1.2 Problem statement
Econet wireless is now a defacto monopoly in the country and the company is now dictating the pace for the industry. This is likely to cause problems both to the consumer and the economy. Although many customers are preferring to buy Econet products, some believe the company is now charging exorbitant tariffs in practice although its reasonable on paper. Whether its true or not , is difficult to prove the validity of such information. The study will look at brand equity to find out its effect on consumer choice in telecommunication industry in Zimbabwe. 1.4 Research objectives
To evaluate the impact of brand loyalty to consumer choice of mobile telecommunication service/products,
To evaluate the impact of Brand awareness on consumer choice of mobile telecommunication services/products.
To evaluate the impact of perceived quality on consumer choice of mobile telecommunication services/products.
To evaluate the impact of brand association on consumer choice of mobile telecommunication services/products.
1.5 Research questions/Hypothesis
What is the impact of brand loyalty to consumer choice of mobile telecommunication service/products,
What is the impact of Brand awareness on consumer choice of mobile telecommunication services/products.
What is the impact of perceived quality on consumer choice of mobile telecommunication services/products.
What is the impact of brand association on consumer choice of mobile telecommunication services/products. 1.6 Significance
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