A conceptual framework to measure brand loyalty
Moolla, Ahmed Ismail
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Since the emergence of branding as an approach to marketing, the concept has been received with a great deal of interest and has stimulated ever increasing research in the area. Businesses have realized the importance of retaining existing customers and have begun to identify and apply ways to build long-term relationships with customers. These relationships with customers require an understanding of customer needs, business requirements and the influences that create a long-term relation which is more commonly known as brand loyalty. Several research studies including this one present the results of brand loyalty research in the form of a conceptual framework. From an academic viewpoint, the identification and application of all the relevant influences are essential in the construction of a framework that can guide the promotion of brand loyalty. The aim of this study was to identify the influences that are most important in creating and measuring brand loyalty in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector. The study builds a conceptual framework using the identified influences and also presents the interrelationships between the influences. The primary theoretical background and concepts in brand loyalty for this study ranged from the history of branding to the results of brand loyalty studies conducted over the past five years. The extensive review of literature and previously tested brand loyalty models resulted in the identification of 12 influences that impact directly on brand loyalty. Reducing the identified set of influences into a manageable set for this thesis involved selecting the most commonly used reliable and valid brand loyalty influences. The empirical study which followed was conducted among a sample of 550 customers who had access to a wide range of FMCG. The empirical study based on the selected 12 brand loyalty influences yielded results that measured the strength of each influence and the interrelationship of influences. The results were analysed by the process of factor analysis, and were presented in the form of a conceptual framework that could be applied in the FMCG segment to measure the strength of brand loyalty influences and determine if the same influences apply to all FMCG. The results of the study confirmed that different influences have different effects on brand loyalty in the FMCG segment. The study revealed that the psychological influences such as brand commitment, brand affect, perceived value and relationship proneness had a far stronger effect on brand loyalty than the brand performance influences such as customer satisfaction or brand performance. Furthermore, the study found an extremely close relationship between influences as far as the specific products were concerned. This study confirmed that FMCG could all be treated as a single entity when evaluating the influences of brand loyalty. The uniqueness and value of the study lies in the evaluation of each brand loyalty influence that is collectively assembled in one framework. The most important contribution of the study is therefore the construction of this conceptual framework through which brand loyalty could be measured and strategically managed.