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1.1 Background to the Study
Globally, brand equity and corporate performance have in recent years become popular topical issue in both developed and developing countries. They have succeeded in attracting a good deal of public interest because of its apparent importance for the financial institutions and society in general (Christodoulides and de Chernatony, 2010). Thus, it is widely believed in marketing literature that, brand equity is not only a tool for maximizing sales force of an organization but is also a medium through which some organizations can stand firmly in advent of competition.
Brand Equity is the value and strength of the brand that decides its worth in order to make the largest possible sales and to protect the consumers image (Chen, 2011). It a technique that an organization used as a differentiation which ultimately rest in the minds of customers as a basis on which to identify with a product, quality and image that is portrayed (Beamish and Ashford, 2007). Specifically, it has been described as value added or incremental utility enjoyed by a product because of its brand name (Juntunen, Jouni and Juga, 2011). As a result, financial institutions that do not established the brand equity as a strategy can be expose to other competitors copying and replicate their products or services. As such, the sales return and corporate performance of the organization will not be achieved
The ultimate objective of any deposit money banks is to maximize returns while also protecting the image of their customers from other competitors (Kevin and. Keller, 2003). Therefore, Rosa, Rios, Hernan and Riquelme (2008) are of the opinion that high levels of brand equity are indications of customers’ strong associations to the brand and their perceptions of its good quality which results in their continued loyalty to the brand. Hence, the corporate performance of the deposit money banks would be achieved when the industry improve on brand equity. More importantly, Severi & Ling (2013), states that investors are usually attracted by the corporate performance of the financial institutions. Additionally, Sandra, Maria, Loureiro, Miranda and Francisco (2011) have summarized the importance of brand equity as not only to differentiate the products or services of any financial industries but also to ensure customer’s have perspective reflection about their knowledge of the purchase, association and familiarity with brand. They further stated that, the rationale behind any financial investment is to reap good benefit in the future. Specifically, it has been reported that corporate performance is likely to be strongly influenced not only by the association of brand equity but also by the performance of marketing management (Salehzadeh, Asadi, Khazaei, Reza, & Haroni, (2014).
However, the primary function of any banking industry is to promote high rate of returns among investment participants (Acharyya & Ball, 2011). If banking firm employees fail to perform their roles or responsibilities, it will be very unlikely that the firm goals will be achieved. Indeed, past studies have confirmed that work behavior measured in terms of employee cooperation, conformity, commitment, morale and participation, are part of the conditions for measuring the achievement of firm efficiency and goals (Li & Greenwood, 2004). However, success of a financial firm depends not only on the performance of the expected roles or responsibilities of employees but also on the commitment of the brand equity (BE). How well both firm goals and investment participants’ goals could be achieved will largely be dependent on the brand equity and the respond of the customers.
Importantly, corporate performance is essential to all investors and the banking industry. For instance, building strong brand equity through positive association on the response of consumers to the brand has a positive influence on corporate performance. Firms’ performance is driven by the quality of allocation to tangible and intangible assets including brand loyalty (Onafalujo & Eke, 2011). Major concern had always been the measurement of corporate performance. Acharyya & Ball (2011) stress that the primary goal of measuring corporate performance is to assess the progress of achieving firm objectives which can either be financial or non-financial performance.
More importantly, in marketing discipline, many contemporary studies in the context of brand equity have provided evidences of global brands, and all organizations (both tangible and intangible) aspire to develop themselves as global brands (Berry, 2000). For example, Bamert & Wehrli (2005) have reported that the financial service sector is no longer far away from this aspect. More specifically, it has been revealed from the study of not only in Nigeria but also across the globe that effective brand equity can be achieved by putting customers first in decision making. Additionally, Giddens and Hoffman (2010) have summarized that, the construct of brand loyalty is important as it builds in the consumer mind the idea that their product has the required qualities and thus becomes the base for future purchase behavior. They further stated that, the loyal customers guide themselves by quotes like: “I feel a bond with this brand” and “I am willing to pay a higher price for this brand”. In other words, brand equity requires continuous attention. However, brand by nature is important in the financial sector as it helps organize and label the numerous of new offerings in a manner that consumers can understand (Keller, 2003). In addition, brand plays an important role because positive brands will enable customers to better visualize and understand products from other competitors, reduce customers’ perceived risks in buying services (Kim et al, 2008), and help companies achieve sustained superior corporate performance. In particular, brand image is a critical issue in the field of brand management. A good and effective brand normally has attributes which endure them to their loyal customers. Brand equity is particularly important to the financial sector in the current economy, since investors and other big spenders are being cautious about making large financial transactions.
Given the foregoing analysis, some authors (Salehzadeh, Asadi, Khazaei, Reza, Ansari, & Haroni, 2014), have identified the corporate performance as one of the key issue that enable banking industries to have continuity. The bulk of the performance problems and deficiencies of the banking industries in Nigeria could more appropriately be attributed to managerial inefficiencies and inappropriate brand loyalty. Specifically and summarily, there is a general consensus that the managements of deposit money banks can achieve both investors and corporate performance through brand loyalty, human resources, brand awareness, perceived quality, brand association and deploying the resources where appropriate (Bello, 2005).
In any part of this globe, firm performance and better return on investment are the ultimate goals of not only individual investors but also to the nation at large (Tullani & Halil, 2010), and therefore, governments are charged with the responsibility of creating enabling environment through which the investment industries can operate effectively. Thus, corporate performance can guarantee the proper functioning of the economy and enhancing the standard of living of the individuals (Bello, 2005). Firms’ performance involves a broad range of activities including good policy, governance, infrastructure, human resources, access to finance and better atmosphere. From these scenarios it is clear that BE could contribute to organizational performance in many ways. Salehzadeh & et.al, (2014) argue and maintain that the use of brand equity to acquire a certain level of competitive advantage through reduction products prices, incentives and promotional tools. Brand equity (BE) could also contribute to the organizational success through unique strategies. Research demonstrates that BE can be an important resource to improve organizational performance in complex work environments demanding team oriented work practices (Organ, Podsakoff, & MacKenzie, 2006).
The present study is about exploring the association of brand equity (BE) on the selected deposit money banks through the mechanism of brand loyalty, brand awareness, perceived quality and brand association. Thus, this study sets out to test, evaluate and measurement of customer based brand equity and its association on corporate performance of some selected financial service sector. Performance of firms in relation to investors return by employees can be an important solution for improving corporate performance and effectiveness in the Nigeria financial industries. Literature has offered support to the importance of BE in improving effective functioning of organizations (Bamert & Wehrli, 2005). Research has also indicated that BE and their differentiation in the financial institutions are significantly and negatively correlated (Keller, 2001), which means that the financial industries with BE will not likely exhibit signs of positive association on their performance except brand managers and marketing management organize the right determinant variables to the brand equity. Some selected Deposit Money Banks in Kano State, Nigeria are expected to improve their corporate performance when the organization practice the concept management skill and motivate development of good relationship among their employees in the institutions. By implication, the performance of a firm is intuitively expected to be improved as a result of stronger and consistent higher brand equity.
Generally, there are two principal and distinct perspectives that have been taken by academics to study brand equity; financial based approach and customer based approach. The first perspective of brand equity come from financial market point of view where the asset value of the brand is appraising, and the second which is customer based brand equity is evaluating the consumers' response to brand (Fayrene & Lee, 2011). Vazquez, Del Rio, and Iglesias (2002) describe brand equity as the overall utility that the consumer associates with the use and consumption of the brand, including associations expressing both functional and symbolic attributes (Vazquez et al, 2002). In essence, the rationale behind the brand equity is not only to improve sales volume but also it stands a chance to differentiate the products or services of deposit money banks from the immediate competitors.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Globally, different studies on corporate and performance have been conducted with various findings; Such as Aaker, Fournier and Brasel, (2004) Roper & Parker, (2006) Rajagopal, (2008). Pollalis & Skourtis, (2011) Sandra, Loureiro, Miranda & Francisco, (2011) Tuan, Shamsuddin, Rasli & Jusoh (2012) Yasar, (2013) Yeoh, Mohd, Norhayati, Muhammad, Nawawi & Khalid, (2014). Importantly, literatures revealed that strict competition, especially in emerging economies have been identified as one of the major bottlenecks in Nigerian banking industries; and surviving in such competitive environment requires the adoption of certain marketing strategies including brand equity, brand loyalty and perceived quality (Aaker, Jacobson, 2001). However, from an economic perspective competition means more firms are competing for a limited market share and thus having to adjust ever closer to the needs of the customers as well as lowering prices down to a point where marginal revenue equals marginal cost. Thus, in most places the increase in competition among Deposit Money Banks (DMB) have not only brought benefits such as better access and lower cost, but have also introduced setbacks (Aghion & Morduch, 2004). These adverse effects fall back not only on the DBM, which are struggling to maintain their performance level, but also on the clients who face difficulties in identify the actual products or services to the other.
In recent times, most banks are creating brand equity to appeal to a wide range of customers. Nonetheless, banks cannot say for sure, the kind of association brand equity has on the corporate performance of deposit money banks. Inappropriate identification of brand equity and brand loyalty (Ching, Chen, Wen-Shiang & Tseng, 2010); Imperfect nature of brand management and marketing management on the perception of customers behavior which led to falling sales and need of more brand equity (Murphy, Trailer &Hill, 2011); Inability to predict the customers mindset towards and brand association intelligent affect the repeat purchase as a result of new technologies Mbogua (2007); Change of customer’s opinions and preferences which can affect the sales force of the financial investment (Hyun, Lee, Archana, Kumar & Youn, 2010). Thus, these could lead to the fallen of annual sales and customers satisfaction were almost diminished. As such, deposit money banks are constantly paying attention to the change of customer’s opinions and preferences and are trying to be up to date with the emergence of new technologies (Stahl, Florian, Heitmann, Mark, Lehmann, Donald, Neslin & Scott, 2012). The tendency of customers or consumers to switch banks as a result of technological advancement is also a treat to the financial deposit banks. The result is that deficiencies to the operations of these banks are not timely discovered and adequately controlled. All these adversely affect the operational system and activities of deposit money banks. Furthermore, literature reveals that the link between brand equity and corporate performance was directly (Aaker & Brasel, 2004). It was demonstrated that brand equity was related to CP through mechanisms including brand loyalty (Brady & Roehm, 2008), brand association (Buil, Martínez, & Chernatony, 2013), perceived quality and brand awareness (Njuguna, Makau & Kerre, 2014).
It is clear from the forgoing literature that most of the studies related to the association of brand equity and corporate performance were conducted in the United State of America and other western countries of the world but few has being conducted in Nigeria. Moreover, there is a dearth of a study on the relationship between Brand Equity on the Corporate Performance of some selected Deposit Money Banks in Nigeria. The aim of this study is to investigate the association of Brand Equity and corporate performance of some selected Deposit Money Banks, Nigeria through the variables which includes; brand loyalty, brand association, perceived quality and brand awareness.
Precisely, in view of the focus and context of the previous studies, some gaps exist for future studies to fill in. First and foremost, previous studies did not exhaust test of questionnaire instrument on Deposit Money Banks in Nigeria. For a broader understanding, there is a need to test the instrument on the selected Deposit Money Banks in Nigeria. Hence, this study aims at just achieving that by testing the instrument within the Nigeria context. Secondly, this present study aims to guide the customers on the best way to differentiate products or services to the others as a result of stiff competition. Literature reveals that no single study has examined the association of BE and CP of some selected Deposit Money Banks in Nigeria. Thus, this study will examine the association Brand Equity (BE) has on the corporate performance of some selected Deposit Money Banks in Nigeria.
1.3 Research Questions
Based on the foregoing problem statement, the broad question to which this study proposes to answer is: what is the influence of Portfolio Management Practices on the Performance of Kano State Investment and Properties Limited, Nigeria. Based on the main research question, the specific research questions are raised in order to guide this study.
1. To what extent does brand loyalty enhance the corporate performance of some selected deposit money banks in Nigeria?
2. To what extent does brand awareness enhance the corporate performance of some selected deposit money banks in Nigeria?
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