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in today’s competitive business environment, consumers are exposed to a large number of brand choice alternatives. Managers and marketers are battling to keep their brand preferable to consumers and are trying to avoid competitors from grabbing these customers. Moreover, all the products are named and identified by the reputed brands. Brand is a key signed to the consumer while they are selecting the products. There are lots of factors influencing the buyers to select the particular product in the competitive market. How they are selecting the products? Hence forth, the researchers have under taken the topic, Consumer brand preferences and brand loyalty: A case study of Peak Milk, Uyo Metropolis”. The objectives of the paper are to identify the factors influencing brand preference and it impact. In this work, 391 samples have been selected and administered the statistical tools, such as chi-square test and ANOVA for data analysis. The researcher found that quality price, types and marketing strategies are the mediating factors for the brand loyalty which lead to the brand preferences. It is recommended that the company should portray a good image at all times, through the production of quality and affordable milk. They must take consumers satisfaction into consideration. Also, producers should develop an unshaken trust between them. This is because, consumers loyalty and preference depend on brand trust. Furthermore, producers should develop appropriate marketing efforts; construction of communication channels with consumers; and the upgrading of quality and after-sales services.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Brand is described as a symbol, term, name, or any other feature that isolates one seller’s good or services as distinct from those of other sellers. Originally, branding was employed to differentiate one person’s, cattle from another, by means of a distinctive symbol engrafted into the animal’s skin with the means of a hot iron stamp, and was subsequently used in business, marketing and advertising.
As a matter of fact, a modern example of a brand, is peak milk (which is used as a case study in this research work), produced by Friesland campina Wamco Nigeria plc. A brand is the most valuable fixed asset of a corporation. Peak milk is a commodity brand and its popularity depends on level of patronage by consumers.
Subsequently, brand preference is associated with the choice of brand which helps consumer decision making and activate the brand purchase action. Designing and developing result- oriented marketing strategies, it is pertinent to know the pattern of consumer preferences across the population. There are many factors (which are going to be discussed subsequently in the course of this work) influencing the consumers to buy a particular product, for instance peak milk. Consequently, consumer purchasing choices lead to efficient market segmentation strategies in the company.
On the other hand, brand loyalty explains a buyer’s dedication to repurchase or otherwise continue using the item and can be confirmed by recurring buying of products or services. It is also described as the degree to which a consumer continually buys the same item within an item class. This concept is otherwise called “repeated buying habit” of specific product for different reasons. Brand loyalty may be mediating and dominating factor for the brand preferences. It is worthy to note that unless brand loyalty, no marketer can do the business in the present era.
Stating precisely, this study attempts to holistically examine consumers’ brand preferences and brand loyalty of peak milk. Peak milk is chosen in order to have a narrowed scope of study because taking cognizance of all brands of milk would have drastically widened the scope. It is therefore on this theoretical basis, that we hope to focus our study on peak milk, with a view of assessing how consumers take the brand, that is whether they prefer it to other brands of milk and their loyalty to the brand of peak milk.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
With the introduction of peak milk into the market by Friesland campina Wamco Nigerian Plc the brand requires a dynamic, contemporary and customer-oriented production, packaging and distribution strategies in order to achieve consumers’ brand preferences and loyalty. To survive in a competitive market, the brand needs a wore serious and effective marketing strategies to secure the loyalty of consumers. It is alarming and detrimental to profit-making, realizing that peak milk has a dwindling consumers’ preferences and loyalty because of brands of milk such as three crown, Loyal, Olympic, Milksi, to mention, but a few, which are more preferable due to their low cholesterol and price.
Observation shows that consumers’ preferences and loyalty to peak milk have reduced drastically over the years and this should be of great concern to the manufacturers. Worst still, peak milk, especially the liquid ones are high in fat, expensive, and tends to purge some consumers when consumed. This is mainly because the manufacturers have refused to allow the market force or consumers to be major determinant in how the milk is produced.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
This study aims at examining the consumers brand preferences and brand loyalty, using peak milk as a case study, with a view to recommending a model that is customers’ or consumers’-satisfying and profitable to the company. The following objectives would be achieved:
1. Evaluate the contributions of marketers to the success of the company.
2. Know if effective marketing strategies can improve the consumptions and loyalty to peak milk brand.
3. Ascertain why consumers prefer or not prefer peak milk and significantly correct the bad impressions consumers have on peak milk, so as to increase its demand.
4. Disclose the dialectical relationship between consumer’s preferences and brand loyalty to the quality and content of peak milk.
5. The study aims to understand the consumers brand loyalty and preferences toward varieties of milk products.
6. It aims at learning a written record or material that will help future researchers on the subject matter.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions drown from the objectives of the study would be answered in the course of this study:
1. What contributions have peak milk made to health of consumers?
2. Is there any dialectical relationship between consumers’ preferences and the quality or nutritious content of the milk?
3. How effective is the marketing strategic used in marketing the product?
4. Can effective marketing efforts and change of quality correct significantly, negative consumer’s perception about the milk?
5. Do consumers’ prefer the brand (peak milk) to other milks? If yes, why?
6. What problems hinder effective preferences and loyalty to peak milk?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The following hypotheses could be tested in the study:
Ho1: There is no significant relationship between demographic variables and the functional variables viz., price, preferred size, quality of package, taste and marketing strategies of the peak milk brand.
Ho2: There is no significant relationship between age and price.
Ho3: There is no significant relationship between family members and preferred brand.
Ho4: There is no significant relationship between income and changes expected.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be of greater benefit to many interest groups. The company manufacturing peak milk will find it useful as their attention would be drawn to the contemporary and consumers- oriented manufacturing practices and high rating marketing strategies. This will improve their consumers’ preferences and loyalty, and even profitability. The consumers will benefit as management and staff of the company’s attention will be drawn to the need to place consumers’ satisfaction above personal and organizational needs. Also, the government will benefit as the industrial success of manufacturing firms will lead to improvement in both GDP and taxes. Finally, future researchers will find this work useful as they can lay hands on it as source of literature review.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research and its results are only applicable to the respondents of Uyo Local Government Area Akwa Ibom State, and are not applicable to any other place. It is not generalized, and the results are subject to change, according to the future perception and opinion of the respondents. Since it would not be possible to interview or distribute questionnaires to all the residents of Uyo Metropolis, only four hundred and ten (410) questionnaires would be distributed, as it is limited to only Uyo Metropolis.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The following terms are defined:
Consumer: The consumer is the one who pays of consumer good and services produced. As such, consumers play a vital role in the economic system of a nation. Without consumer demand, producers would lack one of the key motivations to produce to sell to consumers, the consumer also from part of the chain of distribution.
Preferences: Refers the set of assumptions related to ordering some alternatives, based on the degree of happiness satisfaction, gratification, enjoyment or utility they provide a process which result in an optimal choice.
Although economist are usually not interested in choices or preferences in themselves it serves as a background empirical demand analysis.
Brand: brand is the name, design, term, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.
Loyalty: Is the quality of being faithful to someone or something else.
1.9 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This study is organized in five chapters. The introductory aspect focuses on the background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the research, research questions, research hypothesis, significant of the study, scope of the study, and organization of the study. Chapter two examines literature review, in the area of consumers’ brand preferences and brand loyalty. Chapter three deals with research design, sources of data, design and administration of questionnaire and operational measures of variable. Chapter four focuses on data presentation and analysis, while chapter five shows summary, conclusion and recommendations.
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