The Influence of Brand Equity on Consumer Choice in Branded Bottled Water among Supermarket Customers in Nairobi Central Business District, Kenya
Njuguna, Reuben Kinyuru
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Building strong brand equity to attain competitive advantage is a top priority amongst many firms but it is not always an easy task to accomplish. Due to the increased globalization and competition, the management of a brand has become of importance and thus presents an interesting area to study. With the adoption of effective brand equity strategies, many companies may compete effectively and efficiently. This study, therefore, set out to investigate the influence of brand equity on consumer choice in buying branded bottled water, with special focus on the contributory roles of its various elements in influencing consumer choice, as well as the moderating role of the industry context in affecting the relationship between brand equity and consumer choice. The specific objectives of the study were to investigate (i) the influence of brand awareness on consumer choice (ii) the influence of brand loyalty on consumer choice (iii) the influence of perceived quality on consumer choice; and (iv) the influence of proprietary brand assets on consumer choice. Moreover the study sought to determine the moderating influence of the Industry context on the relationship between brand equity and consumer choice. A cross-sectional explanatory design was used. The target population in this study was 264,808 registered customers in supermarkets and procurement employees in the selected supermarkets in the Nairobi Central Business District. The study was conducted in the context of the Kenyan retail supermarkets in Kenya. This context was chosen due to the prominence of the supermarkets in the retail industry in Kenya and on the basis of the limited research conducted on branding in the Kenyan context. Convenient sampling was adopted to select the supermarkets and systematic sampling was conducted to select customers from an ordered sample size from the supermarkets 400 population sample size. Both primary and secondary data were used. Primary data were collected using semi-structured questionnaires and an interview guide. Secondary data were collected through records and documents review. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the properties of the mass data. Inferential statistics were derived using Pearson’s correlation and logistic regression analysis. Content analysis was carried out for qualitative data. The study used the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) 19 and Stata 11 as a tool to process and analyse data. The research results were presented in percentages, tables, charts and graphs. The findings show that all the objectives of the study were significant at 95% confidence level, there was significant impact of brand awareness, perceived quality, brand loyalty and other proprietary brand assets on consumer choice. Furthermore it shows brand loyalty as the most dominant factor established whose platform should be built by the other three dimension of brand equity to enable a firm to influence choice habits amongst consumers. The study recommends that brand equity should be used to play a leading role among product related strategies in establishing a marketing strategy for bottled water manufacturers.