An investigation of brand image and its role in brand development
The main objective of this research is to investigate the most vital issue in the realm of branding - what makes a brand powerful, from the perspective of brand image. This concept has yet to gain due recognition as relatively little recent original research has been published on brand image. The research was undertaken in the fragrances industry in the UK.\ud This research explores the brand image concept as a determinant of brand success; therefore, first and foremost, this concept has to be defined in terms of the nature of image - conveyed approach versus received approach, the notion of components structure and in terms of the concept elements. The original definition proposed is described as the "Three Dimensions' Brand Image" model (functional needs, nonfunctional needs and brand personality) and has been built from the assumption of creating a practical facet, where the marketer will be able to identify the meaning of each dimension and reinforce every one of them in his attempt to create brand image strategy. Therefore, a number of hypotheses have been tested with regard to the model structure as follows: the importance of brand personality dimension and non-functional dimension in high and low brand image situations in comparison to other dimensions was explored in revealing the notion's component structure, and the importance of price and special feeling elements in comparison to other brand image elements was researched in revealing the concept's elements. Finally, the link between brand image concept and brand success phenomenon was explored to define this concept in terms of a managerial marketing concept.\ud This research focuses on men's and women's fragrances product groups because apart from the tangible facet of brand in these product groups, there is a significant meaning to brand personality facet, which makes this very appropriate for this research into "image". The research method for data collection was firstly based on focus groups interviews, and then on a survey (personal interviews) which took place during the months of March and April 1997 in four department stores of Debenhams in which 320 respondents participated.\ud The findings of the research show evidence of the proposed "Three Dimensions' Brand Image" model existence, where the concept brand image is described as an amalgamation of two schools of thought, one which emphasizes the dependence of\ud brand image creation upon the individual psyche, and the other which sees the marketers as the image creators. In addition, the findings show that in high and low brand image situations the functional dimension is perceived as the most important one, the next one is the non-functional dimension and the least important is the brand personality dimension. The research's findings show evidence of existence between\ud brand image and brand success where high brand image leads to high brand success and low brand image leads to low brand success.\ud The most important contribution of the proposed model as a new definition of brand image is its ability to act as an applied marketing concept for creating and managing the image of a brand, and by doing so it ceases to be purely a theoretical concept.
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