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AN EVALUATION OF PRODUCT BRANDING AND ITS CORRELATION WITH CONSUMER LOYALTY IN TELECOMMUNICATION FIRMS IN GHANA

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AN EVALUATION OF PRODUCT BRANDING AND ITS CORRELATION WITH CONSUMER LOYALTY IN TELECOMMUNICATION FIRMS IN GHANA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

The telecommunications industry plays a crucial and significant role in the economic stability of both developed and developing countries, including Ghana. Like many nations, government officials and telecommunications stakeholders in Ghana are diligently working to provide essential services, particularly in remote areas, as a means to alleviate poverty and foster economic growth (Palladan, 2017; Tchamyou, Erreygers & Cassimon, 2019; Asongu & Odhiambo, 2020). The effective regulation of the telecommunications sector has contributed to the increased success of telecommunication services in Ghana, leading to positive impacts on the nation's economy and the advancement of sectors such as education (Olutosin, 2018). Due to its rapid technological advancement and the increased number of machine operators in a competitive market, mobile telecommunications is one of the service industries that is expanding the fastest and is the most significant market for telecommunications companies. In most countries, both developed and emerging telecommunications have become essential to organizational management and economic growth. Furthermore, during the initial stages of industry deregulation, acquiring customers was a primary focus as many potential clients did not already possess telephone lines. However, the landscape has shifted significantly since then. Today, the challenge lies not only in attracting new customers but also in retaining existing ones (Adeleke & Suraju, 2021; Olakunori, 2019). To thrive in this competitive environment, companies must transition their marketing strategies from solely acquiring new customers to fostering loyalty among their current customer base (Keller, 2020). Also, Lee et al. (2018) define customer loyalty as a multifaceted concept, encompassing customer satisfaction and a commitment to maintaining an ongoing relationship with a brand or company. This loyalty is evident through various attitudes and behaviors, such as intention to purchase additional products, recommending the company to others, and resisting the urge to switch to competitors. Chinda (2020) emphasizes the importance of customer loyalty as a key attribute for brands to succeed in the market. Loyal customers not only contribute to repeat business but also serve as brand ambassadors, spreading positive word-of-mouth about the brand (Palladan & Ahmad, 2019). Beyond that, customer loyalty is all about relevance and meaning throughout every customer touch point. It is all about making the brand experience a more intimate relationship with the customers (Anjum et al., 2019). Nevertheless, in order to achieve customers loyalty, the telecommunication companies must pay more attention to its product branding. Numerous authors have provided various definitions of branding, and numerous authorities have outlined reasons justifying the adoption of branding as a marketing strategy. In addition, branding is the process of associating a distinctive and unique image or characteristic with a specific product, thereby making it stand out among other products in the perceptions and minds of consumers. Similarly, Phan and Lan (2021) defined branding as an essential and personal component of a product strategy, encapsulating the essence of the concept. According to Lee (2019), a product isn't finished until it has a name, mark, or symbol attached to it. One of the most important techniques available to businesses to boost customer loyalty is branding (Kuo et al., 2019). Therefore, a survey will be conducted to evaluate product branding and its correlation with consumer loyalty in telecommunication firms in Ghana.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

In the dynamic telecommunications landscape of Ghana, service providers' foremost objectives revolve around attaining and preserving customer loyalty (Shapiro & Varian, 2019). With market saturation and escalating competition, telecommunications companies are compelled to devise innovative strategies to differentiate themselves and cultivate enduring bonds with customers (Porter, 2019). Amidst these approaches, product branding emerges as a pivotal tool for shaping customer perceptions, fostering trust, and engendering loyalty (Keller, 2020). Additionally, the Ghanaian telecommunications sector grapples with perceptual hurdles, where consumers may perceive minimal distinctions among service providers, resulting in commoditization. Aaker (2019) underscores the importance of refining product branding strategies to effectively convey unique value propositions and distinguish one brand from another. Furthermore, consumer preferences and expectations in the Ghanaian telecommunications market undergo continual evolution, influenced by factors such as technological advancements, socio-economic shifts, and cultural dynamics. Hence, it is in the light of these that the study seeks to evaluate product branding and its correlation with consumer loyalty in telecommunication firms in Ghana.

1.3  Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to evaluate product branding and its correlation with consumer loyalty in telecommunication firms in Ghana. Specifically, the study will;

1.Assess the current branding strategies employed by telecommunication firms in Ghana.

2.Investigate consumer perceptions and attitudes towards branded telecommunication products and services in Ghana. 

3.Determine whether there is a correlation between product branding and consumer loyalty within the telecommunication firms in Ghana. 

4.Investigate factors influencing consumer loyalty towards branded telecommunication products and services.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

How would you assess the current branding strategies implemented by telecommunication firms in Ghana?

What are the consumer perceptions and attitudes towards branded telecommunication products and services in Ghana according to your investigation?

Is there a discernible correlation between product branding and consumer loyalty within telecommunication firms in Ghana?

What factors have you found to influence consumer loyalty towards branded telecommunication products and services in your investigation?

1.5  Research Hypothesis

H0: There is no significant correlation between product branding and consumer loyalty in telecommunication industry in Ghana

Ha: There is a significant impact of product branding as a tool for increasing consumer loyalty in telecommunication industry in Ghana

1.6  Significance of the Study 

The findings of this study will enable telecommunication companies focus on branding strategies that are most likely to enhance loyalty, allocate their marketing resources more effectively and drive customer retention. Also, companies will be able to maximize their return on investment in marketing activities. Additionally, it will help telecommunication firms uncover ways to build stronger relationships with their customers, leading to increased satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy. Further more, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regard to product branding and its correlation with consumer loyalty in telecommunication firms in Ghana.

1.7 Scope of the study

The scope of this study is boarded on product branding and its correlation with consumer loyalty in telecommunication firms in Ghana. Empirically, this study will assess the current branding strategies employed by telecommunication firms in Ghana, investigate consumer perceptions and attitudes towards branded telecommunication products and services in Ghana, determine whether there is a correlation between product branding and consumer loyalty within the telecommunication firms in Ghana and investigate factors influencing consumer loyalty towards branded telecommunication products and services.

Geographically, the study will be delimited to employees of some selected telecommunication companies in Ghana.

1.8 Limitation of the study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed. 

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.

 1.9 Definition of Terms

Branding: is a fixation of special and unique image or attribute to a particular product, which makes it to be exceptional among other products in the eyes and minds of consumers (Ehikwe, 2018).

Product: is anything that is thought to be inclusive of the buyer's contentment and the utilities they receive from the purchase (Malik et al., 2020)

Customer loyalty: can be described as the customer’s expression of deep commitment to re-patronize a chosen product or service steadily, regardless of situational effects and marketing struggles that have the probability to cause customers to switch to competing providers (Santouridis & Trivella, 2020).


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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