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Title: Branding and brand preference in the mobile phone service industry
Author: Alamro, Ahmed Salameh
ISNI:       0000 0004 2692 7891
Awarding Body: Prifysgol Bangor University
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis reports a research study that offers a range of insights into the branding or brand strategy of mobile phone services in Jordan, and its relationship with consumer brand preference. This study interweaved this relationship through a model. Within the context of this model the following objectives are addressed: " To explore Jordanian mobile phone service providers' brand strategies and their role in building and/or influencing brand awareness, brand image, and consumer attributes. " To examine mobile phone services and their users and usage in Jordan. " To determine the factors that influence consumer brand preference in the telecommunicationms arket. The model, through these articulated objectives, represents the main contribution of this research. It does so, in three ways: (a) providing evidence concerning the general way whereby companies use branding, (b) providing evidence concerning branding in a specific context (i. e. the mobile phone service industry), (c) providing evidence concerning branding that may be specific to Jordan and the Middle East. Equally if not more important, the present study may be of value to theory. Through its focus on brand preference, it suggests a re-categorisation and integration of existing branding models and bridges gaps in the previous models, and suggests a better understanding of the processes that lead to brand preference. It does so through focusing on three overarching antecedents brand awareness, brand image, and consumer attributes, each of which comprises a number of variables. Brand awareness comprises: controlled communication (advertising) and uncontrolled communication (WOM and publicity); brand image comprises: brand personality, price, quality, country of origin, service (location and employee), and corporate status (corporate reputation and corporate image); consumer attributes comprises: satisfaction, perceived risk, and reference group. The model provides, for the first time, a holistic approach to the identify brand preference antecedents. Satisfying the study's objectives demanded the use of a two stage mixed method approach. The first is a qualitative stage, which involved interviews with 12 senior managers with responsibility for branding and marketing strategy in the mobile phone service sector in Jordan. The qualitative phase uses a case study analysis strategy, based on the four mobile phone service providers in Jordan, Orange, Zain, Umniah, and XPress. A thematic analysis, within case analysis, and cross case analysis is conducted to provide a profile of branding strategies within the competitive context. The second is a quantitative stage, and involved a questionnaire survey of users of mobile phone services in Jordan. Respondents were university students; 648 responses were received. Descriptive data analysis was used in order to profile the use and usage of mobile phone services, with specific reference to issues such as brand awareness, brand image, and consumer attributes. Next, Principal Components Analysis (PCA) and multiple regression were used to refine the proposed list of antecedents to brand preference, and to investigate the relative significance of the antecedents. The case study analysis of the branding strategies of the four mobile service providers generated a rich picture of branding strategies in their competitive context. There is strong evidence that branding strategy has a significant impact on both market share and brand preference, although other factors such as being first in the market intervene in direct relationships between brand strategy and its outcomes. Specifically, Zain is the market leader, but Orange is seen to be more proactive and to have a more coherent and consistent branding strategy; this has allowed Orange to achieve second-place in the marketplace, but Zain's longevity has denied it first position. Similarly, XPress, whose brand strategy is almost non-existent, is languishing in fourth place. Key findings are that brand strategy is a multicomponent concept, is typically determined top-down, involves added values, and that strategies and tactics must be consistent and coherent. The descriptive part of the quantitative analysis reveals that customers respond to company brand strategy in the ways that the company marketers wish them to respond. For instance, this is witnessed by the low levels of consumer perceptions of XPress services, and the conversely high perceptions of those of Zain and Orange. These differences in perception reflect the importance given to branding by the companies. The inferential part of quantitative analysis reveals that brand preference antecedents could be simplified, from an original list of 14 to a working one of 11. All these antecedents are important, but one service-location and employee-was not. All of these significant antecedents individually accounted for only a small proportion of the variance of brand preference, which suggests that there are a large number of contributing factors impacting on the formation of brand preference. Amongst these antecedents, controlled communication (i.e advertising) had the most significant impact, and this supports the case for continued investment in advertising as a key component of brand strategy. In addition, uncontrolled communication (publicity and WOM) was also identified as important, and, brand managers might usefully explore their strategies for influencing WOM.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available