Automobile Companies’ Advertising Strategy in the UK

Abstract

One of the key factors in successfully marketing of any product requires a through and careful understanding of the motivation, learning beliefs and decision making process of the consumers. This becomes especially important in the case of automobiles since the decision to purchase an automobile involves a huge financial outlay on the part of the consumers. Theories that have dealt with the consumer purchasing behavior have found to be more useful in managerial decision making in effective and efficient development and launching of new products. It also helps the corporations in the market segmentation and effective brand management. The underlying concept in assessing and impacting the consumer behavior is the advertising strategies being adopted by the manufacturers.

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This study using the quantitative and qualitative social research methods have found that with the increased availability of information on the features and performance of automobiles through internet the customers are less influenced by the advertising strategies. This has created the necessity for more consumer research about the attitudes and behaviors of the consumers so that effective advertising strategies can be incorporated in the sales promotion of automobiles by a meaningful analysis of changes in consumer preferences and choices.

Introduction

This chapter introduces the topic to be covered by the study. The reasons why this research was undertaken and the main objectives of the study also are detailed in this chapter. This chapter is concluded with a synopsis on the structure of the dissertation on the impact of advertising strategy of the automobile companies.

Advertising in Automobile Industry – a Background

Automobile advertising offers a wide operating field for the researchers on the subject. There are numerous advertisements relating to the cars and other automobiles. It is also possible to track them in a relatively transparent way. There are trade magazines publishing research statistics on major auto brands on a quarterly, half yearly or yearly basis. These statistics show the amount spent by each of the major brands under different heads of advertisements. Mostly these statistics cover the amounts spent by the manufacturers. Sometimes they also include the advertising costs of those ads placed by the manufacturer along with the dealers. When the statistics specifically exclude the advertisements placed by the dealers, the statistics become more useful for evaluating the advertising budgets.

For each type of products there is a saturation point for the amount of advertising expenses to be incurred. In the case of automobiles the saturation point is more apparent and can be easily established. There is the unique optimal saturation point for each automobile manufactures like Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota and Fiat. The saturation point for the automobile manufacturers can be estimated in advance and this point can be used in planning the respective advertising strategies.

A saturation point means an optimal advertising budget in terms of profitability. Once a manufacturer precisely establishes the saturation point it can be used as a key criterion on which the adequacy and efficiency of the advertising budget can be judged. It is to be reiterated that the saturation point for the automobiles can be easily distinguished for each automobile brand, quite unlike other brands for consumer product brands. This is so due to so many reasons.

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First reason is that the cost of purchase is very large. The automobiles are not like ordinary products like beer or any other consumable item and the automobiles are not being bought as impulsive purchases. It is quite usual for the automobile manufacturers to put efforts to distinguish their brands with advertisements attaching more importance to life style features and other attractions to catch the emotional imagery of the customers. (Evan Hirsh and Mark Schweizer, 2005) However the customers use their rationality to make a decision on purchases.

The selection of a particular kind of car is made based on the type of car they need. Once the kind of car needed is decided then the customers make a selection of the brand based on their own experience or on the experiences of their acquaintances or friends.(Paul Beelen, 2006) Sometimes they depend on the reports from trade journals or other magazines. Automobile websites are the other source of information which the customer depends for their purchasing decisions. They contain a lot of information on the products like on the engines, accessories, performance, safety aspects and pricing. (Nabil Razzouk et al. 2003)

It is often difficult to make the customer to switch from one brand to another and it is not easy as in the case of any other consumer items. Therefore it becomes easier to correlate the changes in market share with the changes in the amount spent on advertising by the auto makers.

However the fact remains that the advertising budgets in the automobile industry has continuously been set without any strategic application. Recent trends in automotive advertising involving emotion based advertisements and use of alternative forms of media has enhanced the need for additional resources for advertising. (Michele A. Motichka, 2003)

Although large amount of time is being spent by the senior executives and leaders in setting the unit price of the vehicles, comparatively very less time is only spent on arriving at the advertising budgets. Various factors like running different price point scenarios for each product line, designing different vehicle configurations and strategies for sales promotions are considered in all pricing decisions, while the ad spending is decided on the basis of the affordability of the manufacturers.

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Mostly considerations like the amount spent on advertising in the previous period, the actions of the competitors in terms of ad spending and the percentage of advertising cost on the total retail price go into the decisions regarding the advertisement budgets. In other words the advertisement spending budget is determined on the basis of the perceived need to outspend the competitors’ budgets rather than the amount needed to capture the maximum market share.

Therefore the automobile makers always face the dilemma of keeping up with the competitors and this makes them to spend more just to remain in place without really considering the ultimate impact of the advertising on the consumer preferences. But still there will be no guarantee that the increased spending on advertisements by the manufacturers than their competitors will result in the increase of the customer base. However, advertising is regarded as a means of reinforcing the compulsive consumer behavior by making continuous promises which might not be fulfilled when the customer indulges in an act of buying on the basis of the advertisements. (Anderson, 1995) In this context this study envisages to present a report on the impact of the advertising strategies of the automobile companies in creating a positive mindset of UK customers.

Reasoning for Selection of the Study

In the midst of rich advertisements featuring celebrities and the expression of lifestyle concepts the automobile advertisements of present day has become an interesting subject matter of study. This is so because basically the automobile manufacturers face stiff competition among brands, and this makes the manufacturers adopt different advertising strategy to promote their own brands. This study covers the effectiveness of such advertisement strategies and their impact on the consumers to make a positive decision in favor of certain brands.

It is interesting to study how the advertising budgets are arrived at different automobile manufacturers as according to the theory the manufacturers really consider other aspects like the moves of the competitors with respect to advertising budgets than obtaining the maximum market share by meeting the customer expectations.

Research Issues

This research aims to study the impact of the advertising strategies of the automobile manufacturers in creating a positive attitude in the minds of the UK automobile customers. In order to attain this aim this research envisages accomplishing the following objectives.

  1. To study the reaction of the UK automobile customers with respect to the adverting covering various automobile brands
  2. To study and report on the different strategies being adopted by the automobile manufacturers for creating their advertising plans
  3. To study the impact of different strategies of advertising on the attitudes of the customers to ascertain the extent to which the strategies affect the attitudes

This research aims to arrive at plausible answers for the following research questions:

  1. What are all the key criteria taken into account by the automobile manufacturers in deciding on the advertising strategies?
  2. Do the automobile manufacturers really adopt strategies to create positive mindset in the UK customers?
  3. Are the customers really get impressed about the advertising strategies by the automobile manufacturers and make positive purchase decisions?

Research Methods

In order to complete the research a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods have been employed. Under quantitative research method the study used a survey questionnaire with questions directed to the automobile customers about their experience and attitude towards the automobile advertisements. Randomly selected samples among the automobile customers were presented with the questionnaire to present their views and opinions on the effectiveness of the automobile advertisements in changing their mindset to make positive purchase decisions in favor of any particular decisions.

A structured interview has been conducted as the qualitative research method among different automobile dealers to find out the criteria they take into account on deciding the advertising strategies. Questions have been drafted to find out their perceptions about the impact of the strategies being adopted by them to draft the advertisement for various brands.

Limitations of the Study

The foremost limitation of the study is that there are a number of attributes that the customer considers in making their purchase decisions which could not be accommodated in the questionnaire. Since the decisions of the customers depend on various factors the study had a limitation of precisely arriving at the factors which influence the customers’ decisions.

Another serious limitation the study had was that it was difficult to interview the senior leaders and executives of the automobile manufacturers to ascertain their viewpoints on the criteria being adopted by them in arriving the advertising strategies, either because they did not have time or due to the confidentiality of the issue they did not want to discuss the advertising strategies. This has forced the researcher to conduct the interviews with some major automobile dealers.

Structure of Dissertation

In order to present a comprehensive report this dissertation is divided into different chapters. The introductory chapter which details the objectives of the study and the research methods is being followed by chapter 2. Under chapter 2 a detailed review of available literature on marketing and advertising of automobiles is presented. This chapter is followed by chapter 3 which details the research methods being adopted for completing this study.

This chapter also contains a detailed report on the findings of the study and an analysis of the findings. The answers found by the study for the research questions are also presented in this chapter. Chapter 4 contains some concluding remarks and few recommendations on improving the advertising strategies by the automobile manufacturers. Finally chapter 5 details the experience and reflections of the researcher and the challenges that were faced by the researcher in conducting the research.

Review of Literature

Introduction

The objective of commercial advertising is mainly to influence the purchasing practices of the consumers. Advertising is an essential element for the survival and growth of profit-making organizations. Accordingly it becomes important for the corporate entities to devote their resources for developing commercial messages which have the effect of influencing particular group of people.

The purpose again of such messages is to encourage the consumers to consider the purchase of a particular product or service. The other purpose of advertising is to promote a general perception about the particular product or service the advertisement refers. These messages in fact make the customer form an opinion on the quality and durability of product or service and arrive at his/her decision on the purchase. The type of the messages contained in the advertising may be subtle or overt depending on the advertising strategy adopted by the manufacturer.

For instance the advertising message of an automobile manufacturer while highlighting the safety aspect of their vehicles may coin an overt advertising message saying that their vehicles scored high in the safety tests conducted by the government. Alternatively the manufacturer may choose just to highlight the safety features of the vehicles which will be a subtle message for the customer. This chapter makes a detailed presentation of a review of the available literature on the marketing and advertising strategies of automobile manufactures in UK for creating a positive attitude in the mindset of customers in the country.

Advertising – A Background

Advertising is the mechanism used to create a desire for different products in the minds of the customers. Jhally (1987) considers advertising is working to create a false need among the consumers and in fact such needs are of the manufacturers rather than the consumers. However this view is refuted by the advertising professionals by pointing out that the purpose of advertising is to inform the public about the availability of the products in the market.

According to Campbell (2000) the consumers do not merely act on the basis of advertising but use their discretion makes their decisions on a purposeful manner. Just like the consumption of material items, advertising has the ability to solve the problems being encountered by the consumers with respect to the products and it also guarantees the consumers that emotional happiness and well-being within the act of consumption. Anderson (1995) comments this aspect prevents the understanding of the working of the economic world by distracting the attention of the consumers. Baudrillard (1998) considers advertising as consisting of messages which describe the products as evidence of ‘miraculous abundance’.

It is the presumption of the advertisers that the consumers have become more advertising savvy with the ability to easily identify and reject advertising messages which have been crafted to create false needs for the products with the aim of selling the products which the consumers are not in actual need of. The recent phase of advertising has become more sophisticated which is in line with the consumer sophistication. One example of this development can be found in the television advertising where 10 second product advertisements are designed just in the same way as other television programs. This according to the experts does not induce the consumers to skip them (Fetto, 2000).

Other trend in advertising is the advertising through internet search engines where the advertisers pay the search engine company. It is the function of the advertising company to put the advertisements at the top of the recommended websites to catch the attention of the prospective consumers (Lemmons 1996). Yet another variation of internet advertising takes the form of information on message boards, discussion groups and news groups about the product superiority and the intention of such mode is to create false peer recommendations (O’Leary, 2000)

Advertising also creates and uses the negative feeling against some practices or actions of mankind and try to sell the products which prevent such practices or actions. Anderson (1995) severely criticizes the hypocrisy behind advertising and cites several examples of on that score. One example as cited by Anderson is the promotion of Nike shoes through its advertising campaign as the shoes equate human dignity and spiritual fulfillment which is considered more ironic as Nike uses the sweatshops in the third world countries for the manufacture of its products.

Another factor which is incorporated in to the marketing strategy is the environmental concerns. The environmental concerns which are the direct responses of the pressures from the environmental groups or the governments concerned have been converted into marketing devices through which the companies market their products and maintain their earning levels. For instance the domestic electrical goods companies use the energy saving mechanisms of their washing machines and dish washers as unique selling points of their products. (Edwards 2000)

Frank (1997) identifies the marketing strategy of last few decades include the creation of a hostility among youngsters towards the established tastes and preferences. It is argued that in fact this attitude of the advertisers has enhanced the consumer desirability for frequent changes in tastes and preferences. As Whiteley (1993) rightly puts this in turn has created a more rapid pace of changes in designs and this has resulted in the creation of a socio-economic system where the presumption of limitless growth and continued state of desire prevails among the consumers. (Miles, 1998)

As far as the advertising in automobile industry is concerned, the advertisements are so designed to promote the mythic dimensions of comfortable driving. They perpetuate the feeling that the driving a car is associated with man’s freedom and the feeling of independence or personal success of the person driving the car. All the automobile advertisement are careful in avoiding the dismal reality of the tiresome, uninspiring and costly features of owning a car and promotes the feeling relaxation, safety and joyfulness for the people driving a car. Thus due to advertising messages in automobile advertising the fantasy or ideal of car driving is made to shadow the detailed significance of the automobile itself. (Edwards, 2000)

Role of Advertising and Consumer Behavior

Villas-Boas (2004) consider advertising to have the effect of influencing the aggregate demand, as the consumers will start thinking of buying any product or service only when some advertisement of the product or service reaches them. According to the author the cost of advertising will have its own impact on the optimal number of products being sold as well as the levels of quality of the products which are differentiated vertically.

It is a commonly accepted fact that advertising will have an impact on the consumer behavior through different ways. There is the informative role of advertising advocated by several research scholars (e.g., Stigler (1961), Telser (1964), Nelson (1970, 1974), Stigler and Becker (1977). Others have debated on the persuasive role of advertising (e.g. V Dixit and Norman (1978), Kotowitz and Mathewson (1979), Shapiro (1980), Schmalensee (1986), Becker and Murphy (1993) The fundamental difference between informative and persuasive role of advertising is brought out by the fact whether the consumption utility of the consumer is can undergo a change by a possible change the weight of consumer preferences as a result of advertising.

The impact of advertising on price elasticity could be varied based on underlying effect of advertising. Banerjee and Bandyopadhyay (2003) recently have developed the study of dual role of advertising and have found different ways of modeling the effect of persuasive advertising on the consumer preferences.

Advertising is considered as the second important area for consideration of allocating incremental resources next to product development. Every year the automobile manufacturers spend billion of dollars in various modes of advertising with the sole aim of influencing the consumers for making a decision to buy their products. The focus of this paper is on the advertising strategies which influence the consumer preferences towards the advertised product as against the advertisements which details product information. Some of the automobile advertising does not contain detailed information about the product attributes, product pricing or financing the purchase of the products.

Instead the advertisements serve the purpose of persuading the potential buyers about the passion of owning specific brands of automobile and deriving the driving pleasure out of such vehicles. However there are other automobile manufacturers like Toyota which provide detailed information on the product attributes and financing terms. This is the general pattern of advertising strategies being followed by most of the automobile manufacturers. The idea is to inform the suitability of the products to meet the consumer preferences and needs and at the same time the firms use the advertisements to impact the valuation of the product by the consumers.

Advertising and Branding

Considerably large investments are required in brand advertising for building up strong brands in the market amidst stiff competition (Aaker, 1995) Al though, large corporations are more careful about their advertising budgets, the investment in advertising spends represents a vitally important element in the economy. Advertising Age news service have identified the automobile industry has spent at least 27.3 percent of the global advertising expenditure in the year 2001.

This makes the automobile industry ranking the first one in the industries to spend on advertisements. It is a fact to be noted that advertising in automobile industry is more brand centered. It is the practice in the automobile industry to use a single or limited number of brands to market a number of different products. The industry is found to have been adopting the practice of promoting the brand in parallel to their individual models having distinct features and for this purpose the manufacturers use different advertising media. In fact the specific models of automobiles are marketed by the manufactures using their brand image.

This has resulted in the creation of considerable brand value for successful automobile manufactures. For example Business Week has ranked Mercedes Benz as the most valuable car brand having a value of $ 21.1 billion in the year 2002 among the top 10 automobile brands. At that point of time Ford had a brand value of $ 20.4 billion and Toyota $ 19.4 billion. (Business Week)

Luo and Donthu (2001) argue advertising accountability has become a vital issue in automobile industry considering the enormous amount of spending on advertising by auto manufacturers. Aaker and Carman (1982) comment since there is always over advertising by the automobile companies the advertising efficiency measure as a ratio of output in the form of consumer awareness or purchase intention to the input in the form of advertising budget is always low.

Marketing Theories

For conducting this study it is important to consider some marketing theories which will be applied while analyzing the responses from the respondents of the survey as well as while conducting the interviews with some of the major automobile dealers. One of the theories is the one constructed by Homans (1974). This theory involves concepts of reward frequency, reward value, critical mass of rewards and approving behavior. The approving behavior model is being used for analyzing and describing the consumer loyalty. According to this model wherever there is greater value of rewards being received by the buyer, there will be a stronger display of approving behavior.

Another model developed by Levy & Zaltman (1975) uses six types of social changes table involving time and societal levels to explain the social changes, which corporations take into account while marketing of their products. “These include attitude and behavior change, normative and administrative change, invention/innovation and revolution, life-cycle change, organizational change, and socio-cultural evolution”. Similarly marketing pricing strategies cannot be overlooked while detailing the advertising strategies of automobile manufacturers. Pricing is an important factor that the auto manufacturers take into account while positioning their products in the market.

With the change in the class of a car, the price may be fixed high without any significant change in the design or features. But the image projected of the car would automatically change making a positive influence in the mindset of the consumer. This change often equates a change in the quality and prestige although in fact there may not be any significant variation in the utility or comfort.

According to Marchand (1985) there are eight hidden needs of the consumers which need to be satisfied with the products they select for buying which the marketers use for their product marketing campaign. This research will take into account five out of the eight needs; the needs are selling emotional security, assurance of the worth of the product, ego-gratification, sense of power and sense of roots.

By emotional security, the consumer is provided the satisfaction that the purchase of a car would give the consumer a dependable mode of transportation. This mode of transportation would be used by the consumer for both leisure and professional activities. Reassurance of worth, ego-gratification and sense of power are the inner feelings of the consumers which identifies the self-esteem of the consumers as related to other people. A sense of roots refers to the better part of lives of the consumer may be relating to their younger periods.

Huitt (2002) refers to the findings of Maslow a researcher in psychology who advocated the presence of a distinct hierarchy of human needs which could impact the human behavior. According to Maslow there are deficiency needs and growth needs; deficiency needs include physiological, safety, belongingness and love. The growth needs get activated only when the deficiency needs are met fully. Maslow recognized the self-actualization as the only growth need. “This need is defined as realizing one’s potential, being concerned about personal growth, being problem-focused and appreciating life” (Allegience Telecomm, 2003)

Perhaps these are the needs that the advertisers and marketers use in their advertising strategies by which they would like their potential customers to feel good by purchasing their products. In fact these eight needs are subtly included in the advertisements to show how a product could make the consumer happy by meeting the needs. The broad strategy under which the marketing works is that if the consumer feels that he needs to be appreciated and feel a part of the group and if a product will be able to meet these objectives then the consumer would not hesitate to buy the product. (Marchand 1985)

However it is vitally important that the companies think of advertising strategies which promote the satisfaction of the needs having a direct connection with the product. It is for the advertisers to create advertisements having the effect of capturing the attention of the customers and making them feel that the advertisements are intended for interacting with them only. Thus the advertisements should represent the current social conditions of the times during which the advertisements are displayed. This would make the advertisements which were relevant six months back irrelevant now. According to Marchand (1985) the advertisements should present a picture of life which the consumers would like to live in or at best they can identify themselves with.

It is possible that all the above discussed marketing theories can be combined with a discussion of priming effects. According to Pan& Kosnicki (1997) priming theory is based on the media coverage of an issue which describes the important feature of that issue in the content of the media. Miller & Krosnik (1997) point out priming can be invoked by drawing the attention of the consumers to an issue or object without taking a position on the issue.

In the case of advertising for automobiles, there is a significant usage of marketing theories to attract the attention of the consumers. The automobile advertisements in general describe the product attributes and distinguishing features of the products and allow the consumers to form an opinion about the products. All the criteria pertaining to the advertisements like display of current conditions of time and presentation of a picture of life for the consumers are being followed by the advertisements in respect of automobile advertisements.

Market Segmentation

The latest strategy in marketing being adopted by the advertisers is the lifestyle marketing which has gained popularity in recent times. According to Hanan (1972) lifestyle marketing is a strategy that seizes “the concept of a market according to its most meaningful, recurrent patterns of attitudes and activities”.

The strategies are then tailor-made as promotional ones to fit into these patterns. Even though this concept of designing the marketing strategies exists for quite some time, there has been a recent fillip to the use of this marketing strategy. The reason for such insurgence is that the marketers are now indulging in segmenting their advertising messages to varied audiences who share similar backgrounds along with similar patterns of purchasing and common interests. According to Michman (1991) lifestyle and personality are two multidimensional ways of viewing consumer behavior.

This allows for the consideration of factor interrelationships. Various social influences and individual personal value system are the root cause for the emergence of life styles. This puts a responsibility on the marketers to study their target market needs carefully. They must also consider the way in which target customers live, the ways in which they are spending their money and the ways in which they make purchase decisions. The knowledge about these things makes the marketers to gain the necessary knowledge for positioning their products to result in the most successful marketing.

Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty is the decision of the consumer taken consciously or unconsciously to continuously purchase a product. The consumer expresses this decision through his/her intention or behavior. Brand loyalty arises from the perception of the consumer about the brand that offers best features of the product, image of the product or the quality levels of the products at an attractive price which is the right one for the product. It is job of the marketers to break the consumer habits, enable them to acquire new habits and persuade them to continue to buy their products in the future. This persuasion is being effected by the marketers by reinforcing the new habits acquired by the consumers.

There has been consensus among scholars that the final step of brand-building process is the establishment of a strong relationship between the brand and the consumers. (Dyson et al., 1996; Franzen, 2001; Keller, 2001a, 2001b, 2003) and a vitally important element in this relationship is the brand loyalty. Studies have been undertaken by several authors on the term loyalty and there have been numerous findings on the determinants of brand loyalty (Day (1969), Lutz & Winn (1974), Jacoby & Chestnut (1978), Dick & Basu (1994), Oliver (1997) and Fornell et al. (1996)

According to these studies the concept of loyalty consists of both attitudes and behaviors of the consumers. Jacoby & Chestnut (1978) define brand loyalty as a result of two components:

  1. A favorable attitude toward the brand,
  2. Repurchase of the brand over time.

Therefore according to this definition the positive mindset of the consumer is an important aspect of brand loyalty and it is not enough if there is only a repurchase activity. It is quite possible that a customer despite having a negative attitude towards a brand would still end up with buying that brand due to different reasons like the out of stock situation of his favorite brand or limited means of the customer to buy his favorite brand. Johnson (1998) points out attitudes while are more tangible than the behavior it becomes important that they are combined to study the loyalty instead of being disregarded in the context of building loyalty.

Determinants of Brand Loyalty

Considering the brands in the automobile industry, the brand image of the products of a company forms the principal source of its competitive strength. Therefore it is considered as one of the strategic assets of the company. It is always the endeavor of the automobile companies to disseminate information containing a strong and clear message which marks their products distinct from those of the competitors as well as deliver the message in a memorable and positive manner so that a positive mindset is created among the customers. In this process the companies face the challenge of not creating a muddled or negative image among the consumers.

At the same time the advertisement strategies should be so framed that they create a brand vision or identity that promotes a brand as something greater than a set of attributes that cannot be easily surpassed. This emphasizes that it is for the automobile companies to make their brands to be viewed as more than a product or service but as an overall brand image. This brand image should possess the capabilities of projecting the identity of the company and should also possess a distinct personality.

Just in the same way a person should posses characters that could easily draw the attention of other people, the brand should also possess such a personality which could easily attract the customers and make them buy the products represented by the brand. The creation of a strong symbol or logo should go a long way in creating brand loyalty among the customers by projecting the brand easily identifiable.

The loyalty of the customers is considered to exist when the customer has a continued relationship with the company. This relationship at best can be measured by the repurchases the customer makes and such repurchases represent the purchasing intention of the customer as well as his future behavior. Another condition for identifying the customer loyalty is the possibility of the customer buying other products of the company due to his continued relationship with the company. This is known as the possibility of additional cross sales due to customer loyalty. The increased purchase activity by the buyer thus represents the behavioral intention of the customers. (Anne Martesan, 2004)

However the brand loyalty is also identified by certain kind of attitudinal loyalty where the customer is guided by the feeling that the products under some brand are unique in nature and thus become attractive as compared to those of the competitors. These may be considered as more general ways of perceiving what loyalty is. However according to Keller (2001) ”the strongest affirmation of brand loyalty is when customers are willing to invest time, energy, money, or other resources into the brand beyond those expended during purchase or consumption”

Marketing Strategies and Brand Loyalty

It has been established that at all stages of a product life cycle from the design of the product till the extension of a brand which is already matured, the marketing strategies to remain effective should be based on a thorough and clear understanding of the motivation, learning, memory and decision process of the customers which influence the purchasing decisions of the customers.

All the theories of consumer behavior have been made to depend largely on the “managerial decisions involving development and launching of new products, segmentation, timing of market entry, and brand management”. This has necessitated the study and detailed examination of the subject of brand loyalty to great extent. Marketing strategies that have taken into account the concept of branding have proved successful as branding so far has been one of the most influencing factors in deciding the consumer behavior and the consequent success o failure of the product in the market.

Branding has a large impact on the perception of the consumers on the company owning specific brands. Therefore it can be stated that brands just do not represent the company’s products but they are considered as the symbol of the company. This is where exactly the marketers could find the core of the values of the company’s products.

Brand Loyalty in Automobile Market

According to Light (1991) a customer who is loyal to particular brand will be nine times profitable as compared to one who is non-loyal. In respect of automobile industry Jacoby’s (1971) definition of brand loyalty can be regarded as more fitting one. Jacoby (1971) defines brand loyalty as “the biased (non-random) behavioral response (purchase) expressed over time by some decision-making unit with respect to one or more alternative brands out of a set of brands and is a function of psychological processes”.

In order to develop loyalty among customers for a specific car brand, the product must possess certain unique features and values which make customers irresistible buying the product. Nilson (1998) opines tangible values of products in the form of benefits, abstract values in the form of emotional attraction and intangible values in the form of unique character form a combination of factors on which successful brands are built. The combination among the three factors that is more important for the marketing success of any automobile brand.

Ha (1998) provides a new dimension to the brand loyalty in attributing the success of brand loyalty to a combination of cognitive response from the consumer, subjective norm and purchase behavior of the customers. According to Vincent (2002) marketing a brand which has acquired a legendary value seems to be more difficult than the efforts put on marketing a brand which is a non-legendary one. In the case of automobiles, the personal narrative of a person that coincides with the mythology of any specific brand induces him/her to make the purchasing decision in favor of that product.

This purchase also results in a reaffirmation of a self-concept in relation to the product and the customer tends to relay the same image to friends and acquaintances. This implies that a brand should have a personal narrative just in the same way people have their own narratives.

Brand Associations

Another important factor that needs consideration by the advertisers and marketers is that the automobile companies in order to create a positive mindset in the consumers should be able to develop a strong brand association among the consumers. Aaker (1996) defines brand association as anything that is linked in the memory in connection with the brand. Automobile manufacturers use brand associations to create strong feelings in the minds of the consumers and by doing this they differentiate their products. This gives them an opportunity to create a strong position for their products in relation to the competition.

On the part of the consumers the brand association enables them to collect and assimilate information to organize and control information in their memories so that at the time a purchasing decision is to be made this information becomes handy. In this process the brand association forms the starting point for any customer to form an opinion about a brand. This also aids the decisions of the customer with respect to the buying of any specific brand.

Consumer Behavior in Automobile Industry

In respect of automobile purchases most of the consumers are often inspired by the previous purchase and this contributes for the development of an attitude towards the automobiles. In this case ‘attitude’ becomes the evaluating ability of the customer based on the judgment of prior or current experience. This experience encompasses the satisfaction derived by the consumer from the dealers, or the products and services of dealers like after sales service and service during warranty period, driving experience of the automobile owner and also the socio-economic status of the buyer. In some cases it may also become possible that the consumer develops an attitude based on his/her prior information without having an actual experience.

This attitude leads to the development of preferences or biases on the part of the consumers guided by the brand image of the specific product in the market place. The purchasing power of an individual also has a large influence on the behavior of the consumers. For instance in some cases the consumers may have a favorable attitude towards specific brands of cars especially luxury cars but may not have sufficient purchasing power.

In some other cases specific brands in the luxury car segments might get neglected by the consumers who possess an over-purchasing power. In defining the customer attitude towards purchase of automobiles there are objective and subjective factors that influence the mindset of the customers. The objective factors are;

  1. reliability,
  2. quality,
  3. durability,
  4. safety,
  5. security,
  6. performance,
  7. efficiency,
  8. technology and
  9. handling.

The subjective variables are;

  1. value,
  2. style,
  3. comfort,
  4. prestige,
  5. status and
  6. visual impact. (Jakrapan Anurit et al,)

According to Markin (1969) different types of consumers are influenced differently by these attributes, due to the reason that “the cognition, feelings and response dispositions of the customers are organized into a set of patterned emotional reactions”. This influence is largely driven by the variations in demographic, geographic, psychographic or lifestyle factors. Therefore the mindset of buyers changes from individual to individual even in the same society. This necessitated the supply chain agents of automobile like manufacturers, companies and dealers to focus on the type of customers who will buy their products so that proper market segmentation for the products can be established. In fact this forms the basis of the advertising strategies for the automobile manufacturers to change the mindset of the customers into positive ones.

Advertising Theories

The most common assumption about advertising and marketing theories is that they are capable of making alterations in the attitudes of the consumers with respect to any particular product. There are a number of theories totaling approximately four hundred and fifty that have been evolved as the manner in which advertising works and effects the consumer behaviors. (Broadbent, 1992) Out of these the AIDA advertising effects model is considered as more authentic and forms the standard for describing the influence of advertisements on consumers.

According to this model, the customer passes through the stages of awareness, interest, desire and action before he/she takes a purchasing decision in respect of any specific product over the others. Therefore it follows that the customers should have awareness about a product before they can make a purchasing decision in the product’s favor. It is the job of advertising to be creative enough to affect the attitudes of the customers towards any brand that results in an eventual purchase of the product.

Conclusion

This chapter presented a detailed review of available literature on the basic marketing and advertising concepts including brand loyalty and brand association the study of which are considered very vital to influence the customer behavior and attitudes. Building brand loyalty thus is seen as an important prerequisite for successful marketing of automobile brands. In the next chapters the consumer behavior and their presumptions on the automobile brands will be analyzed based on the information and data gathered by adopting suitable research methods.

Research Methods and Approaches

This chapter has been framed in such a way to present different aspects of a social research by detailing the underlying features of different social research methods and their respective features. This research was conducted using qualitative method as well as quantitative research methods. These are the major social research methods being employed by researchers. This chapter also discusses the appropriateness of the research methods selected and the steps that were followed for accomplishing the research objectives.

Introduction

Based on the information gathered out of the literature review the study could get an in-depth insight into automobile advertising in general. The literatures reviewed also described the impact of different factors on the decision making process of the customers with respect to their automobile purchases. The role played by brand loyalty and brand association on the automobile advertising and sales promotion was also discussed in detail as described in various available literatures.

Under this chapter, an extensive report on the importance aspects of the social research approaches used for accomplishing the aims of this research along with the process undertaken to complete the research are presented. The sources and approaches of gathering of information for carrying out this research, the process involved in the identification of samples, construction and distribution of questionnaire and the process of conducting structured interviews are also detailed hereunder.

Review of Literature on Research Methods

In order to make a meaningful report on the study carried out on the advertising strategies being adopted by the automobile manufacturers for creating positive mindset among the UK customers it becomes important to gather a clear understanding of the important aspects of various research methods, tools, procedures, approaches and techniques used in the current study.

According to Jhonson (1995) the definition of social research can be construed as an enquiry conducted in a systematic manner. This enquiry extends to areas beyond the knowledge of the people that is perceived in general. The objective of such enquiry is to acquire detailed knowledge and information on the issues being researched which form the basis for conducting an analysis and presented detailed comments thereon. Because of the fact that any social research is attempted through a systematic process of investigation on the specific issues or subjects it becomes essential that certain distinct research tools and techniques are employed for gathering the required information. The research techniques to be employed will depend on the social research method chosen for conducting the study.

Research Methodology – a Background

White (2000) observes that the research approach being used for investigation by the researcher can be termed as research methodology. Methodology usually denotes the philosophical basis which forms the foundation for the research being conducted. In order to gather the detailed information essential for accomplishing the aims of this research, it was considered necessary that proper and fitting research methods are chosen and followed. There are two major research methods that have gained popularity among the social researchers and scholars. These are the quantitative and qualitative research methods.

There are various methods like available for gathering data and information on social research studies. However it is important that the data collection methods chosen are appropriate and are in accordance with the purpose of accomplishing the aims of the research. The topic under research forms the basis for choosing the proper research method to be adopted. For carrying out the research on ‘advertising strategy of automobile companies in creating a positive attitude in the mindset of UK customers’ the quantitative and qualitative research methods were considered as the most appropriate ones.

This selection of research method was made after a thorough analysis of all the existing research approaches and their respective advantages and disadvantages. The appropriateness of the chosen methods were analyzed in the light of relevance to the topic under study and were ascertained to be the appropriate ones for the collection of data and information for arriving at conclusive decisions on the research. This chapter describes the features of both qualitative and quantitative method and the appropriateness of the research approaches for the purpose of the research.

Quantitative Research Method

White (2000) defines quantitative research as an investigation in which the results consist of numerical values. These numerical results are subjected to mathematical and statistical analysis for evaluation of the findings of the study. Since the qualitative research is based on numerical values it has to employ objective ways of gathering and interpreting various issues connected with the research. The quantitative research method is also regarded as ‘positivist approach’ since the research approach is based on scientific evaluations. As the name suggests quantitative research method uses techniques which are focussed on quantitative information. The basis for research analysis thus is the numerical data collected and analyzed using statistical and mathematical formulas and processes.

Qualitative Research

Cresswell (1994) defines qualitative research as

An inquiry process of understanding a social or human problem, based on building a complex, holistic picture, formed with words, reporting detailed views of informants, and conducted in a natural setting”

The basis on which the qualitative research works is through a close look at the words, actions and records of real world people whereas under the quantitative technique the research is given a mathematical significance which extends beyond the actions and words of the people. The patterns of meaning that emanate from the information gathered from the participants form the core area of focus for the qualitative method. It is for the researcher to identify these patterns which exist within these expressions of words and actions and present the patterns in a readable manner to those interested in studying the result of the research. While doing this the researcher has to adhere to the world as perceived by the participants so that a realistic picture of the results can be presented to the readers.

Denzin & Lincoln (1994) attributes an interpretive and naturalistic approach to the topic of study. This implies that the researcher has to conduct the study in natural settings. Stallings (1995) is of the opinion that qualitative method is being employed in the educational research area out of the necessity to have an appropriate research method. Qualitative research method being the most used research method social research assignments encompasses a descriptive report on the views and opinions of the samples. This method also considers the relative narratives put forth by the informants in their own setting and hence is considered as a naturalistic approach.

Important Aspects of Qualitative Research Method

The important aspects of this research approach have been identified by several research scholars. (See Bogdan and Biklen, 1982; Lincoln and Guba, 1985; Patton 1990; Eisner, 1991)

The academicians have made the following findings on the important aspects of qualitative research method:

  1. The researcher in the case of qualitative research method has to do his research under natural setting which serves the source of data. The researcher maintains what is known as an ‘emphatic neutrality’
  2. Inductive analysis method will be used by the researcher and there will be descriptive reports having an expressive language
  3. There are special criteria that are used to judge the trustworthiness of the qualitative research.
  4. An interpretive character with the ability to discover the hidden meanings of the events being narrated by the people who experience them.

Rationale behind Using the Qualitative Research Method

According to Strauss and Corbin (1990) qualitative research method promotes a clear and thorough understanding of the issues about which there is no detailed information or knowledge. The capability of the qualitative data to analyze the issues being studied thoroughly is the prominent reason for making use of the qualitative method. This ability is important from the points of view of both the researcher and of the readers. Since the qualitative research reports which are very detailed in nature get more insight into the participants’ experience of the world and hence becomes more meaningful (Stake 1978)

Myers (1997), states the objective of qualitative research method is to provide the researcher the capability to analyze the contexts and also the actions of the people. The contexts include the social and cultural ones that determine the courses of action of the people. Myers (1997) is of the opinion that the purpose of understanding the issues from the standpoint of respondents will be missing when the textual data take the form of quantifications. In the process the specific social and institutional contexts will also be lost completely.

Major Sources of Data

In any social research assignment normally two sources are being employed for the collection of information and data. The sources used are; (i) primary sources and (ii) secondary sources. These two methods of collecting data are quite often being used by the researchers alternatively for the purpose of collecting data with respect to the studies undertaken by them.

Primary Data

According to Walliman (2005) when the information and data is collected from the sources which are direct and detached then such data are known as primary data. These sources are the ones which are prevalent in the real world which remain undeterred by the interpreters who occupy intermediate positions. Walliman (2005) has identified popular research publications and papers presented by research scholars as the sources of primary data. It is to be noted that primary data are collected through sources that are in an “inanimate form”. This collection process involves the measurement of various factors involved in the research.

The inanimate forms involved in the course of collecting data represent the events occurring with relevance to the topic under study. It is usual that such forms are represented in the analysis of the specific conditions that describe the events. The analyses take the form of reports and observation notes. The narratives of the people connected with the research are also sometimes included in the contents of primary data.

The interviews conducted with chosen samples form the prime source of primary data. It is possible to collect the primary data by distributing the questionnaire to the selected people who are known as random samples. Primary data gathered using various sources are to be tabulated for statistical analysis and presentation of reports on the basis of analysis. This research has used primary and secondary sources of data for meeting its objectives.

Secondary Data

The researcher has the liberty to choose any kind of source that is found suitable for gathering the required information and data. Normally the data that is gathered from any other source than the primary sources of data shall be construed as ‘secondary data’. Secondary sources of data include the presentations in the form of papers in professional magazines, newspaper articles and books or other printed form of materials available in any media. The resources contained in the internet being the major electronic media are also considered as the sources of secondary data. Since there are a number of sources from which the secondary data can be collected there is a greater value for secondary data. (Saunders et al 2003).

However the secondary data suffers from a basic shortcoming of unreliability. With respect to secondary data since the information and data pass through several hands, there is the likelihood that the data may contain errors which may distract the direction of the research (Walliman 2005).

In order to accomplish the aims of the research on ‘advertising strategy of automobile companies in creating a positive attitude in the mindset of UK customers’ this study has made use of several electronic resources like internet, professional presentations and articles in academic journals.

Data Analysis

Bogdan and Biklen (1982) defines qualitative data analysis as

Working with data, organizing it, breaking it into manageable units, synthesizing it, searching for patterns, discovering what is important and what is to be learned, and deciding what you will tell others”

Brown (1996) suggests the use of several computer software programs for analyzing the collected data. Strauss and Corbin (1990) have identified using a system of codes for the analysis of data. It is important to provide a reference to the speaker and the context which identifies the source of information. Even though these references might not find a place in the research report it is essential to have a reference to the speakers with the context so that identity of information can be established (Duffee and Aikenhead, 1992; Sours, 1997)

Structured Interviews

Many of the social researches depend on interviews which are regarded as one of the most popular methods of gathering information and data in connection with any social research study. According to Denscombe (2005) interviews do not require the use of any sophisticated tools or other delicate equipments. They also do not entail the expending of any time or money for collection of information and data.

The reason for the interviews do not consumer more time or efforts is that there is no need for much technical expertise for conducting interviews. However, Silverman (1985) expresses a different view point in this respect. According to him it is not possible to regard the interviews as mere pieces of conversation. They demand a thorough analysis and understanding of the contexts under which the conversations take place. Saunders et al (2003) are of the view that the interview method is one efficient technique that can be used for conducting any research.

Normally there are several types of interviews which are being used for carrying out a social research. In an interview the interviewer can discuss the issues with the interview face to face. This is advantageous for the interviewer in that he will be able to discuss and clear any misunderstanding on any of the issues connected with the research then and there while the interview is being conducted (White 2000). Denscombe (1995) considers interviews as a very flexible way of collecting the data. They are considered flexible since they guarantee the correctness and appropriateness of the data even when at the time the data is generated.

This is due to fact that interviews provide a direct point of contact. According to Silverman (1985) the interviews do not need any sophisticated equipment as they largely depend on the conversational skill of the interviewers. However one shortcoming of the interviews is that they are usually time consuming.

Survey Method

Another popular method of collecting primary data from informed sources is the survey method. Denscombe (1998) points out the major objective of a survey are to gather a detailed expression of opinions on the information collected so that they can be used for mapping.

Survey method has become popular because it serves to collect information which is both quantitative and numerical. The information and data also represents some part of the total population in the form of samples and the information is gathered through intelligent questions being put to the samples (see Creswell, 1994; Neuman, 2002; Fink, 1995). Usually the survey method facilitates the results to be generalized. The reason for this phenomenon is that there is a possibility to allow a large volume of sample to take part and respond to the survey questionnaire. However, the survey method suffers from a drawback in that sometimes the response rate may be very low vitiating the results of the study. (Aaker, Kumar & Day, 1995)

With a view to make a comprehensive and analytical report on the effectiveness of advertising strategies of automobile companies in creating a positive attitude in the mindset of UK customers, this study used the survey method. The method has been chosen with the objective of collecting information that describes, compare or explain the attitudinal and behavioral aspects of the samples which help in arriving at some plausible answers for the research issues.

Rationale behind Selection of Research Methods

Considering the advantages and disadvantages of the qualitative and quantitative research methods, both these research approaches have been selected for meeting the aims of this study.

The decision to choose the qualitative method is taken due to the subjective elements involved in the research. In the context of the chosen research area of advertising strategies of automobile manufacturers the points of views of the respondents to the interviews form the fundamental criteria for arriving at plausible answers for research questions. Therefore it was decided to employ the qualitative research method which was considered fitting for the purpose of the research.

Apart from the qualitative method, the study has employed the survey method for gathering information from the chosen samples. This has become necessary since the topic deals with the influence of automobile advertising strategies in framing a positive mindset among the UK customers. Therefore the research has to be focussed on the view points of the customers representing general public.

For assessing the attitudinal and behavioural patterns of the customers, quantitative method is the most appropriate one. Considering this phenomenon the quantitative research method is also chosen for completing this study. The quantitative data collected through the distribution of questionnaire to the selected samples will be tabulated and analyzed for finding relevant answers for the issues raised by the research.

Methodology Chosen and used for Current Study

For conducting the current research, it has become necessary to collect some quantitative information and data that could be used for making meaningful analysis and review. It was felt that this would also facilitate comprehensive comparison of information and data. Structured interviews with some of the senior officials of automobile dealers formed the major source of the qualitative information on the ‘advertising strategy of automobile companies in creating a positive attitude in the mindset of UK customers’. Because of the reason that the study was focusing on the advertising strategies of automobile companies, it was considered not necessary to collect information from alternative sources for the purpose of making a peer-review or a comparison of quantitative information and data.

On the issue of the context of the presentation of information is concerned, the advertising strategies employed by manufacturers of automobiles are one of the key issues for the growth in the sales of automobiles. Only when there is consistent growth in the automobile sales, the automobile dealers would be able to run their organizations profitably. Therefore they can be considered as well informed about the advertising strategies that will have a significant influence on the customers.

Because of this the answers of the samples to the interview questions can be regarded as being offered out of considerable experience in gauging the mindset of the consumers. The questions framed were concerning the important issues in the area of advertising strategies for automobile sales promotion, for obtaining the data for accomplishing the objectives of the study on ‘advertising strategies of automobile companies in creating a positive attitude in the mindset of UK customers’. Interviews were conducted with the senior executives of the automobile dealers at various levels who have an overall knowledge on the advertising strategies and media for advertising.

The interviews were conducted as structured interviews and the questions that were asked to the senior executives are exhibited in the appendix. The questions were drafted in such a way to extract information on the advertising strategies and the media being used by different automobile manufacturers for enhancing the sales of automobiles. The questions were framed in such a way that the respondents were free to offer information on how the companies include the attitudinal factors in the advertisements.

Samples were also selected from the information provided by friends and acquaintances on the prospective respondents. The samples selected were the public who have been using automobiles for some time and are supposed to have knowledge about different brands of automobiles and their features. The respondents were asked to provide views several attributes and factors that they consider for making their purchases of cars.

Out of the database, a total 100 target respondents were selected and questionnaire were sent to them through their email. Out of the 100 selected samples 89 respondents reverted with their views and opinions. The rest were not inclined to participate in the survey. Before the survey was done, efforts were taken to communicate properly with the samples through available modes of communication to explain the context and the purpose of the survey.

In addition to the interviews, the answers by the chosen samples to the questions contained in the questionnaire will bring out the opinions and views of the customers on the advertising strategies being adopted by the automobile companies. The answers to the survey questions will present the opinions of the respondents on the impact of the advertising strategies.

Conclusion

The objective of this chapter was to make a detailed report on the important aspects of various research methods and their relative advantages and disadvantages. The chapter also presented the rationale behind the selection of an appropriate research method. A detailed discussion on the research approach to accomplish the objective of the study was also undertaken.

Findings and Analysis

The objective of this chapter is to make a detailed report on the findings of this research collected from the respondents of the questionnaire (n=89). Out of the 100 questionnaire circulated among the customers of automobile dealers in UK 89 of the people responded to the questions.

Appendix I show the questions contained in the questionnaire. The replies of the samples were tabulated and reviewed to present a meaningful report to the readers. In this chapter a detailed discussion and review follows the findings. Some of the senior officers of major automobile dealers were also interviewed as a part of this study on the advertising strategies being followed by the automobile manufacturers. The questions forming part of the structured interview are exhibited in Appendix II. The replies from the senior officers are also analyzed and the analysis presented in this chapter.

Introduction

This study has been undertaken to study the effectiveness of advertising strategies adopted by the automobile manufacturers to influence the mindset of UK customers. The advertising strategies are intended to impact the attitude and behavior of the automobile customers so that their mindset is changed in a positive way to take their purchasing decisions in favor of specific brands.

In order to influence the attitude and behavior of the individual customers the manufacturers adopt varying advertising strategies that proclaim the superiority of their respective brands of automobiles. This study attempts to find out the extent of the influence of such advertising strategies in changing the mindset of the customers through recognized research approaches. Part of the chapter contains a detailed review of the findings from the survey and interviews and the answers to the research questions.

Findings

This study has made an in-depth study in to the effectiveness of advertising strategies adopted by the automobile manufacturers for influencing the purchasing behavior of the individual customers. As has been discussed in the review of literature, there are certain objective factors like reliability, security, efficiency and performance and certain subjective factors like style, comfort and status that go to influence the attitudes of the customers.

It is the aim of the advertisers of automobiles to adopt strategies to influence both of the objective and subjective factors that have an impact on the purchasing decisions of the buyers. The analyses indicate that the advertisements for automobiles that could affect the attitudinal and behavioral patterns of the consumers are found to be more successful in influencing the decisions of the individual customers. This is the observation that could be gathered from the responses to the survey and the interviews.

Questionnaires were sent via email to 100 customers chosen from the database of the automobile dealers and the selected samples were intimated about the objective of the study before they could respond to the questions. The samples were also advised that their participation is purely voluntary and anonymous. The chosen samples were provided with an overview of the objectives of the research and they were also briefed on the survey questions.

This was done to enhance the understanding of the samples. The customers who were willing to participate were assured that the information and data they provide will be maintained with absolute confidentiality and the report will present only a summary of the findings without reference to the individuals involved. With 89 participants taking part in the survey the participation rate is arrived at 89 percent.

The following sections present a discussion on the findings of the study.

Demographic Information

The survey was conducted among 100 chosen automobile consumers presumably having more knowledge on the different brands of cars and their features. Collection of demographic information of the participants was considered necessary for judging the homogeneity of the sample population and the extent to which the samples represent the total population. The age-wise distribution of the samples was obtained by including a question on the age of the participants. The majority of the samples represented the age group of 26 to 35 years. There were totally 46 respondents in this age group which account for 51.69 percentage of the sample population. There were only 4 participants in the age group of 18 to 25 years. Table showing the age-wise distribution of respondents is appended below:

Table: Age-wise Distribution of Respondents.

Age Group No of Samples Percentage
18 – 25 years 4 4.49%
26 – 35 years 46 51.69%
36 – 40 years 24 26.97%
Above 41 years 15 16.85%
Total 89

Out of the total respondents majority represented males. There were 63 male respondents and 26 female respondents who participated in the survey. The percentage of male participants was 70.79. The following table and the diagram represent the gender distribution of the samples.

Table: Gender Distribution of Respondents.

Gender No of Samples Percentage
Males 63 70.79%
Females 26 29.21%
Total 89

Gender distribution

The purchasing decisions of the consumers in most of the cases will get influenced by the suggestions of the spouses. This makes the marital status of the individual customers one of the important demographic information that needs to be collected. In the survey conducted for the current research there were 76 married respondents and 10 of them were single. There were 3 people who did not want to disclose their marital status who chose the ‘other’ category. Thus 85.39 percent of the respondents are married and 11.24 percent of them were single.

Table: Marital Status of Respondents.

Details No of Samples Percentage
Single 10 11.24%
Married 76 85.39%
Other 3 3.37%
Total 89

The respondents were grouped under four different educational levels – secondary, degree, masters and other professional education. The respondents were asked to identify the educational level to which they belong by answering to the question on their educational background. From the responses it is observed that there were 58 people who have completed their degree qualification and 10 people had masters’ level qualification. 17 of them were having professional qualifications. 4 respondents had only secondary education.

Table: Educational Levels of Respondents.

Details No of Samples Percentage
Secondary 4 4.49%
Degree 58 65.17%
Masters 10 11.24%
Professional 17 19.10%
Total 89

Persons belonging to different strata of life will have varied information and knowledge on different automobiles and their features along with the relevant advertisements. Therefore demographic information on the employment status becomes important. The respondents were asked to present information on their employment status. From the responses of the samples it is observed that a majority of the employees numbering 46 were employed in private sector. 18 of them were having their own business and 16 of them were self employed. 2 were students while 7 of them were employed in the government sector.

Table: Employment Status.

Details No of Samples Percentage
Student 2 2.25%
Employed in Private Sector 46 51.69%
Employed in Government 7 7.87%
Self Employed 16 17.98 %
Business 18 20.22%
Other 0 0.00%
Total 89

There was a question included in the questionnaire which related to the income levels of the respondents. The data on the income levels was gathered by asking the respondents to indicate their income level with five groups of income starting from the next question related to the levels of salary being drawn by the respondents. The information on the salary levels was gathered by making five distinct groups of salaries starting from £ 24,000 and above £72,001. On the total number of responses received there were 56 respondents belonging to the income group of £ 36,001 to £ 48,000. 20 people out of the samples belonged to £ 24,001 to £ 36,000. The distribution of samples in the different income levels is shown in the following table.

Table: Income Level.

Details No of Samples Percentage
Below £ 24,000 8 11.12%
Between £ 24,001 and £ 36,000 20 22.47%
Between £ 36,001 and £ 48,000 56 62.92%
Between £ 48,001 and £ 72,000 5 5.62%
Above £ 72,001 0 0.00%
Total 89

Advertising Strategies of Automobile Manufacturers

Responses to the second part of the questionnaire correspond to the effectiveness of the advertising strategies and other related issues. The findings in this connection are as follows:

Criteria for Selection

The criteria being adopted by the consumers for the selection of their cars always are influenced by the attitudinal and behavioral patterns of the individuals. While it is the performance of the car matters for someone, it may the visual impact that might guide the choice of some others. The question on the criteria for selection of automobile purchase lists several attributes and asked the respondents to rank them according to their opinion. The responses are given weight on the basis of the number of respondents for each of the attributes and the mean values are presented in the following table.

Table: Criteria for Choice of Automobiles.

Particulars Mean Value
Look of the Car 4.7
Price range 4.4
Colour 3.6
Brand Value 4.1
Fuel Efficiency 3.9
Speed of the Engine 3.4
Road Safety 3.9
Life of Tires 2.8
Driving Comfort 4.5
Others 2.4

From the responses received from the participants to the survey it can be observed that the criteria for selection of the automobile depends largely on the individual values they attribute to the car. From the above table it is seen that look of the car (style), price range and driving comfort are the most important criteria considered by the consumers while making their choices of the automobiles. The brand value also is another consideration that is being taken into account by the consumers while deciding on the cars. Thus it appears that the advertisements for automobiles should concentrate more on these criteria for enhancing the sales.

Brand Image

It has been pointed out by the literature and academicians on the strategies for advertisers for automobiles that the content and message of the advertisements should carry a persuasive message about the superiority of the product. At the same time the advertisements should also stress the position of the specific brand of automobile in comparison with other available brands in the market.

The product information on the features of the brand should clearly create a unique place for the specific brand in the minds of the consumers. Then only it may be possible for the manufacturers to successfully market different products under the established brand name. Keeping this in mind the next question in the questionnaire asked the respondents to rank the factors that determine the success of a particular brand of an automobile. Here again the mean value of weighted average of the responses are tabulated for a comprehensive presentation.

Table: Factors affecting Brand Image.

Particulars Mean Value
Brand Position in the market 4.9
Product quality 4.8
Financial stability of the company 3.6
After sales service 4.4
Price of the product 4.4
Adding Value to the Customer 4.9
Others 1.4

From the responses to the question on the factors affecting the brand image of the automobile there are the factors of brand position in the market and the addition in the value to the customer that have been identified the most contributing factor for the creation of a brand image.

The answer to this question indirectly indicates that the automobile manufacturers should attach significant importance to the creation of a brand image through their advertisements in order to create a positive mindset in the customers for automobiles. Unless the manufacturers are able to establish a clear lead in promoting their brands the marketing of their automobiles will be difficult. Typical example can be found in famous brands like Mercedes Benz and BMW where the brand image vouches for the product quality and the value to the consumers.

Competitive Strength of Automobile Manufacturers

The respondents to the survey were asked to identify specific factors that enhance the competitive strength of automobile manufacturers. Here again the objective of the question was to determine the attitude of automobile consumers as to which particular factor they consider as important for identifying the strength of the manufacturer. This would automatically let us know the factor that can create a positive attitude on the part of the customers towards purchase of automobiles.

The observation on the responses to this question indicates that the quality of the product and brand image of the product is the major factor identified by the respondents as the factor that determines the competitive strength of the automobile manufacturers. It can be stated that by identifying these qualities the customers expect the manufacturers to promote the brand value of their products by advertising on the superiority of the product quality. The responses are tabulated and presented:

Table: Criteria for Competitive Strength of Automobile Manufacturers.

Particulars Mean Value
Quality of the product 4.9
Price range 4.4
Brand image 4.8
Value for money to the customer 4.8
Wide geographical presence 3.9
Media promotion 3.4
Capability to cater to different segments 3.9
Better Advertising Strategies 4.0

Thus it can be inferred that the advertising strategies of the automobile companies should focus more on informative contents and comparison with features of competing brands to win the minds of the customers.

Purchasing Decision

It is the case that quite often the customers use different sources of information to arrive at their purchasing decisions. The question on the sources on which they depend would provide a rough indication of whether the advertising by the automobiles have an impact on their decisions. The usual sources that might be used by the customers are listed in the question and the respondents were asked to rank them according to their order of preference. The responses received are presented in the following table:

Table: Sources of Information for Purchasing Decisions.

Particulars Percentage
Consult Auto Experts 4.9
Surf the Websites 34.4
Consult Dealers 12.8
Consult Printed materials 11.7
Consult friends 8.3
Watch through the media advertisements 27.9

Sources of information.

The websites of the specific brands which contain information on the product features, pricing and comparative reviews with other brands in the similar price range offer a very good source of information, for the prospective customers to form an opinion about individual brands of automobiles.

The next source of information on the automobiles is found in the advertisements. Therefore it becomes imperative for the automobile manufacturers to provide complete information and the quality parameters of their products on their respective websites and also the advertisements being used by them. With the customers getting more informed even on technical aspects of automobiles the job of the advertisers has become tougher. This has increased the necessity to employ better advertising strategies by the automobile manufacturers.

Effectiveness of Advertising Strategies

As a direct question the participants were asked to express their opinions on the effectiveness of the advertising strategies being employed by the automobile manufacturers in creating a positive mindset among the customers. The following is the response from the samples.

Table: Effectiveness of Advertising Strategies.

Particulars Percentage
Yes – they are effective 52.8
No – they are not effective 33.2
Cannot say 14.0

Effectiveness of advertising strategies

Thus a majority of the respondents agree that the advertising strategies do have an impact on the creation of a positive mindset in the customers about their decision on the purchase of cars.

Attitudinal and Behavioral Factors

A list of attitudinal and behavioral factors was provided to the respondents along with the question to enable them, rank according to their agreement or disagreement of the statements. The statements represented certain basic functions of advertisements and the respondents were asked to assess the effectiveness of the advertisements in discharging these functions which had close association with the attitudes and behaviors of the individual customers. The responses received from the samples are presented below with the mean values of the respective attributes.

Table: Attitudinal and Behavioral Factors.

Particulars Mean Value
Enhance product knowledge and information 4.9
Promote brand loyalty 4.4
Impact emotional aspects 4.2
Generate repeat consumer purchases 3.6
Possess persuasive impacts 3.9

In the opinion of the respondents to the survey the advertisements of the automobile manufacturers are more informative than persuasive. This is as per the results of the responses received and tabulated above. The respondents are of the view that the automobile advertisements do impact the emotions of the customers to some extent though not very effectively. Since the mean value of 4.2 has been assigned by the respondents to the aspect of impact on emotions, it can reasonably be stated that the advertising strategies are capable of creating a positive mindset only to some extent.

Factors to Consider in devising Advertising Strategies

The respondents were asked to rank different factors that the automobile manufacturers have to take into account for the creation of advertisements for their products. These set of factors have been selected based on the review of the available literature and both the objective and subjective factors have been included for the ranking by the respondents. The findings out of the responses from the samples are presented in the following table with the mean values indicated against each.

Table: Factors to Consider in Devising Advertising Strategies.

Particulars Mean Value
Reliability of the Brand 4.9
Quality of the Product 4.8
Durability 4.2
Safety 3.8
Security aspects 3.9
Performance of the car 4.9
Efficiency of the car 4.4
Technological Improvements 3.7
Easiness in handling 3.7
Value for money to the customer 4.7
Style 4.6
Comfort in driving 4.5
Prestige associated with the car 4.1
Status of the owner 4.1
Visual Impact 3.9

Reliability of the brand, quality of the product and value for money to the customer are the three important aspects the advertisements for automobiles should cater while being presented to the customers. The advertising strategies being adopted by the automobile manufacturers therefore should clearly include these aspects. The contents of the advertisements should invariably contain specific messages on these aspects which have been identified by the customers out of this survey.

Interviews

Structured interviews have been conducted with five of the senior officers of major automobile dealers to find out their view points on the advertising strategies being used by the automobile manufacturers as to their effectiveness in influencing the purchasing decisions of the customers by making a positive impact in the minds of the customers. Appendix II shows the questions forming part of the structured interviews.

The main issued emerged out of the interviews with the senior officials is that with the advent of internet and advancement in information and communication technology the customers have the opportunity to acquire more information on the features and performance of automobiles. They are also in a position to compare the features and performance with competing brands. Therefore it becomes essential for the automobile manufacturers to maintain a consistent product quality and be more informative on their advertisements so that they will be in a position to create a positive mindset among the automobile consumers. A more detailed analysis of the view points expressed in the interviews is presented in the analysis part of this chapter.

Analysis

Through the questionnaire the survey made an attempt to study the effectiveness of the advertising strategies of automobile manufacturers in creating a positive mindset among the customers. Responses indicate the ranking made by the samples on the factors that need to be considered while the automobile manufacturers decide their advertising strategies. The respondents have also expressed their opinion on the criteria that guide them in making their purchasing decisions. This part of the paper presents an analysis of the findings of the survey.

Demographics

As has been made clear by the review of the literature, there is a positive correlation between the demographic factors like age, income level and marital status of the consumers and their purchasing decisions. Demographic variables do have a significant impact on the consumer purchasing process especially in the case of automobile purchases. Gender also plays a role in purchasing decisions as men and women may have different attributes in selecting their vehicles.

Similarly teenagers and younger generation will have a different attitude and outlook towards cars. Therefore it is for the advertisers of the automobiles to determine the customer segment carefully and decide on their advertising strategies. This will enable them to fill up all the necessary information that will guide the customer through the decision making process.

Considering the fact that a car involves a major financial outlay for an individual income level and the percentage of disposable income is one of the key variables that impact the decisions of the customers with respect to purchase of an automobile. The concept of family travel makes the purchasing decisions influenced by the marital status of the individuals as normally in the purchase of a car for a family the viewpoints of the spouses will also be taken into account.

This necessitates the advertisements for automobiles to devise strategies that cover the family convenience and usage to make a successful promotion. The education level and employment status of the customers are the other demographic variables that will influence the purchasing decision of the customers. With more education the customers acquire a greater chance to get to know more information on different brands and this reduces the emotional impact of the automobile advertisements on the customers. The employment status influences the specific brand of car that the customer would like to buy due to peer influence and on the basis of word of mouth recommendations from the colleagues and friends.

In the present survey since the majority of the respondents numbering 46 (51.69 percent) out of the total 89 respondents belonged to the age group of 26 – 35 years it can reasonably be assumed that the respondents would have got a fair knowledge of the different automobile brands and their advertising strategies to be able to respond to the survey intelligently. Males represent 70.79 percent of the respondents and females at 29.21 percent.

This can be considered as a good representation of the total population as the survey is likely to get the viewpoints of the female population also in a proportionate manner. Since 85.39 percent of the samples are married the survey can be expected to convey more precise emotional impacts of the advertising strategies as the respondents in this category would consider all the aspects of an automobile before arriving at a decision on the purchase of a car. Similarly the majority of the respondents have the basic education (65.17 percent of the samples are having a degree) which enhances the strength of the results of the survey. The distribution of samples in different groups of employment status and income levels also conform the required standards of the survey response.

Effectiveness of Advertising Strategies – Analysis

According to Kent Wolfe Marketing analyst the customer decision making process usually takes five steps for an effective completion of the decision. The steps are;

  1. problem recognition,
  2. information search,
  3. evaluation of criteria,
  4. purchase decision and
  5. post purchase evaluation.

In this process the advertisements are considered in the second step namely information search. At the same time purchases involving large financial outlay like the purchase of automobiles require large amounts information gathering and research. In this case the customer goes through all the five steps of the decision making process. There are some additional factors which also influence the decision of the customers during this process.

As we saw earlier demographic variables do impact the purchase decisions of the customers. Apart from demographic considerations there are the psychological factors like motivation, perception, learning beliefs and attitudes that also largely influence the customers in their decision making process. It is these psychological factors that are the focal points for the advertisers for automobile manufacturers for deciding on the advertising strategies. The success or otherwise of the advertisements and the consequent sales promotion depends on how well the advertisements are able to influence the customers on these points.

Motivation is based on the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which starts with physiological and ends with the self actualization needs. Motivation is often driven by the subconscious mindset of the customers and therefore measuring and attempting to focus them would be difficult. Perception has a different role in the decision making process in that it involves the information search and how the information is perceived and interpreted by the customers.

In the process the customers are more likely to retain the information which has a bearing on their existing beliefs and they also tend to disregard the information which does not correspond to their beliefs. Thus motivation and perception are the important criteria that the advertising executives take into account in deciding on the advertising strategies. It is to be noted that the attitudes of the customers are based on their personal experiences, social interactions, personality traits and individual life style of the customers.

It is always the endeavor of the marketers to try to promote the features of their products matching to the image of the personalities of the target customers. This enables the marketers to create a means of allowing the customers to identify themselves with the product. It is only through focusing through the psychological factors that the advertisers can create a positive mindset among the automobile customers.

An analysis of the responses received from the respondents to the survey conducted for accomplishing the objectives of this research more or less correspond to the theoretical perspectives enunciated by the review of the literature. Look of the car, price range, driving comfort and the brand value have been identified as the key criteria for the selection of their automobiles by the customers. It is the look and price that forms the basic psychological consideration for the purchase of a car and this was evident from the responses of the samples.

Again the value that a specific brand of car adds to a customer is considered as an important factor to influence the brand image of an automobile. This is based on the satisfaction of the self actualization needs of the customers. The position of a particular brand in the market also has been identified by the respondents as a factor that weighs with the brand image.

When it comes to the question of the competitive strength of the automobile manufacturers the quality of the product, brand image, and the value the product adds to the customer have been identified as the factors that enhance the competitive strength of the manufacturers. This is also in line with the literature which specifies the brand image and the quality of the product are the most important factors that the automobile manufacturers should consider for positing their brand in the market. It is only through the competitive strength that the automobile manufacturers can influence the customers to get a positive mindset in favor of their respective brands.

The adequacy of information is an important factor that determines the course of the purchasing decision of the customers. With the large volume of information available through the internet the customers are able to gather and assimilate sea of information, analyze them to arrive at their purchasing decisions. This is more than aided by the additional information being provided by the advertisements of automobile manufacturers. The results of the survey indicate this position of the customers clearly in that 34.4 percent of the respondents indicated that they surf the websites of the automobile brands for arriving at their purchasing decisions and 27.9 percent of the people follow the advertisements regularly to gather information on the automobiles.

These information influence the perceptions of the customers, one of the psychological factors that influence the purchasing decisions of the customers. Therefore the information content of the advertisements is one important aspect for creating a positive mindset of the customers.

A majority of 52.8 percent of the respondents are of the view that the advertising strategies of automobile manufacturers are effective in creating a positive mindset of the customers.

Most of the respondents believe that the advertisements have the ability to enhance the product knowledge and information on the products which would help them to make their decisions on purchase of automobiles.

When asked to rank the attributes that the advertisers of automobiles should consider for devising the advertising strategies the respondents have identified the reliability of the brand and the quality of the product as the most important ones. Performance of the vehicle, style and comfort in driving are some of the other factors identified by the respondents as the factors that should be considered for the advertisements to be effective.

Analysis of the Interviews

According to the respondents of the structured interviews, the style, performance, brand value and price are the important consideration that the customers take into account while deciding on the purchase of their cars. This corresponds to the results of the survey where the customers have also identified these factors as the major considerations for their purchases. On the source of information the respondents confirmed that the websites of all major automobile manufacturers contain all the latest information about specific brands including technical specifications and salient features of the products.

These websites are updated quite frequently to provide latest information to the visitors to the sites. In addition to the websites, commercials in television and product information contained in newspaper advertisements are the sources which the customers consult before they could make their purchasing decisions. The respondents are of the view that currently the customers are more informed about the products and therefore the advertisements with strategies to focus only on the emotional aspects may not result in success to the companies. There should be more information content backed by aspects that focus the psychological factors in the advertisements and then only the advertisements can accomplish their objectives.

According to the respondents, price, quality and value to the customer are the important criteria that influence the brand image of the individual automobile brands. The respondents are of the view that unless the manufacturers are able to consistently maintain the performance and quality of the products with competitive price ranges they may not be able to promote their brands as there exist a stiff competition among the different automobile brands.

The respondents are of the view that it cannot be altogether denied that the advertising strategies do not have any impact on the creation of a positive mindset of the customers. The satisfaction of the psychological factors along with a wide information content of the advertisements would ensure a positive change of mind of the customers. With the creative advertising and the development of information and communication technology, the advertisers are able to devise advertising strategies which cater to the creation of a positive mindset among the customers. There are so many examples of advertisements of famous automobile brands that had the effect of changing the attitude of customers.

It is also true that some percentage of the automobile customers are influenced by the contents of the advertisements and are made to have a positive state of mind for favorable purchase decisions in respect of specific brands. As per the responses from the participants, the advertisements should carry the comparative advantage and superiority of the features of their respective brands in order to capture the attention of the customers and change their mindset into positive ones. In the current informative world it is important that the advertisements should have more of information content than emotional content.

Answers to Research Questions

Based on the review of the literature and the responses to the survey questionnaire and the structured interviews conducted with the senior officials of automobile dealers some plausible answers to the research questions have been arrived at. This section details the answers to the research questions.

  • Q1 What are all the key criteria taken into account by the automobile manufacturers in deciding on the advertising strategies?

The study has evolved a clear response to this question. Value addition to the customer, quality and price of the products and the brand image of the product are the key criteria that the automobile manufacturers have to take into account while deciding the advertising strategies. In order to meet the attitudinal and behavioral needs of the customers it becomes important for the advertisers to include the value aspects in the advertisements. This would satisfy the self actualization needs of the customers. The advertisements should also carry the superior features of the specific brands so that such information can be retained in the minds of the customers to create a positive mindset

  • Q2 Do the automobile manufacturers really adopt strategies to create positive mindset in the UK customers?

As per the response from the participants to the interviews, with the advancement in the information and communication technology and the increased efficiency of the advertising professionals it has become possible for the automobile manufacturers to attract the attention of the customers by creating new and improved advertisements with different strategies that have the ability to create a positive mindset among the automobile customers.

  • Q3 Are the customers really get impressed about the advertising strategies by the automobile manufacturers and make positive purchase decisions?

From the review of the literature and from the answers to the survey questions and the interviews it can be inferred that there are a number of sources from which the customers can get first hand knowledge on the features of the product and their performance. For instance the websites of major automobile manufacturers and other sites provide not only detailed specifications of the products but also comparative reviews of automobiles.

This enables the customers to form a strong opinion on various brands and their performance which influences their purchasing decisions. Therefore it is the conclusion that this study draws that the customers are impressed about the advertising strategies of automobile manufacturers only to a limited extent as they are in possession of more detailed information on the products and they go by their emotions only to a limited extent.

Conclusion

The findings out of the survey and the interviews conducted using quantitative and qualitative research methods and a detailed analysis of the results have provided the answers to the research questions. The study concludes that though there may be some impact of the advertising strategies of the automobile manufacturers on the emotions of the customers, present day customers are more guided by the detailed information on the features and performance of automobiles, thanks to the internet and the various websites that analyze and compare the performance of different brands of automobiles.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Few concluding remarks and recommendations for successful usage of advertising strategies by the automobile manufacturers are discussed in this chapter.

Conclusion

It is an established fact that the personal disposable income and the increase in consumer expenditure are the key determinants of demand for automobiles. When there is a boom in the economy the automobile manufacturers and dealers will be able to find the going good. However when there is a slump in the economy the automobile manufacturers will be the worst hit lot. During the time when recessionary trends exist it is highly unlikely that the customers would make purchase of a car more than one time each year.

Further it is the trend of the industry that the customers are investing more time in making researches and finding detailed information before they arrive at some decision on the purchase of an automobile. Internet is one source that equips the customers with more details and information on different brands of automobiles and as a result they expect to have vehicles with better equipments, higher quality and at competitively lower prices.

Features like air bags, antilock brakes, CD players, power windows and other features were either unavailable or considered as luxurious options at one point of time. But now these features are considered as basic ones and these represent value additions by the brands to woo the customers. This has gradually resulted in the reduction of the importance of the concept of brand loyalty as the customers expect to have the best value for their money. Continuous research of the customer attitudes and behaviors and follow up on the changes in the consumer preferences are the strongest way to push up the sales of automobiles in the highly competitive market environment.

The advertisers should strive to add new dimensions to advertising ad marketing strategies by bringing together the latest and innovative aspects of consumer research. The marketing strategies should be clear, creative and profitable and at the same time should encompass advertising strategies that have the ability to change the mindset of the consumers into positive one.

Limitations of the Study

One major limitation of the study is the lack of knowledge about the awareness of the chosen samples. It could not be ascertained whether all the selected samples have knowledge about the advertising strategies and their impact on the customer preferences. This would have probably vitiated the results of the survey. However the research being a subjective issue, the heterogeneity of the samples on the basis of the demographic factors would have made up for the shortcoming. Another limitation is with the number of participants for the structured interviews. Despite serious efforts it was not possible to get the appointments from more number of respondents for the interviews. This has also affected the quality of the contents of the results of the structured interviews.

Reflections

Having undertaken the study on the advertising strategies of the automobile manufacturers and their impact on the customers, the research has given an in-depth insight into how the attitudes and the behaviors of the customers determine the sales growth of any specific brand of automobile. From the review of the available literature it was possible to study how the changes in the preferences of the customers have enabled the manufacturers to make changes in the processes of production for improving the quality of the product. It was also possible to identify the impact of after sales service on the marketability of the products.

The research has given scope for an extension of knowledge of the researcher to know more about brand loyalty, brand positioning and brand association. These are some of the issues which the modern day marketing executives should be more thorough about. In fact through the study the researcher could gather more knowledge about the impact of attitudes of the customers and their behaviors on the marketing of automobiles.

The study also provided good scope for understanding the underlying principles of advertising especially for automobiles. Since the advertising budgets for automobiles are usually very large in the case of established brands, it was interesting to notice how the advertisers fix their priorities in their strategies. The research provided scope for understanding the implications of marketing communication and the extent to which the product information needs to be provided in the advertisements for automobiles.

It was clear from the study that in the present internet age it is of paramount importance that the automobile manufacturer provides the maximum information on the efficiency and performance of their specific brands so that the customers would be able to make comparisons of different brands available in the market. In this case it is for the advertisers to take into account the emotional aspects to boost up the self esteem of the customers so that they will decide in favor of specific brands.

In the process of conducting the survey as well as the interviews the researcher was able to come across people with varied preferences on the choices of their vehicles. This is a new experience for the researcher as so far the view point at looking at the vehicles and their utility was more bookish. Now a practical view point on the different aspects of vehicles with respect to the performance and other values for the customers could be understood by the researcher.

Moreover the research gave an opportunity to the researcher for a direct interaction with the senior officers of the automobile dealers which is really a rare experience that can be cherished in the career. This has given the researcher a feeling of sense of achievement in the educational career.

Even though there were experiences of practical difficulties like following the samples for sending the replies for the questionnaire, chasing the respondents for the interviews for their time and visiting libraries several times in connection with the search of secondary sources of information there exists an overall satisfaction on the work connected with the research. It was a wonderful feeling after the research work was completed and the final report was made ready.

The researcher found it as a thrilling experience to continue to get the responses from the survey results, tabulate them to analyze and compare them against some anticipated results the researcher had in mind with respect to certain specific aspects of the research issues. Although a majority of the results were as expected a few of them were surprising for the researcher. For instance the researcher expected that price of the automobiles will be the main attribute that will be selected by the respondents to the survey as the basis for formulating their opinions on the brand loyalty of an automobile.

Contrary to this the respondents have identified the value addition, quality of the product and the brand image as the attributes that are more or less equal to the pricing. This is one major result where the researcher was put to surprise by the answers of the respondents. Similarly through the structured interviews, the researcher was able to acquire greater knowledge on the total automobile marketing network and the key aspects of advertising that the automobile manufacturers take into account while devising their advertising strategies.

Even though it appears a simple process the researcher understood through the study there are a number of aspects that are being considered in devising the strategies. Just similar to the customers’ choices and preferences the moves of the competitors with respect to the advertisements are equally important in deciding the strategies. This knowledge was something new the researcher could understand out of the study.

Although the limitations enumerated were not of serious nature, still in the opinion of the researcher such limitations had a slight impact on the results of the study. Moreover the progress of the research and the survey was slightly hampered due to the time constraints and the availability of the senior officers of automobile dealers for interview purposes. There were other small impediments in the process which could be handled by the researcher like explaining some of the respondents the purpose of the survey in detail and convincing them about the confidentiality of the survey results. With some of the respondents it was really a tough job to make them understand the purpose of the survey and that their name and identity will not be disclosed at any point of time.

On an overall assessment, the research has paved the way for many further researches. For example a research may be undertaken to compare two specific brands of automobiles with respect to customer preferences and the features that the customers considered in selecting any specific brand.

Recommendations

The following are some of the few recommendations that might enhance the value of the

advertising strategies, in creating a positive framework of mind in the automobile customers.

  1. The automobile manufacturers are making use of readymade information technology software that caters to the particular circumstances prevailing in their respective organizations. The manufacturers should undertake a review of the software to improve upon the brand measurements. This may be possible by reaching a wide spectrum of market in different parts of the world. The information gathered from a broad range of consumer preferences and choices from different parts of the world would result in a better brand management by the automobile manufacturers
  2. At the time of creation of the advertising budgets the manufacturers should take into account the different geographical locations. The manufacturers should consider all location where their markets are located. The contents and messages in the advertisement should be made capable of reaching much larger cross sections of the consumers to make the brand management more efficient.
  3. Product portfolio is another area where the automobile manufacturers have to concentrate. The manufactures should design and focus on marketing those products which will be considered as suitable for the specific markets and the types of customers. A wrong choice of products might end up in failure of the marketing of the product. Therefore a careful selection of the products and market segment is vitally important for the automobile manufacturers to create a positive mindset of the customers.

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Appendix I Questionnaire

This questionnaire is presented to you as a part of a research study in presenting a dissertation leading to ——– Degree from the ———- University. All the information you provide will be kept as strictly confidential. Please try to answer all the questions with the options provided against each. A ‘remarks’ column is provided at the end of the questionnaire to enable you to supply any additional information that you would like to add to the answers you have made against any of the questions. Thank you for your cooperation.

Part A: General Demographic Information

  • Age Group:
    • 18 – 25 years
    • 26 – 35 years
    • 36 – 40 years
    • Above 41 years
  • Gender:
    • Male
    • Female
  • Marital Status:
    • Single
    • Married
    • Other
  • Education Level:
    • Secondary
    • Degree
    • Master’s Degree
    • Professional
  • Employment Status:
    • Student
    • Employed in Private Sector
    • Employed in Government
    • Self Employed
    • Business
    • Others
  • Income Level:
    • Below £ 24,000
    • Between £ 24,001 and £ 36,000
    • Between £ 36,001 and £ 48,000
    • Between £ 48,001 and £ 72,000
    • Above £ 72,001

Part B: Advertising Strategies of Automobile Manufacturers

Criteria for Selection

What according to you is the most important criterion that you would take into account while selecting the automobile? Please rank your choice in the scale of 1 to 5 where 5 is the most important and 1 is the least important.

Criteria for Selection

Brand Image

Which of the following factors according to you determine the success of a particular brand making the customers loyal? Please rank your choice in the scale of 1 to 5 where 5 is the most important and 1 is the least important.

Brand Image

Competitive Strength of Automobile Manufacturers

Which of the following factors according to you is the most important to determine the competitive strength of the manufacturers in the automobile market? Please rank your choice in the scale of 1 to 5 where 5 is the most important and 1 is the least important.

Competitive Strength of Automobile Manufacturers

Purchasing Decisions

How do you make your purchasing decision regarding your car?

  • Consult Auto Experts
  • Surf the Websites
  • Consult Dealers
  • Consult Printed materials
  • Consult friends
  • Watch through the media advertisements

Effectiveness of Advertising Strategies

In your opinion are the advertising strategies being adopted by the automobile manufacturers effective in creating a positive mindset of the consumers?

  • Yes
  • No
  • No Opinion

Attitudinal and Behavioral Factors

Do you agree that the advertising strategies used by the automobile manufacturers, impact the following attitudinal and behavioral patterns of the consumers? Please indicate your views in the scale of 1 to 5 where 5 is ‘Strongly agree’ and 1 is ‘strongly disagree’

Attitudinal and Behavioral Factors

Factors to consider in Devising Advertising Strategies

In your opinion what is the order of preference the following aspects that the automobile manufacturers should consider in devising their advertising strategies so that the advertisements can create a positive mindset in the consumers. Please rank the attributes in the scale of 1 to 5 where 5 is the most effective and 1 is the least effective.

Factors to consider in Devising Advertising Strategies

Remarks: ___________________________________________________________________________

I take this opportunity to thank you for spending your time in filling up this questionnaire which will greatly help me in my efforts towards getting my degree.

Appendix II Questions for Structured Interviews

The following are some of the questions which I request you to answer with respect to advertising strategies of automobile manufacturers. This interview is a part of my study for the submission of a dissertation leading to ——–Degree from ——–University. I thank you for your valuable time in answering these questions in detail.

  1. What are the major criteria according to you that the customers of automobiles take into account for making their decisions on automobile purchases?
  2. What are the major sources of information that the customers access for making their purchasing decisions?
  3. What according to you are the important factors that influence the brand image of individual automobile brands?
  4. Are you of the opinion that the advertising strategies of automobile manufacturers are capable of creating a positive mindset of the customers?
  5. Are you of the opinion that the automobile manufacturers really adopt strategies that create a positive mindset on the customers?
  6. Are you of the opinion that the customers really get impressed by the advertising strategies of the automobile manufacturers and make positive purchase decisions?
  7. What according to you are the important aspects the advertisers for automobile manufactures should take into account while devising their advertising strategies?
Automobile Companies’ Advertising Strategy in the UK
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YourDissertation. (2021, November 15). Automobile Companies' Advertising Strategy in the UK. Retrieved from https://yourdissertation.com/dissertation-examples/automobile-companies-advertising-strategy-in-the-uk/

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"Automobile Companies' Advertising Strategy in the UK." YourDissertation, 15 Nov. 2021, yourdissertation.com/dissertation-examples/automobile-companies-advertising-strategy-in-the-uk/.

1. YourDissertation. "Automobile Companies' Advertising Strategy in the UK." November 15, 2021. https://yourdissertation.com/dissertation-examples/automobile-companies-advertising-strategy-in-the-uk/.


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YourDissertation. "Automobile Companies' Advertising Strategy in the UK." November 15, 2021. https://yourdissertation.com/dissertation-examples/automobile-companies-advertising-strategy-in-the-uk/.

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YourDissertation. 2021. "Automobile Companies' Advertising Strategy in the UK." November 15, 2021. https://yourdissertation.com/dissertation-examples/automobile-companies-advertising-strategy-in-the-uk/.

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YourDissertation. (2021) 'Automobile Companies' Advertising Strategy in the UK'. 15 November.

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