Introduction to Research Methods
In the current business environment marketing management is an important approach that essentially adds value and integrates success of a company. The main motive of marketing in any of the corporation is to make the goods and services widely available and implement an innovative marketing approach to accomplish the activities (Drucker, 2009). The prime ability of marketing includes the basic aptitude of a company that understands about the exact target market and prominently communicates about the services being offered to them. In this respect one of the prominent factors that must be given maximum attention while enforcing marketing strategies is on branding. Branding basically acts as a way to communicate with consumers and with the help of it efficient message can be delivered with a differentiated approach. In this regard American Marketing Association has defined branding as a term, symbol, sign or amalgamation of them that incorporates factors to assess about products and services of an individual to differentiate them from others (Cushen, 2009). Branding is considered as one of the significant aspect of an organization as it gives better understanding with company’s name and products from competitors on several attributes such as services, tools, price and quality. A brand is the image of a particular product or service that consumers attach with and an individual who owns the idea can identify through slogan, logo, name or design of the product or service.
Companies design the brand by using different names and tag lines and gives prime attention so that customers can better assess information about product and it has been observed from the trend that appealing slogans gets aligned with the brand in a way through which people can effortlessly recollect information about brand (Andrews and Kim, 2007). Developing a brand requires numerous efforts as many of the times it has been observed that complicated and challenging task in building image of a company involves constraints for long term in which priority must be given on logo that can be easily remembered and related with corporation. Branding assists in products and services to make a remarkable impact on the actual target buyers and it also helps in to attract large number of consumers thereby increasing the market share. In this respect this report depicts about branding and its significance in the fast food industry and it presents information about different factors that must be given focus while integrating branding strategies in fast food sector that basically helps in to increase the brand loyalty of a company. In order to acquire a deep insight in the area of research a primary research will be accomplished in the leading fast food company McDonalds, UK. The main motive of fast food items is to minimize the additional time involved in processing and serving food to consumers and in current time this industry seems to be transforming with the trend of market and demand of people (Aggerholm, Andersen and Thomsen, 2011). The fast food industry of UK generates large amount of income to the economy and is a crucial source for high level of income.
The revolution of fast food initiate during 1950s and it grew immensely all around the world by offering customers prominent services. The industry has been changed and it started offering new healthier options with low calorie food and it is being anticipated that by 2025 which will be totally changed from a food provider to one that offers in healthy food. McDonald’s is one of the leading fast food companies and is headquartered in United States. This company started in the year 1940 by Maurice and Richard McDonalds this chain was developed massively over the time and is now situated in more than 119 nations and serves more than 68 million (Elliott and Percy, 2007). McDonald range of food items like French fries, breakfast items, Hamburger, soft items and several wraps and sandwiches. This company has acquired success with prominent strategies that it designs products according to market requirements. By enforcing prominent branding strategies McDonalds has prominently increased its sales level and has used different strategies to manage their leading position in the marketing by attaining a competitive edge.
Research questions and objectives
The main aim of the study is to assess the impact of branding in fast food industry in which a case study of McDonald’s UK has been discussed. The area of study business management in which prime significance has been given on achieving needs of buyers and provides the expected products and services. Brand image relies in the minds and heart of buyers and it states about the entire experience and attitude that can be lives and it has a impact on the buying behavior process of customers. The research objectives of the study are as stated below;
- To assess the significance of branding strategies in the global success of McDonald’s UK.
- To analyze the way branding has affected consumer buying behavior in fast food industry.
- To evaluate the significance of brand loyalty and its various implications on the success of the company.
In order to acquire a deep insight in the area of research here in main issues are aligned with branding strategies of McDonald’s and important research question of the study are as mentioned below;
- How does branding helps in achieving a competitive edge to McDonald’s, UK?
- What is the role of branding in fast food sector?
- How does strong brand image assist in making diversification and expansion of business in the global fast food market?
- What is the significance of branding in consumer buying behavior in this industry?
Business world is hugely dependent on the concept and techniques of marketing in attaining the desired awareness of consumer of interested customers towards a single brand or product. Marketing also achieves the market for developing and catering the need of creating demands for the products and try to deliver the best of service satisfaction to customers. Marketing term does not end on the part of selling only. But on the contrary, it suffice all the relevant contents i.e. choosing the right service, appropriate location, promotional skills, conducting sales program, like, promotion, advertising, publicity and personnel selling skills. In today’s scenario, Brand and brand positioning has taken a very abundant stage in this stiff business environment, where internal and external factors affect the enterprise at once (Pires, Stanton and Rita, 2006). In order to accomplish the long term customer loyalty, it must be adjusted according to prevalent situations to retain the market conditions.
Marketing activities are executed in a designed manner, where they will incorporate all the necessary components associated with rising target market opportunities. Marketing is a broad concept, which determine what to sell how to sell and to whom to sell. These queries will yield best possible solutions to arising questions. All these questions will influence team to brainstorm and populate new ideas and untested markets to ensure better opportunity screening. The marketing is also done from the consumer’s perspective not from the producer perspective. Branding and marketing are parallel to each other. Without brand, marketing is impossible; it’s like cruising without compass (Gunelius, 2013). Marketing provides branding a direction and determination to align all the objectives of a company. Thus it is of great concern in the current market events. Brand image is resulted from direct marketing strategy and as a consequence to product differentiation and segmentation. Building up a strong and robust brand requires a specific point of view and complex process that deals with creating an accurate and precise image of a firm, group and individual. Brand is a symbol or logo which acts as a different expression for every kind of customer (Handlin, 2012). For example, for a kid, Mc Donald’s will be way to get a free gift from the pack of happy meal, for youngsters a happening hangout and for family, a time spending routine. So Brand does involve specific criteria for every age and group.
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- Delivering the orders as fast as possible
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Branding has become of the most anticipated and essential asset for every business. It has provided firm with range of advantages in every sector starting from manufacturing to service sector. Fast food industry is one of the most competitive and aggressive industry, the industry is not at all capital intensive and availability of resources is very abundant in this sector. Thus marketing has made the prospect of every business very admiring and full of assets at the company’s disposal. Marketing is not subsided to few areas but it has expanded to various areas. For instance, brand endorsements and celebrity figure is recently the biggest trend to promote the products and services of a corporation (Heiman, 2010). Another best example, which marketing team uses is, advertising using animals and animated characters. Such tools are very popular in between consumers it helps to build an exceptional image by incorporating marketing strategies. This will improve the productivity reach to customer and achieve a competitive edge over others. Branding made the product more viable and more recognizable among existing markets and new markets. Brand not only avails the recognisability or purchase consideration. It also reproduces a source of income and prospering economic signal. If a country’s economic condition is very good and sound, such countries screen these countries based on the health of economic climate and inflow of positive cash inflow in the business. Thus, these companies will contribute in producing a positive picture to other companies to enter in the emerging markets. Therefore marketing makes it possible and transmit the picture to other countries too. In fast food industry, branding helps in improving the good will and operations base (Walley and et. al., 2007). Marketing will use the techniques and processes to build a positive and adds value to corporate.
Many corporate are conducting a series of research on the continuing trend of marketing and branding strategy in prevailing markets. The aim of this study is to explore new regions and areas of improving the market share. They also have a major impact on the revenue performance of corporation. Service Quality, product satisfaction, retention of global image are chief global factors which may affect the reputation of the Mc Donald’s. Finally all these are maintained on best parameters, it will enable them to score better profits and productivity in the company. The branding image must be very diversified than its competitors. Mc Donald’s brand is recognized “Big M”, it is all original and different from other competitors. As the Big M pictures pops up anywhere, it only directs to McDonald’s (Rosner and Shropshire, 2004). They started to serve fast food on drive thru, where time was a constraint and delivery must be fast, so such techniques was the new and first to employ in the business of fast food industry (Jansses and et. al., 2010). Mc Donald’s has tried to provide the authentic taste of American style Burgers in various locality and regions. By the year 2010, they developed a store line of 100 stores and 10 Drive thru in United Kingdom. Mc Donald’s has achieved a competitive position in UK fast food industry. They own a market share of 22% of total fast food industry in 2011. They have also expanded their to European and Emirate countries to provide a new range of taste of burgers. Role of Brand Equity in expansion of business:
Brand equity is defined a management of brand and its related value with particular associated with enterprise. As a result of strong brand equity, a company can enter into product category, where new product and exiting product will be introduced. The logical association must be treated with equality and result into building a better brand image. Brand equity works as a customer preference where they will make the selection of goods and services according to stated needs (Taylor, 2000)
A situation may occur where consumers are well attentive about the brand equity and acquire a favorable brand name and interconnection with the minds of consumers. Brand is treated as an intangible asset and it depends on the 3 major components i.e. consumer preferences, financial and brand expansions. Brand equity helps n populating an emerging competitive position in the market. This will enable them to plan for the future expansion plan and extension to other sectors as well (Leitch and et. al., 2003). Brand awareness support in identifying how much a consumer is willing to pay out to buy a branded product and avoid a substitute product. For example, a product which is available with both branded company and a substitute holding company. The customer will decide on the parameters of brand equity and prefer a product which suits the needs perfectly. Generating brand awareness is essential to create sound and healthy brand equity and this involves numerous channels of marketing such as online services, word of mouth and slogans are effective ways to transfer brand equity of Mc Donald’s to prospective customers (Kapferer, n.d).
Branding not only creates a part of promotion but it also considers building a brand strategy according to organizational objectives. The uniqueness of brand is especially defines its quality in specific goods or services that diversifies in a compelling way, that makes the users to buy that product. Brand targeting and positioning is also similar in various ways. Brand mainly focuses on its specific qualities and features they are abundant into. This will target the company’s objectives and vision to cater the needs in a classier way. Brand positioning is also works on different parameters, if product is specified onto niche markets, brand will target those customers only, if product is simulated for mass communication, mass marketing will be done. Such products are necessity or consumable essential goods. Mc Donald will target consumers from youngster to middle aged persons (Gough and Scott, 2000). The positioning of market will be distributed on the parameters of mass producible good and targeted under affordable prices. Many marketing experts insist on having certain unique quality and one distinguished feature in every product or service provided by the said company. This will help to entail higher competitor ship and accomplish best competitive advantage in the industry. McDonald’s has a unique quality providing similar food quality all over the world and they try to provide the products at cheapest prices to its customers. The uniqueness is achieved by following a trade secret recipe which is mandated in its every counterpart, where they have opened up their chain of restaurants. This unique quality is trusted and maintained in the highest orders; they also maintain a high end bulk delivery system of supply from notified supply partners. This way they are enriching high brand equality in every known country and facilitating best services to its customers at rock bottom prices. This cultures its brand equity between partners and develops a huge reputation in the market (Keller and et. al., 2008).
The perceived and expected quality of McDonald’s helps in weaving an extraordinary image according to image perceived by the buyers on the entire quality building of goods and services delivered by fast food industry. Higher the compatibility between the excepted and perceived value, better will be the market value. Marketing also improves the market value proposition of McDonald’s. Consumers have developed a variety of attitude and perceptions, but following every perception is difficult to pursue. So according to vision and mission of company, they will try to screen those perceptions which suit the objectives on broader terms are selected (Importance of Marketing, 2013). As a result it will harvest a value building synergy between consumers and company and project an image so reliable and trustworthy, that they can depend on that with their mind and heart. This will also made them to reach users with more enhanced value creation and hence it will evolve a higher degree of productivity and reputation
The main motive of this part is state about the provisional statement of research methodology and is used to present the findings in a different manner with research methods techniques that are being applied in the study. This section of the report provides tools and techniques to arrange the study in an organized manner and it also gives information about practical approach of study that has been attained. The way in which study is being developed in terms of value and strategy are diverse and is included with prime aim and objectives of study.
Research methodology states about the actual truth which is being hidden and has not stated any previous information about particular competitors, market trends and about the target market (Saunders, Lewis and Adrian, 2007). This chapter is primarily considered as the backbone of study as it mainly depends on analytical outcomes and the main rationale for this is to seek information about different challenges that is present in the area of branding strategies of different organizations. Research methodology gives information about theoretical aspects which is being provided as a base to acquire idea about study and it also defines limitations and possibilities to accomplish the research.
Research methodology section gives attention on accumulation of secondary and primary data with different techniques along with strategies which is being used in the process and it exactly defines information about series in a manner in which research need to be accomplished with numerous strategies that is being implemented in the study. This fundamentally reflects about the system and research approaches that give a framework that need to be used in the study and explanation about methods to collect data (Silverman, 2004). In this present report both primary and secondary research need to used in order to acquire meaningful information in the area of study and in this context numerous secondary sources have been reviewed that included books, journals and articles to represent the exact outcomes. It also defined about numerous possibilities and limitation in a study so that valid information can be formulated.
Moving ahead in the study primary research will be accomplished in McDonald’s, UK outlet in which an interview will be undertaken among senior personnel’s and marketing executives of organization. Here, in researcher will give prime attention that maximum information about branding strategies and its role in the development of fast food companies in global business situation will be stated. In this regard the below mentioned research strategies will be applied in the study;
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- Research design – It is mainly of two different types i.e. descriptive and exploratory that includes a range of methods in which analysis need to be accomplished. In the present research exploratory method will be applied as the main priority is here given on acquisition of detailed insight on the research objectives i.e. to assess the impact of branding strategies on fast food companies and its role in the growth and development of corporation.
- Sampling – It helps in to segregate respondents and attain a detailed idea on the research topic in which sampling is one of the most important process that helps in to plan and is basically dedicated towards selection of most appropriate method for the study and collect information from primary source. There are range of sampling techniques available and the most appropriate method need to be chosen to assess the most suitable sample (Jacobs, 2012). It is mainly divided into two different forms i.e. probabilistic and non-probabilistic sampling. Here, in this study a sample of 50 respondents will be acquired through stratified sampling method that will include senior personnel’s and marketing executives.
- Research Approach – In a research there are mainly two types of approaches i.e. inductive and deductive, both of these are used in different studies. Research approach assists in to enhance the efficiency of study and to incorporate outcomes derived. Inductive approach demonstrates relationship between study and theory in which former result is generated later and is applied mostly in qualitative study (Stake, 2010). On the other hand deductive approach includes development of concepts and theories prior to test any kind of empirical observation. In this research inductive approach has been applied to attain valuable outcomes that is being generated and is being implemented in the study.
- Research type – It is divided into two different types i.e. quantitative and qualitative according to the needed information. Qualitative research is a method that focuses on sharpening and strengthening the strategic position of study so that behavioral outcomes can be attained. In a study qualitative method is being applied that includes attributes like discussion, interview and focus group to interpret the objectives. On the other hand quantitative method depicts about actual results and different information in a numerical form, in this study qualitative method will be applied to interpret the actual information and collect valuable data.
- Data collection – In any research there are chiefly two major sources to collect data i.e. primary and secondary. In a primary data collection there are many methods available to present useful information that includes survey, interview, observation and focus group. Primary information includes all those information that is being collected for the very first time and states the actual picture. On the other hand secondary information gives acquisition of information that is being published previously journals and articles by numerous authors on the area of study. Here, in this report secondary and primary data will be collected, in primary research a survey will be accomplished among senior personnel’s of McDonald’s by distributing questionnaire among them. In this context researcher gives emphasis on attaining valuable information in the most suitable form to represent data in the best suitable manner.
- Data analysis – The acquired information will be analyzed in order to reach up to a predefined level and in this report it is mainly acquired through diverse research techniques i.e. quantitative and qualitative manner. In a quantitative method data is analyzed numerically with the help of different statistical tools and in a qualitative research data is assessed in a statement form, in this report data will be analyzed with the help of thematic analysis in a qualitative form.
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