One of the first references in the realm of branding was presented by Robinson (1933), who maintained that it is possible to sell to different target audiences a variety of brands of the same product that are similar to one another. The reason is that they are different in quality, have different names, and bear different labels. Since this historical reference, branding has become a major marketing domain. In recent years, branding has been transformed from a means of identifying merchandise into a main element in the strategy of organizations. The changes in the perception of branding and the recognition of the importance of the new perspective were slow. Until recently, many organizations in the world tended to analyze marketing problems from a broad perspective of product perception. However, today the business viewpoint has changed and is more focused on than in the past, and is guided by the brand perception. The recognition of the importance of branding in the realm of marketing management has become very significant in recent years.
The objective of this paper is to explore the relationships between brand equity and the loyalty of young customers at different involvement levels. The present research initiates an integration of the multiple extant streams of research in brand equity, consumer loyalty, and products purchasing involvement. It proposes the incorporation of consumer loyalty theories into models of brand equity measurement and the analysis of the target group that is mostly affected by branding, namely young people. The research objective is to enable the marketers how to understand better the parameters that effect the re-purchasing decision, and to evaluate whether the factor of level of involvement change the results from previous researches.
The research used a correlation research design. The type of sample used in this research was a convenience sample. The research population consisted of young men and women aged 18-25 who were considered the target audience influenced by the strength of the brand. The researcher located the population of the sample through the distribution of questionnaires in shopping centers (where there are concentrations of population). The sample was chosen so that it appropriately represented the research population in the different demographic aspects.
The research examined the level of loyalty, involvement, and relationship to the strength of the brand in three product categories:
Low level of involvement – Deodorant a leading brand in the deodorants category in Israel.
Medium level of involvement – fashion clothes the strongest fashion brand among youths and adolescents in Israel
High level of involvement – Cellular Phones brand designed for young people.
The present research added to the information on the different factors that influence the decision making process of consumers in the young age group, in the purchase of products / brands and on how it is possible to influence the young consumers and transform them into loyal consumers of the brand so as to understand the influence of the brand equity on their willingness to purchase.
The research examined the different variables and the degree of influence of the level of consumer involvement, the level of loyalty, and the relationship to the strength of the brand in the three product categories. The results show that:
1. On low levels of involvement, the consumer loyalty is not significantly influenced by the perceived product quality and the purchase decision process is influenced by other parameters.
2. As the consumer more highly evaluates the brand equity and strength, his loyalty increases. This relationship is weakened as the level of product involvement rises.
3. In brands with a low level of involvement in purchase, there is a strong influence between the brand strength and loyalty and purchase and in products of high level of involvement the consumer will not necessarily evince loyalty to the brand. In other words, the impact of the brand strength on the loyalty is weakened as the level of involvement increases.
A set of assets that adds to the value provided by a product or service:
1. Brand Equity
2. Perceived quality
3. Brand loyalty
4. Product category
The aforementioned aspects of branding are powerful sources for companies to create and maintain competitive advantages.
The more successful a firm is when it comes to brand loyalty, the greater the impact on marketing expenditures. Since a powerful brand enjoys a high level of consumer brand awareness and loyalty, the company will incur lower marketing costs relative to revenue.