CUSTOMER BASED BRAND EQUITY & PERCEIVED RISK: A DESCRIPTIVE STUDY WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO FEMALE UNDERGRADUATES’ PERSONAL CARE (FACIAL WASH) MARKET IN SRI LANKA
It is widely accepted in the literature that building strong brands is an important intangible asset that can significantly contribute to the business performance. Brands have become a marketing priority for many organizations because it yields a number of advantages. When consumers have had no experience with a product, are highly involved and perceive high degree of risk in the purchase situation, it is postulated that consumers have a set of risk-relieving devices and actions ranging from most preferred to least preferred which they call upon as needed. Perception of risk causes the consumer to select whichever device appears to be best suited for the type of risk involved. One of the risk coping strategies is to trust a well known brand on which consumers place high brand equity. Thus, high brand equity may lead to reduce the perceived risk of consumers towards a particular product or service. On this ferment, this study was designed to examine the degree of various types of risks the female undergraduates perceive in the context of facial wash purchasing and to investigate the cogent dimension/s which contribute/s to most of the intergroup differences. The sample includes randomly selected 391 female students from a name list prepared by the researchers for this study in national universities in the Colombo district- 2010. A sample survey was conducted by using a self administered questionnaire. The measurements of the ‘Perceived Risk’ and ‘Brand Equity’ constructs were developed based on the literature and validated against the data. The results show that there is a weak positive relationship between perceived risk and brand equity. It also shows that the ‘Performance Risk’, ‘Financial Risk’, ‘Social Risk’ and ‘Psychological Risk’ contributed largely to the differences among the levels of the perceived risk. The study suggests that marketers should not totally direct their marketing mix elements at developing the brand equity only. Some effort should also be aimed at highlighting the importance of other risk reduction strategies to reduce perceived risk in personal care market.
Keywords: Brand Equity, Perceived Risk, Risk Coping Strategies, Brand
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