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The influence of brand equity on the success of franchises' expansion

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  1. Literature review
    1. Franchise expansion
    2. Brand equity
    3. The link between brand equity and expansion
    4. Conceptual framework
  2. Industry overview
    1. The bakery industry
    2. PAUL's position in the industry
    3. The competition
    4. What makes PAUL unique
  3. Research methodology
    1. Research design
    2. Data collection
    3. Sampling
    4. Data analysis
  4. Findings and discussion
    1. Loyalty measurement
    2. Perceived quality and leadership measurement
    3. Associations and differentiation measurement
    4. Awareness measurement
    5. Consumer-based brand equity

Previous research widely recognizes brand equity as a factor of durability for a business model. However, there is a noticeable gap in the literature in identifying the influence of brand perception on the success of a franchise firm. Addressing these gaps, this paper explores the impact of consumer-based brand equity on the success of franchises' expansion. This study seeks to understand how brand equity can be leveraged through band awareness, brand loyalty, perceived quality and brand associations, to enhance positive consumer response, leading to a successful franchise expansion.

This study is motivated by two objectives: (1) identify the factors that play a role in the brand equity of a product or service and determine their relative importance and (2) examine how the success of a franchise concept depends on the perceptual equity of the brand by the consumer. A qualitative research design was employed, combined with an interpretive philosophy and a deductive approach, comprising 15 semi-structured interviews with key informants. In-depth case study of a franchise company was conducted in the UK and in France in order to gain insight into consumer's behaviour and brand perception.

[...] From a more socio-cultural point of view, Perreau (2013) identifies 4 main factors that impact on consumers' behaviour: cultural factors, social factors, personal factors and psychological factors. First of all, the cultural factor takes into account the influence of family, friends, the cultural environment and the society at large which surrounds the consumer and will ?teach' him values, preferences and cultural-related behaviours. Social factors mainly depend on the group of belonging that will shape the consumer's lifestyle, mind-set, values, needs and habits. Therefore, common consumption trends can be observed within these membership groups. [...]

[...] The present study also gains empirical insight of the relationship between the brand equity factors and franchise expansion. As mentioned in the literature review, while the impact of brand equity is widely recognized as a factor of durability for a business model, the influence of consumers brand perception on the success of a franchise firm is often disregarded. By exploring the relationship between consumer-based brand equity and franchise expansion, this paper attempts to address these gaps and provide an empirical approach to the relative importance of the brand equity dimensions in the process. [...]

[...] SECTION C Brand Equity Components Brand Awareness To what extent would you consider PAUL as a familiar brand? Can you call to mind other brands in the bakery industry? Perceived Quality In comparison with alternative brands, how would you consider the quality of PAUL's offer? How would you define PAUL's brand popularity in its category? Brand Loyalty How would you measure your loyalty to the brand? How do you feel about your choice of buying PAUL when considering other bakeries? Would you say PAUL would be your first choice? [...]

[...] This study is closely linked to these factors as brand equity is one of the aspects of the broader concept that is consumers' behaviour. Schmitt (2012) proposes a different model that distinguished three levels of consumer engagement along with five processes within the consumer psychology dimension of brands depending on socio-cultural factors. His model addresses consumer perceptions and judgements and their underlying, acknowledging that consumers have different levels of engagement with brands due to socio-cultural factors which influence on needs, motives and goals. [...]

[...] Although interviewees are obviously aware of PAUL as they regularly buy from them, the presence of the brand in the consumers' mind can vary, thus impacting on the market reach of the brand. Based on Aaker's Brand Equity Ten model, awareness was measured through familiarity, i.e. the knowledge about the brand, the degree of closeness of the relationship with the brand. According to the interview's results, the main factor influencing familiarity is the image the brand conveys: ?PAUL has a visual identity quite recognizable. [...]

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