This paper intends to present a proposal for conducting a research to understand the impact of social media marketing on brand loyalty. The proposed methodology of this research has been mentioned in the paper with proper justification. Furthermore, validity, reliability and ethical consideration associated with this research has also been explained in the paper.
Building and sustaining brand loyalty has been one of the primary fields of research for marketers over a very long period of time (Chaudhuri and Holbrook, 2001; Olivier, 1997; Bennett and Rundle-Thiele, 2002). According to Keller (2008), brand loyalty can be referred to as the ultimate aspect of consumer brand quality, which signifies the supreme relationship between consumers and a particular brand as well as the level of identification between them. Given the fact that quality brand attains prominent, exclusive and positive meaning in minds of a wide consumer base, they become readily inimitable and appealing and thus, tend to win a high degree of customer loyalty (Erdogmus and Cicek, 2012). Consequently, brand loyalty fetches immense rewards for a company, in terms of higher revenue from sales, huge market share and profitability. Therefore, this helps a company to grow and sustain themselves in the competitive market place (Kapferer, 1997; Aaker, 1991).
Marketers throughout the world employ a variety of methods in order to preserve brand loyalty of their customers, which include conventional marketing mix variables, brand elements and modern marketing techniques, such as, sponsorships, promotional events, in-person marketing activities, internet and social media marketing (Kotler and Keller, 2007; Keller, 2008). The primary aim of this research paper is to focus on the impact of social media marketing on establishing brand loyalty, thereby developing a critical understanding of the same, given the fact that this concept is receiving wide attention from marketing practitioners and academia ( McKee, 2010; Kaplan and Haenlein, 2009).
In order to be able to conduct the research, the United Kingdom has been chosen as the context. Various reasons can be attributed to the decision of selecting the UK as context of this research. They are:
• The country has been ranked 14th, in terms of internet penetration rate (84.1%) with approximately 52.5 million users using the internet (Internet World Stats, 2012a).
• As of 2012, the country has been ranked 9th, in terms of number of internet users (Internet World Stats, 2012b).
• 36 million adults (73%) in the UK accessed internet every day in 2013 (an increase by 20 million from the number of users in 2006).
• 72% of the adults in the UK purchased goods and services online in 2013 (an increase by 19% from the number of online shoppers in 2008) (Office for national statistics, 2013).
• 21 million households in Great Britain (83%) had access to the internet in 2013 (Office for national statistics, 2013).
According to the statistics reported by the Office for national statistics, UK, it was noted that internet was used mostly for sending/receiving emails (75%), finding information regarding goods and services (66%), reading or downloading online, news, magazines or newspapers (55%) and social networking (53%) (Office for national statistics, 2013).