THE ROLE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS IN MARKETING OF BURQIN PAINT INDUSTRY IN ANAMBRA STATE
This research project is about the role of public relations as a tool in enhancing consumer patronage in the paint industry in Nigeria. The public relations plays an important role as a marketing communication tool in our today’s industries. The public relations as very important communication tool is been used in some of the organization such as charitable organization, a political of a commercial organization. This research work tends to project some and ensuring that the objectives of the consumers are duly achieved. This project underlay the methodology used in getting the response of view of the people over ensuring viable patronage of the consumers. If the enlisted recommendations made in this project in adhere to, there is every possibility that most f the consumers would not be loosed easy and their ground in the organization will be fortified. This will in turn yield a profitable effect to the organization.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In fact the subject of public relations is not new and it has been there and in practice since time immemorial. Man has always tried and wanted to communicate to make him understand, e.g. pictograms (Chinese characters still an example). 1000 of years ago wall paintings in the caves of premature people, writings on tablets of stone, ancient buildings, pyramided early temples, mosques, care paintings in Zimbabwe bear pictorial messages. Holy books also communicate and tell people about faith so, it will be appropriate to say that public relations are as new as civilization.
MEANING OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Now a days PR is misunderstood and supposed to try and create a favourable image or climate of opinion and or improve a tarnished image. This is not true, this is only marketing and advertising which is only a segment of PR. PR is about createing and understanding through knowledge which often involves effective change. So it menas that PR is a form of communication which applies to any sort of organization, commercial or non-commercial in the private or publci sector
DEFINITIONS OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
The universally accepted definition of public relations as per Edward Burney’s popularly known as the father of public relations is that:
It is a planned and sustained effort to established and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its publics.
However, Quentin Bell, another public relations consultant thought the word “Persuation” would be better than “mutual understanding”.
For better understanding if we take the two initial of the world public relations i.e. P and Rl, “P” for performance for public and “R” for result as against Relations.
DIFFERENT TECHNIQUES OF PR
In the olden days for PR purposes people used pictograms (Chinese characters are still an example). 100 o years ago wall paintings in the care about premature people, writing on tablet of stone, ancient buildings e.g. pyramids, early temples and mosques, care painting in Zimbabwe bear pictorial messages. Holy books communicated and told people about faith. While these days bill boards, hand outs, print and electronics media, sponsorships, free sampling, corporate identity practices, audio and video mediums, conference seminars special offers etc are few of the visible PR techniques used to achieve defined objective.
1.2 Aims and purpose of the Study
The aim of this research work is to analyze the role of public relations in marketing of Burxin paint industry. For public relations to be used to achieve this aim, it must be able to touch certain critical factors which influence consumers patronage and these includes:
- To public relations exist between produect band differentiation and consumers.
- To consumer education by firms and to public relations to consumers.
- To effective market information system leads to enhanced public relations to consumers.
- To high consumer confidence generate high public relations in the industry.
1.3 Aims and objective of the study
The aim of public relations is ot inform the public, prospective customers, investors, partner’s employees and other stakeholders and ultimately persuade them to maintain a certain view about the organization. Its leadership, products or of political decisions.
Aims in public relations are to identify the target audience and to tailor messages to be relevant to each audience. Sometime the interests of differing audiences and stakeholders common to public relations effort necessitate the creation of several distinct but complementary messages. These messages however, should be relevant to each other, thus creating a consistency to the overall message and theme. Messaging is the process of creating a consistent story around a product, person, company or service.
Messaging aims to avoid having readers receive contradictory or confusing information that will instill doubt in their purchasing choice or other decisions that have an impact on the company. Brands aims to have the same problem statement, industry view point or brand perception shared a cross sources and media.
1.4 Statement of the Problems
Businesses are faced with the problem of low consumer’s patronage due to certain factors which often times are faults of firms within the industry. Some of those actors are out lined below:
i Problem of poor outreach due to partly to firm’s business activity and partly to non-functional public relations to enhance their outreach. This impacts negatively or the willingness of consumers to attach and maintain patronage since the firms have negative or zero outreach.
ii Problems of absence of brand differentiation medians by firm.
This leads to low patronage to a particular brand resulting in zero brand attachment.
iii Problems of consumers ignorance. Most times consumers may
be ignorant of some vital information regarding particular products such as usage, application and operators and when confronted with such they may choose not to make purchases since it requires other information from the producers in order to be used effectively.
iv Problem of consumer response in a market environment of producers and consumers, it is expected that business activities will generate certain response form consumers who are end users of the product. Business need to assess analyze and internet these response in order to serve the consumers better.
v Problems of low or lack of consumer confidence in firms. Most times business does not consider it important to generate consumers confidence or even when they do, the appropriate tools to use to engender consumers confidence which leads to enhanced patronage may not be utilized.
1.5 Research Questions
i Does public relations exist between product brand differentiation and consumer?
ii Will consumer education by firms lead to public relations to consumers?
iii Can effective market information sysem lead to enhanced consumer patronage?
iv Does high consumer confidence generate high consumer patronage?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
i Ho: there are no public relations between product brand differentiation and consumer,.
Hi: There are public relations between product band differentiation and consumer.
ii Ho: Consumer education by firms will not lead to enhanced public relations to consumers.
Hi: Consumer education by firms will lead to enhanced public relations to consumers.
iii Ho: Effective market information system will not enhance public relation to consumers.
Hi: Effective market information system will enhance public relations to consumers.
iv. Ho: High consumer confidence does not generate enhanced public relations in the industry.
Hi: High consumer confidence generates enhanced public relations in the industry.
1.7 Significance of the Study
In carrying out this research work it is expected that a lot of benefits will be derived both by firms in the paint industry and firms in the other industries and also general business. This work specifically addressees the relevance of public relations in business and more especially in the maintenance and enhancement of consumer patronage.
Business will understand through this work the effectiveness of public relations in achieving this objective more so the contribution of public relations to growth of business. public relations seek to enhance the public image of business or the perception of the business by the public and create a cordial relationship with their customers. It is expected that businesses will learn a lot from this work and know that their businesses to thrive successfully even under stiff competition they have to maintain strong consumer patronage.
1.8 Scope of Study
In carrying out this research work efforts were made clearly to understand the impact and effectiveness of public relations on consumer patronage as a tool.
Another point worthy of mentioning is that factors affecting consumer patronage are inexhaustible therefore only a few of them wee under studied.
The last point to note here is that though public relations are a tool that can be used to enhance consumer patronage in marketing of Burxin paint industry. Its effectiveness depends on proper presentation and application by the firm involved though this research work was carried out primarily the point industry it has to be born in mind that its application stands all business and hence have general applicability.
1.9 Limitations of the Study
During the course of carrying out this research work, certain difficulties were experienced which includes among others things:
- Financial constraint which limits the coverage or geographical spread during the administration of questionnaires.
- There was time constraint which did not permit for a more elaborate of the respondents in order to ascertain business.
1.1 Definition of Terms
i Public Relation; This is a tool or mechanisms that enable an
organization to properly and adequately generate good will and therefore endear it to its public.
ii Consumer Response: This is the reaction of consumer to business or firm activities.
iii Product Line: Is defined as a group of product which passes through the same production process and usually requires the same raw materials.
iv Consumer Patronage: This is that financial input made to the business in exchange for goods purchased or services rendered to the consumer.
v Corporate Image: This is the image of a company or firm, corporation or business which a consumer has, it is an impression that an organization gives to the public.
vi Consumer confidence: is that state of land of a consumer which allows him to have total belief in a firm and its line of product, being assured that his best interest is served by the firm than rival firms.
vii Consumer apathy: This is a feeling of enthusiasm disinterest and indifference by a consumer towards a form or its product.
viii Brand differentiation: Is a mechanism where by firms producing eh same produce or line of product. Distinguishes their brands from others through appropriate packaging and labeling.
ix Brand Attachment: Is the psychological feeling of maximum satisfaction which a consumer feels towards a particular brand of product that makes him give preferential trust to the brand.
x Advertising: This is the act and process of telling the public about a product or service in order to encourage people to buy or to use it.
Importance of public relations
Public relations practice is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organization and its publics.
Public relations are essentially a long-term process sending messages to the public, designed to build and develop the reputation of a brand over a period of time.
Above all, public relations must work to planned programme wit clear objectives and it must be sustained.
2.1 Review of Literature
A lot of research has been canceled out concerning consumer patronage as it concerns business performances. However, no attempt has been made concerning the use of public relations to enhance consumer patronage which will lead to positive business performances. It is the aim of this research work to highlight the factors affecting consumer patronage, the impacts of low consumer’s patronage to firms in the paint industries the definitions of public relations and eh important public relations in business and finally suggested solution to low consumer patronage using public relations
2.2 Consumer Patronage
Consumer patronage has been defined as the purchasing of goods and sourcing for service from firms and business by consumers in exchanging for monetary value. (Kahn 1985).
Consumer patronage is that financial input made to the business in exchange for goods purchased or service rendered to the consumer. Form this definition, one understands that consumer patronage have to do with two main parts. The first financial input by consumers while the second part is goods given out by the producer. To further emphasis on this, Adle (1990) succinctly posited that consumer patronage is synonymous with consumer purchasing of goods from producers / sellers. One has to agree with this point in the sense that for patronage to take place in business, there must be a transaction whereby the consumer exchange his money for goods and service by the seller or producer.
Consumer patronage is very important in business in the sense that this factors determine the success or otherwise of a business entity. Consumer patronage ensures that a business continues its operations which may involve production of products or rendering of services. And when there is high level of consumer patronage, it is observed that there is a high turn over rate for the business and also the business will be ensured of a ready market when there is consumer patronage. It is these variables that drive a business towards its performance level and the operation efficiency.
Consumer patronage have been pointed out by a lot of business researchers to be a very important part which businesses need to look into in order to ensure high business performance. according to Sarkozy (1988), there is a direct relationship existing between the level of consumer patronage and the business productivity. What they meant here is that the level of consumer patronage which a business enjoys will go a long way in determining the level of productivity which a business can generate. The end users of business activity are consumers and the level of their patronage will determine the amount of goods and services that business will exchange for consumer’s money. When there is low consumer, patronage to a firm or its line of product, it is observed that the productivity of the business slowly decreased and this turn will lead to survival difficulties for the firm in the industry.
In the paint industry, just like any other consumer product industry, consumer patronage is very critical for forms within the industry. There are many players in the field, a firm can only remain viable when thee is a continuous line of remain patronage to them even in the face of intra industry competition. Firms within the paint industry seek to ensure consumer patronage in order to continue production and still make profit. This is the terminal objective of all business organization.
Matt (1986) defines consumer patronage as the terminal determinations of a business existence and growth and emphasize that feeling of obligation or attachment of a consumer owards business firm or its line of production or complication nin the industry.
It is based on this definition that some scholars and marketing sysem posited that consumer patronage are interdependent and that there is a psychological bias involved, this was pointed out by Madrock and Glotech (1989) who define consumer patronage as the psychological business of a consumer towards a firm or its line of product which leads the consumer to continuously prefer a firm product over brands even there is a reduction in the level of quality of such product, the consumer always feels a sense of obligation and pride towards the firm’s product.
2.3 Determinants of Consumer Patronage
When we are discussing consumer patronage, it has to be pointed out that certain factors affect consumer patronage. And hey are outlined below:
i. Product Brand Differentiation: Another factor that determines the level of consumer’s patronage to business firms is the issue of product band differentiation. In an industry there are different brands of a product or line of a product which are produced by different firms. When this occurs the consumer will likely purchase any brand that is available to him without attachment to particular brand. According to King’s (1990) “product brands differentiation is a mechanism where firms producing the same product or line f product distinguish their brand from into a unique time, through appropriate packaging and labeling. It is this that gives a product rand a unique identity with which the consumer may develop attachment and generate a sense of patronage to the firm”. The Truism of this statement cannot be over emphasized in the sense that one product has different brands, through brand attachment since nothing distinguish one brand particular form another. Kahn (1985) argued that product band differentiation is very critical element in consumer patronage by saying that when consumer can easily identify a product brand then there is a psychological attachment to those extrinsic include the packaging and the product design which a company does in such away to attract the attention of consumers when consumers are the internalized these external qualities have nothing to do with quality of the product itself. The brand uniqueness generated therefore creates a sense of bond leads between the product rnad and the consumers which often leads consumers patronage. Lewinski & O’Connor (1990) argued attachment by consumers to firm’s line of product. As a powerful marketing the product brand differentiation always generates a mental image of a product in the Mind of consumers which leads him to be endeared to the product, this is observed in real life situation when consumers go to the market and request for particular brands of product where such brands are not available the consumers often goes without purchasing the brands. Though as trial as this may seem it portray a powerful and influencing effect of product brand differentiation which generates the feeling of bond between a consumer’s and a firm or it’s line of product. This led Agar (1990) to point out that most times consumers do not purchase goods based on the intrinsic value they get or satisfaction they derive from a product but where better alternative exists. Looking at this scenario we many therefore be justified to assume that product brand differentiation plays a great role in determining the level of consumers patronage.
ii. Consumer Education: For a firm generate enhanced consumers patronage it needs to educate the consumers about its product consumers education has to do with systematic information disseminated to members of the public concerning a firm or its line of product in-terms of usage and other specific relevant information concerning the product. This agrees with Noit (1992) when the pointed out that an educated consumers will always have a high level of patronage to a firm and its line of product therefore it lies on the firms to properly and adequate inform and educate the consumers of its products. Consumers often times prefer to patronize firms and their line of products. Meyer (1986) hinted that consumers education is an important tool which a business firm uses to maintain a two way relationship with its consumers. This he said comes as a result of the business firm providing adequate and timely information to the consumers pertaining to itself and its adequate and timely information about them when consumers are properly educated about product which they consumers, this will make them to be more attached to the product since they feel that they have being properly informed about the product hence can make proper decision. It is observes in real life that people often don’t purchase or purchase little of products which hey know so little about as they be afraid of its negative consequences. This is manifested of its patronage witnessed on newly introduced products in the market of which earlier information was not made available to the consumers through advertising.
However, when the product manufacure begins to educate consumers on the product the sotry begins to change as consumers become more emboldened to purchase those goods. Consumer education is a tool used to neutralize the impact of consumer apathy towards a firm or its line of product when consumers become apathetic to a firm or its line of product like those in the paint industry, aggressive consumer education though may be neglected by most firms is a potent tool that often generate consumer patronage. this point therefore, emphasizes on the need for firms to continuously engage in consumer education activities for these in the long run will benefit. The firm themselves through enhanced consumer is a service which gives consumer.
The opportunity to be adequately informed about product and services in terms of quality identification brand assessment, safety precautions and different usages. In the paint industry, for example consumer education is very necessary in the sense that consumer needs this information in order to fully use the different paint products ensure safety during usage and also access quality of product in the market. When these information are made available to the consumer, the consumer feels at ease using these products bewaring that they has all the necessary information to make a good and wise choice.
iii. Market Information: When a firm is operating in an environment it needs to have a feedback mechanism that will allow it to gather information generated by the consumer and external environment as a result of the activity of business firm. Sach (1998) defines market information as those relevant data generated within the business environment that depicts the relationship existing between the business and the environment for which use is made by the firm to streamline its activity in order to sure survival and positive performance. This means that firms need to have adequate information about their consumers preferences, expectations and other special needs which in them would generate high consumer patronage. in the real market, world, market information flows in a cycle between producers and consumer about their product to the consumer and the consumer givers response about the product give back to the producers. For an effective marketing condition or exist, the producers or firms in the different industries will find a way to collect these response from the consumer as it serves as a feedback mechanism which enable the business firm to assess the consumer’s responses to the form and its line of product. Higgins (1984) clearly pointed out that “Market information is a medium through which business firms sees their inflections an image on the mind of the consumers of their products”. This statement underscores the critical role played by marketing information as it enables firms to control the activities in response to consumer expectations.
Marketing information serves as a vehicle through which consumers generate information include level of satisfaction derived from consuming the product, the image of competitive product and others. when a firm has all these information available to it, it will enable it to position itself better in a way that the consumers are more adequately satisfied.
iv. Consumer Confidence: Consumer confidence plays a very critical role in their patronage to the firm and the line of products. Suffice to say that when consumers are confident towards a firm and its line of product, it translates into high level of consumer patronage. This point was supported by Adrigg (2000) when he said that consumer which allows him to have total belief in a firm or its line of product being assured that his best interest is better by the firm than rival firms; This means that consumer confidence in a firm is a result of trust which consumers attach to firms and their line of product. This impact in performance of business firms in the sense that when they peel confident toward a business firm its line of produce it generally lead to enhanced consumer patronage. Macintosh collaborated with this when he said that consumer confidence is like an asset to a business which enable the business through the good will in generated in he course of doing business and handling consumers to carve out a niche for itself among the population to whom patronage are attached to the impact of this statement could not be underestimated as consumer confidence is generally generated as a result of business firm’s goodwill. When a business firm is operating within an environment, the way it conducts its business activities, its relationship with its consumers and the entire public, its sense of goal responsibility goes a long way to create goodwill for it and this proves to be an asset to the firm as it endears consumer to it. This endearment of consumers to business firms translates into enhanced consumer patronage. Lahr (1989) in his own contribution said that consumer confidence in business firms, at best beads to high business performances as this business firms are assured of a ready market. When business has a ready market, they will have less difficulty in disposing of their goods in the market to the consumers. When these statement are analyzed in full, it is noticed that consumer confidence plays a great role to the success of very business firms. In the paint industry the consumer confidence and consumer patronage have a direct relationship in the sense that when consumers are satisfied with the product hey purchase this will generate confidence in the particular paint firm and make the consumer to patronize the same brand at other times he may required to do so. All these cumulate to give a high level of consumer patronage and hence good business performance.
2.4 Impacts of Low Consumer Patronage and Loyalty to the Paint Industry
Having out lined the factors affecting consumer patronage, the impact of low consumer patronage to the paint industry can thus be state:
i. Low consumer patronage leads to low sale volumes. This is because consumers may likely purchase goods from other rival firms and hence the sales volume will drop. The effectiveness of any business firm in terms of business existence and growth depends solely on the level of business transaction that it came out at a particular period of time. low consumer patronage in the paint industry makes the amount of paint products which firms in he paint industry can sell to the consumers it drastically reduced in volume, will lead to a reduced turnover rate and hence reduce further production.
ii When there is low consumer patronage and sales volume is reduced it will lead to low productivity. When sales volume reduce drastically as a result of low consumer patronage and rate of turnover is reduced, the business firm may find it hard to acquired new raw materials for further production since their disposed off. There will be generate feeling of apathy towards further production and hence productivity is reduced. Low probability as result of low patronage may eventually farce the firm out of business. when a business firm enjoys high turnover rate and increased sales volume, it will inadvertently lead to high profit ration, but where there is low sales volume and low turnover rate, profit will be greatly reduced. The essence of entrepreneurship is to generate profits, but where this objective is not achieved business can operate at zero profit, that is there all this income is used to settle his expenditure. Profit is an incentive to continue in business and where it is available business may not continue exist.
2.5 Role of Public Relations as a Tool that Enhances Consumer Patronage in the Paint Industry
From the earlier definition of public relations, it is observed that it can serve to redress the problem that leads to low consumer patronage. market information and consumer confidence.
Higgins posited that public relations is the best tool that can be used to correct poor low consumer patronage the said this with a view that public relations will be used to change the perception that the public have of a business organization. The business firm will use public relations to package itself positively and create a feeling of goodwill among the public and this will endear the public to the business firm. When this occurs it is observed that consumer patronage is enhanced and this is noticed through increased sales volume.
Public relations can also be used to enhance market information in the sense that the public in general and consumer in particular can be encouraged through the use of public relations.
To generate market information for the firm and this information are used by the firm to reposition their operation and activities, with a view of satisfying the in consumer better public relations.
Department in business firms have the role of liaising with the consumer by providing the organization or business firm with consumer response public relations.
Generate consumer confidence through the projection or good corporate image when the consumer begin to see a business firm a socially response and also response to he consumers, they will begin to have confidence in the firm.
These feelings are generated through the use of public relation by the firm.
At the end of the day enhanced consumer confidence leads to enhanced consumer patronage.