1.1      Background to the Study

A strategic brand is a product, service, or idea that is openly differentiated from other products, services, or ideas to ensure that it can be conveniently communicated and profitable. It is the rewarding concept or image of a particular services or product that customers connect with, by determining the name, logo, motto, or design of the firm that owns the concept or image (Brand). An organisation can provide the very best products in its group, backed by the most effective service delivery and the greatest overall value. Nevertheless, all this is meaningless if nobody has heard of the brand and it is not profitable. Different researches have been carried out on brand equity and its interrelationships with strategic brand awareness. This has formed an abundant source of literature and thus an essential area of research in extant literature (Keller, 2009; Aaker, 2007; Kapferer, 2008; Slotegraaf & Pauwels, 2008). As illustrated by Aaker (2007), brand equity, is defined as extensive set of values attached by the customers creating differential impacts to the brand which creates income in the competitive market where the business is operating. In this connection ‘brand awareness' is the main dimension of brand equity and is important for the purpose of accomplishing brand equity.

Strategic brand awareness is the profitable perception people have of a brand. Customers having no previous understanding of the brand name will have no intension of purchasing it either. The customers should likewise have the ability to determine which benefits are connected with the brand and they should have an idea where the brands can be bought. For firms to be successful in creating efficient strategic brand understanding, they ought to establish and perform an interactive communication technique that they can continuously update throughout the development of their brand. Effective strategic brand awareness campaigns typically take some time to develop when it come to an efficient understanding and associated communication reaching prospective customers. Developing strategic customer loyalty takes much more time as it requires extended experience with any type of business and its products/services. As a result of the aforementioned activities, favorable strategic brand awareness will increase. High brand awareness can affect the retailers' or resellers' purchase decision (Grewal, Monroe & Krishnan, 2008). Loyal customers are not affected much by intra industry competitive price competitions.

Ghodeswar (2008) posited that branding has been used thoroughly in all aspects of business around the world. Branding includes creating a distinct name and image for a product in a consumer's mind, which can be through some form of advertisement, campaigning word of mouth, celebrities and so on. Brands perform important functions for company, therefore function of a brand is a customer having the ability to differentiate two various products and having the ability to choose from both products (Ghodeswar, 2008). The enhanced competition in the market has led to a great deal of communication tools used by the companies to provide help in being successful in the era of competition, among the tools typically utilized by business in modern time is Branding. Telecommunication business like the noteworthy ones discussed create brand image that would certainly draw in many customers to buy that the brand.

The mobile phone industry in Nigeria has actually become competitive recently pertaining to its growth in this 21st century. There are a number of mobile phone brands in Nigeria in which Techno Mobile, Infinix Mobile, Oppo, Itel, Samsung, Nokia and the likes are among and they all compete with one another in the market and for that reason they make their best to attract more customers and satisfy them accordingly. To be successful nevertheless, in this industry, a broad range of marketing strategies are made use of to enhance sales, gain market share, attract new users and keep current customers, and branding is the groundbreaking and one of the most well-known marketing device usually embraced by the telephone companies to achieve this organizational success.

Branding plays an important role in the success of an organisation, particularly in a competitive setting where survival of an organisation relies on the customers' preferences. In the smartphone industry where customers have lots of options to pick from, importance of effective branding prevails. Companies fear to separate themselves from their competitors in a distinct and unmatched way; brands play a huge role in achieving these goals and are practically inevitably considered to be one of the most efficient method to achieve a strong position in the market (Bassey et al, 2011). Based on this claim, the current study examines the effect of brand awareness on organizational performance by using Techno Mobile as a case study.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

        Increased customer awareness has made buyers wish to pay for more identifiable and useful brands. Therefore, it is essential for companies to create attraction in their brands to position themselves better compared to their competitors. Consumers share and are frequently ready to acquire new and innovative products, therefore strategic brand awareness is an important tool in manipulating consumer buying decisions and purchase intensions (Macdonald and Sharp, 2006). Strategic brand awareness is playing a significantly major function in the consumers buying decision process. The knowledge of a friend or acquaintance having used an item in the past, or a high recognition of the item with consistent advertisements and associations causes an individual to make his choice in favour of a brand. (Farris et al, 2010). Brand building aids in enhancing brand loyalty, as it guarantees a brand is easily identifiable and accepted in the market and distinguished from comparable and competing product offerings. The issue is therefore, whether increased strategic brand awareness, perception and strategic customer loyalty, can be stated to raise companies performance and subsequently profitability generated from it because of increased demand. Lots of firms invest substantial amounts of resources in advertising and marketing and publicity each year aimed at enhancing the awareness of their brands.

Nevertheless, in spite of this reality, others have continued to experience declining customer numbers. Mburu, P. et al (2013), in a research study on determinants of customer satisfaction in the Kenyan Banking sector disclosed that there is a favorable connection between banks related factors and customer satisfaction. The bank associated factors consist of strategic brand awareness campaigns and publicity.

1.3   Objectives of the Study

        The primary objective of this study is to examine the effect of brand awareness on organizational performance by using Techno Mobile as a case study. However, the specific objectives include:

  1. To evaluate the effect of strategic customer loyalty on organizational performance
  2. To ascertain customers’ perspective on branding in mobile phone brands
  3. iii.       To Determine the influence of branding on consumer buying behavior in mobile phone brands

1.4   Research Questions

        Keeping the above objectives in mind, the following research questions are set to achieve objectives of the study:

  1. What is the effect of strategic customer loyalty on organizational performance?
  2. What are customers’ perspective on branding in mobile phone brands?
  3. What is the influence of branding on consumer buying behavior in mobile phone brands?

1.5   Research Hypotheses

        The following statements will be the research hypotheses for this study:

  1. There is no significant correlation between strategic customer loyalty and organizational performance
  2. There is a significant relationship between customers’ perspective and branding in mobile phone brands.
  3. There is a significant relationship between branding and consumer buying behavior in mobile phone brands.

1.6   Significance of the Study

        The findings of this study add to the existing body of knowledge on the effect of branding on organizational performance in the Nigerian mobile phone brands industry. Management and employees of the various mobile phone brands, marketing practitioners, and other corporate managers whose role bears on promoting brand awareness and brand image can draw useful lessons and experiences from the study. Particularly, the outcomes of this study would be of great benefit to companies as it would provide them with relevant information to evaluate whether the branding strategies being adopted has an impact on organizational performance.

Furthermore, the study provides relevant and insightful information and thus reminds the telecommunication companies about the perception and attitude of their target customers on the very branding strategies they have been deploying. Thus, there will be an insight into what product influences consumers of branded mobile phone product to help them develop the best strategies in winning the heart of its consumers.

Finally, the contribution of this study to academia is not in doubt as it would provide a good premise for future research. This study is therefore, expected to contribute value towards existing knowledge on branding and telecommunication business environment in Nigeria and beyond. Particularly it is expected to serve as a reference document to prospective researchers who may endeavour to repeat and expand on this study.

1.7   Scope of the Study

        The study will consider the effects of branding on organizational performance. Using content analysis as a framework to analyse literature on the concepts, Techno Mobile industry will be carefully studied. Attention will be paid to their branding strategies, based past literature and the effects of their strategy based on their present performance.

1.8   Limitations of the Study

The present studies use content analytical framework to establish the link between branding and organizational performance. This based on a careful consideration of the various literature on the two concepts. The limitation of the study however is the lack of adequate local literature on the subject, although a few works are available.

Tight academic schedules, as well as work related schedules since the study is conducted within the period the researcher is carrying out his final examination also posed as a limitation for this study.