The Role of Public Relations in Marketing of Burxin Paint Industry in Anambra State

The Role of Public Relations in Marketing of Burxin Paint Industry in Anambra State

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 Sarkosky (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 inter 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  towards business firm or its line of production or complication in the industry.

It is based on this definition that some scholars and marketing system 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 firms 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 si available to him without attachment to particular brand. According to Kings (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 Eruism of this statement cannot be over emphasized in the sense that one product has different brands, though 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 identity 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 a way 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 and  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 Ming 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 no 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 consumers 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 hey drive 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 manufacture begins to educate consumers on the product the story 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 pre-cautions 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 feed back 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 feed back 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 though 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 ot 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 aerating 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 accumulate 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 form 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 to 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 krate 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.

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