The effects of a single brand on the South African Banking image.
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Brands represent invaluable intangible assets of ftrms and therefore need to be nurtured like tangible assets. Leading authors such as Sampson (1998) argue that Fortune 500 benchmark companies such as Coca Cola, BP and American Express have intangible assets accounting for a large percentage of their stock market value. Major banks around the world are competing in a commoditised market where differentiation is proving to be difftcult. Having the best processes and best products is no longer a guarantee for competitive advantage as competitors are likely to copy same. For a bank to have a sustainable competitive advantage in a commoditised market, it needs to use its brand as a contemporary weapon of market choice. Authors such as Grinden (1999) argue that this makes sense as no competitor bank can ever copy another bank's brand. Banks need to take their brands seriously and manage them as if they were managing newly granted loans. Authors such as Haque et al (1994) argue that banks need to realise that the values that make up the brand exist because they are perceived by customers and other stakeholders. Customers will evaluate these values positively or negatively. These evaluations are simply a brand image. Marketing is not about products or services, it is about perceptions. A bank should accept that a customer's perception about its image need not be a fact; it could be right or wrong. A customer will hold an opinion and his or her perception may determine the purchasing decision. As part of the study a literature review was done on brand and branding. Constructs were built based on the strength of literature review on branding and were mainly based on the conceptual model developed by Keller (1993). The aim of the research is to solve the business problem statement, namely: A multi-brand bank such as Nedbank believes provinces and single brands are not related and a single bank such as ABSA believes they are related. Using Chi-Square tests the researcher accepted the null hypothesis (Ho) and rejected alternative hypothesis (Ha) for the three branding variables tested, namely: Top-of-mind awareness, brand trust and brand loyalty. Sample coefftcient of correlation shows a positive relationship between these three variables.