Measuring the effect of loyalty programmes on a leading pet food brand
Loyalty programmes, used as a tool to improve brand loyalty among consumers, have grown in popularity in the South African business environment. Loyalty programmes are essential in understanding customers and to keep customers involved while promoting a brand simultaneously. Although loyalty programmes are also being utilised in the pet food industry, information of the impact it has had on brand loyalty of pet food brands are limited. It is for this reason that the loyalty programme of a leading premium pet food brand, Eukanuba South Africa, has been chosen for the study, to establish how brand loyalty manifests itself in the pet food market. The aim of the study set out is therefore to establish what brand loyalty constructs are more important to loyalty programme members, assisting in tailoring the brand’s marketing methods to attract and retain loyal customers. Moolla and Bisschoff’s conceptual brand loyalty model and questionnaire were adapted and utilised to measure nine brand loyalty constructs through 38 questions. The nine constructs measured include brand relevance, perceived value, brand trust, involvement, family/culture, commitment, repeat purchase, brand affect and switching cost/risk aversion. The empirical study consisted of two independent groups, the Loyalty Programme members and the Breeders’ club members. A convenience sample of 1066 Loyalty Programme members were utilised, with 209 respondents. Access was granted to the entire database of breeders, consisting of 1047 breeders, of which 205 responded. The data was analysed utilising statistical calculations, including the Kaiser-Meyer- Olkin measure of sampling adequacy, the Bartlett’s test of sphericity, Cronbach’s Alpha coefficient, mean values and Spearman’s Correlation. The data was also subjected to a factor analysis with Varimax rotation, which resulted in two conceptual frameworks, one relating to Loyalty Programme members, the other to Breeders’ club members. The results indicate that there are variations from the nine factors adapted from Moolla and Bisschoff’s conceptual model, but that the new conceptual models are reliable. The new conceptual model consisting of nine factors could be established for the Loyalty Programme members, including brand relevance, brand trust, involvement, family/culture, commitment, repeat purchase, brand affect, switching cost/perceived value and risk aversion. These nine factors explain 66.61% of the cumulative variance, indicating that these nine factors are sufficient in explaining brand loyalty among Loyalty Programme members. The seven factors identified forming part of the conceptual model for the Breeders’ club members are brand relevance, commitment, involvement, brand trust, family/culture, repeat purchase and brand affect. These seven factors have also been found to be sufficient in explaining brand loyalty among Breeders’ club members, with a cumulative variance of 63.57%. It can be concluded that the Loyalty Programme members are not representative of the population due to the limited sample, whereas that of the Breeders’ club members are as the entire population formed part of the study. It is therefore recommended that a representative sample of Loyalty Programme members should be included in future research. This will also aid in the construction of a customer profile for both Loyalty Programme members and Breeders’ Club members that is accurate and reliable, aiding in future marketing endeavours. Managerial attention is also necessary to ensure adequate emphasis is given to different factors, as the two groups will respond differently to brand loyalty constructs. The study contributes to the body of knowledge relating to brand loyalty in the pet food industry, helping in understanding which brand loyalty constructs are vital in improving and maintaining brand loyalty.