A brand loyalty model for arts festivals
Burger, Susanna Elizabeth
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The number of festivals and events worldwide as well as in South Africa has increased significantly over the past decade. With more than 600 festivals being staged annually in South Africa, it is clear that festivals are competing with each other to attract and retain visitors in order to remain sustainable. For this reason, creating and sustaining a loyal visitor base through marketing and branding activities has become increasingly important for festivals. This, however, is a complex task since branding of a festival is challenging in several ways. Festivals are non-permanent tourism offerings with a variety of attributes that need to be considered when branding the festival. These include attractions, accommodation, entertainment and the natural environment. The competitive environment in which festivals operate and the complex nature of a festival as a brand require a specific approach whereby festivals can create and sustain brand loyalty. To remain a competitive and sustainable arts festival, marketers of festivals need to know how their marketing efforts can be applied to enhance visitors’ loyalty as well as the aspects that contribute to visitors’ loyalty. Although various studies have been concerned with brand loyalty in a tourism context, little research has focused on brand loyalty in a festival context and more specifically in a South African arts festival context. In the light of this, the following research question was formulated: “What are the components and the relationships between the components of a brand loyalty model for arts festivals in South Africa? The primary goal of this thesis was to develop a brand loyalty model for arts festivals. To achieve this goal, four objectives were formulated. The first objective was to analyse the role of marketing in creating and sustaining brand loyalty for arts festivals by means of an in-depth literature review. The definition of marketing and the distinguishing features of tourism offerings were analysed. It was indicated that aspects such as visitors’ motivation for attending festivals impacts on their loyalty. Furthermore it was established that marketing activities such as market research, market segmentation, positioning, branding and developing an effective festival marketing mix can assist marketers of festivals to achieve visitors’ loyalty. The second objective was to review the literature regarding brand loyalty and its constructs. Branding and brand loyalty were defined and the history of branding was discussed. More importantly, the constructs of brand loyalty and the items for measuring them were analysed. It was clear that a variety of constructs impact on festival visitors’ loyalty including brand attitude, brand personality, individuals’ characteristics, circumstances and purchase situation, organisations’ commitment to being customer orientated, brand equity, brand associations, brand awareness, product involvement, brand commitment, brand affect, quality, brand image, brand experience, brand trust, brand value and satisfaction. In addition, it was concluded that these aspects are related and affect one another. The third objective was to identify the components of a brand loyalty model, test the relationships between them and determine the variables influencing them. This was done with the aim of developing a brand loyalty model for arts festivals. For this purpose, data were collected by means of a self-administered questionnaire which was distritubuted to visitors at Vryfees and Aardklop. A total of 400 questionnaires were distributed at each festival with 355 questionnaires obtained at Vryfees and 352 questionnaires obtained at Aardklop. Selected statistical techniques were employed to achieve this objective. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was performed on the items for measuring brand loyalty. From this, six brand loyalty components were revealed. Spearman Rank Order Correlation was used to determine the relationships between these brand loyalty components. An independent t-test, one-way ANOVA and two-way ANOVA between groups were employed to determine the impact of selected variables on the components of brand loyalty. Finally, the brand loyalty components were used in Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) to develop the model. The results of the study confirmed that brand loyalty for festivals such as Aardklop and Vryfees are multidimensional and consist of satisfaction, affective image, festival experience, loyalty, personal value and cognitive image. Affective image and satisfaction are also major components of visitors’ loyalty towards these festivals. It was furthermore confirmed that variables such as occupation, province of residence, frequency of attendance and home language have an impact on festival visitors’ loyalty. The final objective of this study was to draw conclusions and make recommendations concerning the compilation and implementation of the brand loyalty model for arts festivals. This research makes important contributions theoretically, methodologically and practically. Theoretically, this study is unique since it is one of the first to indicate the role of marketing in enhancing brand loyalty and to analyse various brand loyalty constructs that can be further investigated by future researchers. Methodologically, this study developed a reliable and valid questionnaire for the measurement of brand loyalty in a festival context which can be used by other festivals to determine visitors’ loyalty. In addition, this study investigated distinctive relationships between the festival loyalty constructs and other demographic and festival-related variables. The impact of demographic variables on festival loyalty constructs was also explored. The greatest contribution of this study, however, is its practical contribution by developing a brand loyalty model for arts festivals which can be used by marketers of festivals to create, maintain and increase visitors’ loyalty towards their festivals.
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