Effects of Branding and Consumer Choice of Bottled Water: A Survey Study of Institutional Consumers
Bottled water is becoming one of the fastest-growing markets in the beverage industry globally. Most people perceive bottled water as safe, better quality and as an alternative to other packaged beverages. This perception has seen an increased demand for bottled water, a situation which has resulted in cut-throat competition, infiltration of sub-standard and smuggled goods into the market and non-disclosure of water sources, among other challenges. This dilemma is further confounded by a lack of clarity on what determines consumer preferences. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a brand on consumer choice of bottled water amongst institutional consumers in Kericho town. The study adopted a survey design. The location of the study was Kericho town, and the target population was 74 institutions with 237 respondents. A sample size of 146 respondents was adopted. Purposive and stratified sampling techniques were used in the study to sample the institutions and respondents, respectively. Data was collected using a questionnaire, which was deemed a suitable instrument for the study. The reliability of the study was ascertained by doing a pilot study in a different town believed to have the same characteristics as the location. Reliability was determined through Cronbach’s Alpha method, where reliability score 0.8 was considered ideal. SPSS was utilized to analyze data that was presented using frequency tables, bar charts and pie charts. Descriptive statistics were used for the analysis of data. The study found that the brand of bottled water affected consumer choice with a mean value of 0.312 (p=0.000 < 0.05). The study concluded that brand recalling, brand awareness and brand loyalty should be considered while branding since it contributes to consumer choice. The study recommended that manufacturers of bottled water should be more consumer-oriented through conducting consumer survey in order to enable them to brand bottled water based on customer expectation and consider setting affordable prices for all players in the market while making the bottled water products. The study will be significant to manufacturers, consumers of bottled water, government agencies and researchers.