Interviewee bias on the part of management and employees of Aaron was one of them. Another was the reluctance of customers to spend time filling up the questionnaire. A further limitation was imprecision in interpreting obtained information due to the inadequacy of technical expertise. 2. 1 Organizational Background Aarong is the handicraft-selling wing of the NGO BRAC. Established in 1978 the organization’s objective is to provide a source of income and outlet for the products manufactured by the poor, underprivileged artisans of rural Bangladesh.
It helps the craftsmen regain pride in their skills, revive Bangladesh’s traditional arts and crafts, and in the process contribute greatly to poverty alleviation and empowerment of the poor. The organization provides a source of income to more than 30,000 craftsmen of whom 85% are women. Many independent cooperative groups and traditional family based artisans also market their crafts through Aarong. From 1987 Aarong is also engaged in promoting Bangladeshi crafts in foreign markets through its exports.
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Aarong is not only a source of employment of rural craftsmen but also provides them with the following: • Training for development of skills • Assistance in design and product development • Creation of awareness on strict quality control to increase producer awareness of the importance of quality • Providing advance against purchase orders • Linking of producers with customers • Market information for artisans • Prompt payment on delivery of products Aarong has set up job creation projects for women in Manikgonj, Jamalpur,
Sherpur, Jessore and Kushtia. The Jamalpur and Jessore projects concentrate on the Nakshi Kantha (traditional quilted embroidery) revived by BRAC. In Manikgonj, the women are trained in the craft of block printing, hand embroidery, and screen printing, weaving, and dyeing. Project activities in these areas also include silk production, processing, reeling and weaving. Handloom weavers, potters brass workers, jute workers, basket weavers, leather workers, jewellers, and various artisans from all over the country come to Aarong for marketing and support services.
The products of Aarong can be broadly categorized into two: Textile and Non Textile products. The former includes silk and cotton textiles, Nakshi Kantha etc. The latter includes hand crafted leather items, clay and brass products. It also markets straw, jute, cane, bamboo, leaf and wooden items: jewellery, candles and shell items etc. The head office of Aarong, located in Mohakhali, co-ordinates the smooth functioning and communication with its producers, suppliers and outlets. There are 8 outlets of Aarong through which it markets its products.
The 5 branches in Dhaka are located in Lalmatia, Gulshan, Moghbazar, Uttara and Wari. Besides Aarong has 1 outlet each in Chittagong, Khulna and Sylhet. It is also a key exporter of handicraft goods to Canada, Australia, France, U. K. and U. S. A. 2. 2 Management Aarong has a hierarchical management structure. At the top of the hierarchy does Tamara Abed currently hold the post of Head of Operations? The organization has ten departments to ensure proper functioning of daily activities. These are as follows- Marketing Monitoring Accounts Design Posting IT Order Export
Documentation Logistics 2. 3 Organogram Fig 1: Organogram of Aarong The focus of our report is on what is the position of Aarong as a brand in the mind of customers. To achieve that we have chosen the Customer Based Brand Equity Model to determine as a basis of our report as it approaches brand equity from the customer perspective. Brand Salience Brand Salience is concerned with brand identity or awareness that is how easily and how often the brand comes to mind under different situations and circumstances that is what is the level of brand recognition and recall.
A survey based on a random selection of 20 people that we conducted shows that Aarong has a very strong position in terms of recognition of the brand elements- name, logo, packaging, URL, slogan on sight as shown by the percentage of people who could do so in Figure1. Similarly percentage of people recalling the brand based on some cues such as boutique, handicrafts, traditional, comfortable, intricate designs, trendy yielded the following results shown in Figure 2. [pic] [pic] Brand Performance
To understand to what extent the products of Aarong can fulfill the functional needs of consumers we obtained their opinion on five aspects of Brand Performance. These are stated below- ? Primary Ingredient and Supplementary Features- It has been seen that overall customers are satisfied with Aarong’s ability to fulfill there core needs. They feel that Aarong lags behind in the case of supplementary features, as they do not have facilities for much customization. ? Product Reliability, Durability and Serviceability- The general opinion of customers is that they can rely on Aarong to get consistent quality products.
However, as regards to durability dissatisfaction arises, as clothing tends to fade quickly. There exists no facility for servicing products like clothing. ? Service Effectiveness, Efficiency and Empathy- Two-thirds of customers’ surveyed felt that service they received was effective and efficient and that Aarong’s personnel were friendly, co-operative and cordial. However, others were of the opinion that the personnel are not forthcoming in their behaviour. ? Style and Design- Aarong principally follows the traditional design. There is a lack of experiment in terms of style, designs, cut which is found their competitors products.
That is why most people are of the opinion that Aarong lags etc. as they do not update those according to changing trends of fashion but are rather repetitive. ? Price- Customers perceive that they have to pay a greater price for Aarong’s products than the value they receive compared to competitors such as Kay Kraft, OG, Dressy dale etc. Brand performance of Aarong is summarized in the figure3 below- [pic] Brand Imagery Brand Imagery is concerned with the intangible aspects or imagery associations of a brand. Brand imagery of Aarong was analyzed based on four categories- 1. User Profile
It was found that people believe the demographic and psychographic characteristics associated with customers of Aarong are mainly females in the age range of 18-40 from high-income families. Also, those who prefer traditional products shop there. However, their products under the line Taaga are perceived as being more youthful. 2. Purchase and Usage Situation Aarong’s products are marketed through their its 8 retail stores located in Lalmatia, Gulshan, Moghbazar, Uttara and Wari. Besides Aarong has one outlet each in Chittagong, Khulna and Sylhet. It is also a key exporter of handicraft goods to Canada, Australia, France, U. K. nd U. S. A. Apart from Gulshan Branch, all the other branches have these sections on separate floors. Ease of finding necessary products is ensured as by both the main entrance and on each floor one can see the list of available product types along with the floor. However, the Gulshan Branch consists of a vast floor comprising all types of products, which was appreciated by the elderly, as they do not have to climb floors. There is a signboard indicating the name of the products on every section. For the convenience of customers the products have been placed in a spherical mode, starting from the children’s wear to the women’s wear.
All the other products are placed at the centre of the shop. It was found that people tends to purchase Aarong’s products during festivals and special occasions. Another notable fact is that purchase takes place more during sale and discount period. 3. Personality and Values Customers think the following characteristics are associated with Aarong traditional, warm, natural, and local. They think it is traditional because of its highlighting of various occasions through traditional decoration and motifs such as festoons, paper lanterns etc.
The use of earthen tones in their products and packaging creates a warm image of the brand. Its use of local raw material and production by rural craftsmen gives it a natural and local flavor. 4. Histories, Heritage and Experience Aarong was one of the pioneer organizations that sought to produce and market indigenous products in the way it does at a time when such stores were not aplenty like the present time. That is why the older generation is nostalgic about Aarong. They consider it as an organization that promotes the culture and heritage of Bangladesh by reviving its once dieing crafts.
Brand Judgments for Aarong: Brand judgment is significant for building up the customer based brand equity since it deals with consumer’s personal opinion and evaluations with regards to the brand. Our chosen organization Aarong is not different then that. The major four types of brand judgments that are particularly important in terms of creating a strong, favorable and unique association towards the brand and therefore enhance the process of building strong customer based brand equity are summed up below: Brand Quality: Brand quality is defined as certain attributes and benefits of the brand.
According to the consumer survey that we have done on 30 consumers these attributes assist consumers to develop a certain likings toward the brand. While taking about Aarong the consumer’s attitude entirely depends on how they feel that the brand is characterized by certain attributes that matter to customers of a fashion house. The variables that we have chosen, based on which the consumers have rated their opinion are location convenience, cloth design, quality of the product, service of the sales person, food corner, and prices of products. Variables: |Percentage of Consumers In Favor: | |Location Convenience |80% | |Cloth Design |55% | |Quality |60% | |Service of Sales Person |35% | |Food Corner |50% | |Prices |45% | From the survey we have seen that around 80 percent of the consumers think that Aarong has a favorable location convenience since it has five outlets in Dhaka those are situated in Lalmatia, Gulshan, Moghbazar, Uttara and Wari. Besides Aarong has 1 outlet each in Chittagong, Khulna and Sylhet.
It is also a key exporter of handicraft goods to Canada, Australia, France, U. K. and U. S. A. On the other hand only 55% of the customers think that the cloth design is tolerable. The rest of the consumers believe that Aarong’s cloth designs are repetitive and the quality of cotton dark colored clothes are not satisfactory since it continues to become paler starting from the first wash. Then again the service of sales person in reality is not at all acceptable. They should be well behaved as well as well trained to grab customer satisfaction. The consumers think nearly all of the products for the middle class people are comparatively expensive.
Although this issue is controversial since it varies according to the social class from where the consumer belong from as well as their income level. The graphical representation is given below: [pic] Fig: preference based on brand quality. Brand Credibility: Consumer judgment may also differ not only based on brand quality but also based on brand credibility. For Aarong we have questioned the customers based on the knowledge we gained through out the course that includes three prime dimensions and those are expertise of the organization, trustworthiness of the brand as well as likeability. Consumers viewpoint about brand credibility of Aarong are summed up below: Variables |Customer Response | |Expertise: Competent, Innovative, Market Leader |45% | |Trustworthiness: Dependable and able to sustain interest of the |53% | |customer | | |Likeability: Worth Spending Time Purchasing in Aarong |50% |
According to our customer survey brand credibility is the issue where Aarong should give most emphasize since it is the topic that is related entirely with the goodwill of the organization. It is seen that consumers of Aarong do not posses it as innovative in terms of design that a market leader of fashion industry should be. Again the designs of salwar kameezes are unable to stimulate and sustain interest of the customers. The percentage, which we can see above for the trustworthiness, is basically for the innovative designs of the sarees, jewellery and punjabies that are really expensive and sophisticated in nature. Most of the upper class people who generally purchase these items and seek for something distinctive in nature like to shop at Aarong.
The graph of brand credibility for Aarong is given below: [pic] Fig: Brand Credibility of Aarong. Brand Consideration: Brand consideration is a crucial filter in terms of building brand equity and is hugely dependent on brand image. Brand consideration is the degree by which people actually consider the brand for possible purchase or usage. The authority of Aarong thinks that only awareness and credibility is not enough in order to create brand loyal customers unless they really consider Aarong for ultimate purchase. The variables that we have selected and its percentage on 30 consumers in terms of keeping Aarong in their consideration set are given below: Variables |Percentage | |Frequency of Purchase (within 2 months) except special occasions |42% | |(Brand Loyal) | | |Recommending to others |95% | |Frequency of Purchase for General Customers |58% | |Recommending to others |30% |
Aarong should give emphasize on the later part of the table which consists of general customers. It is rational that brand loyal customers will definitely consider Aarong into their consideration set and purchase from Aarong for themselves as well as recommend others to purchase. However the general customers who are not that brand loyal prefers Kay Kraft, OG, Banglar Mela, Shada Kalo etc. The graph is shown below: [pic] Fig: Brand Consideration for Aarong Brand Superiority: Aarong is a symbol of superiority in a sense that the brand is unique. Customers do believe that the expensive products that Aarong offers are indeed unique in nature. The prime problem arises with the products that are reasonably priced.
In addition customers also relate Aarong with a flavour of something that is traditional and Bangladeshi which they do not consider for other competitive brands. So we can say that the almost all of the consumers think that the brand is superior, not only in terms of richness but also in terms of traditional values. Brand Feelings of Aarong: Brand feelings are indeed important since it shapes customers attitude about the brand as well as his/her purchase decision. Our survey results into several feelings or emotional responses that consumers have for Aarong. According to our course content such feelings can be classified as private and permanent, which will gradually increase the level of gravity.
The summarized form of our survey findings are shown below: |Variables |Customer Response | |Traditionalism |88% | |Sophistication and Social Status |96% | |Self Fulfilment |85% | The graphical representation: [pic] Fig: Feelings about Aarong.
From the graph above we can conclude that no matter the customers are brand loyal or not, they can link Aarong with something that is entirely Bangladeshi. It is obvious that the consumers who are brand loyal will definitely find a sense of self-fulfilment while purchasing product from Aarong. Moreover almost all of the high-income level customers do believe that the brand name “Aarong” contains an image of sophistication and assists to gain social respect. Brand Resonance of Aarong: Brand Resonance for Aarong can be pinpointed through the group of loyal customers that it has. In other words the group of brand loyal customers often purchase from Aarong. Therefore we can say that Aarong must generate sufficient purchase frequencies and volumes. Moreover only frequent purchase oes not show that Aarong has good image in the world of fashion. Customers may purchase its average products due to budget constraints or for some other reasons. According to our survey around 42% of the brand loyal customers feel a strong and favourable attitudinal attachment about Aarong’s products. Again, it has been found through our survey that if a mother is a loyal customer of Aarong, she purchases all sorts of clothes for her family from Aarong. It has also been found out that her children also follow her preference in terms of choosing brands. Again, friends can also form a community who purchase clothes from Aarong. Recommendations Obtaining Customer Feedback
In this age of cutthroat competition, organizations have to continuously improvise and improve their products and services to maintain an edge over their competitors as well as keep their customers satisfied. The most effective way to do this is by determining what the customer desire by collecting their feedback and strives accordingly for improvement. However, Aarong does not have any organized means of obtaining feedback and suggestions from customers regarding their products, customer service, pricing policy etc. As a result they do not know what the clients expect from them. To overcome this Aarong can conduct short surveys, keep suggestion boxes (already has in Moghbazar Branch) in their outlets as well as encourage verbal feedback from clients.
In this way it can gain customer satisfaction that ultimately leads to enhance brand imagery and contributes to Customer Based Brand Equity. Bringing Variety In Products Many frequent buyers of Aarong products have expressed that not much diversity is evident in the range of its goods. The very items available now are more or less similar to those available a few years back. This does not allow Aarong to draw an increasing number of clientele. According to surveys and suggestion boxes, Aarong should bring variety to its product line. So that consumers feel themselves more important in terms of giving opinion that enhances brand feelings as well as judgments. Increase In Broadcasting of Television Advertisements
Television is a powerful media that has influence in nearly all the aspects of Customer Based Brand Equity such as brand salience, brand imagery, brand judgments as well as brand feelings. Evidence of this fact is seen in the increasing amount of airtime spent on advertisements of products ranging from toothpowder to real estate. Nonetheless Aarong has only a few but quality advertisements, which are aired very infrequently. Quite a few customers whom we interviewed opined that they could not remember how long ago they had seen Aarong’s commercials. Neither could they recollect the concept or storyline of the advertisements. The members of Aarong must remember the timeworn proverb “Out of sight, out of mind”.
If they do not reinforce their presence among the public they are bound to get a lesser share of the market. Thus it is important for Aarong to take into cognizance the weight of commercials in swaying potential consumers towards their outlet. Providing Formal Training To Sales Staff The authority of Aarong has stated that they do not impart any formal training to their salespersons regarding customer service but since customer satisfaction is considered as a priority for both brand judgment and brand resonance so we suggest Aarong to introduce formal training to salespersons to ensure customer service par excellence and ways of dealing with their demands in a friendly, helpful and courteous manner. Competitive Pricing
It is a general opinion, especially among teenagers and the middle class, that Aarong is shop that caters to the elite class because its products especially clothing are expensive and out of their reach. Since the middle class is the major consumer of local products Aarong can consider revising their pricing policy making it consistent with similar other competitive outlets and hence boost up its brand performance. This would not only help retain market share but also attract new customers because of its brand image. Promotion of Discounts Any organization facing customers with “Variety Seeking Behavior” will obviously try to convert it into a “Habitual Buying Behavior”.
However, it is a complicated task for Aarong’s clothing part since it is not easy to reduce the price severely and make products available for each social class as it would generate a negative image for the brand. Therefore, it is suggested to Aarong to inform the customers by several promotional activities about its numerous discounting packages and high quality so that brand awareness is created and sustained furthermore. It should try to offer more price ranges so that people of appreciable social classes can be a part of Aarong’s customers and take Aarong into their consideration set. Sources Of Information: Aarong Corporate Office Aarong House 65 Mohakhali C/A Dhaka 1212 Phone: +88 02 8824180-87 Fax: +88 02 8828576 Email Information |Ayesha Abed Foundation |[email protected] om | |Accounts |[email protected] com | |Customer Service |[email protected] com | |Human Resources |[email protected] com | |Export |[email protected] | |Marketing |[email protected] om | |Textile |[email protected] com | Site Designer: Ifrad Islam Site Maintenance: M. A. H. Chowdhury (Sohail) Questionnaire Name:……………………………………………………………………………………. Sex: ? Male ? Female Age: ? Below 20 yrs ? 21-35yrs ? 35-45 yrs ? 46-55yrs ? Above 56 yrs Profession:………………………………………………………………………………. Income: ? Less than 15,000 ? 15,000-30,000 ? 30,000-50,000 ? Above 50,000 For the course requirements of Brand Management we are conducting a consumer survey of Aarong. Therefore we need to collect information from you.
We expect your cordial co-operation. The information provided by you will be used only for educational purposes. (For Answers 1- 4 Please Mention In The Order In Which You Recall Them) 1. Which brands comes to your mind when you hear or see the word ’boutique’? 1. ___________ 2. ___________ 3. ___________ 4. _____________ 5. ____________ 2. Which brands comes to your mind when you hear or see the words ‘Traditional Boutique’? 1. ___________ 2. ___________ 3. ___________ 4. _____________ 5. ____________ 3. Which brands comes to your mind when you hear or see the words ‘traditional boutique and handicrafts’? 1. ___________ 2. ___________ 3. ___________ 4. _____________ 5. ___________ 4. Are you aware about “Aarong”? ? Yes? No 5. Which of the following can you recognize? [pic][pic][pic][pic][pic] [pic] 6. How frequently do you think of Aarong? ? Occasionally? Rarely? Often? When I need to shop ? Do not think? When I need to buy gifts? On special occasions 7. When do you consider shopping from Aarong? ? On special occasions? Regularly ? Buying gifts? During sale 8. Do you shop from Aarong? ? Yes? No 9. How often? ? Occasionally? Rarely? Often ? On special occasions? Do not shop 10. Compared to other brands how well does “Aarong satisfy your core need” ? Very well? Equally well ? Not as well? Does not satisfy 11.
Do you think this brand has unique features compared to others? ? Yes? No 12. What unique/special features does this brand have? …………………………………………………………………………………… 13. How reliable is this brand? ? Highly reliable? Quite reliable? Less reliable? Not reliable 14. How durable is this brand? ? Highly durable? Quite durable? Less durable 15. Does this brand give the facility of altering clothes bought? ? Yes? No 16. Do you shop from Aarong? ? Yes? No 17. How often? ? Occasionally? Rarely ? Often ? On special occasions? Do not shop 18. How is the service of salespersons in terms of speed, responsiveness and so forth? ? Excellent? Very good? Good? Tolerable ? Bad? Needs Improvement 19.
Which of the following words express this brand? ? Stylish? Trendy? Traditional? Upscale ? Run of the mill? Innovative Designs ? Uncommon designs 20. What other characteristics come to your mind about “Aarong”? ………………………………………………………………………………………. 21. What is your opinion on prices and discounts/sales? …………………………………………………………………………………….. 22. Do people you admire/consider stylish wear Aarong’s clothes? ? Yes? No 23. How much do you like people who use this brand? ? Very much? Quite a lot ? Not much? Liking not linked with brand usage 24. Is Aarong a brand you can use in all occasions? ? Yes? No 25. If Aarong brings back sweet memories please elaborate? ………………………………………………………………………………………… 26.
Do you feel you grew up with this brand? ? Yes? No Thank you for your precious time and effort. ———————– Head Of Operations Manager (Posting) Manager (Order) Manager (Export) Manager (Marketing) Manager (Monitoring) Manager (Logistics) Manager (Account?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? s) Manager (Documentation) Manager (IT) Manager (Design) Executives Executives Executives Executives Executives Executives Executives Executives Executives Executives Officers Officers Officers Officers Officers Officers Officers Officers Officers Officers Staff Staff Staff Staff Staff Staff Staff Staff Staff ?