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ANALYSIS AND RESULTS

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4. This chapter analyses and interprets the data collected. The chapter discusses the results of the study. You can divide the chapter into the desired number of sections and sub-sections. Analysis is still a method or a tool being used to break down your findings.

4.1. Put Sample Main Heading

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How the Quality of Branding Can Affect the End

Buyers’ Loyalty: Saudi Telecom Company

Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Award of the Degree
of

MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

BY

OSAMA ALSHAER (ID: S199633839)

Supervised by:

Dr. Karim Fraj Garrouch

COLLEGE OF BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL SCIENCES

SAUDI ELECTRONIC UNIVERSITY
2020

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Declaration Certificate

The work entitled, ‘‘How the Quality of Branding Can Affect the End Buyers’ Loyalty: Saudi

Telecom Company’’, embodies the results of the original research work carried out by me in the

College of Administrative and Financial Sciences, Department of Business Administration Saudi

Electronic University. This research work has not been submitted in part or full for the award of

any other degree at SEU or any other university.

Date: 15 April 2021

Osama Alshaer

Place: Jeddah

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Acknowledgement

I would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank my family, my teachers and supervisor, Saudi

Electronic University and all the study participants who helped me to complete the project

successfully.

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Table of Contents
Declaration Certificate …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2

Abstract …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 7
Chapter 1: Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 8

1.1. Background …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 8
1.2. Competition in the Telecommunications Industry ……………………………………………………. 9

1.3. STC’s New Branding Campaign …………………………………………………………………………. 11
1.4. Problem Statement ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 15

1.5. Research Aim ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 16
1.6. Research Questions…………………………………………………………………………………………… 16

1.7. Hypotheses ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 16
1.8. Research Objectives …………………………………………………………………………………………. 17

1.9. Project Rationale ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 17
1.10. Overview ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 18

Chapter 2: Literature Review ………………………………………………………………………………………. 19
2.1 Branding ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 19

2.2. Brand Equity …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 21
2.3. Brand Awareness ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 22

2.4 Perceived Quality ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 23
2.5 Brand Association …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 23

2.6 Brand Loyalty …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 24
2.7. Influence of Brand Experience on Customer Loyalty ……………………………………………… 25

2.8. Impact of Brand Identity on Brand Awareness ………………………………………………………. 26
2.9. The Impact of Brand Image on Brand Loyalty and Perceived Quality ……………………….. 28

2.10. Saudi Telecom Company and the Telecoms Industry ……………………………………………. 29
2.11. The STC Brand in Relation to Customer Loyalty …………………………………………………. 30

Chapter 3: Methodology …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 33
3.1. Quantitative Research Methodology ……………………………………………………………………. 33

3.2. Survey Design …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 33
3.3. Sample Selection and Inclusion ………………………………………………………………………….. 34

3.4. Research Strategy …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 35
3.5. Theoretical Concept ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 35

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3.5.1 Model ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 36
3.6. Data Collection ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 37

3.7. Reliability and Validity Data ……………………………………………………………………………… 38
3.8. Data Analysis ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 38

3.9. Ethical Considerations ………………………………………………………………………………………. 38
3.10. Limitations of the methodology ………………………………………………………………………… 39

Chapter 4: Results ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 41
Chapter 5: Discussion ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 47

Chapter 6: Conclusion and Recommendations………………………………………………………………… 62
6.1. Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 62

6.2. Recommendations ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 64
References ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 66

Appendices ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 74
Appendix A: Questionnaire ……………………………………………………………………………………… 74

Appendix B: Graphical representation of the responses ………………………………………………… 76

Index of Figures

Figure 1: The Saudi Telecom Sector (Al-Aali, A. and Kamel, 2015) ……………………………………. 9
Figure 2: Revenue trends in the Saudi telecom sector between 2000 and 2017 (Statista, 2016) …. 9
Figure 3: Telecommunications sector statistics 2013 – 2019 (TRA UAE, 2019 cited in Mordor
Intelligence, 2021) …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10
Figure 4: STC Logo before and after (Armin, 2020) ………………………………………………………… 12
Figure 5: Interbrand’s rebranding of STC (Eye of Riyadh, 2020) ……………………………………….. 12
Figure 6: Branding impact on customer loyalty model …………………………………………………….. 37
Figure 7: Structural Equation Model of the Variables ………………………………………………………. 45
Figure 8: STC has a very good image ……………………………………………………………………………. 47
Figure 9: As a customer I am generally satisfied with STC’s services and products ………………. 48
Figure 10: Materials associated with STC are generally visually appealing …………………………. 49
Figure 11: STC generally has useful products ………………………………………………………………… 50
Figure 12: I have had a lot of memorable experiences with STC ……………………………………….. 51
Figure 13: Thinking about STC brings back good memories …………………………………………….. 51
Figure 14: I would recommend STC to other people ……………………………………………………….. 53
Figure 15: STC puts customer satisfaction first ………………………………………………………………. 54
Figure 16: STC plays an important role in digital empowerment in the GCC region ……………… 55
Figure 17: STC is a company that promotes the interests of the youth ………………………………… 56
Figure 18: STC’s products can meet the current market demand ……………………………………….. 57

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Figure 19: I am confident in STC’s products and services ………………………………………………… 58

Index of Tables

Table 1: Characteristics of Respondents. ……………………………………………………………………….. 42
Table 2: Reliability Tests of Items ………………………………………………………………………………… 43
Table 3: Total Variance Explained ……………………………………………………………………………….. 44

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Abstract

Background: Saudi Telecom Company (STC) is the leading telecommunications company in

Saudi Arabia and a leading company in the Gulf region. Due to the rapidly evolving and

competitive nature of the telecommunications sector, customer retention is a major objective of

STC. It has been seeking to achieve this goal with a rebranding campaign which it initialized in

2019.

Purpose: This research aims to use the case study of STC to understand how the quality of

branding can affect the end buyers’ loyalty.

Methodology: To understand the correlation between branding consumer loyalty, a model was

developed on the basis of previous literature. The model aimed to conceptualize the interaction

between the variables brand awareness, brand image, brand identity, brand loyalty, and perceived

quality to show how the quality of branding impacts customer loyalty. Consequently, a

questionnaire was devised to test a series of hypotheses in relation to the model using excerpts

from the ATC-PSQAL Perceived Quality and Kayaman and Arasli’s Brand Image Measurement

Scale (2007), a Customer Intimacy Scale by Mulia et al. and a Customer Brand Identification scale

by Büyükdag and Kitapci. The questionnaire was distributed among 367 participants located in

Saudi Arabia. The data was then undertaken a quantitative analysis using Stata to test for the

postulated hypotheses.

Findings: It was found that the aforementioned variables had some direct or indirect relationship

on brand loyalty with the exception of brand awareness. The model was therefore largely shown

to be accurate with exception of brand awareness. Contrary to the literature the findings show that

familiarity or high levels of recognizability alone is insufficient to guarantee branding success.

This lack of correlation between brand awareness and brand loyalty may be particular to the

telecommunication sector. Companies should understand the correlations between variables as

applicants to the sector they operate in. Within the context of the research, it will be therefore

necessary for STC to carefully formulate an effective branding identity rather than banking on

brand awareness to accomplish customer retention.

Keywords: Saudi Telecom Company, STC, telecommunications, branding, brand loyalty, brand

awareness, brand image, brand identity, perceived quality

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Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1. Background

Branding is widely recognized as the primary tool that organizations can use to achieve a

competitive edge in the market. This is because firstly the advances in technology make it

increasingly easier for upcoming competitors to copy the quality of established industry players.

Secondly, superior attributes, such as the quality of a product are only contributors to an

organization’s competitive strength if they are acknowledged and internalized by the customer,

which is achieved through branding. As such, businesses that are conscious about branding seek

to leave a memorable impression on their customers and the public at large.

The concept of branding implies a set of functional attributes and symbolic values,

branding being the process of associating the attributes with the product to add value to it (Knox

and Bickerton, 2003 cited in Hakala, Latti and Sandberg, 2011, p. 448). In other words, it is about

communicating and celebrating the most interesting truth about a good or service in a way that the

world can appreciate (Keller, Marino and Wallace, 2016, p. 24). As well, it can be simply described

as the art of aligning what the company wants people to think about it and vice versa (Baer cited

in Keller, Marino and Wallace, 2016, p. 24). Branding success, therefore, depends on saliency,

differentiability and intensity, and on the trust attached to its associations (Kapferer, 2004 cited in

Hakala, Latti and Sandberg, 2011, p. 448).

It is important to note that branding is not only done with a view of boosting sales but also

due to the need to retain customers. Increased competition as a result of increasing globalization

means that companies have to fight harder to retain customers than ever before. Branding helps

the organization to remain visible and reposition itself as times change and new competition

emerges. Therefore, for an established company like Saudi Telecom Company (STC) it is crucial

to ensure that its branding effort resonates with the current expectations by the consumers.

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1.2. Competition in the Telecommunications Industry

The telecommunication sector in the GCC countries, and more specifically, in Saudi

Arabia is fierce and involves only three dominant industry players, which are only STC, Mobility

and Zain, as seen in Figure 1.

Figure 1: The Saudi Telecom Sector (Al-Aali, A. and Kamel, 2015)

In addition to this, revenues have overall been rising over the recent years. This makes the

telecommunications sector an extremely lucrative field, but also one which is highly competitive

as few dominant players vie for market share and exploit opportunities quickly as they arise,

therefore consistently pushing technological advance and customer-orientation to new levels. The

competitive nature of the industry has forced STC into a branding offensive.

Figure 2: Revenue trends in the Saudi telecom sector between 2000 and 2017 (Statista, 2016)

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Figure 3: Telecommunications sector statistics 2013 – 2019 (TRA UAE, 2019 cited in Mordor Intelligence, 2021)

The Saudi Telecom Company (STC) was established in 1998 as a government owned

telecommunications service provider. The 23 years old is currently worth SR 58,949m (STC,

2021) company. On the corporate strategy level, the company has undergone a number of

campaigns and initiatives aimed at repositioning it on both the domestic and the global stage.

Among these programs is the DARE (Digitalize STC, Accelerate core assist performance,

Reinvent customer experience at world-class standards, and Expand aggressively in scale and

scope) initiative, for which it signed more than 25 agreements with several global IT firms, such

as Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia, in October 2019 (STC, 2021). As part of this strategy,

STC also launched its 5G technology in 2020.

STC has a strong brand but so do many other telecommunication companies with a strong

presence in the Gulf region. Büyükdag and Kitapci (2021) showed how the top 100 most valuable

companies are faced with the enormous challenges of retaining their position in the ranking they

hold. The same applies to STC. STC may enjoy a leadership position in the telecommunications

market at present but needs to continuously reinvent itself to be able to maintain that position. A

look at the history of the top 100 rankings of the most valuable brands in the world shows that

there is considerable turbulence at the top. and that their success is more fleeting than is often

assumed.

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Currently, STC is a leader in the telecommunications industry in the Saudi market and is

fifth in the Arabian companies listed in the stock market (Arab News, 2020). This translates to

rank 335 on the international stock market. Other telecommunication companies like Etisalat

otherwise called Mobily enjoy a substantial market presence in the ME region especially in the

United Arab Emirates (UAE) and in Saudi Arabia (PR News Wire, 2020). Mobily has a net worth

of about $5.2 billion and is also customer centric (PR News Wire, 2020). Mobily is a worthy

competitor against STC with a brand purpose of customer experience focusing on how technology

enriches people’s lives through a Smiles loyalty scheme and a Together Matters tagline.

Therefore, for STC to ensure consumer retention, it must position its brand well within the

market. Through brand positioning, refers to the act of designing the company’s offer and image

so that it occupies a distinct and valued place in the target customer’s mind (Anandan, 2009, p.

147). The relationship between marketing and brand positioning is such that the latter determines

the former’s activities and programs that the company should do or not do regarding its marketing

process (Ukaj, 2016, p. 53). Through brand positioning, the brand of the company is fixed on the

mind of the customers in a bid to differentiate the company’s identity and image from that of

competitors (Keller, 2002 cited in Ukaj, 2016, p.53).

1.3. STC’s New Branding Campaign

When Saudi Telecom Company decided to revamp its brand in 2019, it was the second

such announcement in two decades, the prior rebranding campaign having been undertaken in

2007. Both campaigns have been undertaken during critical periods of restructuring of the

telecommunications sector. In 2007, the company lost its state monopoly to the telecommunication

sector in Saudi Arabia. However, rather than being pushed into decline, the company decided to

go into the offensive by successfully internationalizing through the acquisition of significant

market share in Malaysia, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait and a number of

other Asian and African countries (Al-Aali and Kamel, 2015; Reuters, 2011; Arabian Business,

2007).

Since then, however, the telecom market has evolved considerably where new services and

trends have emerged accompanied by rapidly rising demand, such as mobile wallet services, 4g

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and 5g connectivity, and others. It is in the face of these developments that STC has sought to

reposition itself as a force of digital innovation.

Figure 4: STC Logo before and after (Armin, 2020)

Figure 5: Interbrand’s rebranding of STC (Eye of Riyadh, 2020)

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In both these phases, back in 2007 and now since 2019, STC has faced threats against the

loyalty of its customers due to changes in the company’s business environment. Whereas in 2007,

the loss of the monopoly meant that customers were free to choose from new industry rivals, the

diversification of the sector of today has made it possible for tech-savvy start-ups which are able

to secure sufficient funding to capture market share on the basis of first-mover advantage. These

two incidents have shown that STC understands the importance of matching its operations and

strategic pursuits with robust marketing.

As a consequence, STC’s branding is not only important to achieve profits and recognition

on the market but also as a strategic tool to retain its customers while converting new ones. As

such, the operational target of branding can be summed up as achieving great customer

satisfaction, which is normally successfully attained when exceeding the customer’s expectations,

as well as cultivation of a positive brand image.

STC spells out its vision which is at the heart of its brand as “we are a world class digital

leader providing innovative services and platforms to our customers and enabling the digital

transformation of the MENA [Middle East and North Africa] region” (STC, 2020). With regards

to customer satisfaction, STC is a customer centric company providing consumers with ICT

solutions and digital services including telecommunication, IT, financial technology, digital media

and cybersecurity.

As an indicator of the superior customer satisfaction STC provides, it was voted most

valuable amongst telecommunication companies in the ME region. As such STC’s customers feel

they purchase what represents value. The company is estimated to be worth about US$9.2 billion

(STC, 2021). In the ME region, the company falls slightly behind Aramco and ADNOC in brand

finance but is ranked to be the 2nd fastest growing brand of the largest 20 global

telecommunications company. STC has since earned an AAA ranking (STC, 2021). As such, what

the consumers feel and think about a company’s products and services is important.

In 2019, STC launched a new branding policy- the unified brand along with a DARE

strategy that aligns with the company’s strategy for digital transformation and customer experience

enrichment. Apart from a new logo and new and different social media presence, STC defined a

range of values associated with its recent rebranding campaign. According to STC’s CEO Al

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Nasser an important focus of the company’s branding strategy is “digital transformation and

innovation”. This new branding effort is in line with the company’s ventures into the digital

payments sector, entertainment, new media while staying abreast with the fast transformations in

the communication and technology sector (Alsaeed, 2019). In addition, STC seeks to “enable

entrepreneurship”: An important aspect for STC’s branding is the emphasis on helping start-ups

in establishing themselves by providing the telecommunication products that they require.

Furthermore, STC seeks to enhance the lives of its customers. Lastly, STC seeks to provide an

integrated experience via a set of visual, verbal and audio communication tools (Alsaeed, 2019).

All these efforts show a strong focus by STC to provide superior customer experience and

shaping customer perception of STC as a formidable player in the digital technology sector.

Ultimately, by taking these strategic measures, STC becomes indispensable in the perception of

the minds of the consumers with regards to its position and significance in the media and digital

technology sector. In addition, STC clearly aims to make its brand as widely accessible as possible.

In doing so, STC also aims for diversification in an effort to cater to the needs of as many

consumers as possible.

VIVA Kuwait and VIVA Bahrain were changed to STC in line with the launch of the new

brand (Sharma, 2019). The new brand offers exclusive special international roaming for a limited

time free of charge to customers from Bahrain traveling to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. As well, STC

Bahrain postpaid and prepaid customers can enjoy free calls when calling Saudi Arabia and Kuwait

for a limited time offer. Other offers were 10 GB of data free and 100 free international call minutes

in Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The digital transformation encompasses digital payments,

media and entertainment within the digital revolution. STC is therefore not just a logo but a set of

visual, audio and verbal communication tools and sensory expressions.

STC has announced that it strives to continue being a leader in the field providing the best

services and products. As well the brand promised to create new technical solutions to meet

changing technologies including 5G technology (Sharma, 2019). The brand is intending to provide

e-payment solution STC Pay in Bahrain and Kuwait. The company also launched an official app

‘My STC’ that provides a 100% service and can be accessed through the platform on smart devices

including free delivery of devices and SIM cards to clients.

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With regards to digital empowerment geared towards promoting local content, STC

launched the ‘Rawafed’ program in 2017 that funds local content. In 2017, the program contributed

about SR4 billion towards this cause. Localisation of the technology industry is important to the

company particularly the optical fiber networks. Another CSR responsibility is the ‘InspirU’ where

youth innovation projects are funded. The programs also see partnership and capabilities with

experts from Silicon Valley. Currently InspirU embraces 28 projects at an amount of SR60 million

and market value at SR300 million. The InspirU have created about 160,000 jobs and 16 million

users (Alsaeed, 2019). As seen, STC’s branding strategy has changed in recent decades to counter

increased competition. STC was initially a monopoly but has been facing domestic competition

from companies like Mobily. In addition, branding has allowed STC to differentiate itself in

foreign markets that it has chosen to enter in the last 15 years.

1.4. Problem Statement

STC’s problem lies in the fact that it needs to strengthen its brand identity and cultivate a

powerful brand image at all times in order to retain customers who may otherwise be easily swayed

to go over to the competition. As highlighted by Büyükdag and Kitapci (2021) the world’s most

valuable companies, such as the STC, face enormous pressures in trying to retain their high

ranking. A strong brand presence within the telecommun ication industry is desirable and

commonly implied as necessary to gain strong brand equity.

While the relationship between branding, brand equity and brand loyalty has been attested

in previous research, it has not yet been explored for the telecommunications sector. The

telecommunications sector is a highly competitive field where brand awareness is commonly high

among the public and where the offerings are near identical. This research therefore seeks to

explore how STC can make use of branding to ensure the brand loyalty of its customers by

investigating the factors brand awareness, brand loyalty, brand identity, brand image and perceived

quality as well as the relationships between those variables.

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1.5. Research Aim

The aim of this paper is to explore how the quality of branding can affect the end buyers’

loyalty with a focus on Saudi Telecom Company.

1.6. Research Questions

● What is the relationship between brand identity and brand image at STC?

● What is the relationship between brand identity and brand awareness at STC?

● What is the relationship between relationship between brand image and perceived

quality?

● What is the relationship between relationship between brand awareness and brand

loyalty?

● What is the relationship between relationship between brand image and brand

loyalty?

● What is the relationship between relationship between brand awareness and

perceived quality?

● What is the relationship between relationship between perceived quality and brand

loyalty?

1.7. Hypotheses

● H1: There is a significant positive relationship between brand identity and brand

image.

● H2: There is a significant positive relationship between brand identity and brand

awareness.

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● H3: There is a significant positive relationship between brand image and perceived

quality.

● H4: There is a significant positive relationship between brand awareness and brand

loyalty.

● H5: There is a significant positive relationship between brand image and brand

loyalty.

● H6: There is a significant positive relationship between brand awareness and

perceived quality.

● H7: There is a significant positive relationship between perceived quality and brand

loyalty.

1.8. Research Objectives

i. To conduct a literature review to explain the variables brand awareness, brand

loyalty, perceived quality, brand identity and brand image and their importance for

STC.

ii. To distribute, collect and analyze a questionnaire among consumers to gain insight in

their relationship with STC from the perspective of branding.

iii. To derive at results to determine the influence of branding on customer loyalty

iv. To make recommendations on how STC can push its brand further

1.9. Project Rationale

The study will delve into the characteristics of a globally successful brand to understand

how brands navigate the challenges that they face due to competition and changes in the business

environment. The fact that STC enjoys high levels brands equity does not mean it cannot

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increase its brand equity further. As such for STC to not just expand but also turn its customers

into dedicated fans, the company must maintain a high quality of branding to maintain customer

loyalty. This is especially in the face of increasing competition that it has faced since the loss of

its monopoly almost 20 years ago.

1.10. Overview

This assignment is organized into six sections. The first section, the Introduction described

the background of the dissertation followed by the problem statement, research rationale, research

aim and objectives, research questions and hypotheses. In the second section, the variables will be

described further in reference to the available literature on the topic. The methodology describes

the tools, frameworks and model that were applied in deriving the findings of this research. The

findings section offers a statistic analysis of the questionnaire with respect to the hypotheses in

line with the chosen model. The discussion section discusses both the hypothesis and the validity

of the model they are derived from as well as a more general discussion of the answers to the

questionnaire. Lastly, the conclusion and recommendations section summarizes the findings and

offers recommendations both concerning STC’s branding strategy and with regards to further

research on the subject.

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Chapter 2: Literature Review

In the subsequent literature review, the relevant materials on the topic of branding and

aspects of brand equity and how they ultimately affect the perceived quality and customer loyalty,

as well as information about STC and telecommunication sector were selected. In the form of

critical analysis, key concepts such as branding, brand image, brand awareness, brand quality and

loyalty, their relationships and consequences on customer loyalty were explored in-depth. This

will serve as a foundation from which inferences will be drawn towards analyzing the Saudi

Telecom Company’s market position in respective regard.

2.1 Branding

According to Shariq (2019) branding is the conversion of a product to a brand. The word

conversion present in his view suggests that branding is a process separate from the term brand. In

order to define what a ‘brand’ is, we must first understand the crucial role a product plays in the

conceptualization of a brand. Kotler and Keller (2015) define a product as anything offered to a

market capable of satisfying a want or need. These may be tangible or intangible in nature such as

physical goods, places, properties, experiences, services, information, or ideas.

Branding within the telecom industry requires more than the provision of better products

such as good network coverage, dependable customer experience and reliability rather branding

equity is required. Branding equity implies a winning brand and is positively correlated to market

shares (0.86) (Medi Avataar, 2021). A winning brand requires continuous innovation and salience.

New brands rely often on brand awareness to create brand equity –advertising that requires a huge

budget. Brands that are present should be seen and heard of since customers equate this to being

good – better perceived quality.

Brands such as STC already enjoy salience and need to be innovative to continue enjoying

high profits and maintaining as well as growing a large customer base. Customers are continually

looking for new and different products, prices and bundles. Innovation does not cover products

and services only but advertising, adopting risky new technology, improved network coverage in

terms of stability.

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It is important to differentiate a trademark from a brand. Differentiating a brand from a

trademark implies branding is a wider concept or even a trademark used to exclusively identify a

product or a service with a specific company (Ukaj, 2016, p. 53). On the other hand, a trademark

refers to aspects of the brand which are under legal protection by the trading company, such as

names and copyrighted logos, which uniquely identify the product or organization (Lovreta and

Petkovic, 2002 cited in Ukaj, 2016, p. 53). Meanwhile, the brand is what customers perceive.

Through branding, the trademark transfers the product’s image to consumers and its products

become differentiated from its competitors. Brands are the associations that come with the

trademark. The image these trademarks have influence the consumer choices including customer

loyalty and the general value with which consumers hold the product.

The question then would be what a successful brand looks like. A study by Miller et al

(2010) focused on the quality of trademarks within the telephone handset industry. The study

involved blindfolding consumers or participants who were then asked to assess the quality of

producer’s brands and trademarks. The results showed that out of 29 categories identified, 23

categories had consumers evaluate the trademarks to be of the same quality level or better

compared to the various brands of the producers (Miller et al, 2010 cited in Ukaj, 2016, p. 53).

An effective brand can be achieved through brand management. A successful brand

represents the customers’ needs, values and way of life (Isoraite, 2018, p. 1). A study by Veljkovik

and Kalicanin (2016, p. 137) focused on the variables common as brand management practices

and how the variables affect a company’s business performance. The study employed the Brand

Management Practice (BMP) model to determine whether there are statistically significant

differences between companies with regards to brand management. The research conducted in

Serbia involving 118 marketing and brand management managers and specialists showed that there

is a link between certain variables of the BMP model and companies’ business performance.

Companies differ in terms of individual elements of brand management practice, for example in

terms of brand-oriented approach, innovativeness, brand support activities, unique marketing

offers, marketing channel relationships, brand performance measurement, brand barriers, company

size and specific business area of a key brand. The companies fall into three categories including

companies that are brand guided, those that are emerging brand companies and brand-agnostic

companies.

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Branding is also a vital strategy for STC, because such features as network upgrades and

products are easily replicated by competitors. Research has previously shown that brand equity

has a high correlation to market share (0.86) (Media Vataar Me, 2014). Aaker (1996 cited in

Chieng and Lee, 2011, p. 34) mentioned ten factors in relation to brand equity. These are loyalty

in terms of a brand’s real or potential price premium, loyalty in terms of customer satisfaction,

perceived comparative quality and perceived brand leadership. Other factors include perceived

brand value in terms of functional benefits, brand personality, consumers’ perception of the

organization in terms of trusted, admired or credible. The last three factors were perceived

differentiation to competing brands, brand awareness in terms of recognition and recall and the

market position in terms of market share, prices and distribution coverage.

2.2. Brand Equity

Davcik and Sharma (2015) regard brand equity as the value a brand imbues in the mind of

a consumer which manifests in their perceptions, behaviors, and expectations. Shariq (2019) agrees

that brand equity is the value generated by a brand by the function of its name, associations and

emotional connections built in the mind of the consumer. This reaffirms Aaker’s position of brand

equity to be tangible and intangible assets and liabilities linked to a name or a symbol. These assets

are what would later gather to form the dimensions of brand equity.

Three methods exist for telecom companies to differentiate their marketing strategy and

create brand equity, that are product, brand and pricing. Products are important when it comes to

telecom marketing strategy. For example, a telecom company can take advantage of the confusion

regarding internet download speeds. A study by Trone Brand Energy (TBE) (2020) of 980 home

internet service providers noted that 12% of its survey respondents or customers described their

home internet service as basic yet 51% had internet speeds of between 0 to 30 Mbps while 37%

had no idea how to classify their download speeds. Those who described their internet service

speed as moderate had 23% describing it as lower than 30MB/s instead of more than 30Mbps. As

such the customers seemed to have been driven by price factors as opposed to search for faster

service. A company would therefore benefit by ensuring customers understand how a product

directly benefits them – how it fits into their daily lifestyle.

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Pricing is a second factor that is strategic especially when seeking new customers and

attempting to retain existing ones. Proper branding and favorable products justify product prices.

Optimal pricing is determined through existing sales metrics (TBE, 2020). Within telecom,

industry pricing has not been proven to be a determinant of brand equity. Yes it might help win

some customers but it is not enough to generate brand equity – pricing is not a property ‘unique’

to one brand (Media Avataar, 2014).

Branding is another factor that can create different telecom strategies. A telecom company

must therefore offer something different from competitors. The telecom industry is wrought with

similarities in terms of product and price. The study by TBE (2020) showed that the majority

(54%) of Internet users are likely to speak negatively of the internet service provider. This is as

opposed to 27% who may speak positively. As such customer loyalty is low since customers are

always on the verge of switching to competitors. A brand audit is important to determine how

customers perceive a company’s brand.

Brand equity refers to the value premium that a company realizes from a product with a

recognizable name as compared to its generic environment (Chieng and Lee, 2011, p. 34).

Therefore, a company that enjoys high equity comparatively enjoys more profits in terms of higher

consumer preferences, purchase intentions and higher stock returns. Chieng and Lee (2011)

provide four factors surrounding brand equity. For STC to determine its level of brand equity it

can focus on the factors they mentioned. These are brand awareness, brand associations, perceived

quality and brand loyalty.

2.3. Brand Awareness

Scholars such as Keller, Aperia and Georgson (2012) have argued that brand awareness is

the substructure upon which every other aspect of brand equity stands. In other words, brand equity

begins with a customer’s ability to recognize a brand and make a favorable purchasing decision in

spite of the competitive environment. This decision, for some consumers, is engendered by the

trust. But before trust is familiarity in the sense that people are often more comfortable with what

they familiar with. Shariq (2019) opined that intimacy plays a crucial role in the relationship

between a product brand and a consumer. The degree of intimacy is a function of a brand’s success

or failure in creating a personal link with the individual consumer. This then determines the nature

23

of a consumer’s relationship with a product brand and also determines whether or not said

consumer would recognize and opt for the said brand in a market store.

A study by Subagyo and Susanit (2019) covered the impact destination brand awareness

has on destination brand loyalty through brand image, perceived brand quality, brand value and

brand satisfaction. The study was conducted in Banyuwangi City as a tourism objective. The study

involved 250 tourists visiting the city in East Java from March to May 2018. The results showed

that brand awareness affects the brand image, also brand awareness affects brand value. However,

brand image has no significant effect on brand quality.

2.4 Perceived Quality

Keller (2013) regarded perceived quality as customers’ perception of the overall quality or

superiority of a product or service when compared with alternatives relative to the intended

purpose. A consumer may think of a product to serve a specific purpose and purchase such a

product on the basis of the product’s style, design, testimonies, or features. This makes perceived

quality a consumer’s overall perception about the functionality of a product relative to its intended

purpose.

Evidence suggests that brand image is not significant when it comes to perceived quality

(Subagyo and Susanit, 2019, p. 123; Setiawan, Aryanto and Andriyansah, 2017, p. 70). However

perceived quality has a strong impact on brand loyalty (Alhaddad, 2015, p. 1). In his study on the

perceived quality, brand image and brand trust as determinants of brand loyalty, Ahaddad (2015)

showed that perceived quality has a significant influence on both brand image and brand loyalty.

The study involved a sample of 473 students who noted that whenever customers deemed a product

as superior to its competitors the likelier they were to purchase it (Tsitsou, 2006 cited in Alhaddad,

2015, p. 2). Therefore, perceived quality has a significant positive effect on brand image. Also

perceived quality has a significant positive effect on brand loyalty

2.5 Brand Association

Aaker (2014) regards brand association as those individual items themselves linked or

associated with a particular brand. The items with which a consumer is able to link to a brand name

which then triggers a memory or recognition (brand awareness), creates a positive image (brand

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image) (Elangeswaran and Ragel, 2017, p. 40) in the mind of the consumer. For instance, the Shell

Company logo of a sea shell and its yellow color is easily associated with Shell even if or when

one takes off the name of the company. Nike has a ‘correct’ sign for a logo which consumers the

world over easily attribute to Nike even when or if they do not see the company name.

STC’s positive brand associations include its digital transformation. The needs and

expectations of consumers have since changed with the digital transformation. Technological

innovations are changing rapidly and STC is modernizing its infrastructure in terms of costs and

skills. Four digital topics surround digital transformation. These include networks that cause

technological differentiation, redefining customer engagement, bridging the innovation gap and

beyond the tube increasing digitization of consumers and businesses (Tumbay et al, 2019, p. 7).

2.6 Brand Loyalty

Aaker (1991) cited in Isoraite (2016) defined brand loyalty as the measure of attachment a

consumer has to a particular brand. This attachment incites a behavioral response which the

consumer exhibits by re-purchasing said brand. People become loyal as an outward extension of

how they feel towards a brand, product, or service. The behavioral nature of customer loyalty is

supported by repetitive buying as evidence of loyalty a customer may have towards a brand. Such

behavioral response is also exhibited in form of word-of-mouth referrals, testimonials, and so on.

Naeini and Alizera (2017) reinforced that this word-of-mouth propaganda in turn creates a barrier

for entry-level competitors who will be required to intensify market efforts in a bid to win over

customers previously loyal to other bands.

Brand image has been shown to influence brand loyalty (Subagyo and Susanit, 2019, p.123;

Malik, Ghafoor and Iqbal 2012, p. 123). The study by Malik, Ghafoor and Iqbal (2012) focused

on brand image, service quality and price on customer satisfaction within the Pakistan

telecommunications industry. The study employed a stratified random sampling technique to select

200 respondents. The results showed a correlation between brand image and brand loyalty with an

emphasis on customer satisfaction. This is in line with Samarjan et al (20, p. 333) findings stating

that brand loyalty requires repeat purchases. The commitment to continually purchase a product

or a service is followed by perceived value, satisfaction and brand trust in spite of competing

brands.

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A company like STC enjoys habitual loyalty as explained by Kotler (2002). Habitual

loyalty implies customer decisions based on familiarity such that they keep on buying the same

brand. STC is a telecommunication company that. The other forms of loyalty as explained by

Kotler (2002) include complex loyalties where a customer does research, develops beliefs and

attitudes and makes thoughtful choices of the brand. Another form is dissonance loyalty where the

customer shops around first and seeks information to support their final choice. Another loyalty is

the variety seekers where a customer seeks different brands and evaluates each during

consumption.

2.7. Influence of Brand Experience on Customer Loyalty

Scholars such as Hussein (2018) have agreed that brand experience comes from the

continuous interaction that a consumer has with a brand. This interaction is a transactional one in

which a consumer buys a product or requests a service in hopes that said brand meets the desired

need. Over time, a relationship is formed – positive or negative. The nature of this relationship

then determines the consumer’s loyalty towards the said brand. Quality, trust, price, style, design

all come into play to form a consumer’s experience in the course of this relationship. A consumer’s

brand experiences become more likely to influence their behavioral responses going forward

(Zarantonello and Schmitt, 2010). These responses are triggered by brand-related stimuli to which

a consumer has been accustomed. Quality, logo, color, symbols, mascots, organizational ambiance

and environment, and so forth are some key metrics of brand experience (Hussein, 2018). On the

part of the brand, we can say that brand experience is a combination of factors or qualities a brand

possesses which it uses to establish an intimate relationship with its consumers.

A consumer’s brand experience relates to the experience a consumer has of a product or

service and not only with the image of it (Salas and Minuche, 2018). This experience in turn

triggers a behavioral response in form of word-of-mouth referrals, repetitive buying, amongst

others. In research into the influence of brand experience, trust and satisfaction on global brands,

Sahin et al (2011) discovered a positive effect brand experience has on brand loyalty. Similarly,

research by Huang et al (2015) confirmed that brand sensory, affective and cognitive experiences

are positively related to brand experience which in turn affects brand perceived quality as measured

26

by brand awareness and brand loyalty. Sheng and Teo (2012) also found a significant impact

customer brand experience has on the relationship between product attributes and brand equity.

In another argument, He et al (2011) found that satisfaction and trust are closely affiliated

to a brand’s identity and hence brand loyalty. In another contrasting view, Kabiraj and Shanmugan

(2011) argue that while loyalty may indicate satisfaction, it may not always equal to loyalty. Other

explanations for loyalty outside experience and satisfaction include availability, switching costs,

lack of attractive alternatives, and price. Kazmi (2015) argues that for a rational consumer who

always wants to maximize their satisfaction at minimum costs, price plays a crucial role in their

buying decision. This makes pricing one of the vital elements of basic brand strategies.

Away from price, a study by Che Wel et al (2011) found that product involvement wields

significant influence over brand loyalty. They argue that involvement with a product is a necessary

precondition for brand loyalty where product involvement, according to (Hanzaee et al, 2011),

refers to the relationship an individual has with an object. Lada et al, (2014) describe it as an

individual’s general interest in the product. However, in order for a brand to keep its loyal

consumers, authentic satisfaction is essential.

2.8. Impact of Brand Identity on Brand Awareness

Brand identity is a unique set of attributes a consumer easily associates with a brand. A

collection of these associative elements reoccurring in a consistent manner creates an identity.

Aaker (2014) identified these associative elements as ranging from logo, to symbols, to color,

product features, intangibles attributes, customer benefits, customer experience, product class,

competitors, amongst others. Naeimi (2017) argues that businesses that leverage on distinguished

brand identities stand a competitive chance at gaining market dominance and adding value to their

products and services.

Brand awareness, on the other hand, borders on a brand’s easy recognizability attributes.

For a customer to easily recognize a brand, that brand must possess attributes that are easy to

remember. These attributes, when demystified, are evidently associative elements of a brand’s

identity. The implication, however, is that a co-referential relationship exists here in a brand

identity-awareness dynamic. The co-referential relationship is one in which a brand’s identity

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engendered consumer awareness because it is easy to identify. Also because said brand stands out

in competitive stores. The response in the consumer is quick recognition. But whether or not said

consumer will opt for the said brand is a matter entirely up to the consumer’s previous experience

with a relevant brand or other factors.

However, research by Shojaee and Azman (2013) found that customer engagement has a

greater influence on brand awareness than any other factor. Hollebeek (2011) defines customer

engagement with a brand as a mixture of psychological and emotional interactions characterizing

customers’ brand-related state of mind. This contributes to the mental dispositions of a consumer

towards a brand. Kuvykaitea and Piligrimiene (2014) informed that the field of consumer brand

engagement is a relatively new research discipline and existing literature is still fragmented.

However, the Advertising Research Foundation defined consumer engagement as “the

turning on of a prospect to a brand idea that is enhanced by the surrounding context” (Advertising

Research Foundation, 2010). Mahobia and Dubey (2016) supported this view by relating consumer

engagement to consumer awareness to the level where customers take a stance, a view which was

further underscored by the view of the Chief Research Officer of Advertising Research Foundation

Joe Plummer who explained consumer brand engagement to be “…where the consumers add their

own associations, symbols and metaphors to ‘co-create’ meaning” (Michell, 2012: Jan. 30). This

co-creation is related to consumer participation, which is further justified by Vivek, Beatty and

Morgan (2012) who argue that consumer engagement refers to the intensity of a consumer’s

participation and connection with an organization’s brand products.

Consumer engagement, according to Kuvykaitea and Piligrimiene (2014), evokes some

emotions (positive or negative) which in turn stimulates the consumer to act not as a passive user,

but as an active participant who offers some input into brand value creation. They further argue

that consumer brand engagement allows companies to use the consumers’ insights in brand equity

creation. Intensified consumer brand engagement creates more positive associations for said

consumers and ultimately leads to increased brand loyalty and brand equity as a whole.

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2.9. The Impact of Brand Image on Brand Loyalty and Perceived Quality

Brand image is a mental construct a customer has towards a brand. A customer’s mental

perception of a brand is said to be a function of the brand’s image. Al-Msallam (2015) identified

with Reynolds (1965) that an image is a mental construct developed by a consumer towards a

brand on the basis of few selected impressions from the customer’s interaction with the brand.

Brand image, simply put, is a consumer’s perception of a brand.

In research into perceived quality, brand image and brand trust as determinants of brand

loyalty Alhaddad (2015) found the brand image to have significant positive effects on brand trust

as well as brand loyalty. That means during the purchasing process, a consumer’s decision on a

brand is significantly influenced by brand image (Al-Msallam, 2015). Perceived quality, therefore,

determines whether or not potential consumers or investors will affiliate with the brand.

Essentially, a brand’s negative market perception has a corresponding effect on its market

positioning, sales, profit, and most especially customer loyalty. Perceived quality will also be

affected significantly where consumers would otherwise opt for the competitive brand.

Research also found that perceived quality has a bigger impact on brand loyalty when

compared with both dimensions, brand image and brand trust (Alhaddad, 2015). By contrast,

research by Ariffin et al (2016) suggests that emotional value has a significant relationship with

perceived quality where an emotional value factor is mediated by the perceived quality which then

leads to stronger repurchase intention. This position is further proven by Beyzavi and Lotfizadeh

(2014) and Uthamaputharan and Amin (2013). Ariffin et al (2016) explain this as an indicator that

when consumers have a sense of the emotional value of a brand, they will further perceive the

quality changes, which strengthens their recognition of quality. This recognition of quality,

according to Sahin et al (2011), validates positive consumer experience and, by extension,

implicates consumer loyalty.

Furthermore, research by Saad et al (2017) found that in the conversation about brand

image, identity is the prominent factor that motivates brand image. This, they argue, is due to the

fact that brand identity affects the perception of customers and thus, would determine perceived

quality. Andreani et al., (2012) argued that a strong brand image can build customer loyalty.

Mullan (2019) however stated that an organization does not always have control over a consumer’s

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image of their brand. Instead, she argued that brand image is based on a consumer’s perception

from, mostly, their first impressions. However, a consumer must not necessarily purchase or use a

product in order to develop a perception towards a brand. This could be facilitated by word-of-

mouth reviews or testimonials by other consumers who may have used said brand – a result of

consumer loyalty.

2.10. Saudi Telecom Company and the Telecoms Industry

Since the liberalization of the telecoms sector in 2003, there has been an extraordinary

increase in technological innovations in the KSA’s telecommunications market. This has in turn

opened the gateway for severe competition among providers of telecommunication services (Ali

and Haque, 2017). Service providers are continually forced to strive for consumer satisfaction and

loyalty by providing superior service quality (Rajeswari, 2017) in a bid to keep hold of customer

retention. This relationship between service quality dimensions and customer loyalty in the

telecom sector has been established by Shafei and Tabaa (2016) and Izogo (2017).

Until 2004, STC enjoyed the monopoly as the sole provider of telecommunications services

in Saudi Arabia. Later, Mobily and Zain entered the telecommunication sector in 2007 and 2009

respectively (Ali and Haque, 2017). Today, the telecoms market is currently dominated by the

Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Etihad Etisalat Company (Mobily), and Mobile

Telecommunication Company Saudi Arabia (Zain KSA). The market also hosts other Internet

service providers (ISPs), mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), and fixed-line service

providers (KAS Telecom Report, 2020). The government has been relentless in its developing a

transparent, competitive market that keeps up with advanced technologies and infrastructure.

In the entire Middle East and North African (MENA) region, telecommunications is

proving to be profitable with expected growth at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of

0.4% between 2020 and 2025 (Report Linker, 2021). Estimates stand at about US 1.5 billion in

terms of expected revenue growth over five years (Report Linker, 2021). This is in spite of the

COVID-19 pandemic. Of the three key players in the ME region, STC has surpassed its

counterparts to become the most valuable brand in the telecommunications sector, and the third

most valuable brand in all ME sectors behind Aramco and ADNOC, according to Brand Finance

branding (KAS Telecom Report, 2020). The company is the region’s fastest-growing brand, up an

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impressive 14% to US$9.2 billion and simultaneously jumping 51 positions to 189th, making STC

the 2nd fastest-growing brand of the largest 20 global telecommunications companies and earning

the company an AAA-brand ranking. According to Bloomberg, Saudi’s STC is the largest Gulf

telecommunications company by market value, with a value of US$59.5 billion. On the other hand,

Kuwaiti’s STC is ranked 10th with a value of US$1.4 billion.

2.11. The STC Brand in Relation to Customer Loyalty

The company’s rapid progression resonates with its DARE initiative ad keeps with the

reinvention of the customer experience through state-of-the-art technology that continually

services quality. Since 2007 the company has been continuously expanding into foreign markets

leading it to grow its customer base. Part of this expansion was made possible with acquisitions in

foreign telecommunication companies.

In January 2021, the company announced its preliminary financial results for the period

ending on 31st December 2020. Revenues for the 4th quarter reached SR 15,213m with an increase

of 14.69% compared to the corresponding quarter last year. For the 12 months period of 2020, the

revenues reached SR 58,949m an increase of 8.43%. Gross Profit for the 4th quarter reached SR

8,489m with an increase of 1.54% compared to the corresponding quarter last year. For the 12

months period of 2020, the Gross Profit reached SR 33,997m with an increase of 4.96%. Its

operating profit for the 4th quarter reached SR 3,290m with an increase of 37.08% compared to

the corresponding quarter last year (STC, 2021). For the 12 months period of 2020, the Operating

Profit reached SR 12,816m with an increase of 2.69% (STC, 2021).

Net Profit for the 4th quarter reached SR 2,683m with an increase of 15.60% compared to

the corresponding quarter last year (STC, 2021). For the 12 months period of 2020, the Net Profit

reached SR 11,085m with an increase of 3.94% (STC, 2021). Having achieved the highest annual

revenue in the past 8 years, its last year success was primarily due to the increased demand for

STC’s various services and products, and the company’s ability to meet this demand promptly and

efficiently, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Consumer Business Unit revenue has grown as a result of 27.5% increase in FTTH

and 10.6% increase in broadband subscribers, in addition to a 9.0% increase in data revenue during

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the current period compared to the previous period (12M) (STC, 2021). Further, The Enterprise

Business Unit revenue has also increased during the 12 months period, by 24.6%, due to the

company’s ability to provide the necessary support and innovative services to its customers in order

to accelerate their digital infrastructure transformation (STC, 2021).

The STC Group most recently announced the launch of the Advanced Technology and

Cybersecurity Company; a new company dedicated to providing advanced cybersecurity services

and solutions in the business sector (TeleTimes, 2021). The recently announced launch comes to

keep abreast of the growing demand for digital services in parallel with STC’s DARE Strategy,

which aims to foster digital transformation, pave new paths for development, and achieve the

objectives of Saudi Vision 2030 (TeleTimes, 2021). This new effort is part of the response to the

exceptional circumstances the world is witnessing, circumstances that led many businesses and

government agencies to resort to digital solutions for business continuity.

The annual report figures as well as other benchmarks show that STC is at present a wildly

successful company whose success has been hard earned in the face of stiff competition. However,

competitiveness is generally embraced by STC rather than avoided. It is a strategy that has paid

off, and branding has played a considerable role in this. STC’s branding strategy is integrated

across all its offerings, using the same company name for completely different products, such as

the use of STC mobile wallet as its name for its digital payment service.

In conclusion, the high profits and upward economic trends that STC enjoys are indicative

not only of the lucrativeness of the sector in which the company operates but also of a high level

of customer loyalty. STC is a company that has followed a path towards internationalization

relatively recently given its enormous success in doing so. It has been able to tap into a number of

growing national markets where it was able to gain considerable footholds, such as in Malaysia,

India and Sudan.

These mentioned factors make it worthwhile to investigate the company’s branding efforts

to show how branding can help companies which operate in highly competitive environments, that

operate in distinct national markets, which are consumer facing (and whose branding efforts are

therefore very transparent and easy to investigate) and which are tremendously successful in their

sector. In addition to this, while there is ample literature about the components of branding and

32

their importance for sectors, there is no research that focuses explicitly on the telecommunications

sector. This makes it even more important to conduct a quantitative investigation to provide

evidence for or against the suggested model that aims to show the correlations between the

variables brand awareness, brand image, brand loyalty and perceived quality.

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Chapter 3: Methodology

This chapter covers the materials and methods used in conducting the research. Sections

covered include the survey design, study area, the sampling method, data collection and analysis

and ethical considerations. According to Williams (2011), the research methodology consists of

the comprehensive steps a research work undergoes (p. 14). It is the planning and ordering of one’s

research work.

3.1. Quantitative Research Methodology

The quantitative method was chosen as the methodology for this study. Quantitative

research maximizes statistical tools in phenomena investigation (Daniel, 2016). The quantitative

method searches for numerical data using statistical techniques, after which the data is interpreted

and analyzed to answer set research questions (Apuke, 2017). The numerical process can make

findings more consistent and reliable. They are also more objective and factual than qualitative

findings where the quality of the analysis is often dependent on the research skills and

predispositions of the researcher. Quantitative analysis is often used to test a model or theory. As

such, facts and models can be established on the basis of quantitative data, whereas qualitative

analyses are often used to derive more in-depth information on the subject.

The quantitative method was chosen to arrive at definite conclusions which can help in

either validating or disqualifying the model suggested in 3.4.1. This was done with the goal of

providing a framework presenting the impact of branding on customer loyalty. Another reason for

the choice of this method was to prevent subjectivity from distorting the findings of the research.

Nevertheless, one disadvantage of this method is that it does not explore reasons for the observed

phenomena and cannot capture detail, nuance or the exploration of opinions and context, but just

deals with numbers and strict facts. If conducted without regard to this disadvantage, a quantitative

analysis can lead to crucial omissions or even misleading conclusions when describing a certain

phenomenon.

3.2. Survey Design

A survey is a systematic way of gathering information about a specific subject under study

in quantitative research (Odoh and Ihedigbo, 2014). It involves how research data is collected from

34

a study population, how information is gathered from a case study population, the tools of data

collection by way of questionnaires or interviews, time frame, and quantitative analysis of data

gathered. For this research, a consumer-based Brand equity scale by Tran et al., a Customer

Intimacy Scale by Mulia et al. and a Customer Brand Identification scale by Büyükdag and Kitapci

were adopted and hosted on the Internet through Google forms.

Questionnaires are useful because they are easy to disperse digitally as well as cheap and

time saving. On the downside, however, questionnaires do not allow for follow-up questions and

they may be filled in carelessly. Since questionnaires are usually filled in unsupervised, they may

also contain unanswered questions. They can be complex to analyze. Furthermore, there is a lack

of personalization.

3.3. Sample Selection and Inclusion

The sampling technique deployed was the random sampling technique. The idea was to

randomly sample a cross-section of STC, Zain, Mobily, FRiENDi, and Lebara users in order to

get unbiased results (Sharma, 2017). This system was to keep the overall integrity of the research

in check. A cross-section of opinions from different network subscribers on what they think of

STC – their brand and services – was to retain the objectivity of this study. However, the

disadvantage of this method is that it was difficult managing all the responses. Using this method

the researcher was able to collect data for this study from a target population of 367 users from the

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The data gathering tool used for this research was a questionnaire created and administered

via Google Docs. This was due to the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. Google Docs

allowed the researcher to administer questionnaires online so respondents could conveniently

answer them with a breach of safety rules. The document link was distributed to:

1. The Saudi Electronic University student’s group on WhatsApp and Telegram.

2. To colleagues at work.

3. Friends who work in STC through WhatsApp.

35

4. People interested in STC through social media platforms such as Twitter, using the

following hashtags: #STC_KSA, #MYSTC, # رتوفم_تاقاب _STC and # ربیاف_يتیب _STC

3.4. Research Strategy

The research strategy that was pursued in this dissertation was to develop a model on the

basis of the extant literature and theory and to investigate its validity with the use of questionnaires

applying proven measurement scales. This required a thorough investigation of the literature with

regards to extant models surrounding brand loyalty and the other variables of the model which was

finally adopted.

To devise the questionnaire, it was necessary to investigate the various measurement

scales. Four scales were chosen in the compilation of the questions in the questionnaire. It was

taken care that the questions were adopted and amended for the purpose at hand, which was an

investigation of brand loyalty in the context of the telecommunications sector.

The next step was the selection of the sample, followed by the distribution of the

questionnaire. Then the statistical analysis was conducted followed by a thorough discussion of

the findings. Recommendations and conclusions were provided in the final chapter of the

dissertation.

3.5. Theoretical Concept

Research is rooted in science, and science has two solid foundations: theories and

observations (Bhattacherjee, 2012). When put together research is said to be scientific if it is

guided by a theory and if that theory is tested. The test of a theory is proof of the theory’s validity.

A theory involves developing concepts, ideas and abstractions about social phenomena.

Furthermore, a theory shows the relationship that exists between or among phenomena with the

argument that the idea makes. It is a generalized statement that seeks to offer explanations to social

or natural events and must be tested to validate the truism of anyone’s reality under study

(Bhattacherjee, 2012).

This research focused on “brand image”, “brand awareness”, “brand identity”, “brand

loyalty”, and “perceived quality” dimensions as variables. Variables from Kayaman and Arsali

(2007) on customer based brand equity were adopted to show the inter-connectedness between

36

each dimension of brand equity and customer loyalty, and how the relationships that exist affect

customers in the context of this study; findings from Büyükdag and Kitapci (2021) positively

connecting the dimensions of brand equity and customer satisfaction were also adopted to show

the relationship that exists among brand identity, brand image, perceived quality and brand loyalty

between STC and its customers; lastly, variables from Mulia, Usman and Parwanto (2011) were

chosen to investigate the significance of perceived quality on a brand.

3.5.1 Model

In consideration of the variables brand awareness, brand image, brand identity, perceived

quality and brand loyalty, the following model was developed to illustrate hypotheses. In this

model the relationships between the identified variables are highlighted. The starting point of the

model is brand identity, which is the brand that the company seeks to project to the outside world

including its core values, its core messages and the visual, auditory and textual symbols and

meanings it seeks to convey to its audience, the public.

According to the model, the brand identity will have an influence on (and be potentially

influenced in return by) the company’s brand image and brand awareness. Here, brand awareness

is the recognizability of the brand, whereas brand image are the perceived attributes of the brand.

Both brand image and brand awareness are then thought to influence and potentially be influenced

by brand loyalty and perceived quality. Finally, brand loyalty and perceived quality are also

thought to influence each other. The model is shown in Figure 6 below.

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Figure 6: Branding impact on customer loyalty model

3.6. Data Collection

Data is said to be a set of values obtained from a source of information (Baral, n.d). This

information comprises facts and figures gotten from primary sources including interviews,

questionnaires, experiments, observations, and so forth; and secondary sources including

literature, books and journals. For this study, data was collected from primary sources using a

questionnaire survey randomly administered to a target population. After compilation of the

questionnaires, they were transferred into a Google doc file for which a link was created. This link

was then distributed electronically to colleagues at work, friends who work with STC, Saudi

H7

H1 H2

H5

H6

Brand
identity

Brand
awareness

Brand
image

H3 H4

Perceived
quality

Brand
loyalty

38

Electronic University student group on WhatsApp, and social media across the Kingdom of Saudi

Arabia. A total of 367 valid questionnaires were returned and used for the data analysis.

3.7. Reliability and Validity Data

Reliability of data implies consistent results when it comes to equal halves (Blumberg et

al, 2005 cited in Haradhan, 2017, p. 10). Reliability measures consistency, precision, repeatability

and trustworthiness of research (Chakrabartty, 2013 cited in p. 10). When data is reliable it is error-

free or without bias. It can also be called dependability in terms of reflection of the true score of a

measure and is therefore important when it comes to validity. Validity implies the extent to which

an instrument measures what it asserts to measure (Blumberg et al, 2005 cited in Haradhan, 2017,

p. 11). It measures the degree to which results are truthful.

With regards to the questionnaire that was employed in this study, Cronbach’s Alpha was

used to test reliability between the items that measure a variable. The Principal Component

Analysis extraction method was used for the confirmatory factor analysis while a Structural

Equation Model using Maximum Likelihood Estimation was built to examine the relationships

between the variables.

3.8. Data Analysis

The data analysis was executed using Stata 16 Statistical software package. Descriptive

statistics were presented using mean values, standard deviations, frequency distributions and

percentages. The Cronbach’s Alpha was used to test reliability between the items to measure a

variable. The Principal Component Analysis extraction method was used for the confirmatory

factor analysis while a Structural Equation Model using Maximum Likelihood Estimation was

built to examine the relationships between the variables.

Upon completion of the data analysis, the data collected was discussed and contrasted with

the information from the literature review. Themes surrounding the data were identified and used

in drawing the discussion section.

3.9. Ethical Considerations

This research was conducted confidentially and anonymously to protect the identity of the

participants. Confidentiality refers to a condition where the researcher knows the identity of a

39

participant in the study but takes measures to protect said identity from others not involved in the

study (Wiles, 2012, p. 42). In this study, the respondents’ identities were protected as no personal

identifying information was included in the questionnaires. The survey was randomly administered

electronically in a way that retained respondents’ anonymity.

Anonymity implies a condition in which the identity of the individual subjects is not known

to the researcher (Wiles, 2012, p. 50). Personal identifiers include names, addresses, email

addresses, phone numbers, photographs and even IP addresses. The researcher did not know the

identity of the participants who filled in the questionnaires.

A number of best practices were adhered to in the conduction of this research to ensure its

integrity. The best practice for researchers to ensure confidentiality and anonymity is to include

never gathering more data than needed when it comes to answering research questions, and to

never collect potential or actual participants identifying information without their consent. As such

to gather informed consent, information such as who will have access to the information provided

must be divulged to individual participants. As well, they should know how and where the

information will be stored, how one will report data or results must be divulged. Lastly, participants

must be informed of when the information collected will be used and finally disposed of.

Since the research did not involve any personally sensitive information that might be

emotionally distressing to the participant it was not necessary to overly brief or debrief the

participants.

Another important ethical consideration is informed consent, which was obtained from all

participants ahead of the execution of the questionnaire via tick-box. The participants were also

informed of the purpose of the research and of the fact that participation in the research was entirely

voluntary and that they were free to withdraw from their participation at any point of their choice

even after initial consent.

3.10. Limitations of the methodology

This research may suffer from some limitations including the problem of response bias

where participants give the answers the researcher is expected to prefer to hear. This is a drawback

inherent to questionnaires where untruths can be ticked with impunity, as there are no follow-up

40

questions possible to ask, where respondents would need to justify and defend their previous

statements, unlike in semi-structured interviews, although these also bear the risk of response bias.

However, it can also be argued that anonymous questionnaires may elicit more truthful responses

than face-to-face interviews.

Another drawback is that the use of the quantitative method may not lead to in-depth

insights into the research problem. Therefore, if time had allowed it, the researcher would have

applied the mixed method to gain both insights into the facts of the phenomenon and the context

and background information of it.

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Chapter 4: Results

The central core of this search is a survey of mobile network users in the Kingdom of Saudi

Arabia. The research aims to determine how branding affects customer’s loyalty. The research

tests the following null hypotheses:

● H0: There is no significant relationship between brand identity and brand image.

● H0: There is no significant relationship between brand identity and brand

awareness.

● H0: There is no significant relationship between brand image and perceived quality.

● H0: There is no significant relationship between brand awareness and brand

loyalty.

● H0: There is no significant relationship between brand image and brand loyalty.

● H0: There is no significant relationship between brand awareness and perceived

quality.

● H0: There is no significant relationship between perceived quality and brand

loyalty.

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4.1. Socio-demographic Characteristics of Respondents

Table 1.: Characteristics of Respondents.

Characteristics No of participants (%)
Age
15-24 61 (16.6)
25-30 79 (21.5)
31-40 145 (39.1)
41-50 50 (13.5)
51-65 36 (9.7)
Sex
Female 184 (49.6)
Male 187 (50.4)
Education Level
High School 61 (16.4)
Vocational Education 28 (7.5)
Bachelor’s 217 (58.5)
Masters 48 (12.9)
PhD 17 (4.6)
Occupation
Business/Trade/Entrepreneurship/Investment 14 (3.8)
Government Employee 126 (34)
Private Sector Employee 87 (23.5)
Student 74 (19.9)
Unemployed 68 (18.9)
Mobile Network Company
FRiENDi 2 (0.5)
Lebara 1 (0.3)
Mobily 87 (23.5)
Mobily, Virgin 2 (0.5)
Mobily, Zain 1 (0.3)
STC 231 (62.3)
STC, Zain 8 (2.2)
STC, Mobily 23 (6.2)
STC, Mobily, Virgin 1 (0.3)
STC, Mobily, Zain 1 (0.3)
Virgin 2 (0.5)
Zain 12 (3.2)
Mobile Network Provider
Saudi Telecom Company 264 (71.2)
Others 107 (28.8)

Table 1: Characteristics of Respondents.

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Table 1. presents the characteristics of respondents. The table shows that a large proportion

(39.1%) of respondents falls within the 31 – 40 age range. Similarly, the majority (58.5%) of the

respondents hold a bachelor’s degree. 23.5% of the respondents are private sector employees while

71.2% of the total respondents use Saudi Telecom Company (STC) as their mobile network

provider.

Table 2: Reliability Tests of Items

Variable No of Items Mean Range Cronbach’s
Alpha

Brand Image 8 3.47 0.88 0.93
Brand Loyalty 5 3.30 0.25 0.93
Brand Awareness 9 3.49 0.86 0.92
Brand Identity 4 3.71 0.69 0.70
Perceived Quality 12 3.42 1.22 0.95

Table 2: Reliability Tests of Items

Table 2. shows the reliability and internal consistency of the items used to measure the

scale. The results using Cronbach’s alpha show that the internal consistency of the items to

measure each scale was excellent. Cronbach’s alpha for brand image, brand loyalty, brand

awareness and perceived quality was above 0.9 for the four scales which is an excellent internal

consistency and reliability score while internal consistency was 0.70 for a brand identity which is

also a good internal consistency score.

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Table 3: Total Variance Explained

Component Initial Eigenvalues Extraction Sums of Squared Loadings
Total % of Variance Cumulative % Total % of Variance Cumulative %

1 15.113 39.771 39.771 15.113 39.771 39.771
2 6.653 17.508 57.279 6.653 17.508 57.279
3 1.300 3.421 60.700 1.300 3.421 60.700
4 1.270 3.341 64.041 1.270 3.341 64.041
5 1.110 2.921 66.963 1.110 2.921 66.963
6 .996 2.620 69.583
7 .880 2.317 71.900
8 .734 1.932 73.831
9 .722 1.900 75.731
10 .685 1.802 77.533
11 .659 1.734 79.267
12 .586 1.542 80.810
13 .549 1.445 82.255
14 .535 1.409 83.663
15 .507 1.335 84.999
16 .455 1.196 86.195
17 .419 1.104 87.299
18 .407 1.070 88.369
19 .358 .941 89.310
20 .342 .901 90.211
21 .332 .874 91.085
22 .322 .847 91.932
23 .280 .736 92.668
24 .251 .660 93.328
25 .248 .653 93.981
26 .242 .638 94.619
27 .238 .627 95.246
28 .222 .584 95.830
29 .212 .558 96.388
30 .196 .516 96.904
31 .182 .479 97.382
32 .173 .455 97.837
33 .170 .448 98.285
34 .152 .401 98.686
35 .146 .385 99.072
36 .130 .342 99.414
37 .127 .333 99.747
38 .096 .253 100.000

Table 3: Total Variance Explained

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Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis.

Table 3 presents the result of the confirmatory factor analysis using the principal

component analysis extraction method. The result shows that the process identified and extracted

the items used to measure the variables. These three extracted components account for 70.0% of

the cumulative total variance of the extraction. The result further justifies the decision to build a

structural equation model using the five variables extracted.

Structural Equation Model of the Variables

Figure 7: Structural Equation Model of the Variables

Figure 7 shows the statistical relationship between the variables and also tests the hypothesis of

the study. The result shows that there is a strong positive statistical relationship between brand

46

image and brand loyalty (r = 0.84). The higher the values for brand image, the higher the brand

loyalty. Given the high strong positive correlation, it is concluded that there is a statistically

significant relationship between brand identity and brand image.

Similarly, there was a strong positive relationship between brand image and perceived

quality (r = 0.9) providing evidence to conclude a significant relationship between brand image

and perceived quality. A strong positive relationship also exists between brand identity and brand

awareness (r = 0.8) to show a strong positive significant relationship between brand identity and

brand awareness.

The result showed that there is no significant relationship between brand awareness and

brand loyalty (r = -0.1). The result showed that an increase in brand awareness may not necessarily

lead to brand loyalty. However, there exists a strong positive significant relationship between

brand image and brand loyalty (r = 0.8).

The result also showed that there is no significant relationship between brand awareness

and perceived quality (r = -0.1) while there is a strong positive significant relationship between

perceived quality and brand loyalty (r = 0.8).

The items to measure all the scales loaded excellently in the confirmatory factor analysis.

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Chapter 5: Discussion

Overall, the findings of this dissertation confirmed the validity of both the model as well

as internal consistency of the questionnaire that was employed. The null hypothesis was rejected

in all cases except for one, namely that brand awareness does not lead to brand loyalty, an aspect

that will be explained a bit further down. This section will discuss the findings and their

implications in more depth.

At the core of branding is value added. It has been proven that the value branding adds to

a product positively influences customer’s loyalty (Subagyo and Susanit, 2019, p.123; Malik,

Ghafoor and Iqbal 2012, p. 123). The value is what makes a product into a brand and what

differentiates brands, mostly performing the same functions, from one another (Edema & Ezute,

2014). This is because a brand now possesses distinctive features separate from generic form.

Brand image, brand identity, brand association, and perceived quality are dimensions of brand

equity whose individual features significantly contribute towards the value building of a brand

(Shariq, 2019). Findings from this study therefore reinforce this claim in the discussion of how

STC’s brand image influences its customer brand loyalty.

Figure 8: STC has a very good image

Brand image is said to be the mental perception a customer has towards a brand (Reynolds,

1965 cited in Al-Msallam, 2015). In other words, brand image has to do with what customers think

of a brand. This mental construct is made up of beliefs and opinions that mentally position a brand

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in a particular light. Statistical results from this study are in favor of STC showing a very

convincing brand image which correlates significantly with their higher consumer brand loyalty.

When customers have positive mental perceptions about a brand they will most likely buy the

brand’s product. The question of loyalty is then raised a bit higher when customers actually use

the product. Their experience after using said brand will inform future decisions to either continue

or discontinue usage. Positive experience, owing to satisfaction, will increase the chances of

repurchase intention in the consumer.

Figure 9: As a customer I am generally satisfied with STC’s services and products

Hussein (2018) calls this continuous interaction. This interaction, over time, then forms a

relationship. It is from this point we begin to talk about loyalty. Other scholars have found

customer satisfaction to enhance brand image which in turn promotes loyalty (Tran, Nyugen, and

Tran, 2021). This study provides evidence consistent with other studies, where 28.30% of

respondents express satisfaction with STC’s products and services, as opposed to 17.25%

dissatisfied respondents and about 26.66% neutral respondents.

This study also shows a strong correlation between STC’s brand identity and its brand

image – where brand identity refers to individual attributes associated with a brand. These

attributes are otherwise known as associative elements that reoccur in a consistent manner, and

they include color, logo, symbols, and so on (Aaker, 2014). The consistent reoccurrence of these

49

attributes is said to create an identity that consumers easily associate with a brand. Aaker (2014)

also identified intangible features such as customer experience and customer benefits as

constituents that enhance brand identity. Figure 10 below proves that STC’s associative attributes

positively appeal to the market.

Figure 10: Materials associated with STC are generally visually appealing

In the third hypothesis, results present strong evidence for a positive correlation between

brand image and perceived quality, which is consistent with the findings of previous studies by

Tran et al. (2019), and Tran and Tran (2017). The work of Tran and Tran (2017) recorded a direct

link between brand image, perceived quality, and customer satisfaction. Perceived quality is said

to be a customer’s perception of the overall quality or superiority of a product or service when

compared with alternatives relative to the intended purpose. Perceived quality can also be thought

of in the realm of consumer expectations in relation to their need (Tran, Nguyen, and Tran, 2021).

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Figure 11: STC generally has useful products

Findings from this study strongly disagree with evidence provided by Subagyo and Susanit

(2019), Setiawan, Aryanto and Andriyansah (2017), suggesting a dissociative relationship between

brand image and perceived quality. This study agrees with Ahaddad (2015) whose research

showed a positive influence of perceived quality on not only both brand image, but on brand

loyalty as well. What this means is that if a consumer perceives a product to be superior in quality

and function when compared to other products, it is very likely for the customer to purchase such

products. Loyalty will then depend on the customer’s experience and satisfaction after using the

product, as seen in Figures 12 and 13 below.

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Figure 12: I have had a lot of memorable experiences with STC

Figure 13: Thinking about STC brings back good memories

This is supported by Tran and Tran (2017) who reiterated that customer satisfaction plays

the role of an intermediate variable in the brand image-brand loyalty dynamic. Tran, Nguyen, and

Tran (2021) argue in favor of building a unique image, one that appeals to market consciousness.

52

This is particularly important for new brands looking to enter into an already populated and highly

competitive market. It is also important for old brands looking to stay relevant. One thing STC has

enjoyed since its inception is familiarity as a result of how long it had been established. The

consistency therein incites a feeling of security in customers in the quality of their products and

service.

Going further, this study also provides evidence that a significant relationship exists

between brand identity and brand awareness. While brand identity is said to be reoccurring

associative element of a brand, brand awareness has more to do with recognizability (Shariq, 2019;

Chieng & Lee, 2011; Lee & Leh, 2011). On the part of the consumer, awareness is the ability to

easily recognize a product as belonging to a particular brand, while on the other hand, it is

incumbent on the brand to develop easy-to-remember features (designs, color, logo, and so on)

one attach to the brand. These recognizable features, when reoccurring (identity), trigger memory

(awareness). In other words, identity is what triggers awareness as much as awareness is highly

dependent on the quality of a brand’s identity. In 2019, STC launched its new brand identity

customer-centric identity that included free international calls in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and

Bahrain, free data, and 100 free international call minutes in all three countries (Hassan, 2019).

Also, in February 2020, Interbrand created a new logo for the company with a new theme color,

purple.

This research found no significant relationship between brand awareness and brand loyalty.

Brand loyalty has been said to a behavioral attachment a consumer has towards a brand. Loyalty

is an outward extension of how a person feels. They express it by staying true. In the realm of

business and management, brand loyalty is a consumer’s attachment towards a brand, product, or

service. This attachment may be expressed in form of repurchase intentions, word-of-mouth

referrals, and testimonials as shown in Figure 14 below where the majority of STC customers

(24.80%) say they would recommend STC to other people.

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Figure 14: I would recommend STC to other people

It also requires a psychological, cognitive and behavioral response. The behavioral nature

of customer loyalty is supported by Medha (2013) who regard repetitive buying as evidence of

loyalty a customer may have towards a brand. However, loyalty is likely to happen after a

customer’s expectations (perceived quality) are met. Between brand awareness and brand loyalty,

influence is measured and dependent on the intermittent role satisfaction and experience plays,

which over-determines (depending on the good or bad experience/satisfaction) a consumer’s

repurchase intention.

As Büyükdag and Kitapci (2021) puts it: brand experience has the power to retain a

customer’s loyalty. In this vein, this study agrees with previous studies (Tran, Nguyen, and Tran,

2021; Büyükdag and Kitapci, 2021; Sahin et al., 2011) that debunk the influence or relationship

between awareness and loyalty. On the contrary, Sahin et al. (2011: 1289) and Das et al. (2019:

481) argued that it is experience and satisfaction that incites a desire in the consumer to want to

experience a product again after initial use.

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Figure 15: STC puts customer satisfaction first

Experience also drives brand identification (Lin, 2015: 2255). The work of Stokburger-

Sauer et al. (2012) showed evidence of a significant relationship between memorable brand

experience and consumer-brand identity. Büyükdag and Kitapci (2021) regarded the brand

experience as only the second most important variable which has a direct effect on consumer brand

identification.

More so, this study proves that a significant relationship exists between brand image and

brand loyalty. In other words, this research shows that brand loyalty has a huge stake in the positive

or negative cognitive perception of a consumer. This finding aligns with evidence from

Rahmatulloh et al, (2018) that brand image positively and negatively impacts brand loyalty.

The results are consistent with the study of Ahmad et al., (2016), which showed that

repurchase intention and overall brand performance are traceable to a positively significant effect

of brand image, which by extension can increase chances of brand loyalty. Furthermore, the

scholars believe that brands with a better image are in better positions to inspire brand loyalty to

their consumers. Results from Kurniawan (2016) as well as Alhaddad (2015) also reinforce a

positive effect of brand image on brand loyalty. These findings demonstrate that consumer’s

purchase decision on a product hinges on the condition of a company’s brand image in the market.

At this point, we begin to talk about elements of brand image that propel loyalty.

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Figure 16: STC plays an important role in digital empowerment in the GCC region

One of the ways to achieve this is through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), as seen

in Figure 16 above. Aguinis’s (2011) stance re-echoes Carroll (1991, cited in Latapí Agudelo et

al, 2019) who viewed CSR as activities organizations engage in that improve the social context in

which they operate. These activities were described as ordered layers which were economic,

ethical, philanthropic, and legal in perspective (Singh et al, 2014; Mahmood & Bashir, 2020).

Mahmood & Bashir (2020) as well as Bauman & Skitka (2012) agreed that over the years,

organizations dedicate billions towards CSR initiatives such as cause-related marketing (CRM),

philanthropic minority aid initiatives, in a bid to build a good corporate reputation.

Smith (2020) offered an explanation for the rise in CSR activities, claiming that consumer

purchase intention is 60% influenced by the perception of the company as against 40% perception

about its products. Interestingly, the same study showed that CSR activities contribute 42%

towards the image of a company. This reinforces the important role CSR plays towards building a

company’s reputation, which Adekoya et al (2020) described as a cherished asset given its

implications on profitability and stakeholder’s confidence. At this juncture, we go back to

understanding the composition of the very people organizational CSR affects – the stakeholders.

In the corporate world, business activities of companies affect a wide range of people including

customers, investors, government, employees, suppliers, and members of the immediate

56

community who are all stakeholders. Maheshwari and Kumar (2014) advocate for the crucial role

CSR plays mostly in building trust in the minds of consumers.

Figure 17: STC is a company that promotes the interests of the youth

Figure 17 above shows customer-based evidence of STC’s concern for youth

empowerment. In 2019, STC in conjunction with the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources

and the Technical and Vocational Training Cooperation, set up the National Entrepreneurship

Institute: a non-profit national center aimed at helping owners of SMEs and other young people

interested in self-employment. The company also sponsored the closing ceremony of the Mentor

Arabia Short Films for Youth Competition in its second edition (STC, 2020). In a bid to fight the

coronavirus rampage, the company collaborated with Mishref Co-op for the sale of high body

temperature detecting thermal cameras (STC, 2020). These initiatives gather to positively

strengthen STC’s brand image.

In the conversation on the relationship between brand awareness and perceived quality,

findings from this study showed no significant relationship between the two, instead, there seems

to be a significant correlation between perceived quality and brand loyalty. What this means in

other words is that while perceived quality is a customer’s perception of the superiority and

functionality of a product relative to their expectations, brand awareness plays no role in it without

the consideration of a mediating factor such as experience or testimonials.

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However, in the research of Tran, Nguyen, and Tran (2021) as well as Pike et al, (2010),

the results are different. For Tran et al. (2021), they found destination brand awareness to have a

direct relationship with destination brand image, perceived quality and satisfaction. Their

explanation was that in the tourism sector, brand image is mostly improved through the creation

of tourist awareness. A better image of a destination contributes significantly to consumer

satisfaction. Pike et al. (2010), on the other hand, argued that the greater awareness of a tourist

destination provokes customer consideration of the pros and cons associated with the quality of

the product or services of that destination weighing against previous destinations visited.

It must be pointed out that this may be in right owing to the peculiarity of the tourism sector

different from telecommunications. In this study, the reverse is the case. In fact, a positive

correlation exists between perceived quality and brand loyalty. When viewed through the lens of

customer expectation, this finding shows that when customers feel their expectations are met by a

product, the chances of them repurchasing that product become high (Tran, Nguyen, and Tran,

2021) as seen in Figure 18 below.

Figure 18: STC’s products can meet the current market demand

The continuous interaction between the company’s branding efforts and the perceived

quality of the brand initiates the loyalty process. Other studies such as those by Lajevardi, 2015;

Tran and Tran, 2017) also align with findings from this study proving that perceived quality as

well as consumer satisfaction over-determines brand loyalty. An intermittent factor in this instance

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is brand trust. Between the perceived quality and brand loyalty, trust stands on the line. STC was

established in 1998 as a government owned telecoms provider. In 23 years, the company has been

able to build that trust capital which today contributes heavily towards its success. That trust is

expressed in customer’s confidence in their products and services as seen in Figure 19 below.

Figure 19: I am confident in STC’s products and services

For the above-mentioned reasons, STC must protect its brand image. It implies the brand’s

tangible and intangible attributes based on the association formed by the consumer’s mind the

meaning and the intensity depends on the user’s personality, his attitude towards the brand, social

interaction and brand communication (Isoraite, 2018, p. 1). STC would develop its brand in three

stages. The first stage would be to get the company’s brand strategy right and align it with business

goals (Isoraite, 2018, p.2).

The second step is to develop all the tools needed to communicate the brand including the

logo, slogan and its web presence. The last step would be to strengthen the newly created or

updated brand stage. The brand building strategy steps include considering the overall business

strategy and identifying the target customers. The second step would be to research the target group

of customers and develop brand positioning.

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The third brand building strategy is to develop the messaging strategy, name and logo.

Finally, The fourth step would be to develop a marketing strategy and website. Finally, the last

step is to build marketing tools and monitor.

Suggestions for STC’s branding strategy may include venturing into social brand equity.

Social brands are those which do well both on a commercial and a socially conscious level. Social

brand equity is accumulated when a company voluntarily deals with additional complexities and

social responsibilities normally not experienced by the commercial sector (Naidoo and Abratt,

2018, p. 3). Social brands represent clusters of functional, emotional and behavioral benefits that

support a social issue and therefore offer equity that is different from that of commercial brand

equity. As well social brand equity holds different meanings according to the type of stakeholder.

The focus should be on creating a good brand that incorporates corporate social responsibility

(CSR) in its central message and not just how a brand can contribute in terms of CSR.

Also, the study intends to describe the importance of an effective branding strategy

pertaining to but not limited to internal brand management. It is important to look at the input of

employees as well when it comes to implementing a brand strategy, particularly through brand

management. As can be seen from some of STC’s statements, the company just does that, as it

aims to foster a positive climate within the company where customers are king but where workers

are seen as equally important.

A study by Iyer, Paswan and Davari (2018) looked at the organizational antecedents and

consequences of internal branding in relation to brand orientation, strategic brand management,

plus brand performance. The results showed that internal branding has an important role to play

when it comes to brand performance. As such internal branding can increase employee loyalty to

an organization and therefore reduce employee turnover.

Furthermore, STC practices a strategy of integrated branding, where the company’s core

values represent the identity with which it positions all its products. Even though this approach is

successful, it has been shown that it requires a regular overhaul. In addition, the problem with this

approach is that the integrated branding approach may not always be the ideal option for every

product in STC’s line of products and services, such as its mobile wallet and its TV. STC may

therefore instead consider adopting a number of other approaches, such as individual branding,

attitude branding, or brand extension branding.

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Particularly, in individual branding, each product line is named separately and has its own

brand identity (Yaro, 2015). This approach has the advantage that the separate sub-brands can be

updated incrementally on a regular basis in anticipation or response to changes in the environment

and to position them successfully in the market. At STC, this approach would be helpful as it

would ensure that the organization’s brand identity does not remain stagnant as a monolith until

another complete revamp becomes necessary. In such a scenario, STC may rename its STC Pay

option to give it another name that is more in tune with that product. Failure to do so may well be

that another rebranding effort will become necessary within the next 10 years. While STC is

currently marketing some of its products on an individual basis, such as its prepaid card Salwa, it

can do more to achieve a broader level of recognition and a higher level of customer intimacy for

all its products than it currently enjoys.

Another path that STC can pursue is the dispersal of glocalized messages. Although STC

is a globally successful company, it must come to the realization that values and cultures are

different from each other in the different markets where it operates. This means that customers in

Africa have other preferences and desires than customers in Southeast Asia. At present, STC seeks

to communicate integrated messages with one voice that resonate with a global audience.

However, by tailoring some of its messaging to local conditions, STC can achieve a competitive

advantage by presenting messages that are closer to home for its core audiences. Glocalization is

an emerging framework that has not been tested and applied thoroughly by many of the big global

brands. Although the term has become widely popular in recent years, it is very undertheorized

(Gobo, 2016). It is a concept which seeks to help companies to achieve a global reach through

locally relevant tailored approaches that connect with communities on the ground and provide a

sense of authenticity and respect and engagement with local cultures that is otherwise lost. STC

can use this concept to reach its target audiences more directly and to add more meaning to its

branding efforts.

Brand awareness is important in driving equity in the telecom sector in the face of large

advertising budgets. Awareness is accompanied by distribution such that consumers can access

products easily. In the telecommunication industry being ‘present’ and ‘seen’ is a sign of brand

strength. Consumers see and hear about a product or service and whether it is good (Media Vataar,

2014).

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However, this research did not identify brand awareness as correlated with customer

loyalty, as opposed to what the literature has previously found, which may have to do with the fact

that brand awareness in the telecommunications sector is already very high. Customers are usually

knowledgeable about the offerings in the industry and can easily access information about the

differences and respective benefits and drawbacks of the brands. This is different from other

sectors, such as tourism where brand awareness may be more crucial in achieving the required

exposure that could impact customer loyalty positively.

STC will need to focus on two attributes so as to increase its brand equity. These attributes

are salience and innovation as noted by a study by Nielsen based on 60 brands in 25 markets. The

telecom market’s customers are looking for new and different products, bundles and pricing.

Innovation does not just encompass product innovation rather through advertising as well.

Innovation may also mean adopting new technology. Telecom providers with the best network

coverage in terms of distribution and stability enjoy higher brand equity. Proper network coverage

includes uninterrupted voice calls with good voice quality. Internet providers are currently striving

for 5G networks. Within the telecommunications industry price does not seem to be a differentiator

nor a driver of equity. This is because in spite of price customers still purchase services. It may

help some customers but does not guarantee brand equity since it is not a property unique to one

brand (Media Vataar, 2014).

Therefore, to attain brand equity, STC requires strong brand management. Brand

management is expected to determine customer loyalty in the face of competition from other

companies like Mobily. Through brand management, STC can establish policies and activities that

ensure customer loyalty. An example would be a policy that establishes a focus on customers and

subsequently their satisfaction. Brand equity ensures enhanced performance which manifests in

terms of an increase in market share, marketing efficiency or revenue (Mahajan et al, 1994 cited

in Smith, 2007, p. 104). Another benefit is the longevity of a brand due to customer loyalty.

Furthermore, a benefit is an extensibility to other brands and markets (Mahajan et al, 1994 cited

in Smith, 2007, p. 104).

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Chapter 6: Conclusion and Recommendations

6.1. Conclusion

In the final analysis, the model presented in the methodology, from which the study’s

hypotheses were derived, proves largely accurate and consistent with findings from this study. The

model aims to show the relationship between and among the dimensions of brand equity in relation

to understanding how the Saudi Telecom Company has been able to fare so extremely well over

the years. The findings were crossed referenced with results from other research works on the

subject of brand equity vis-à-vis brand loyalty.

While a positive relationship exists between brand identity and brand awareness, the

outcome gives rise to a co-dependent relationship between the two. Results do not however show

a direct relationship going forward between brand awareness and perceived quality without the

consideration of the role an intermediate factor such as experience, satisfaction or testimonials.

The implication of this finding is that within a saturated market like the telecommunications sector,

brand awareness is insufficient to achieve brand loyalty. Rather, a company like STC must make

sure that its brand awareness is matched with a strong brand identity which translates to a good

brand image in the minds of the consumer.

These findings are important because they show that the relationships between variables

such as brand awareness, brand image, brand identity, perceived quality and brand loyalty may

vary across different industry sectors. Companies that wish to explore these factors should seek to

investigate the conditions prevalent in the sector in which they operate rather than relying on broad

conclusions which are drawn from research on unrelated sectors.

It was seen that STC has successfully maneuvered its way into the telecommunication

sector across several Asian and African countries by putting heavy emphasis on its branding

efforts. One of the major discoveries was that STC mostly acted from an offensive position, even

when it has been faced with challenges and that branding was one of its weapons of choice that it

has wielded consistently in achieving its objectives. As an example, in 2007 when STC was faced

with the increased competition due to the loss of its domestic monopoly, the company decided to

enter foreign markets, thereby increasing its competitive pressures, rather than trying to constrict

them.

63

It can be safely stated that, apart from its corporate strategic decision-making ability to take

calculated risks and meet challenges head-on, STC’s branding has played a core role in its

continuous global success. Through its implementation of creativity and consistency in its

branding themes, STC has been able to build a strong and positive perception of itself, which was

seen in the interviews, where the majority of consumers had positive associations and experiences

with the company and its products.

It is important to note that the best branding efforts can only be successful if the company

delivers on its promises, which means that it also has to deliver superior goods and services, if it

wants to uphold its good image. Nevertheless, it is also necessary to mention that most consumers

will only ever be made aware of a company’s strengths if appropriate and adequate branding

measures are in place. If a company has products and services on the market that customers are

not aware of, or whose benefits they are not knowledgeable about, then this company or product

will not be able to survive on the market.

In addition, rivals that put more effort into branding may convince customers of the

superiority of their own products. This means that companies who do not invest in branding are

likely to be outpaced by companies that raise their profile through considerable marketing and

branding efforts. As a result of this, companies need to invest in branding to stay competitive out

of necessity.

Lastly, although expected from premium companies, it is not always practically possible

to deliver superior quality at all times. While superior quality is usually technically possible to

achieve with increased time and cost investment, this is not always a realistic avenue that

companies can pursue profitably and there will be fluctuations in the quality that a company puts

out even if it is a premium company. This is where perceived quality management comes in.

Perceived quality management, an important aspect of branding management usually aims to

create an excellent brand image in spite of the fact that variances in quality may occur due to

boundaries regarding available resources in relation to time and cost that companies are faced with

in their day-to-day operations (Stylidis, Wickman and Soderberg, 2018).

This case study showed that branding is an effort that organizations undertake to

communicate merit and superior quality and core values, which they then seek to back up with

consistent service and product delivery within the constraints in operations that they are faced with

64

at any present time. Branding efforts should be seen as part of an integrated process to both

convince users of the organization’s sincerity and to endear the associated products and the

company’s artifacts to the public. Ultimately, the consumer will need to decide for themselves

whether the company’s offering and overtures appeal to them or not. A much-desired match

between brand image and brand identity is necessary for branding to be effective and fruitful.

The case study of also STC showed that STC goes to great lengths to connect with the

desires and expectations of its audiences on multiple levels and on a global scale. STC uses

messages which are accessible from around the world.

6.2. Recommendations

This research showed how STC has remained a highly respected and loved brand among

the public through proactive brand management which is used to execute a daring corporate

strategy. Consequent research may explore the qualitative side of this research problem by

exploring the opinions of the public about STC’s branding and its effectiveness, or that of other

telecommunications companies in more depth.

Since this research pointed towards the possibility that there may be variations in the

relationships between the various variables that make up marketing, it would be interesting to

investigate other sectors with regards to the factors that impact brand loyalty, most important

sectors that have not yet been explored. In addition, similar research as the one that is present, but

maybe using other tools, will be useful in either confirming or rejecting the main finding that brand

awareness had no significant impact on brand loyalty.

This research may suffer from some limitations including the problem of response bias

where participants give the answers the researcher is expected to prefer to hear. In addition, due to

time constraints it was not possible to expand the research to pursue a mixed methodology which

would have included interviews with a few volunteer participants or decision-makers of STC to

be able to obtain qualitative findings which could then be compared with the quantitative

investigation.

65

Nevertheless, valuable and internally consistent insights arose from this research which the

researcher hopes will add to the knowledge about the impact and usefulness of branding. It is

hoped that this research has provided not only a good analysis of the case at hand, but also a step

further in the broader pursuit of businesses surviving in a global world.

66

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Appendices

Appendix A: Questionnaire

ATC-PSQAL Perceived Quality and Kayaman and Arasli’s Brand Image Measurement

Scale (2007)

Standardised loading t-value

Brand image

1. STC plays an important role in digital empowerment in the GCC region 0.50 9.39

2. STC is a driving force in telecommunication and digital innovation 0.73 15.38

3. STC puts customer satisfaction first 0.66 13.40

4. STC has a very good image 0.69 14.22

5. STC is a company that promotes the interests of the youth 0.69 14.05

6. STC’s products help start-ups and business ventures to achieve success 0.50 9.39

7. STC’s products have improved significantly over the last few years 0.69 14.22

8. STC’s products are generally very good 0.74 15.63

Brand loyalty

9. As a customer I am generally satisfied with STCs services and products. 0.87 19.82

10. I would recommend STC to other people. 0.89 20.29

11. STC is my first choice among telecom companies 0.51 9.78

12. I prefer STC over other telecommunication products 0.51 9.78

13. STC’s products are en par or better than that of Oreedo and other

competitors 0.64 12.86

Perceived quality

14. STC’s products and meet the demands of the times 0.75 15.63

15. STC provides effective services as based on its promises. 0.81 19.15

16. STC staff members are generally courteous with their customers 0.83 18.69

17. When STC customers have problems, the staff members go out of their way to solve the

issue. 0.80 17.62

75

18. STC offers state-of-the art telecommunication products. 0.75 15.63

19. STC’s services are generally error-free and free of disruptions 0.74 15.64

20. STC gets things right the first time. 0.83 18.42

21. STC’s products are fast and reliable 0.88 20.29

22. STC staff is generally very knowledgeable about its services 0.80 17.47

23. I am confident in STC’s products and services 0.84 19.07

24. STC generally has useful products 0.67 13.58

25. Materials associated with STC are generally visually appealing 0.74 15.40

Customer intimacy (Brock and Zhou, 2012; Bügel et al.,2011, Mulia et al 2020)

26. I have a confidential relationship with STC

27. I have a good understanding with STC

28. I feel I have a good relationship with STC

29. STC have maintained good relations with customers

30. STC place a high value on customer relations

31. I was fascinated by the efforts of STC to

32. maintain relationships with customers

Memorable brand experience (Naci Büyükdag 1,* , Olgun Kitapci)

33. I have had a lot of memorable experiences with STC

34. Thinking of STC brings back good memories.

35. I have had a lot of memorable experiences with STC

Brand Identity (Naci Büyükdag˘ 1,* , Olgun Kitapci)

36. STC is very prestigious.

37. STC is one of the best brands in its category.

38. STC is a first-class, high-quality brand.

39. STC stands out from its competitors

76

Appendix B: Graphical representation of the responses

Male
51%

Female
49%

GENDER

15-24
10%

25-30
14%

31-40
39%

41-50
21%

51-65
16%

Age groups

15-24 25-30 31-40 41-50 51-65

77

PhD
5% Masters

13%

Bachelor’s
58%

Vocational
Education

8%

High School
16%

Education Level

Student
20%

Private Sector
Employee
23%Government

Employee
34%

Business/Trad
e/Entrepreneu
rship/Investm

ent
4%

Unemployed
19%

Occupation

78

(64.86%)
264

(27.76%) 113

(5.41%) 22

(1.97 % ) 8

STC

Mobily

Zain

Others

What company are you using for your mobile ?

129
(34.77%) 115

(31.00%)
95

(25.61%)

13
(3.50%)

19
(5.12%)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

STC plays an important role in digital empowerment in the
GCC region:

79

140 (37.74%)

113 (30.46%)

74 (19.95%)

18 (4.85%) 26 (7.01%)

0
20
40
60
80

100
120
140
160

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

STC is a driving force in telecommunication and
digital innovation:

57 (15.36%)

78 (21.02%)

107 (28.84%)

61 (16.44%)
68 (18.33%)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

STC puts customer satisfaction first:

80

70 (18.87%)

116 (31.27%)

96 (25.88%)

50 (13.48%)
39 (10.51%)

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

STC has a very good image:

49 (13.21%)

94 (25.34%)

127 (34.23%)

53 (14.29%) 48 (12.94%)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

STC is a company that promotes the interests of the youth:

81

56
(15.09%)

77 (20.75%)

151
(40.70%)

49 (13.21%)
38 (10.24%)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

160

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

STC’s products help start-ups and business ventures to achieve success:

115 (31.00%)
128 (34.50%)

68 (18.33%)

34 (9.16%) 26
(7.01%)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

STC’s products have improved significantly over the last
few years:

82

94
(25.34%)

145 (39.08%)

72 (19.41%)

35 (9.43%)
25 (6.74%)

0
20
40
60
80

100
120
140
160

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

STC’s products are generally very good:

55 (14.82%)

105 (28.30%)
99 (26.66%)

64 (17.25%)
48 (12.94%)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

As a customer I am generally satisfied with STCs’
services and products.

83

92
(24.80%)

84 (22.64%)
85

(22.91%)

58 (15.63%)
52 (14.02%)

0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90

100

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

I would recommend STC to other people.

117
(31.54%)

79
(21.29%) 68

(18.33%)
49

(13.21%)

58
(15.63%)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

STC is my first choice among telecommunications
companies

84

114
(30.73%)

84
(22.64%)

58
(15.63%) 51

(13.75%)

64
(17.25%)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

I prefer STC over other telecommunication products

103
(27.76%)

73
(19.68%)

87
(23.45%)

50
(13.48%)

58
(15.63%)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

STC’s products are better than other products of
competitors in telecommunication industry.

85

100
(26.95%)

132
(35.58%)

69
(18.60%)

35
(9.43%)

35
(9.43%)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

STC’s products can meet the current market demands

62
(16.71%)

95
(25.61%)

98
(26.42%)

56
(15.09%)

60
(16.17%)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

STC provides effective services based on its promises.

86

131
(35.31%)

112
(30.19%)

78
(21.02%)

23
(6.20%)

27
(7.28%)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

STC staff members are generally courteous with their
customers

93
(25.07%)

103
(27.76%)

84
(22.64%)

52
(14.02%) 39

(10.51%)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

When STC customers have problems, the staff members go
out of their way to solve the issue.

87

115
(31.00%)

117
(31.54%)

92
(24.80%)

25
(6.74%)

22
(5.93%)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

STC offers state-of-the art telecommunication products.

97
(26.15%) 90

(24.26%)

96
(25.88%)

49
(13.21%) 39

(10.51%)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

STC’s services are generally error-free and free of
disruptions.

88

55
(14.82%)

76
(20.49%)

116
(31.27%)

68
(18.33%) 56

(15.09%)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

STC gets things right the first time.

78
(21.02%)

109
(29.38%)

112
(30.19%)

36
(9.70%)

36
(9.70%)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

STC’s products are fast and reliable.

89

90
(24.26%)

125…

81
(21.83%)

46
(12.40%) 29

(7.82%)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

STC staff is generally very knowledgeable about its
services.

88
(23.72%)

109
(29.38%) 96

(25.38%

43
(11.59%) 35

(9.43%)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

I am confident in STC’s products and services.

90

106
(28.57%)

134
(36.12%)

90
(24.26%)

18
(4.85%)

23
(6.20%)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

160

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

STC generally has useful products.

86
(23.18% )

123
(33.15%)

101
(27.22%)

31
(8.36%)

30
(8.09)

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

Materials associated with STC are generally visually
appealing.

91

124
(33.70%) 117

(31.79% )
94

(25.54% )

17
(4.62% )

16
(4.35% )

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

I have a confidential relationship with STC

105
(28.53% )

132
(35.87% )

90
(24.46% )

18
(4.89% )

23
(6.25% )

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

I have a good understanding with STC

92

100
(27.17% )

131
(35.60% )

68
(18.48% )

35
(9.51% )

34
(9.24% )

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

I feel I have a good relationship with STC

66
(17.93% )

61
(16.58% )

106
(28.80% )

78
(21.20% )

57
(15.49% )

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

Strongly
disagree

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree

STC have maintained good relations with customers

93

48
(13.04% )

63
(17.12% )

97
(26.36% )

105
(28.53% )

55
(14.95% )

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

Strongly
disagree

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree

STC place a high value on customer relations

22
(5.98% )

25
(6.79% )

77
(20.92% )

113
(30.71% )

131
(35..60% )

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

Strongly
disagree

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree

I was fascinated by the efforts of STC to maintain relationships with
customers

94

51
(13.86% )

56
(15.22% )

85
(23.10% )

84
(22.83% )

92
(25.00% )

0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90

100

Strongly
disagree

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree

I have had a lot of memorable experiences with STC

84
(22.83% )

124
(33.70% )

103
(27.99% )

31
(8.42% ) 26

(7.07% )

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

Thinking of STC brings back good memories.

95

85
(23.10% )

88
(23.91% )

95
(25.82% )

71
(19.29% )

29
(7.88% )

0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90

100

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

I have had a lot of memorable experiences with STC

98
(26.63% )

140
(38.04% )

76
(20.65% )

37
(10.05% )

17
(4.62% )

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

160

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly
disagree

STC is very prestigious.

96

25
(6.79% )

66
(17.93% )

116
(31.52% )

93
(25.27% )

68
(18.48% )

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

Strongly
disagree

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree

STC is one of the best brands in its category.

10
(2.72% )

23
(6.25% )

65
(17.66% )

131
(35.60% )

139
(37.77% )

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

160

Strongly
disagree

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree

STC is a first-class, high-quality brand.

97

9
(2.45% )

23
(6.25% )

97
(26.36% )

133
(36.14% )

106
(28.80% )

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

Strongly
disagree

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree

STC stands out from its competitors.

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