Use of Facebook for Brand Building in Confectionary Companies in the UAE

Subject: Branding
Pages: 55
Words: 15520
Reading time:
54 min
Study level: Master

Abstract

This research takes up the matter of using Facebook for online social networking, in the matter of confectionary companies in UAE. This market is very competitive among locals, since the products of a lot of large companies like Nestle, Mars, Bounty and many Swiss, French and Italian confectionary companies are abound. The present research shows that although there have been some legal issues in the past, the prospects of gaining better branding in the UAE is given high quality and brand building id possible, in a limited way.

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The major advantage is that, Facebook could substitute for web searches and through the use of Facebook potential buyers of confectionary goods need not take the time and efforts of searching fruitless web sites which is neither productive nor useful.

Under such circumstances, it is also necessary that Facebook itself should be thought in terms of developing business through good contacts, constructive use of promotional materials and also the use of products lines for better all round growth and prosperity. Finally, this research study wishes to state that, in a limited way; Facebook is useful for customers and promoters of confectionary products in the UAE. This is because in this country, Facebook concept is not as developed as in western cultures and it takes at least another 2-3 years for this technology to really grow. Till then, it could only have marginal benefits in coordination with other advertising items.

It is hoped that in future, through the efforts of Facebook itself; it is possible to gain competitive edge in the industry and bring about better business to the people of the UAE. There are so many factors in terms of better placement of online social networking and use of technology and networks for better business dealings. It is believed that, only through the efforts of Facebook and continual growth quest; it is possible to gain business benefits.

Introduction

This dissertation is essentially concerned on the subject of Facebook consumers and buyer behaviour in the United Arab Emirates. Various factors are influenced by the consumer buying behaviour in the UAE. Facebook is a Social service that joins citizens by means of friends and others who work, learn and synchronize with them. Facebook is a Social networking site started in February 2004, and is functioned and possessed by Facebook, Inc.

People can add others as associates and send communications and revise their individual messages to keep in touch with friends and relatives. In addition, users of Facebook can connect networks managed by companies, school or institution. Facebook was established by Mark Zuckerberg by means of his academic roommates and colleagues. Facebook is the earths leading social network, by means of over 400 million consumers. Initially, Facebook was an elite system for mainly the students of Harvard. The unique thought for the expression of Facebook arrives since high school in the Zuckerberg. “Based on these types of numbers, Microsoft invested $240 million into Face book for 1.6 percent of the company in October 2007. This meant a valuation of over $15 billion, making Face book the 5th most valuable US Internet company, yet with only $150 million in annual revenue. Many explained Microsoft’s decision as being solely driven by the desire to outbid Google. Face book’s competitors include MySpace, Bebo, Friendster, LinkedIn, Tagged, Hi5, Piczo, and Open Social” (Facebook). Facebook offers people the authority to distribute and create the world more open and linked. Millions of citizens make use of Facebook each day to sustain many friends, upload an unrestricted amount of pictures, distribute connections and videos, and discover more on the subject of the matters they come across. Facebook is a social networking system so that it will helps to get communicate with customer easily and more quickly. In accordance with Download Squad, the UAE has banned Facebook. But, it has become an inevitable part of the people in the UAE. At present various gossips are emerged with regards to the matter of Facebook in United Arab Emirates. So that it is very much necessary to learn how these controversies involved the United Arab Emirates peoples who utilize Facebook and how they are handling the circumstances at present. Consumer behaviour analysis is the learning of how citizens purchase, what they purchase, when they purchase and why they purchase. It mixes together essentials from various fields such as psychology, socio-psychology, money matters etc. It recognizes the purchaser decision creation procedure, both independently and in groups. It researches uniqueness such as demographics, behavioural and psychographics, inconsistent of individual customers, in a try to appreciate citizen’s requirements. It moreover attempts to review authorities on the customer from associations like relations, associates, reference groups, and civilization in universal. The learning and information of customer behaviour assists the company or the organization to enhance their marketing plans and goods providing. Brief evaluation of the present market circumstances specifies that superstar support or approval advertising plan can, under the right conditions certainly give some good reason for the high expenses linked by means of this advertisement. The exercise of superstars for approval makes an extremely positive impact on the customer and it generates a mix which serves a customer to buy a manufactured goods or services. On the other hand, quite a lot of collapses demonstrate that it is necessary for advertisers to have knowledge of the multifaceted procedures underlying famous person endorsement. Current day customers are highly educates and knowledgeable persons and very graceful. Also, they are acquainted with famous persons who are being paid for these approvals and this information creates customers, to a certain extent more cynical on the subject of the manufactured goods and celebrity supports. “The Consumer Confidence Survey, polling over 23,500 regular Internet users worldwide was extended to include the UAE for the first time this year. The UAE is among the Top 10 countries with the highest Consumer Confidence Index globally, ahead of other countries like Singapore, US and UK” (Stensgaard).

The UAE is a confederation of almost seven emirates, all by means of its individual sovereign. The central administration is a legitimate state, owned by a leader and committee of ministers. As customers progressively get together a large number of data online, they are in cooperation and non-consciously influenced by their existence through online Islamic principles and viewpoints that offer the conventional base of the country’s traditions, rules and performances. The United Arab Emirate has a contemporary and well organized infrastructure capability and visitor’s capabilities that are extensively accessible. Amount of Facebook users in the United Arab Emirates assessed on the basis of age and sex, a consumer enlargement chart. As a user- created substance spot, Facebook consumers are capable of remarking on his standing updates and create effective friends by means of him and his unobstructed outline, which permits the wide-ranging community to outlook his picture books, videos and individual data’s. Facebook is not only supporting developers to make their individual applications that will scamper within Facebook. The policy or platform provided by Facebook has uncomplicated, but efficient instruments to enhance the practice of recently developed applications. Each and every contact of any of the consumers of the Facebook request will obtain an announcement that these consumers immediately commenced to make use of the submission. This type of straight construct in request promotion can distribute high amounts of customers to every application or submission. So, possibly most requests contributors will be challenged to hold the demand.

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The most important social network Facebook is the residence to more than 350,000 requests by means of a consumer support of 300 million. The podium supports citizens to attach, contribute to and hang out. Facebook has many characteristics which makes it separate from its rivals. One of the characteristics of Facebook is the Facebook Fan Page. This is mainly an option by which it will assist to develop the Social network, interrelate by means of customers and clientele and encourage business. “The kind of power and supremacy Face book has seized today is not unseen or concealed to anyone. It has become a part and parcel of our day to day lives. For a common man who isn’t much aware of online industry, considers it to be a platform to get in touch with friends and family, buy things and gain some cool information at the same time”(Caraballo).

Background of the Study

A Facebook Fan Page can effortlessly be phrases as single page website. Inside a fan page, we can effortlessly put all the necessary requirements of users.

“Face book fan pages are a great way of interacting with your fans and clients. All top companies have a fan page on Face book. From food industry to entertainment industry, everyone is taking advantage of the Face book Fan Pages. The top pages have millions of followers. Marketing strategist says that Face book Fan Pages are vital for any organization that wants to enhance their online presence” (Claire).

At the present time, Facebook has turn out to be very well-liked amongst the citizens as it is described as the fastest method to maintain in touch by means of the citizens in your daily living days. It is very simple to join and distribute and share life of each and every citizen through your family unit and associates thereby intensifying tone to our friends. Also, Facebook has turned out to be the earth’s chief Social network in the midst of over 300 million clients. It is not immediately maintenance tabs on associates, but at the same time Facebook is also utilized as an extremely useful business instrument as it is enormous for selling your goods and to join and fit into a place by means of consumers. The customers are classified depending on the benefits which they try to find in the marketplace. The foremost methods which are exercised to agree on the customers buying behaviour is to carry out a research which consists of the primary and the secondary study to make out the cause of the customer’s demonstrated behaviours. “Under articles 15 to 20 of a cyber-crime law that took effect in the UAE in 2006, an Internet user can be imprisoned for online “opposition to Islam,” insulting any religion recognized by the state or contravening “family values and principles” (UAE: Threats to Block Access to Facebook).

Rationales to make use of Facebook in the area of the Business fields are:

  1. Get together with Friends: In the course of Facebook, it will help to assemble with our associates, persons who are still related with us. This will also helps to maintain our relationships with our dears and near.
  2. Find trade associates: by means of 105 million lively consumers and forecasted to be 500 million in 2011.
  3. Put up relationships: Facebook helps to improve and acclimatize marketing and trade services by connecting through discussions by means of consumers and outlooks to assemble their requirements.
  4. Increase visibility: Facebook will also helps to enlarge reliability and visibility as the specialist in region by reorganization and applicable data, by constantly viewing up and being a consideration organizer.
  5. Immediate gate starter: Various associates in Facebook are open and Charge free to linking. So, I will help simply to converse by means of extremely successful addition by means of well-known citizens who were unapproachable until that time.
  6. Build up your individual brand: The lines among private and trade have turned out to be blurred or unclear.
  7. Place targeted ads: We can experiment the targeted publicity by means of Facebook Social Advertisement for smallest price.
  8. Obtain fast top Google position: immediately generate a Page for your trade and share data by means of your associates.
  9. No price marketing: Facebook is completely free of charge to make use of and finish up by more traffic, more reimbursing consumers and additional subscribers by means of normal action. “The UAE authorities use Smart Filter, a US-made software program, to filter websites for religious, political and sexual content. The TRA reported on 18 October that the website of the Kuwait-based daily “Arab Times” had been “accidentally” blocked by automatic filters deployed by Etisalat. This filtering method is also used in Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, which are both on the Reporters without Borders list of “Internet Enemies” (UAE: Threats to Block Access to Facebook). The new policy on the right to use internet at present being measured by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority will also be appropriate to the United Arab Emirates Media open region, which at present has unobstructed internet admission.

Brand construction hypothesis argues that, the brand administrator must direct and organize all the communication of the brand with the intention of constructing productive brand equity in the field of the confectionary industry or any other related areas. It is also alleged that the brand picture should be constructed in the region of core principles of every organization. Facebook helps the business of the organization in many ways. The relative advantage of Facebook in the area of the Brand Building on Facebook in the confectionery industry is very huge. The buying behaviour of the customers in any market or for the study of its effect on consumer buyer behaviour in the United Arab Emirates is influenced by various factors. The demographics and geographic changes are some of the factors influenced by the buying behaviour of the customers in the market. On the other hand, the ubiquitous environment of the social network medium has detached the messages and the substances in the deliberations happening in the organizations used to get pleasure. Constructing well-built brand has been exposed to offer a wide variety of monetary prizes to the organizations, and has turned into a top main concern for many companies. The consumer based formation of the brand equity or the model CBBE is formed to help organizations in their brand creation attempts. Also, according to the model CBBE; the development of well-built brand distinctiveness consists mainly of four stages. These four stages are, (1) Setting up the proper brand uniqueness that is creating width and depth of the brand consciousness (2) Formulating the suitable brand name connotation in the course of the well-built, positive and exclusive brand relations (3) Eliciting optimistic, easy to get brand replies and (4) Forging brand name affiliation by means of consumers that are described by powerful and energetic faithfulness. In order to achieving the above mentioned stages, it comprises of various six brand constructing blocks. “The most valuable brand-building block, brand response, occurs when all the other brand-building block are established. With true brand response, customers express a high degree of loyalty to the brand such that they actively seek means to interact with the brand and share their experiences with others. Firms are able to achieve brand resonance should reap a host of benefits, for example, greater price premiums and efficient and effective marketing programs” (Keller).

This particular method offers a measure by which the brand name and their agenda in the construction of brand attempts is evaluated, in addition to a direct marketing study. The most important reason why the community makes use of Facebook in association with the social networking websites is due to the reason that it recommends and provides a better convenience and accessibility to its customers. In Facebook, the users have the chance and occasions to write down in blogs, in addition to keeping informed their individual practices, their most recent pictures, videos etc. All at once it is extremely valuable and useful to the consumers and so the consumers can benefit all opportunities in a single stage called Facebook. The Unites Arab nations are publishing various journals and newspaper with regards to Facebook as well as the factors influencing it. Also, this particular newspaper circulates an amount of users of Facebook in the United Arab Emirates. In the studies conducted by one of the newspapers, the United Arab Emirates is the second biggest internet clients in the world. The Social networking websites is fond of the Facebook and the relationship of the clients of Facebook in the Unites Arab Emirates is also very important. Facebook can also act as an online orientation groups where citizens share their view regarding products which controls the buying behaviour of their friends, relatives or merely other clients. Facebook tap into a marketplace that was very lively, trendy and extremely attractive to advertisers. Facebook is a social networking site where the consumers share their views, their individual opinions on the subject of a product, their viewpoints regarding a variety of existing affairs etc. It is extremely healthy and factual that Facebook is creating the civilization and community “more untie or open” in a number of extremely incomplete senses of openness or honesty. But certainly, it has additional consequences on community existence. Facebook is progressively more utilized by organizations by means of varied outcome. In Facebook, the users share their individual profiles, update and their point of view in either blogs, picture set-up or in audio set-up. Simultaneously, there are consumer Groups devoted to the brand names by way of an enormous following, conversing the whole thing from the chosen flavours to the most recent advertising operation.

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Importance of Facebook

Facebook is a common facility that connects individuals with acquaintances and others who work, study and exist around them. People use this social networking site to be in touch with their friends from various parts of the world and their relatives. At present the social network device Facebook has an exclusive marketing occasion for trades in the course of the formation of new pages for the Facebook based business. It will also help in the formation of brand building with regard to the product and service offered by any of the organization. As more citizens search for social media, social networking websites have turned out to be a means of the online sources they employ to study further with reference to goods, businesses, artists and earth occurrences. There are mainly two main methods for organizations to promote through Facebook. The first one is in the course of Facebook groupings and the second one is in the course of Facebook Pages.

Facebook pages are characteristically the most excellent alternative for businesses to encourage themselves on Facebook.Facebook has various advantages and disadvantages too. Points concerning the dissimilar benefits and drawbacks are given below.

Benefits of Using Facebook

  1. Consumer Interaction: Facebook sheets offer a medium for conversation among consumers and the brand, offering organizations the chance to construct improved relations by means of target viewers and present consumers.
  2. Reputation organization: Facebook permits a corporation to achieve a deeper considerate of how the brand name is apparent online in the course of straight feedback and also by examining the opinion of the consumers about a particular brand.
  3. New consumer attainment: Every time a Facebook consumer turns out to be an admirer of a Facebook sheet. So, this will help to acquire more and more customers.
  4. Feedback device: In a service supported division similar to hospitality, consumer criticism is very important. Facebook permits consumers to converse their knowledge honestly and provide the company the chance to react.
  5. Branding: Facebook can be utilized as an intermediate for generating brand name consciousness as well as an organizations business website. It offers brand name experience to potentially novel viewers and offers companies the chance to spot themselves in novel and exclusive methods.

At the same time, Facebook also have various disadvantage. Facebook is a well-liked name and most of them are well-adverse about this. It has got many advantages as well as disadvantageous. Even if a social networking facility like Facebook provides various benefits, it also demonstrates to have definite drawbacks too. There are at the present sequence of developments in the schemes to composition by means of inadequacies.

Disadvantages

  1. Overcrowding
  2. Weakening long distance relationship
  3. Unsupported by physical adjacency
  4. Contributes wide-range of procrastination
  5. Rampant addiction
  6. Stalking is possible
  7. Acquaintances be labelled as friends

Surely, the disadvantages don’t pose a threat to you just by merely looking at it” (Findlay).

It is fairly understandable that a trade off is happen among the benefits and drawbacks. It enlarges the communication and association among friends and any of the online utilities like Facebook. It also enlarges the danger of procrastination and makes it simpler for others to follow a consumer.

Facebook: A study of its effect on consumer buyer behaviour in a confectionary firm in the United Arab Emirates.

Literature Review

This literature review focuses on the impact of social networking site called Facebook and its effect on the consumer buying behaviour in the UAE. For the purpose of this literature review books, scholarly articles, and newspaper reviews that has been collected to find the effect of Facebook on the consumer buying behaviour in the UAE. This literature review has been conducted a complete exploration in deep knowledge and also offers both positive and negative impacts of Facebook on the consumer buying behaviour in the UAE.

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Facebook is a social networking site where the users share their opinions, their personal thoughts about a product, their viewpoints regarding various existing affairs etc. Thus, from Facebook we get to know the society’s response to a particular product. In Facebook, the location of the user is mentioned. This will help to freeze the customer response of a product with the location. Then we get the customer response of the product and thus the consumer behaviour towards a product can be framed. Charles W. Lamb, Joseph F. Hair, Jr., Carl McDaniel in their book ‘Essentials of Marketing’ has stated that social networking sites like Facebook helps people to follow their favourite brands of products and thus increases the consumer buying behaviour of products. The authors also state that the buying behaviour of people is more influenced by the opinion and viewpoint of their friends rather than the marketing messages. To summarize, they state that the viewpoints regarding a product which people exchange through Facebook influence the purchasing decisions of people more in comparison with the marketing messages of the product by the company.

William M. Pride, O.C. Ferrell in their book states that, the buying behaviour of consumers is determined through their involvement with the product. Those products are called high involvement level products which generate a high degree of interest such as clothes, ornaments, automobiles etc. Similarly, services like health care, banking etc. also have high involvement services. The low involvement product like the grocery items generate less degree of interest compared to the high involvement products. Thus the low involvement products are less of a topic discussion among people. They state that there are three main categories which influence the consumer buying decisions. They can be classified as situational, psychological and social. Facebook comes under the social category. Facebook can also act as an online reference groups where people share their opinion regarding products which influences the buying behaviour of their friends, relatives or simply other users. The purchase decision for a product is dependent on the awareness about the product in the minds of the buyers and also on the individual’s susceptibility to the product that is referenced by his friends or the users in the Facebook.

In Facebook, the users share their personal profiles, update and their viewpoints in either blogs, picture format or in audio format. In their blogs, they usually write about their new purchases, their good and bad experiences with the product, the effects of using the product etc. This includes sharing of both their positive and negative responses about the product. “Relationships in today’s competitive business environment are paramount, and Facebook’s 150 million user audience makes it an incredibly attractive community in which to conduct business” (Shih IX).

The opinions of others influence the purchase decisions. Because if a user of the Facebook states that he had faced a number of problems with the product, then automatically when others come to know about this; they would be apprehensive to buy the product and this will influence the buying behaviour. Through Facebook, it is not only the relatives or friends whose buying behaviour will be influenced but also other unknown users who had either faced similar or same problems by the use of a specific product. Thus, the influence on the consumer buying behaviour by using Facebook is not related to simply friends and relatives but it targets a wider unknown audience. Its reach is broad and it is a type of two way communication where everybody can share their experiences and thoughts about a particular product which influences their buying behaviour and purchase decisions. Facebook leads to the creation of separate brand communities for products. “The government concerns can also use Face book to effectively communicate via the social graph – both to citizens and to spread the word from citizens to one another” (Treadaway & Smith).

According to Iggy Pintado in the book ‘Connection Generation’: How connection determines our place in Society and ……the social influence of Facebook on the consumer buying behaviour has been widely stated. He says that “First and foremost connected consumers evolved from information gatherers to resource hunters as they interacted and experienced the various stages of the developing web” (Pintado, p. 166).

The Arabian Business newspaper published an article on 30th September 2008 regarding the high number of Facebook users in the UAE. According to the newspaper article a market intellect firm by the name “Synovate” reported that UAE was the second largest hub of social networking internet users especially Facebook. “Commenting on the figures, Synovate’s managing director for the UAE George Christodoulides, said that the popularity of social networking in the country made sense. ‘It is a place that’s very connected to the world; a hub for cultures, business and people” (Menon).

In the UAE, the confectionery industry is growing rapidly day by day with people highly enjoying both sugar as well as sugar free confectionery items. So during the past few years the confectionery industry has been highly expanding in the UAE. Confectionery and candy makers are on a high rise in the UAE. But, recession has affected the purchasing power of people. The use of social networking sites has been somewhat helpful in understanding the pricing of products by the company and also the value offered for the price is displayed on screen through the company’s profile on Facebook. The number of users in the confectionery firm’s account is a proof of whether the firm’s products are as per the products offered by the company.

The main reason why people use Facebook in comparison to other social networking sites is because of the convenience that Facebook offers to its consumers. In Facebook, the users have the opportunity to write their blogs as well as update their personal experiences, their latest photos and videos etc. At the same time, it is very beneficial to the users and the users can avail all opportunities under a single platform called Facebook.

Christopher H. Sterling in his book “Encyclopaedia of Journalism, Volume 1” is of the view that Facebook has both positive and negative impacts on the society because of its contents. “User generated content from and about Arab nations on websites like Face book is on the rise. Political pressure groups, non governmental organizations, and ordinary citizens use these social networking channels to disseminate their messages. Mainstream media often use these materials as examples of voices within their respective countries” (Sterling, p. 98).

In the Newspaper “The National” an article called “The Facebook effect: beyond privacy” the article has stated regarding the positive and negative impacts of Facebook on the UAE society. The article states that Facebook is primarily a social networking site and secondly a site which can be used for business. “Face book tapped into a market that was active, hip and very appealing to advertisers. Face book is a social phenomenon first and business phenomenon second. It may very well be true that Face book is making the society “more open” in some very limited sense of “openness”, but surely it has other effects on public life” (The Facebook Effect: Beyond Privacy).

In the magazine AmeInfo published in the UAE states that, the rise in the use of internet in the UAE region is drastically affecting the consumer buying behaviour. The article also states that the use of internet has created a sense of brand awareness among consumers and has made them prefer certain brands over others which are a good sign in consumer buying behaviour. Facebook can serve as a second word of mouth in influencing the consumer’s buying behaviour or purchase decisions. There is a lot of influence by the internet and the social networking sites on the consumer buying behaviour in the UAE region. Many surveys have been conducted in the UAE for finding out the influence of Facebook on the purchasing decisions of the consumers. The article also stresses on the idea that around 80% of the consumer buying decisions are influenced through social media groups. People search for the product which they want to buy online and take all the information details about the product from their social networking site. The consumers usually read the reviews of the people who have previously purchased the product and their experiences with the product. The social networking users, especially in Facebook have been on a high rise in the UAE region from the past few years. Companies are also using these networking sites like Facebook to improve their business and to improve their prospects. One of the most important aspects why firms use Facebook is to stay ahead of its competitors and to present a favourable report to the media. One of the first industries in the UAE to adopt the Facebook was the Hospitality sector followed by the confectionery and food industry. The consumer buying behaviour of people is the action that a consumer takes in purchasing decisions of products or services which includes both the positive as well as negative actions of behavioural science in which people decide and choose one product over the other and also one brand over the other. David Kirkpatrick in “The Facebook Effect” states that Facebook has dominated the internet and is such a company which has an universal presence in marketing, shifting political loyalties, making changes in business, and even individual identity. Blythe J. McGravie, Robert Kraft in their book Shaking the globe: Courageous decision making in a changing world states that Facebook plays an important role in the purchasing power of hiring employees also. Before responding to a job posting, an applicant sends a message through his social network like Facebook in order to collect more details about the company. This type of social networking on Facebook provides more information about the company to the user and thus either increases or decreases his buying power with the company.

“Sites like Face book are a great medium for employers to become more relatable to this important segment of the work force’ says Richard Castellini, vice president of consumer marketing at Career Builder. While these networks often serve as repositories for vast stores of personal information, their members also use them as sounding boards” (Mc Garvie & Kraft, p. 98).

The confectionery industry is one of the most important industries in the UAE. The market size of confectionery industry in the UAE is very high because the people of the country have a sweet tooth especially the teenagers and the children. In the book “Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook Sept 2003, the authors emphasizes the viewpoint that the confectionery industry is highly growing in the UAE region especially in Dubai. The author states that sugar and sugar products are fast moving in the UAE. In the book Strategic Management and Business policy by Kazmi, the author states that many joint ventures has been taken place in the UAE with respect to the confectionery industry like the Candico’s expansion in Dubai.

Bateel International is a very big confectionary firm in the UAE and is famous for its Bateel Dates. The Bateel International also is the seller of chocolates, stuffed with delicacies like almond, lemon etc. Bateel is a gourmet date brand and offers very good quality Arabian coffee and pastries. It also has an account in the social networking site and the details of the company can be found on the site. In Facebook account, the company has put up its recent mouth watering sweets, date products, chocolates and other gourmet products. The company also has an important account of how people like the dishes of the Bateel International and there are a high number of people who have posted their comments regarding the excellent taste and flavour of the delicacies available in Bateel International. “when the gourmet date brand Bateel, somehow lit on the idea of fusing Umbrian cuisine and Arabic coffee with the humble date, the result was a café featuring dates in most dishes – with interesting results” (Pozzan, p. 104).

In the confectionary firm’s profile, the firm has provided its mission and vision statements and its latest photographs in various Gulf food exhibitions and other Bateel awards. The number of users increases very fast and this is the reason behind the firm’s success. Bateel has posted in its video the recent visits by the CNN International in its Bateel Dubai Mall. Automatically when people see such a good customer base of Bateel International through its Facebook then it will immediately generate a purchasing urge among them. In Facebook, Bateel has also created an account of events in which it puts its latest delicacies for special occasions like mother’s day, birthday specials, anniversary specials etc. The number of people who like certain dishes when posted might create an urge to taste the sweet item among their friends or relatives or known persons and thus consumer buying behaviour is influenced.

Al Khayyam is another famous restaurant in UAE which is famous for its dates and date products, nuts, chocolate nuts etc. Al Khayyam has also an account in Facebook and has posted a number of its special dishes, events. Its customer lists are updated and every one can check it universally by just signing in. The restaurant offers a number of varieties of dishes and has gained a very good share of the UAE confectionary market by posting its details on the social networking site like Facebook. David Marshall in his book “Understanding Children as consumers” states that children are the most important consumers in the confectionary industry and therefore their opinion should always be taken into consideration. The author states that children in the age group of 8 to 13 years are frequent visitors to the social networking sites. In the UAE also a number of Kids who use Facebook are high. Through Facebook they visit the accounts of confectionary firms like the Bateel International or Al Khayyam and they themselves have the option to choose from the confectionary firm’s wide choice of delicacies. The author also states that in sites like Facebook, one can always make the updates regularly. Therefore, it is a continuous stage of a person or a firm’s activities and events and developments. Children are the biggest consumers in the confectionary industry and they gain the knowledge of the latest sweets and confectionary items by communicating through Facebook. This influences their surroundings a lot for buying decisions of children.

The purchasing power of consumers are highly dependent on the price of the product, the price of its substitutes and complements, the market demand and supply of the product and the quality of the product. The increase in the purchasing power of people increases the demand for the confectionery items. To some extent the prices of certain products can also be fixed by the customer without using the economy of collective bargaining by the use of Facebook. An article published in Gulf News called “Branding Together for Financial Gain” on July 10, 2010 states that when like-minded customers join together under social networking sites like Facebook, they can even influence the price of the product and can thus enhance their buying powers. Thus, Facebook is very influential even in price bargaining. Through the use of Facebook, a group buying system can be implemented in which people who want the same product comes under a single community and they can collectively purchase in wholesale rates. This type of group buying has been mushroomed through the use of Facebook. Facebook has taken the place as a social media platform for bargaining and negotiating prices of products which is highly influential in the consumer buying powers. This type of group buying strategy implemented by Facebook is very good for the consumers to spend less for their most valuable product; especially in the present times of recession where money saving is highly important and consumers are strictly keeping a check on their purchasing powers. To be particular the GoNabit page on Facebook is the page which offers this very precious scheme of group buying where the merchants are not in a big loss because of bulk sale and at the same time the consumers are in a better purchasing capacity. “GoNabit is the first to introduce a similar platform in the UAE last May. Headquartered in Dubai, the company has over 1,000 fans on Facebook and 9,000 members as of Wednesday” (Maceda).

The article emphasizes that consumer buying behaviour is highly influenced through GoNabit in Facebook and the subscriber database has been growing rapidly day by day. The mode of payment is also very simple and easy while using Facebook by way of credit cards. The writer also states that the users of social networking sites frequently visit these sites on daily or weekly basis and the users are linked with each other under a common community. Basically, it is the group formed by a people who have similar tastes, habits, choices and are either bound by domestic boundaries or international boundaries. The ability of reaching out to people in some other area and influencing their purchase decisions is highly valuable.

Thus, the conclusion in this literature review is that Facebook is highly influential in the consumer buying behaviour in the UAE especially in the confectionery industry. Facebook account is used by a large number of youngsters in the UAE who are the main consumers of the confectionery industry. The Group buying behaviour scheme also can be implemented by the use of Facebook and this is also highly influential in the consumer’s buying process. So the influence of Facebook cannot be ignored in the confectionery industry because many confectionery firms themselves have their own accounts in Facebook which is a very high determinant in the consumer buying process.

The method is proposed for the study of the effect on consumer buyer behaviour of confectionaries in the United Arab Emirates. The study focuses on the nook and corner of the buying behaviour in the market, the buying behaviour is an important concept in marketing. It involves the buyer as the vital agent in the market scenario. The buyers are classified depending on the benefits which they seek in the market. The main methods which are used to determine the customer’s buying behaviour is to conduct a research which consists of the primary and the secondary research to identify the effect of the customers exhibited behaviours. ”There have been other social networks and media sites that have had limited success in terms of promotion and creating brand awareness. With the amount of existing and new applications that are being created on Face book, business owners have an opportunity to use Face book to promote their brand even further” (11 Business Benefits of Using Facebook Applications).

Proposed methods

The method is proposed for the study of the effect on consumer buyer behavior in the United Arab Emirates. The study focuses on the nook and corner of the buying behavior in the market, the buying behavior is an important concept in the marketing, it involves the buyer as the vital agent in the market scenario. The buyers are classified depending on the benefits which they seek in the market. The main methods which are used to determine the customers buying behavior is to conduct a research which consists of the primary and the secondary research to identify the effect of the customers exhibited behaviors.

The formidable problems that pursue the task of defining the research problem are the grounding of the design of the research project, which is known as the research design. The research design constitute of the what, where, when and how of the research study. A research design is the theoretical structure of conducting the research which can be used as the blue print for research and research based information. The research design will include what the researcher will do from the preparation of the hypothesis and the operational implications to the final analysis of the data. The research design explicitly takes care of the promotion of the confectionary details in the Facebook. Facebook is considered as a better option for the promotion of the business in terms of the description about them and the recent events of the business.

Incorporating these various criteria stated the overall design that can be split up into the sampling design, which deals with the study of only the selected items. The study can be focused mainly on the selected group of people like the stakeholders who benefits from the business.

Appropriateness of Research Design

“Google are targeting anyone that searches for a specific category or subject they can only narrow that down by geography. Whereas Face book can refine who sees your ads more because the collect more information so you can narrow down by age, sex and relationship status, it’s like any other advertising, the more you know about your target market and where to find them the greater success you have” (Facebook ads v/s Google Adwords). Based on the design, the emphasis in such studies is on the discovery of ideas and insights. The research design appropriate for such studies must be flexible to provide the opportunity for considering the various problems of the study. The objective of the survey used in the design is to obtain the vital information of the variables and the relationship of them with the idea relating to the problem. The hypothetical research design and its appropriateness are the casual relationship among the variables. These kinds of research studies not only find the appropriateness that will reduce bias and increase the reliability, but also will permit in drawing the inferences about casualty. The research design meets the requirement. The main effectiveness of the design is the replication, randomization and the local control.

The replication denotes that the experiments should be conducted more than once and to increase the statistical accuracy of the same. The research can be done mainly with the stakeholders and the social network users. The various researches provides guard in research designs and influence the irrelevant factors by the sorting them out. In other words, the ideology point outs that the design or plan should be designed in a manner so as to be capable of combining the various needst are conducted.

Developing a Research Plan

The research plan is an important part that is to be developed after selecting the research design and the research problem. The research plan is much helpful as it mainly emphasis on the various aspect of the research and helps in organizing the ideas which are formed. It provides a vivid idea of the data and information that are to be obtained and the way in which the data are to be collected.

The research plan here mainly identifies the awareness and the impact of Facebook in the buying behaviour of the confectionaries in the UAE market. The research plan should consist of the research on objectives; problems, concepts and obtaining the details of various techniques that are involved. The particular time limits are to be fixed in each case in carrying out of the research.

Data Collection

Data collection is a primary step in a research and it is used in defining the complete research design. The data collection consists of two methods namely the primary and the secondary data. If data are collected directly from the group through interview; it helps to acquire the fundamental, unfair, and original information straight from the population. The datas are retrieved from the primary and the secondary sources available, the primary methods of the data compilation includes the prepared questionnaire, distributed to the definite group. The collection of data through the primary investigation is suitable for collecting the information from the certain group. The secondary data are the foundations that are gathered from the domestic and the outdoor sources. The internal data are obtained from frequently visited customers and from the magazine’s annual report and other sources. The external sources consist of the internet and the websites as the information providers.

The primary data are those which are freshly collected by the researcher. Primary data is collected during the experiments by the experimental research. If we conduct research mainly in a explanatory method and carry out surveys, it is feasible to obtain the primary information throughout the surveys like the model and the census surveys. In short, there are various erstwhile methods of the data collection together with the primary research. Which include the methods like observation, interview, questionnaire, schedules, mechanical devices, and the content analysis.

Questionnaire

The data collection through the questionnaire is the much widespread and a accepted process in the research. The questionnaire is the method of data collection hired by the individual’s researchers, and the organizations in getting the adequate information. A questionnaire consists of the series of questions, given to the chosen respondents for getting the data.

In questionnaire method, we use two categories of questions such as Open ended and Closed questions. These two categories of the questions are extremely diverse in nature and usage. Open ended questions are expected to obtain descriptive answers. This type of question starts with what, describe, why and how. Closed questions can be replied with a single or small phrase. Also, this type of questions can have a limited application.

A separate section of the questionnaire is seen in Facebook which emphasis much on the various operations and they provide proper analysis and the answer to the questions posted. The separate search option is also provided for any queries regarding the post made in Facebook.

Feedback from the consumer is vital to provide consumers the chance to give the comment regarding the satisfaction as well as the exact favorable and unfavorable opinion. Criticisms from the customer help to understand the loyal customers as well as how the customer reacts with the price and customer services. The questionnaire in case of the social networking can be made available by mailing the questionnaire to the respondents.

Interview Method

An in-depth interview is conducted with the stakeholders and the constant users of Facebook. It helps in conveying the ideas and the information of the buying behaviour of the people and the impact created by the social networking to the people.

Interview is the method used to measure the customer satisfaction. The factors affect the customer satisfaction in health care, facilities and customer service. “In personal interviews it is vital for the Interviewer to have empathy with the Interviewee. In general, Interviewers should try to “blend” with respondents in terms of race, language, sex, age, etc. Choose your Interviewers according to the likely respondents” (Survey Design). Interviews are the face to face conversation of the people in getting the useful ideas and information from the person regarding the situations, problems and the valuable feedback. An interview in the point of view of the customer satisfaction analysis can be done in a structured and in an unstructured manner. The main outcomes of the interview are building good rapport with the clients, and retrieving the detailed information from the customer’s vital to research.

Personal Interviews

The personal interview is a way which necessitate a person known as an interviewer; who enquire questions normally in a face to face conversation with other persons. This interview is a personal investigation or an indirect oral investigation. This is the structured way of interview, which is carried out.

Focus Interview

This method of interview focuses on the attention of the people to know about the buying behaviour of the people in the UAE market. The impact can be understood by focusing on a specific group of the social networking. The focused group helps in retrieving the information by a special focus to the buying behaviour and the impact created by Facebook to the clients.

Survey Method

Surveys method is the most general method to measure the customer satisfaction in the social networking. Facebook achieved 5 % of a customer-satisfaction, in a survey conducted. “We haven’t reviewed the survey methodology in detail, but clearly we have room to improve,” Face book said in a statement. Building a simple, useful service is the best way to earn and sustain the trust people put in us. That’s why we spend so much of our time and energy focused on improving the products we offer and introducing new ones” (Facebook in Bottom 5% of Customer-Satisfaction Survey on Privacy Concerns).

Observation Method

Observation is the process incorporated for the data collection where observations are accepted on a confident basis. Certain stakeholders’ observation is the only way by which the study is conducted. In this method, the information is sought by the way of investigators observation which he makes directly without any communication with the respondents.

In the study of the buying behaviour, the investigator instead of asking him; observes him and understands various methods and reach to a conclusion. One of the drawback of this system is that it is much costly.

Mechanical Devices

The mechanical devices are mostly use to collect information by indirect means. The platform of data collection here is the website and the instruments like the eye camera, pupilometry camera, motion picture camera and the audio meter are used and developed to collect the required information.

Content Analysis

It consists of analyzing the contents of the documentary materials such as magazines and journals. The content analysis is the quantitative analysis of the documentary materials concerning certain characteristics which can be identified and counted. The analysis is the central activity which is understood by the verbal of the materials. The reviewing of the research includes the analysis of the content.

Secondary Data

The secondary data means the data that are retrieved and previously existing. They constitute the data which is already been collected and analyzed by someone. The researchers make the most use of the secondary data from a range of sources. In this case, the researcher is at the risk whether there are any misinterpretations and variations in the data.

The methods all the way through the secondary data is attained are by an assortment of periodicals from the government, and the local bodies. The publications are done by the subsidiary organizations and technical and the trade journals, books, magazines and newspapers, reports prepared by research scholars etc. The researcher must be cautious in handling the secondary data. He should be able to take up the minor mistakes as there is possibility of errors in the unsuitable nature of the secondary data. By taking the secondary data, certain criteria should be taken into account. They are:

  • Reliability of data
  • Suitability of Data
  • Adequacy of Data

Selection of Appropriate Method of Data Collection

Nature, Scope and the Object of Enquiry

This constitute of the most vital factor affecting the choice of the particular method. The method suits the particular method of the researcher and is significant in deciding whether the data is available or is made available.

Availability of Funds

The availability of funds for the research projects understands the large extent on which the funds are made available and they can be used for the effective use of the research.

Time Factor

A proper time factor has to be identified and the method has to be taken for each operation in the data collection. The data collection has to be recorded in order to have a proper understanding of the data collection.

Precision Required

Precision required is yet another important factor to be considered at the time of selecting the method of the data collection. The data collection is much prior and clear to all the situations of accuracy.

Sampling

Sampling is the technique where the selection of certain parts of the aggregate is based on certain judgment in the organization and the inference is drawn about in the overall analysis. “Sampling is the process of selecting units (e.g., people, organizations) from a population of interest so that by studying the sample we may fairly generalize our results back to the population from which they were chosen” (Trochim).

Sample Size

A sample is a predetermined fraction of the statistic research where the different part of the sample is analyzed in retrieving the information. Sample size is the bulk of the sample that we use to assemble the various data and the information from the target audiences. To measure the customer satisfaction level, the sample size collected for the research is 150 that are collected from the customer from various levels. Sample size helps to increase the truth. But at equivalent instant, it amplify that the price related with it. The cost, the budget of the study and allocation of the budget is done by considering the sample designs. The learner’s research proposal includes the different research topics and related aspects for the study. The learner’s research proposal is depending on the particular research topic that is specified by the learner.

Research Method Appropriateness

Quantitative Analysis

The quantitative research is the planned analyzing and examination of the quantitative data. The idea of the quantitative method is the employment of the mathematical and statistical model and the analysis of the hypothesis. The quantitative link is the main link between the empirical methods and the mathematical analysis.

The analysis is the foundation and is mainly used in social sciences and anthropology. The main use of the quantitative data is in the analysis. The software packages like the SPSS can be used for the understanding and the investigation of the research.

Qualitative Research

This method of research is appropriated in several diverse scholarly disciplines. The qualitative design finds it useful mainly in the research and in the application of the social sciences. Qualitative researchers intend to collect a thorough understanding of human nature, behaviour and the adaptation in various situations. “The functional or positivist paradigm that guides the quantitative mode of inquiry is based on the assumption that social reality has an objective ontological structure and that individuals are responding agents to this objective environment (Morgan & Smircich, 1980). Quantitative research involves counting and measuring of events and performing the statistical analysis of a body of numerical data (Smith, 1988)” (Matveev).

Hypothesis

The hypothesis is considered as the principal instrument in research. The main function of the hypothesis is to suggest the new experiments and observations. Many experiments are conducted by the deliberate operations of the testing hypothesis. “If you know a lot about the topic, you can develop a research question based on your own knowledge. If you feel you don’t know much about the topic, think again. A topic is what the essay or research paper is about. It provides a focus for the writing. Of course, the major topic can be broken down into its components or smaller pieces” (Developing a Research question).

The study here is based on the topic, the consumer buying behaviour in the UAE market. The customer feedback is the outcome which is an important factor to be considered in the social networking. The different questions that are posed are for the research to take place, in the retrieving of different information and the data that are available from the questions that are posed. Different questions that are posed are:

  • How the impact of buying behaviour can be measured in terms of buying behaviour?
  • What are the factors that affect the buying behaviour of confectinary in your place?
  • Does customer satisfaction imply customer loyalty to the firm?
  • Will the idea of survey be able to make a correct judgment on customer buying behaviour?
  • What are the factors which affect the switching of loyalties in customers?
  • Will the variable factors be always in the same proportion in the customer loyalty?
  • How the various trends affect the customer buying behaviour?
  • What are the suggestions for the improvement of buying behaviour?

Hypotheses Development

The topic for the study was to identify the factors that influence the effect of the customer buying behaviour in Facebook. The customer outcomes depend on the quality of the standards that are incorporated in the sector. In customer outcome, the important aspect that has to be discussed was regarding the relationship bond. The hypothesis statement was framed in such a manner that all the factors influence the performances and the quality of the network. The sector needs to consider more on the customer’s expectations and must find out various ways to meet the standards and expectations. A method is a logical procedure in achieving a certain task or objective. A methodology is the varied ways in accomplishing the final result by incorporating the methods. Methodology can also be referred as the hypothetical analysis of the research methods apposite to the research field to facilitate the study.

The quantitative analysis in the hypothesis is conducted from the secondary sources and analyses the different secondary sources like the articles and the review of literature.

The hypothesis determines the validity of the assumption and to choose the decision from the parameter and to assume certain properties that come from the parameters like the mean standard deviation, which are the statistical test that is involved.

What possible advantages and disadvantages could be gained by a confectionery company operating in Dubai using Facebook as an online social networking group for promoting the brand image of its products and services?

A membership in Facebook does not give one censorship rights. Nor could the cash registers ring merrily once a person becomes a registered user of Facebook. It is a long and arduous process, and members have to make sure that they do not cause detriment to other users, in any way small and big, since this could have justified repercussion in future. Perhaps one of the main advantages of a Facebook entry could be in terms of greater exposure and brand identification, and to recommend favourite brands to friends, relatives and members of known inner circles. It works very much like old school ties and childhood friends who meet after long time and exchange notes. While in earlier times, brands were recommended through personal dialogues, over phone or on store social networking, nowadays it is done through online social networking, albeit the visibility part, which remains absent except in the case of video conferencing or during video chats. One of the main disadvantages remain in terms of the fact that, this may have only limited application since it could be only within limited circles and not to large audience or the world at large, but to a private audience who are listening in. However, one of its main advantages is that it obviates the need for tedious Google search for goods, services or utilities and one could well trust one’s friend’s circles to provide sound advice on how to buy a good iPod or music system or even buy jewellery or cosmetics online. Perhaps it works well for food stores like McDonald, KFC, Burger King or Wal-Mart in that friends could get together at one of these rendezvous for long chats over food and drinks. Newly started exotic business like Korya Korean Barbeque (KKB) could also get boosted sales through use of online business options.

The most important aspects that need to be considered in this research study is the product line of the client; confectionery products. The potential market Dubai, or even the United Arab Emirates and finally the medium with Facebook as a media for brand building.

First of all, it is necessary to consider Facebook and its reputation as an online social networking group for brand building. Facebook gathers together an ideal location in which a strategic image of brand/brands is established and thus promote, internally and externally, a burgeoning network. Brands often choose to have their main online presence, using their corporate websites, by adding on to social network functionality to a particular page in the site. This is to guide the user paths and capture leads or sales in one place. “There are many sites which provide dedicated resources, services and systems” (Solis & Kutcher, p. 80). This is essentially meant for creating and sustaining both internal and external networking. Perhaps this is the main cause why Facebook has made its website movable and flexible that could allow particular brands to make it possible to have their own fan pages to implant the widget edition directly to the website of other social networks or blogs,. Thus, what essentially is being done is to create a bridge between the Facebook networks and the outside visitors for more and more visitors and interfacing to be carried out for improving brand image.

One thing that must be clearly understood in the context of brand building or even online social networking is that this may not really result in immediate sales and augmented revenues. What is being basically done through social networking is that, Facebook is trying to induce and attract potential customers in the Middle East for buying confectionery products. This is very much like the advertisement and sales publicity through TV channels, Radio, Internet etc. It creates awareness and wishes to gain brand retention for suggested products, so that whenever the need arises; potential customers would like to try out the advertised brand, say ’Snackers’ brand or ‘BountiHunter’ brand lines. The advertisement and sales publicity cannot make the cash registers ring louder and more regularly. Similarly, the use of online social networking does not guarantee more sales /revenues that would accrue.

Perhaps one of the major aspects that come into play in the case of Facebook is that, it offers wide platform for its registered users and visitors for social networking and online interfacing. It is necessary that specific attention be paid to the platform’s role as a new, super-efficient distribution channel for digital content and services” (Facebook Platform: The Dawn of Social Computing).

Besides the aspect of offering choices and content value, Facebook could also offer services as follows:

  • “The role of service innovation within a service provider;
  • The resilience of the internet portal model;
  • The emergence of P2P-based social graphs;
  • Impact on the distribution of digital content;
  • Mobile service development and mobile operator portals;
  • Facebook’s emergence as a replacement for the web browser” (Facebook Platform: The Dawn of Social Computing).

Perhaps the feature of the services of Facebook as an alternative to web browsers for confectionary goods and services strikes up as outstanding. Instead of wasting large amount of time and efforts in finding out confectionary products in the UAE, the Facebook user could simply use his connections in Facebook to get what he wants. Thus, they get not only excellent products, but also can locate and confirm the producer and the end user. This is a WIN-WIN situation for the entire customer (Facebook user) and the network that is being used- and also the producers of food products and services. Again, the competitive aspect is also drive home the idea that the Facebook user has ample choice through online social networking to get a good product at a reasonable price too.

However, in this context, the disadvantage of using Facebook also needs to be considered. It needs, however, to be remembered that Facebook itself is functioning in a competitive environment and that there are several networking platforms like My Space, Twitter, Friendster, etc. “There are many online social network groups that have become established and household names like Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, YouTube, Flickr and Linkedin” (Kizza, p. 238). While the creation of a new social networking based on common groups and interests is less dubious and laudable, it must be remembered that, this is within the framework of Facebook itself. It therefore becomes necessary, for common interest individuals or groups to create a new platform for social computing, which shall concern itself with cartel interests. These creation, assimilation and dispensation of social data cannot be handled by just one centre. Facebook would need several associates for smoothly carrying on business activities. This is because the issues that would arise could be seen in terms of online social communication network and interfacing could be beyond it. Thus, under such circumstances it would be necessary for Facebook to look beyond the ordinary successful implementation of social networking.

The aspect of social networking has been as old as the hills. In earlier times, this was through personal networking among interest groups and peer groups through church, professional assemblies and other social interactions. The only difference is that nowadays and especially under Facebook, the interactions and confabulations are being done through online and internet instruments. The model remains the same, but only there is no direct contract between the parties concerned.

Next, coming to the impact of Facebook as a medium of social networking; it may be said that to a very large extent, it is determined by the kind of products and its impacts. In the case of confectionery items, it is seen that in the UAE, there are many foreign producers who make their products and services available in the country. “Online products such as social networks are valued more for their scale of memberships. However, in recent times there were worries that social networks may not be the best medium for advertising” (New Twist to Online Product Promotion).

However it may be said that, to a very large extent; the use of confectionary products by consumers is on hearsay and the advices they receive from friends, relatives and well wishers. This could be exploited by the marketers of products in the UAE since if a few registered users in Facebook could provide a good opinion of the product lines. It could be very beneficial for others also. Besides this, it is also seen that there could be an increase in the positive brand through the use of social groups and even larger revenue generated through greater internet sales of confectionary items. Besides this, brand building; especially in a competitive environment could also be possible through Facebook.

In the context of UAE, firstly, the proportion of current membership in Facebook vis-à-vis non members using other online social networking sites needs to be considered “Recognizing the needs for social networking among the youth at various social sites, ‘Snap & Share’ service enables one-click picture and video uploads to multiple social websites via mobile phones while on the move” (Du Introduces ‘My People’, a Ground-breaking Programme for UAE Youth). Perhaps one of the major aspects about Facebook is that, it would allow the friends and known persons and also commercial people to use it for promoting their brands among the social communities. This is also possible to use video downloads, pictures and text messages for the community and businessmen. Besides this, it is also possible that in future a greater degree of freedom and independence could be made.

Next, it is to be said that there are very limited use of Facebook use in the UAE, considering the recent developments. Even otherwise, the commercial utilization of Facebook may have only limited applicability in the UAE, already having a plethora of confectionary items.

Aim and Objectives

  • To study the effect of Facebook on the consumer buyer behaviour in confectionary business in the United Arab Emirates.
  • To learn whether an officially created page offers or detracts reliability to the message and what customer and other stakeholders sense in relation to the content within both pages.
  • To understand the various stakeholders’ views and reactions to the development of user generated brand pages in the confectionery industry.
  • To identify the importance’s of Facebook in the field of business.
  • To identify the limitations and obstacles of the study.

Reflections on this Study

Facebook is a common facility that connects individuals with acquaintances and others who work, study and exist around them. People use this social networking site to be in touch with their friends from various parts of the world and their relatives. These networks will support to discuss the information, photos, videos and their knowledge through the internet. Global usage of the internet is rapidly increasing. More and more people are searching the internet on a daily basis for various needs. Among this, millions of people are visiting the social networking sites. Their extensive and mounting usage among the new generation has been well known. The persons who have organized these sites became rich and famous. With this, various businesses are ever more involved as they find these sources to be very useful for them. The networks and the persons who regularly use these sites are highly aware of its merits and demerits. Nowadays, various companies are investigating the candidates through these networks. The managers are using these tools to see their potential candidates. As e-commerce is gaining importance in the global world, men and women are curious to study about their buying materials. So they will start to study the product and the internet advertisements are making a huge response among them. As with the increasing use of internet for socialization has been developed, the business peoples relied on these sites for their marketing. Facebook is the most commonly visited site by the people. They grabbed the first spot among all the social networking sites like twitter, workout, bebo.com, hi5.com, My Space, etc. Facebook became more common by its newer applications which will provide fun and knowledge. They are providing the way to chat with many friends and share and view all the details of the persons. They are providing several pages related with every topic and are up-to-date. College students are using these sites to develop their resumes. Facebook cached a big space of social networking. The ordinary people use Facebook as a way to meet their friends online. ”But, for internet marketers Face book is like a goldmine. Today, almost every single existent grown up individual has an active profile on Face book, and this is the key for internet marketers like you and me” (Caraballo). Consumer buyer behaviour study is an important topic to research in marketing. There will be many obstacles to face while studying the project. This topic deals with the effect of Facebook on consumer buyer behaviour in the United Arab Emirates. The UAE is one of the prominent countries in the Middle-east. It is famous for traditional businesses. This country consists of various developing cities and they always welcome every novel idea. People from many countries are staying in the UAE with for jobs or studies. Thus, it is a small global world. The financial crisis hit some of the states in the UAE also. But now they are recovering from their deep crisis. This time showed a remarkable decrease in the business. There was no growth in marketing and people are confused about their earnings and have really shortened their daily expenses. This made a huge impact in the market. The crisis not only affected the people in the UAE, but also the peoples from whole world who toiled in the desert. Marketers and big business peoples observed a range of public network sites that are attached to products and brands. They unintentionally encourage the product/brand use by describing them. Other dealings are contacting general websites so as to get hold of the marketplace information and yet information on persons who have claimed for service.

There were many obstacles to face in this study. One of the main difficulties found was with the availability of the scholarly materials. There are so many topics related to Facebook. But, there were no proper materials giving good information for our study. There were only few investigative studies and only some sources available. Thus, it found a hindrance to develop a study and to make a profound conclusion with these inadequate materials. These made to get the facts for the topic from the less dependable subjects. As many of the studies are currently going on, we have to explore them by doing our best. In the progress of work, the subjects turned to discuss many issues and made it a tough one to get a proper submission. These available resources gave valuable results to the current subject.

The problems related to the concern of contacts also made a big obstacle to the study. There are so many Facebook users in the United Arab Emirates. But, it is not easy to find the targeted customers and it is hard to get more interviewees through it. As the people are busy with their schedules, there will not be a proper time to study and this made a lot of difficulties in the project. The cities like Dubai are famous for their busy markets; with a lot of confectionaries, textiles, and gold businesses. There are so many malls and shopping centres which will be crowded everyday. Here, the study of consumer behaviour will be effective. The problem associated with this is the availability of the persons to conduct the study. The Facebook users can be found by the personal networks. It will be easy to find more persons from the friend’s lists, through friends of friends etc. Men and women are using the internet and all of them are electronic people in this new generation. “Women have become more comfortable using social media, and for marketers, the overall growth and habitual use of social media represents opportunities to reach and engage women of all ages, and influence their purchase decisions” (Leggatt).

There is some communication tools in the internet which will also helps to study the targeted customers. Above all, the correct management of the resources and the time will be essential to conduct the research. As we need the research, we have to study the people’s availability and their schedule. We have to act according to the people and there are lots of things to plan before approaching them. Without proper management, we could not write this research work. Time managing is also very important. The characters of peoples differ from one another. The ideas of those visiting a confectionary shop will be entirely different from those going to other shops. These concerns have to be noted; otherwise the project will not result in the required outcome. The study is of the qualitative characters and the replies from the individuals will be loaded in the descriptive materials which will be tough to interpret. The quantitative factors are common and there will be some misinterpretations also.

Various other social networking sites also provide many reflections in the study. There are so many network sites like twitter, net log, bebop, friendster, flicker, etc. These social networking sites are also gaining more and more attention from the peoples. These materials provide spaces for marketing also. Some of them are known as they provide the blog service. The celebrities are mainly using these blogs to share their experiences and their opinions. There were huge fans for all of the celebrities. The social sites like twitter got more coverage recently because of the blogs and several marketing options. Many bloggers and the users are interested in starting their own blog. Certain characteristics are common to all of the networking sites. Some of them are really doing their best to catch the peoples and some social sites have features like photo sharing. These special features will make a different selling approach in the internet world. Some of the local networking sites started in the middle-east also captured the mind of the UAE friends. These provided more importance to the middle-east and their peoples. So, they have also been used as a marketing method. The Facebook have lots of funs and various applications. They are also making appropriate changes according to their findings. The various application pages registered on the Facebook are accomplished and fascinated by more and more users. “Face book’s mobile marketing strengths include posting important messages to an accounts followers as well as the ability to respond to messages or inquiries by your target audience in a direct and timely manner. A function referred to as Interactivity” (Moir). In the Middle-east, some of the sites are banned and so the people are heavily depending on Facebook. There were more than 200 million lively addicts of Facebook in these global net users. From this, around 5 million users will be from the United Arab Emirates. The recent controversies in Facebook made the peoples furious. When Facebook structured a competition to sketch the Prophet Mohammed’s picture, through one of the page named “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”, it made massive objections from the Muslim people in the whole world. There was Facebook ban in some of the Muslim countries. As such, there was serious dispute in the UAE also. Several members deleted their account and these things made the availability of the interviewees for our study. The loss of only some millions from the 200 million users from the Middle-east will not be a gigantic loss for Facebook. But, it will surely affect marketing and businesses. This is said because most of the peoples from the middle-east are coming for purchases to the UAE and they are mostly depending on this country only. The less count in the users of Facebook will make the other sites to be active among the people and through this the marketing will be done. After the controversy, there were numerous oppositions against Facebook and the media also supported them well. The controversy regarding the cartoon made by the Danish cartoonist also made a heated among the Facebook users. These controversies are still running in the mind of the UAE nationals and some of them turned away from Facebook. Recently, it was adding fuel to the fire from Facebook authorities by removing four Islamic pages from the Facebook. The pages include “I love Mohammed” and “Quran lovers”. These anti-Islamic observations by Facebook made the people to declare that they will join in ‘Madina.com’, which is a Muslim social networking site. The peoples were against allowing the pages for writing against their religion and disrespecting their belief. This growing disgust with Facebook made a deep negative impact on our project. This made to make a sound knowledge on the surrounding matters besides the subject. We have to study how these controversies affected the UAE peoples who use Facebook and how they are handling the situations at present.

Another objection arising with this is the lack of privacy. Various discussions are made public in this and everyone can access the page and can harm these pages. This raises the questions against the participants and there will be misinterpretations from the people regarding the open discussions and some false comments will be there. “The open nature of Face book gives people access to information about their partner that would not otherwise be accessible. As one participant reported, ‘‘It turns people into nosey parkers…all of that personal information is totally unnecessary, but no one can help themselves.’’ Moreover, the information listed on one’s Face book page may be interpreted in a variety of ways given its frequent lack of context” (Gupta)

There will be hackers and cookies to track all the work and they will harm all useful data. This will be another obstacle and people dislike hacking their pages. This may lead to serious cyber crime also. “Now a new study raises another, possibly more serious threat to users of social networks: the leaking of their personal information to third-party tracking sites that run banner ads on those social networks. Such tracking sites are known to compile, over a period of years and using cookie files on people’s home computers, anonymous records of users’ online behaviour” (Consumer Reports: Facebooks Leaks Personal Info). There are some important features in the consumer buyer behaviour. The industries like confectionary are depending on all kinds of consumers. As it is using a joyful atmosphere, it will make the customer to depend on the quality of the product. There are some facts that will depict the characters of the buyer. The occasion will influence a buying condition as the customers purchase something from the confectionary. The time is also important as the time or the moments they are spending for their purchase. The time will also influence their behaviours. Shopping in the United Arab Emirates is with the thought of the time available in addition to other limited factors for the foreigners, tourists and the nationals. The atmosphere will also affect the behaviour in purchase. There will be a good participation in the purchase when there is a sale offer with the discount sale. It will enhance the chance of buying. Some of the customers are not willing to show what they are purchasing and they don’t like to stand in queues. Most of the customers in the UAE are aware of their brands, availability and choice of their purchase area. Some of the factors making the customer’s buying behaviour are approach, requirements, profit and enthusiasm. With the use of purchase options through the internet made them to order from the home. Thus, the advertisements begin to swallow the space of every customer. This made them to live according to the ads they are seeing. More and more companies and brands appeared and all of these secured a market space through the internet trade. The big business people made social networking sites such as Facebook to expose their items. In Facebook, they provide a group which will describe about their brand and they will collect information regarding their product. They will see who all likes their product and will listen to the comments about their likes or dislikes. This made a good impact in the business and many of the companies started to follow this idea. With this, they can introduce new products and they can collect the opinion about that particular product. There announcements of product through this will make an enthusiasm to see the product. This is now common in the UAE market and they are getting a successful result. A consumer buyer relation is thus becoming a prominent area of concern and with this relation there will be a good growth in the business.

The recent studies show that the social media has an excellent bang on the brand constructions. If the companies are not reaching to the electronic media, then it will badly affect the consumers. Several fans are there for each brand and many of the millions are joining every day in this group. “The study of over 1500 consumers by market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies found that 60% of Face book fans and 79% of Twitter followers are more likely to recommend those brands since becoming a fan or follower. And an impressive 51% of Face book fans and 67% of Twitter followers are more likely to buy the brands they follow or are a fan of. Considering Face book’s over 400 million users, the opportunity is great for social media marketers” (Bianchi). There will be obstacles from this class of fans. Through Facebook, it will not be sure how these fans are loyal to the brands they follow. Some of the users will be just accepting what their friends did and they will not be aware of that particular company or brand. This false proof makes our study worthless. In the confectionary industries in UAE, some companies like Cadbury Middle East, Bateel, Gulf Confectionary, Nestle, Dubai Trading & Confectionary Company, French Sweets Corner, etc made a prominent place through the media advertising itself. Most of the customers of the confectionaries will be aware of the brands. They will be buying that particular brand for years and they know how good it is. In the UAE, many of the customers are from high economic class and they will prefer well-known brands and they will buy the costliest products only. Many of the foreign peoples in the UAE are also going with this habit and they are also in fond of the popular brands. The praise and appreciation from the consumers will show how well the product is liked by them. The denunciation and disapproval will express the consumer’s unlikeness to that particular product. These all makes to know how well the buyers are faithful to a product and will show these particular customers that the price remains unaffected.

The frightening troubles hunting the mission of our research studies are related with plan of the research project. This exploration will reveal all the particular factors of the projects. Using questionnaires, some data can be collected. Open ended questionnaires will ask the individuals to explain descriptively and it will make a burden to the persons participating with us. The closed type of questions will also produce limitations. These questions are answered in one or two words. Sometimes, it will not give a clear idea from the answers of the participants. Various factors, regarding time, work, and work schedules also will affect the participants.

Another obstacle found with this system is the high expenses. There will be costlier method of reaching the targeted high profile customers. It is also not sure about the interpretations and deviations in the facts. The consumer opinions can be an essential feature in this survey of knowing the consumer buying behaviour in the UAE. “Finally, it is true that consumer marketers have tended to be more receptive and less hard-nosed about applying new and different techniques and theories of behavioural sciences probably because of the presumption that consumer behaviour is, by definition, more complex and emotional than organizational buying behaviour” (Jagadish). The social sites are playing an important role in marketing. Facebook is having a crucial role in measuring the person’s buying behaviour through their pages. The experiment conducted on the Dessert Gallery (DG), created a Facebook page and invited all the users to join the group. They watched the effect on the buyer behaviour and they got a good response. “As it turned out, Face book changed customer behaviour for the better. People who had replied to both surveys and had become fans ended up being DG’s best customers: Though they spent about the same amount of money per visit, they increased their store visits per month after becoming Face book fans and generated more positive word of mouth than non fans” (Dholakia & Durham).All the reflections originated during the study will really help in the upcoming research studies on this subject.

Conclusions

The research studies show that, there could be only a limited use for Facebook in the UAE market. This is due to the fact that, in the recent times there has been a controversy over the benefits offered by the sites to the regulars. While the commercialist attitudes of the business could be seen to be provided, there are also fears that most producers are leery about putting their products in Facebook for competitive reasons. This is also because it is quite possible that there may be negative aspects in using a non commercial site for commercial purposes and also unwarily using it for commercial gains.

Further, there are also negative aspects in that this could sharpen up the competition ion in this business and also make it a platform for unsavoury and even illegal practices. There are many reasons why Facebook may not be really suitable for consumer product brand building because:

  1. In the UAE people use many other ways for business like contracts, agreements and other methods.
  2. Advertisements and publicity like exhibitions, fairs and congresses are also used
  3. For commercial products ads in TV, radio and newspaper need to be made more effective than Facebook which may not be so effective

Next, coming to the fact that Facebook is of recent origin for UAE residents and it may take time before it could be enforced. The recent ban on Facebook for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of the people may also be a negative aspect that needs to be countered

The fact remains that Facebook is indeed a remarkable gift for Western cultures, and there could be a lot of gains and business promotions including Brand building by the use of Facebook. But how well it could suit the Middle East cultures is indeed a matter of conjecture and circumspection. This is particularly so in the present course of events wherein, allegedly Facebook has been banned in the UAE. Besides this, there are also concerns that whether the facts published about various products in Facebook and other materials are indeed true and canny. If there were to be a lawsuit in the near future, all the facts about Facebook would have to be produced in Courts and this would not be beneficial for them. Besides, there are also fears about its duration and persistence. This could be made since the advent of competition. It means that in the event of lowered level of service, the onus would be on competing brands and this brand would lose all its values.

Hence, it is better that this confectionary company invest in a small way and then try to gain foothold in the market in the UAE. Through this not much of investments may be around DHS 50,000 to 100,000 to start with and see how the market reacts to this. If the response is good, it would be in the fitness of things to go for larger investments depending upon the cost- benefit values.

Facebook also need to offer a greater deal of service to customers if it wants to capture a larger share of the market. Besides, it is a competitive field and more and more people are joining the fray for Facebook. It is necessary that more and more users should come in, but this is dependent on the kind of service and utility it provides. It is not only the sale that is important, but also the after sales which are critical for the survival of consumer products.

Finally, it must be said that in the case of Facebook, there is a need for greater concentration of business prospects and reaching out to target audience in a good and comfortable way, where greater harm and lesser deficiency in service is not allowed. Deficiency in service could even result in the business being wound up due to ill will (loss of goodwill in the market) and final dissolution of the company. Even one complaint is enough for reputed companies to fold up as is seen in countless annals of large companies who had to pay up heavily for lack of service and poor treatment of customers.

Besides this, it is also seen that Facebook should be able to provide good service to all, whether buying small or large quantity of goods. This is because even small customers need the same amount of service as that of big customers.

There are many aspects in business, and more so in online business wherein evidences and proof for framing and convicting so called offenders may not be forthcoming. Under such circumstances, it is Important that proper care need to be made for ensuring the goodness of clients and also their business interests.

As mentioned earlier, the word of mouth is very important in business, and here it is through the positive, constructive and well intentioned word of mouth that could definitely cause better service to the ultimate consumers. It is the responsibility of the selling agent, by whatever name called; to assume responsibility and duty bounded for the product and services which they sell. Under such circumstances, it is necessary that companies do not lose goodwill and take proper care of their customers, big and small. Besides the need to guard against lawsuits and other matters, this could improve the business financially and cause great loss of damage and goodwill in a business, from which it may be virtually impossible to come out. Consumers need to be leery about the implications of their actions and inactions, especially in a competitive global business economy, and Facebook as a social intercoursing instrument, could play its part to perfection, given the right kind of inputs. But to expect Facebook to be totally liable for online social networking would indeed be a very tall order, by any standards. For one thing, the concept of business networking in Facebook is still in its infancy, and secondly, people don’t exactly use Facebook for the purchases and sales in the confectionary trade in the United Arab Emirates. The time for using Facebook for commercial gains is still gaining momentum and till such time the trade needs to keep its fingers crossed.

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