Institute of Interdisciplinary Business Research~ iibr international Research Centre




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nterdisciplinary ournal Of ontemporary esearch In usiness V 1,N 7

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U L R I C H'S

PERIODICALS DIRECTORY.,

The Influence of Business Profiles on Brand Equity " Listed in ULRICH’S

Awareness among Small and Medium Scale Food Entrepreneurs in Terengganu

Zainuddin Zakaria

Faculty of Business Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA Terengganu, Dungun Campus,

23000 Dungun, Terengganu. Malaysia

Kamaruzaman Jusoff

TropAIR, Faculty of Forestry, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, 43400 Selangor. Malaysia

Muhammad Abi Sofian Abdul Halim

Faculty of Business Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA Terengganu, Dungun Campus

23000 Dungun, Terengganu. Malaysia

Wan Asri Bin Wan Abdul Aziz

Faculty of Business Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA Terengganu, Dungun Campus

23000 Dungun, Terengganu. Malaysia

Abstract

The state government of Terengganu, Malaysia is encouraging small scale entrepreneurs to get involve in the promotion, packaging, labeling and branding of their products. However, the number of entrepreneurs in the state who are presently involved in branding is still small. A survey was conducted using questionnaire in order to discover the influence of the entrepreneurs’ business profiles on their knowledge, awareness and involvement towards brand equity. Six elements of business profiles have been identified which include Size of Business, Type of Ownership, Types of Products Sold, Source of Funding, Business Zone and Market Size. These entrepreneurs are registered under Yayasan Pembangunan Usahawan Terengganu (YPUT) and involved in the production or selling of food products in the state. Statistical analysis such as the Chi Square and Cramer’s V were used to determine the relationship between the entrepreneurs’ level of brand equity awareness with their business profile. Result shows that the entrepreneurs’ business profiles were found to have significant and moderately strong relationships with their level of brand equity awareness. Future researchers would benefit from this study and use it as a platform to further investigate other factors such as organizational culture, government support and style of management in influencing the entrepreneurs’ knowledge, awareness and involvement in branding. Keywords: Malaysia, Brand equity, Business Profiles, Small scale entrepreneurs, Branding

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1. Introduction

Branding is becoming an important marketing tool especially for big companies that hope to develop their product image in the market place. In general, branding is a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of these that identifies the producers or sellers and differentiate them from competitors (Lamb, Hair and McDaniel, 2004). Normally, consumers are interested to the product which has a good label in packaging and also a right name in branding. Among the purpose of branding, labelling and packaging are to help the customers to easily identify a product and its benefits, to allow consumer to easily remember, to easily pronounce, and create a positive connotation towards the product (Lechmann and Winer 2003). The question however remains how many Malay entrepreneurs really understand and interpret the advantage of branding into their businesses?

Entrepreneurs in small and medium industry have to realise the benefits of branding in their businesses, especially for those who are facing competition from big companies. In fact, branding also helps the entrepreneurs to distinguish their products from competitors and indirectly creates customers’ loyalty to the products. The success of any entrepreneurs or producers does not only depends on the core product itself, but on how they strategies and develop market’s ability to distinguish their product from another (Boyle 2003). In the same vein, branding is useful for small and medium enterprises when they want to supply their products into local and foreign hypermarket (Keller, 1998).

Many huge retailers are concerned with the quality of products and its packaging, labelling and brand. This scenario motivates the Malaysian government to encourage branding activities among local producers in the small and medium industry. Furthermore, entrepreneurs registered with the Malaysian Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), are encouraged to develop cooperation with foreign company. The Malaysian Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Corporation has also directed all government agencies to conduct seminars, workshops, and conferences for these entrepreneurs to discuss the role and advantage of branding in local and foreign markets. Yayasan Pembangunan Usahawan Terengganu (YPUT) or the Entrepreneurs Development Foundation of Terengganu is one of the government agencies responsible to develop branding awareness for Malay entrepreneurs in the state of Terengganu.


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Yayasan Pembangunan Usahawan Terengganu (YPUT) is one of the government agencies which consider itself as a ‘One Stop Agency’ in entrepreneurship aim to develop the entrepreneurship values among local entrepreneurs. The foundation was “corporatised” on 31st March 1994 under company act 1965 as a limited company. Since 1st of July 1994 YPUT has been focusing their effort in guiding the entrepreneurs to increase their sale and profit. As a result of this orientation, YPUT has designed four company objectives. These objectives are as follows: i. To help as many entrepreneurs as possible to operate in medium size markets in

achieving international standard ii. To develop and increase the knowledge, skill and capabilities of entrepreneurs in

Terengganu iii. To develop, maintain and offer better facilities for entrepreneurial development to

increase the competitiveness of the local entrepreneur iv. To help YPUT to become a high performance corporate body in management and

entrepreneurship A lot of programs that have been organised by YPUT such as the Development Programmed for small and medium enterprise (SMI), Terengganu Entrepreneurs Development Fund, Research and Development in product and Marketing, Entrepreneurs Development program, Vendor and Franchise program and Counselling Services. YPUT has also planned to implement several programs that relate with the brand awareness for Malay entrepreneurs in Terengganu. In fact, YPUT has also launched their own brand for entrepreneurs in the food industry, in the form of T-Lekor for “Keropok Lekor” (fish sausage) products and T-Dagang for “Nasi Dagang” (rice with coconut milk) product (Ku Khairil, 2004).

Food industry is one of the industries in Terengganu that has contributes substantially to the state’s economy. A lot of traditional products are offered by the local producers, like fish crackers, grilled fish paste, grilled glutinous rice and other traditional snacks and delicacies. However, many of the Malay entrepreneurs do not know how to develop their product image and do not really understand the function of product branding. Some of them tend to ignore and are not interested in the planning and branding activities proposed by the state government. Meanwhile, other established producers are now moving forward in maintaining their image, to meet the challenges of market liberalization and increase competition both in the domestic and international market (Ku Khairil, 2004).


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The main focus group in this paper is the Malay entrepreneurs in Yayasan Pembangunan Usahawan Terengganun (YPUT) and the objectives are: i. To determine the level of brand awareness among Malay entrepreneurs in the food industry

registered with YPUT. ii. To analyze knowledge, interest, and involvement of Malay entrepreneurs regarding product

branding. iii. To identify factors that contribute to the degree of knowledge, interest, and involvement

towards branding. In the year 2000, the Malaysian government had allocated RM1.85 billion for small and medium industries fund and RM300 million for small and medium-sized ‘Bumiputera’ (the first inhabitants of the country) entrepreneur’s fund. Many activities have been implemented using this fund to enhance the skill and knowledge of the entrepreneurs in small and medium industries in the country. The Malaysian government has also encouraged local entrepreneurs to increase their product quality in order to compete better in international markets.

Branding has become important to Malay entrepreneurs especially when they want to sell their products into a bigger market and when they want to compete in international markets. Branding is therefore one of the ways to increase competitiveness, and a means to differentiate the products and services offered to customers. In developing a marketing strategy for individual products, the Malay entrepreneurs in Terengganu have to confront critical branding decision. Most customers will differentiates the product in term of packaging, labelling, advertising and branding. However, only a few Malay entrepreneurs are involved in branding, advertising and promoting their products. The majority of them are only concerned about the high cost and the possibility of lower profit when they want to implement product branding. The paper on “Industri Kecil Malaysia Isu Pembiayaan, Teknologi dan Pemasaran” (Small and Medium Industry in Malaysia, Funding, Technology and Marketing Issues), reveals that only 32.9% Malay entrepreneurs from small and medium industry are involved in advertising and 67.1% are not interested at all (Rahmah Ismail, 1995).


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