1.1 Background to the Study
Communication is a many sided thing, it giving elixir. It is clear that without communication life would be very dull. It is thus like the engine that works human activities. To communicate means to give life to symbols, words, relationship to exercise tear, to be at peace with oneself and others to increase or reduce tension and to blast off the barriers to oneness and understanding among human beings. As an elixir of life, it is the tonic which most people need in conflict situations, to reduce the level of human conflict. It gingers man into the great joy of living.
However, communication is very vital to mankind so as to be informed and as to also make informed decision especially on product. Information they say is the life wire of any individual or organization without information, man cannot be properly oriented and informed about happenings around his environment so as to help him make goof and right decisions, think right react positively or negatively towards a particular issue or towards a particular product or products of even help him determined what feelings to develop toward a product or products. With man’s effort to communicate and get informed, communication reveals the mind and thoughts of man in terms of perception.
In order words, what man feel, think or react to is owned to the fact that he has been exposed to that issues or he had been properly and adequately informed about a product in terms of it taste, quality, price and customer satisfaction. In order to communicate one’s feelings, attitude, thoughts and reactions towards some product. It is proper to be conversant with the product characteristic so as to help use judge well. Therefore, advertising has played a vital role in increasing man’s awareness of his environment in that it has helped man to be aware of several products produced by several companies which Unilever Plc, makers of household product like Omo detergent, close up toothpaste, Lux toilet soap etc. is inclusive.
Advertising refers to messages placed in the mass media by manufacturers or sales outlet to persuade the consumers to buy or be aware of the product. And through this awareness done by advertising product, man is prone to feel, think or react positively or negatively towards the advertised products. Through advertising many household product makers especially Unilever Plc, have used a lot of promotional sales techniques such as giving free sample of their products of consumers, small price inductions or through offers of gift item for buying the products to promote and achieve their organization goals.
Just of late, there was a promotional sales bonanza on Omo detergent from January through May this year, where you buy a packet of Omo, scratch a card inside the pack and win anything you see, example; money bags, umbrella or even a raffle ticket. Details were made available on TV, Radio, Newspaper or magazines even billboards. Since companies like Unilever Plc spend so much in advertising their products, it is logical to consider whether these efforts do read to consumer positive or negative perception on such advertised products in terms of the price, taste, quality and consumer satisfaction.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Since public perception on a given advertised product is of paramount interest to the consumers as well as to the company who produces such advertised products, it becomes necessary to determine or ascertain. Whether advertising Unilever product help in anyway to improve the thought and feelings of Aba residents on the product as observed in terms of task, quality, price and customers satisfaction in the face of its blossoming genuine products/counterfeit/fake production and competitors.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study are to:
1. determined the current perception of the studied product by Aba residents.
2. determined the direction (positive-negative) of the perception of the studied products by the residents.
3. ascertain the role advertising generally played in influencing the perception.
4. determine the extent to which message and media of advertising contributed to the perception of Aba residents towards the studied product.
5. make recommendation based on the findings
1.4 Research Questions
In order to achieve the objective set for this study, the following research questions were set:
1. What is the current perception of the studied products by Aba resident?
2. Do Aba residents have a negative or positive feelings towards these product omo, close-up and lux toilet soap?
3. What role has advertising played in influencing people’s perception on product?
4. To what extent have the perception of Aba residents towards the study?
1.5 Significance of the Study
Advertising of product has been frequent object of attack by economists who change that such activities are not productive economic activities but rather are not constitute wasteful expenditure that contribute nothing to economic growth. The outcome of this study will provide valid reply to this criticism.
– The result of the study will also give the marketing/advertising manager of Unilever and the entire management the basis for accessing their work and the information the advertising manager needs to define his budget with management.
– The study will also either change a false perception built by Aba residents on Unilever advertised product or will confirm and prefer solution to their thought and feelings.
– The study will add to the existing literature on general public perception on advertised products.
1.6 Delimitation of the Study
– This study is limited to only 3 (three) select advertised products of Unilever namely, omo detergent, close up toothpaste, and lux soap.
Besides, the survey Aba South L.G.A only
– Other product of brands of detergents toothpaste and toilet soap made by other companies are excluded from the study.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
– The limitation of the study lies in the fact that consumer behaviour, the dependent variable in the study is not fully understood. The customer/consumer perception toward advertised product is a very complex phenomena. He may not be conscious of what influence his perception towards the advertised products. Yet the basic assumption of study is that customer/consumer in Aba is aware of what influence these thoughts, feelings and looks about given product when it comes to taste, quality, price and customers satisfaction and is articulated enough to express them.
– Another limitation to this study might arise from danger of cover-generalizing as researcher will need to travel to Aba time without number to obtain usable information.
1.8 Definitions of Terms
Perception: Could be said to be the way the general public feel, look or even think about a company’s product or services which it provides for them.
Advertising: According to Bovee and Arens “contemporary advertising is defined as non personal communication of information usually paid for an usually persuasive in nature about product, services or idea by identified sponsors through various media.
1.9 History of Unilever Plc in Nigeria
Unilever formally know and called Lever Brothers Nigeria Plc, a leading company in Nigeria, is involve in the manufacturing and marketing of non soapy detergents, soaps, skin creams, tooth paste edible oils and fats, tea, cooking oils as well as range petroleum services and other personal care products.
The company was incorporated under the name LEVER BROTHERS (W/A) Limited in 1924. The name was later changed to WEST AFRICAN Soap Company Limited. The company went public in 1973. In 1990, it substituted the word Limited in its name with ‘PLC’ to become Lever Brothers Nigeria Plc. LBC strengthened it foothold in the foods and drinks and personal product business by its merger with Lipton (Nigeria) Limited in July 1985, Chesebrough Pends Industries LTD in December 1998 and the merger with UNILEVER Nigeria Limited (former AJ SEWARD) in 1995.
Currently, LBN operates four factories, which are located in Apapa, Aba, Agbara and Oregun there is fifty factory producing tea on the Mambila. The company started with the business of producing bar soaps, using palm oils in the Apapa factory which was commissioned in 1924 ever since, expansion has taken to include the production of international toilet soap brand like lux. Advertised Products
LBN’s Aba factory in Abia State which was commissioned in 1985, was producing sunlight and key laundry soaps initially but in 1980 an addition plant was installed for the production of OMO and soap detergent as well as VIM scouring powder while in 1986 another plant for the production of RIN detergent bar was installed. In 1988, a palm kernel mill processing vegetable oil, an essential raw material in soaps and edible production was commissioned.
Agbara factory in Ogun State is the company’s third factory. The ultra modern complex was commissioned in 1983 for the manufacture of edible products. The factory produces blue band and planta margarines, industrial oils and facts; (the master line range of products) as well as Orogo cooking oil. This factory also refines vegetable oils for third parties. In December 1989, the factory started producing a food seasoning like Royco. The Lipton tea factory, formerly at Burno a road Apapa has been fully located to Agbara in road to consolidate the production of our food products in one location. Advertised Products
The master line Bakery centre is also locate in Agbara for the training of bakers and for new products developments with specific emphasis on the use of local raw material. LBN range of quantity products are distributed points throughout the country. The company employs over 2,000 workers nationwide. We also provide employment for over five thousand suppliers, transporters, distributors etc. Lever Brother Nigeria PLC has been dedicated to the production of top quality products for Nigerians for over seventy five years. Out superior brands of products remains visible “IN EVERY HOME”. Advertised Products