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The Effect of Brand Perception in Malaysia’s International Airline Industry During Covid 19
Dr. Kateryna Vorobyova*
Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Malaysia
Submission: May 6, 2021; Published: June 14, 2021
*Corresponding author: Kateryna Vorobyova, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Malaysia
How to cite this article:Dr. Kateryna V. The Effect of Brand Perception in Malaysia’s International Airline Industry During Covid 19. Ann Soc Sci Manage
Stud. 2021; 6(4): 555693. DOI: 10.19080/ASM.2021.06.555693
Nowadays consumers play a vital role in the company’s income especially during Covid 19. The borders are closed and airline companies facing a huge downsizing regarding the performance. Hence, this current study caring the agenda of how the perception brand of the airline companies influences intention to purchase the airline ticket and actual customers purchase. Highlighted how consumers’ behavior shifted during Covid19. The current research will clarify the information for the airline companies and will bring their attention to the performance. The conceptual model includes Brand attitude (brand association and brand belief), brand reputation (brand reliability, brand benevolence), brand experience (brand relationship-based experience). The result of the current research with 211 participants has shown a positive impact of brand attitude and brand experience on purchase intention. Subsequently, purchase intention with R (0.75) has a substantial value on actual behavior. Brand reputation has a negative and insignificant impact on purchase intention. The study suggests the airline companies should strategically manage the consumer attitude towards brand attitude along with association and brand belief, brand experience plays an important role in the consumer intention to purchase.
Nowadays, almost all of us experience flying with one of the airlines in the world. Almost every county has its airlines, some not just one but more. This marks how well the airline industry is growing tremendously in the modern era. Flying by plane makes it a lot easier now compared to the 70’s era which airplane’s ticket price are very expensive and not all class of income can afford it. That is the era where the only way to travel to the place that is separated by sea is by a ship which takes months sometimes to arrive at the said destination. By airplanes, a one-month trip can be shortened to a one-hour trip minus all the risk of bad weather and danger at the sea. Malaysia’s airline industry has grown rapidly in the past 20 years. The airline industry in Malaysia is one of their sources of revenue. It generates thousands of job opportunities for Malaysians and expatriates in Malaysia. All airlines in Malaysia offer domestic flights inside Malaysia and only three of the Airlines offer international flights.
Consumer positive brand perception on a brand is the greatest asset for an airline, especially in today’s competitive environment. Slight dissatisfaction may lead the airline to lose their potential customer. According to Archana and Subha  excellent passenger satisfaction is one of the biggest assets for an airline in today’s
competitive environment, the board experience is still something special for the customer. If the passenger is dissatisfied with the quality of service, they will reconsider the buying decision for further flights and will probably switch to another airline.
Several studies are conducted in other countries such as Evaluation of customer perceptions on airline service quality in uncertainty on China Air and Eva Air  and Brand Image and Brand Awareness- Case Study: Dubai Market  but none are the studies specific to Malaysia’s Airline Industry. A better understanding of the brand perception that can lead to purchasing intention in Malaysia’s International Airline Industry needs to be studied as brand function value relates to the ability of a brand to meet consumer’s function needs and wants . Every business needs to focus on impressing the consumers out there, and brand function is one of the key elements of successful branding. This study will find a connection between brand perception which includes brand attitude, brand reputation, brand experience, and its influence on purchase intention with subsequent actual behavior to the airline industry.
Brand reputation is one of the factors that need to be explored. Brands have historically concentrated on managing their function attributes, but it has been reported that they have neglected
to pay adequate attention to managing the emotional qualities
straightforwardly . Most brands forget about brand reputation
when they upgrade their services or product.
The credibility of a brand reputation is more important now
than ever. Maintaining a good image for the brand increases
customer satisfaction, creates trust in the market, and helps
place a business in their market as a leader. Business can quickly
boost their image with strategic brand reputation management
strategies. The brand plays a critical role in creating the exposure
and position of the organization in foreign markets .
According to Henderson I, Tsui K, Ngo T et al., , brand
experience defines as subjective internal responses such as
sensation, feeling, and cognition including behavioral responses
by the brand-stimuli that are part of the brand function and
design. Brand experience influence how customer post-reaction
on their encounter for the brand services. From experience, the
consumer learns either the brand is good or bad for them. Brand
experience is a major contributor to consumer purchase intention,
and it is important to maintain the business in a long-term period.
Brand interaction is one of the factors of brand perception in
this study. Brand interaction is also known as brand engagement.
Interaction defines as acknowledges not only by purchase
interaction but pure exchange situation . Brand interaction is
important to establish two-way communication between the brand
and consumers. It can be measured on how well the feedback by
a customer is in the social media with a brand customer service.
All these brand perception elements will lead to purchase
intention in the airline industry. They are important to make sure
that the airline company can lead the market by fulfilling what the
consumers want and need. But the connection between them is
still unclear in many aspects. Therefore, the problem of this study
is how does brand perception and leads to purchase intention
and how both brand perception and purchase intention can be
established in Malaysia’s International Airline Industry.
The current study will extend the work by determining
and understanding how brand perceptions influence purchase
intentions of the consumers with following actual behavior to
use specific airlines in Malaysia such as Air Asia and Malaysia
Airlines. Although, the current study will make a comparative
analysis of each airline brand. The significance of this study is to
enhance our understanding of how brand perception can lead
to purchasing intention behavior. Not everyone aware of what is
brand perception is and they did not realize they are one of the
contributors to brand perception in Malaysia. It is also important,
especially to a consumer outside Malaysia on what is the brand
perception by the local Malaysian here towards their airline.
This will help them to understand the perception of the airlines
themselves and help them to decide if they have a purchase
intention in using any of Malaysia’s airlines in the future. This
study focuses on how Malaysian choose their airline depend on
their wants and needs. To summarize the significance of the study.
i. This study benefits consumer outside Malaysia to
understand Malaysia’s Airline Industry
ii. This help consumer interprets and understands their
brand perception towards Malaysia’s Airline Industry
iii. This study will use as a guideline to future research on
Malaysia’s Airline Industry in Brand Perception and Purchase
iv. This study also benefits the Airline Industry in Malaysia
to understand more about consumer’s perception regarding their
The structure of the research will be followed by literature
review and hypotheses development, chapter three will be dedicated
to the methodology, chapter four will be included analysis
and conclusion with discussion.
Brand perception is related to the ability of a brand to meet
consumer’s needs and wants . Consumers are viewed as logical
thinkers that involve in the reasoning process to purchase the
best product or services out of all the alternatives available in the
market based on their judgment on the function value [10,11].
Thus, it can be said that the function value that is claimed can
provide a utilitarian reference to the features of a product along
with the benefits and value generated from the features available
and can generate consumer cognitive responses. According to
Wang S  in their study related to “Do global airline alliances
influence the passenger’s purchase decision? function value exists
after a consumer consumes or feels the product that creates
perception utility via function, practical and physical attributes.
In the airline industry, the function value is there to be one of
the fastest transportations, but the value-added function will
differentiate the airline from another. Therefore, brand perception
is one of the important aspects of purchase intention in the
International Airline Industry in Malaysia.
According to Seo E, Park J (2015) brand attitude defines as
the benefit that comes from the feeling or state of association
or believes that service generates. Brand association or brand
emotion is design to induce the emotion, feeling, and sentiments
of the consumer. Emotional branding is the process of forming a
relationship between a consumer by provoking their emotions
Chen C, Chang Y (2008) . Emotional design is important to
improve customer satisfaction in an organization’s new product
or service development . Every service upgrade or service
provided needs to be emotionally attached to the consumer either
it is comfort, pleasure, happiness, feeling safe, or satisfaction.
Emotional value needs to be always positive towards a brand,
which will increase the customer’s loyalty towards the brand [7,15]. In the airline industry, brand affective need to be more
positive compared to another competitor to attract more
consumers in a long run. Therefore, from the study, there is always
a positive connection related to brand effectiveness to purchase
intention in International Airline Industry in Malaysia either it is
new or repetitive.
A great brand reputation shows consumers’ trust in your
brand and those consumers are confident to do business with you
. Brand reputations need to be kept positive all the time to
win customer’s hearts in the market to ensure the relevance of the
business in the long term. Today, to enhance brand reputation and
increase profit, the airline industry embraces the role of corporate
citizenship and advocating corporate social responsibility .
According to Woo E, Kim YG , a favorable corporate reputation
is the most intangible asset driving company performance in the
business world. If the airline did not invest in their reputation
build-up, the intangible assets can become liabilities very fast.
Reputation also establishes by individuals relatively, thus it is
linked to consumer subjective evaluation. Brand reputation is
the best weapon in the competitive airline industry. The better
the reputation, the more trust is building thus more revenue
generated from it. Therefore, it enhances purchase intention in the
International Airline industry in Malaysia.
According to Shen C, Yahya Y , brand experience is a totality
of subjective, internal consumer responses, such as sensations,
feelings, and cognitions that are awakened by brand-related
stimulation. It is more to the interaction that happens to a person
with the brand and experience is what a post-interaction outcome.
Whether it is a good or bad one, depends on how to satisfy the
customer with the brand’s overall performance during one
interaction. Brand experience is related to the instinct for popular
branding literature such as the brand image, brand awareness,
credibility, and equity. According to Chung YS, Feng CM , it
is a multidimensional construct, happens when the consumer is
exposed to the brand stimuli that they will keep in their memory
in a long term. Brand reputation is the image that needs to be
maintained from time to time, taking into consideration the
maintenance of the best customer service. Therefore, the better
the brand reputation, the more consumer will be attracted to the
airline services, thus spark purchase intention in International
Airline Industry in Malaysia.
Customers’ perception regarding the product or service their
buy or use including brand should be consistent and positive.
Companies’ signature influence desired attributes, which in turn
add value to the reputation [21,22]. However, consumers view
brands differently from their perception which can have a great
impact by aroused association and beliefs, which in turn work as
variables for creating reputation towards the brand. Over time
the perception of consumers towards the brand can be changed,
however, the attitude towards the company can remain the same.
If that happens, companies should focus on advertising, which can
be helpful to raise strategic position to differentiate themselves
and provide an above-average return. A successful brand should
attract consumers’ attention .
H1: Attributes towards brand attitude which depends upon
association and belief impact purchase intention.
In the content of brand reputation, it is assuming that the brand
effectiveness of the three airlines leads to the purchase intention
of fellow Malaysian. According to Commsights (2019), Brand
reputation is simply how a brand (a person or an organization)
is viewed by everyone else. A great brand reputation shows
consumers’ trust in your brand and that consumers are confident
to do business with you (Commsights, 2019). Therefore, we
assume there is a positive connection between brand reputation
and purchase intention. Thus, the third hypotheses are
H2: Attributes towards brand reputation which depends upon
reliability and benevolence impact purchase intention.
In the content of brand experience, it is assuming that the brand
experience of the three airlines leads to the purchase intention
of fellow Malaysian. Brand experience is a type of experiential
marketing that incorporates a holistic set of conditions created
by a company to influence the feeling a customer has about a
particular product or company name Rouse (2018), . Brand
experience is widely communicated from mouth to mouth or
social media. Therefore, we assume there is a positive connection
between brand experience and purchase intention. Thus, the
fourth hypotheses are
H3: Attributes towards the brand experience which depends
upon a brand relationship-based experience impact purchase
Purchase intention for companies can be measured as the
potential action of using the product or services [25,26]. To
understand the consumer market for companies it is necessary
to monitor purchase intention to modify or adjust the product
provided, which enables the companies to improve the product
sales or predict the consumers’ retention of the particular brand
 (Figure 1).
H4: Consumers’ purchase intention towards the airline brand
positively affects their actual behavior to buy the service.
The conceptual model of brand perception is based on brand
perceptions, a brand attitude that includes a brand association, and brand beliefs, a brand reputation that consists of brand
reliability and brand benevolence, a brand experience that
contains relationship-based experience. Besides brand perception
was added purchase intention as a mediator and assessed actual
behavior. The model hypothesized that brand perception is
significantly influenced purchase intention, and subsequently
purchase intention positively influences actual behavior among
The data was collected using an online survey among people
who are 18 years old and above, using two main airlines in
Malaysia which are AirAsia, and Malaysia Airlines.
The questionnaire was drawn from a previous study of brand
attitude which includes 3 items [28-31]. Questionnaire related
to brand reputation which includes reliability (four items) and
benevolence (seven items) were adapted from Degado-Ballester
and Luis Munuera- Aleman , DelVecchio ; Lombat and Louis
; Spears and Singh ; Sirdeshmukh et al. , Xie and Peng
, Zhao and Roper ; Low and Ang . Brand experience
which contains four items were adapted from previous research
[40,41]. Regarding purchase intention which was measured with
three items, recommending, the intention of buying, and buying,
following . Actual behavior questions are related to buying
the product, easiness, more convenience, and reliability and safety
include four items and were derived from . All questions were
measures from 5-point Likers Scale with “1 Strongly disagree” to
“5 Strongly agree” (Table 1).
The initial measures were subjected to a series of factors and
reliability analysis as a preliminary test of their performance
within the entire sample. The construct level reliability, also
called “composite reliability” ensures that items assigned to the
same construct reveal a higher relationship with each other.
The appropriate measurement model involves examining the
statistical significance of each factor loading and calculating the
composite reliability. The scales are well above the commonly
accepted requirements for reliability tests above 0.70. [44,45].
According to Hair et al., , the N=211 is large enough to
compensate for any model misspecification and model complexity.
The quality and validity of the model were assessed in its
unidimensional, reliability, convergent validity, and discriminant
validity. All factors were assessed based on the basic principle
components analyse performed on all constructs with items
loading at 0.6 and higher. To support unidimensional crossloading
was assessed and was not found significantly, thus can
be concluded, that unidimensional for all factors was supported
Model estimation delivers empirical measures of the
relationships between the indicators and the constructs
(measurement models), as well as between the constructs
(structural model). The empirical measures enable us to compare
the theoretically established measurement and structural models
with reality, as represented by the sample data. In other words, we
can determine how well the theory fits the data. Initially, the model
assessment focuses on the measurement models. Examination
of PLS-SEM estimates enables the researcher to evaluate the
reliability and validity of the construct measures. Specifically, multivariate measurement involves using several variables to
indirectly measure a concept. The first criterion to be evaluated is
typically internal consistency reliability. The traditional criterion
for internal consistency is Cronbach’s alpha, which provides
an estimate of the reliability based on the inter¬ correlations of
the observed indicator variables. Cronbach’s alpha assumes that
all indicators are equally reliable (i.e., all the indicators have
equal outer loadings on the construct). As has shown in Figure 3
Cronbach Alpha overcome the threshold of 0.7, which is proving
internal consistency reliability (Hair, et.al., 2014).
Regarding Composite Reliability, as has shown in Figures 3, 4.
all constructs meet the required benchmark which is exceeded the
suggested 0.6 benchmarks .
A common measure to establish convergent validity on the
con¬ struct level is the average variance extracted (AVE). This
criterion is defined as the grand mean value of the squared loadings
of the indicators associated with the construct (i.e., the sum of the
squared loadings divided by the number of indicators). Therefore,
the AVE is equivalent to the commonality of a construct. Using the
same logic as that used with the individual indicators, and AVE
value of 0.50 or higher indicates that, on average, the construct
explains more than half of the variance of its indicators (Figure 5)
(Hair., et.al., 2014)
Discriminant validity is the extent to which a construct is
truly distinct from other constructs by empirical standards. Thus,
establishing implies that a construct is unique and cap¬tures
phenomena not represented by other constructs in the model. Two
measures of discriminant validity have been proposed (Figure 6).
Assessment of the structural model results enables you
to determine how well empirical data support the theory/
concept and therefore to decide if your theory/concept has been
empirically confirmed. For this purpose, the key results (i.e.,
the path coefficients and R2 values) of the structural model are
The most commonly used measure to evaluate the structural
model is the coefficient of determination (R-value). This
coefficient-value measure of the model’s predictive accuracy
and is calculated as the squared correlation between a specific
endogenous construct’s actual and predicted values. The
coefficient represents the exogenous latent variables’ combined
effects on the endogenous latent variable.
The R2 value ranges from 0 to 1 with higher levels indicating
higher levels of predictive accuracy. It is difficult to provide rules
of thumb for acceptable R2 values as this depends on the model
complexity and the research discipline. Whereas R2 values of 0.20
are considered high in disciplines such as consumer behavior,
in success driver studies (e.g., in studies that aim at explaining
customer satisfaction or loy¬alty), researchers expect much
higher values of 0.75 and above (Figure 7 In scholarly research
that focuses on marketing issues, R2 values of 0.75, 0.50, or 0.25
for endogenous latent variables can, as a rough rule of thumb, be
respectively described as substantial, moderate, or weak (Hair,
Ringle, & Sarstedt, 2011; Henseler et al., 2009).
Regarding Hypotheses testing, as shown in Figure 2.5 the
analysis revealed the match significance level p<0.05 for H1, H2,
H4. Thus, can be stated that mentioned hypotheses are accepted.
Consequently, for H3 which is stated Attributes towards the
brand experience which depends upon a brand relationshipbased
experience impacts on purchase intention, the result is
insignificant p>0.05, thus Hypothesis 3 is rejected (Figure 8).
Figure:2.7. Regarding Hypothesis 4 which is stated that
Consumers’ purchase intention towards the airline brand
positively affects their actual behavior to buy the service, the level
of significance as shown in Table p<0.05, thus Hypothesis 4 is
accepted (Figure 8).
The result shows, in line with previous work, the influence
of brand perception on actual buying from consumers has a
positive and strong relation [18,47]. However, the current study
shows that brand attitude has a positive and significant impact
on purchase intention. Brand attitude, that included in the study
brand association and brand belief shows absolute contribution.
However, based on the analyses for relative importance consumers
are doubt that the brand is up-market and had difficulties
imagining the brand, which means that the brand difficult to
remember or not remarkable.
A comprehensive study into the brand perception since the
lockdown started indicates the pandemic has forever changed
the structure of the company, forcing companies to prioritize the
needs of consumers and employees to an unprecedented level.
Perception of the brand has shifted for customers, and
companies suffer losses to how they are perceived.
Once the post-pandemic recovery begins, consumers are going
to be mindful regarding their spending. Almost for a year airlines
have been trying to outperform each other in offering a lower
price, as a part of the contribution of post-pandemic recovery.
Consumers expect that the price will dramatically drop. For the
airlines besides the price, to attract the consumers in the future,
should focus on proper management. The airline customers will
pay attention to how the staff behaves during the boarding. When
it comes to the appearance of the airline in public, consumers
may dramatically change their perception. According to the result
obtained brand reputation has a positive and significant impact
on purchase intention . However, the study shows that brand
reputation along with brand reliability and brand benevolence
is insignificant and does not have any impact on consumers’
Bran experience represents a distinct view and the quality of
the brand to consumers. Therefore in this study brand experience
was tested and showed a positive impact on purchase intention
along with relationship-based experience. Absolute contribution
showed all variables besides consumers are reluctant to buy
tickets if it was recommended by their friends, which shows that
the loyalty linked strongly to the consumers’ experience.
The results reveal Malaysian makes brand function as their
priority in purchase the airline’s ticket. This result important for
the airline industry to make sure to update their function or create
a new function regularly to accommodate what their consumer
need. For airlines, they should keep chasing the modern technology
to be implemented in their business to make sure their customers
are satisfied and focus on developing a new function that can help
customers on time reduction for the whole purchasing process,
boarding, landing and finally end of the journey. In the airline
industry, the airline needs to have easy access to consumers. As
passenger transport continues to expand, the futureproofing of its
facilities is essential for airports (Future Travel Experience, 2019).
All airlines have their mobile application, website, a self-service
kiosk for check-in, and even self-service baggage check-in – all in
the name of making consumer’s life easier.
This result important for airlines to keep their service in check
especially for staff at the counter and their steward and stewardess.
Training needs to be regularly done to cater to different customers
and different attitudes. This includes making their customer feel
safe on the plane and trustworthy with their value for the whole
process. A brand that can build a strong relationship is a brand
that knows how to pursue the connection as it was a science,
strategy, or even friendship . The new media social work
turns the traditional media communication from one way to a
two-way conversation, which not only all the promotion run but
to engage and create a real bond to the consumer (Rowles, 2014).
According , product and services review online is one of the
major touchpoints in brand perception as it is a way to influence
people’s decision and opinion about that product or services, even
leaving the first impression to the new consumers. Social media
play a very powerful channel to deliver brand effectiveness to
consumers in a wide range of the market. Good customer service
will keep a customer happy and a happy customer will create
loyalty. Experience is one of the reasons a customer loyal to the
airline. A brand that can build a strong relationship is a brand that
knows how to pursue the connection as it was a science, strategy,
or even friendship [9, 13].
For brand reputation, it is the only negative in the results. The
results may vary in other country but brand reputation results as
negative is a bit of a turnaround point for Malaysians as they seem
to not care about the reputation of their airlines . According
to Hussain et al., (2015), Corporate image can be defined as
how the consumers reflect the brand in their memory, which is
differentiated rate from their competitors. The more trust the
airline can build, the more reputable they are . For a brand to
be profitable and prosperous, they need first to maintain a positive
reputation and take it as something crucial in business . The
reputation of an organization needs to be monitored closely as it
is one of the key success in business and it evolves all the time
differently from time to time. The airlines might destroy their
reputation by the major accident happen, but they did not destroy
their service’s reputation as they still doing their best despite
the worst nightmares for the airline industry has happened. It is
something that Malaysia’s airline industry to be proud of as they
still are preferable airlines no matter what happens to them.
Regarding brand experience, that showed is a positive result
with purchase intention in Malaysia’s international airline
industry. According to Truong D, Pan, JY, Buaphiban T , a
strong brand experience allows you to turn the whole experience
well into an experience. It shows that their experience is important
for them to make a decision. Their real encounter with the service
might make another person purchase or not purchase the airline’s
ticket. Every experience has its own story to tell and none of them
is similar in the sense that, a customer might feel that service for
him/her is excellent but for others, it is just normal. Business
Review (2015) sees greater customer satisfaction, diminished
customer churn, higher revenue, and better employee satisfaction
as the advantages of investing in the customer experience. By
experience, the consumer always expects some change in every
few years or every few encounters. Either it is an upgrade or
downgrade experience, the business is fully responsible for it.
Airlines need to make sure of a continuous excellent service given
to all their customer and potential customers. They need to take
their professionalism at check all the time to cater to everyone’s
experience to be a good one [49-53].
The challenges of brand perception influencing consumers’
intention in a highly competitive industry, the introduced result of
the current research contributes to strategic management in the
airline industry in the novel several ways:
Firstly, the study demonstrates consumers perception of the
brand, which airline companies need to focus on weak perception.
Secondly, the process of attitude toward brand and experience
significantly impacts the airline companies’ performance.
Managers’ capability to build a strong perspective around the
brand will help to retain consumers’ loyalty.
The study provides several managerial implications for the
airline industry. Brand attitude and brand experience visibly
indicate the impact on purchase intention. This should point as
an advantage for the companies through providing an extra level
of assurance, such as compulsory wearing a mask for consumers
during the flight, as consequences consumers will experience
a positive emotion towards airline company. Brand association
for consumers may be established by providing more safety
standards. The novel dimension of providing assurance will reflect
the impact on staff development.
The acknowledgment of the main limitation of the research
and propose future research to address these limitations and
extend the current study. Firstly, the current study involved a
limited number of participants and not a comprehensive variety
of different races. For future similar studies, it is recommended to
wider the range of respondents and samples. It is recommended to
find respondents from all fourteen states in Malaysia to get more
accurate and better results in a future study. The future study also
recommends using a variety of respondents from different races
or maybe balance the race portion to be equal to each other to
make sure it does not reflect only one race point of view. Race
equality will produce a better result. This is to contribute the
same buy behavior or equally. There is more in-depth knowledge
if race equality can be achieved in future studies, therefore, it will
produce more accurate data compared to this study.
Thirdly, the geography needs to be widened to make sure
the results are the result of the opinion of the whole of Malaysia.
The future study needs to include all respondents from fourteen
different states to make sure everyone’s opinion is included, and
it comes from all parts of Malaysian to not be biased to only one
area in Malaysia. Wider geographic data means more variety of
opinion and more accuracy in terms of the results. Therefore, it is
recommended to pick respondents from different states and make
sure the amount is equal to each state.
Lastly, more variables need to be included in future studies.
More variables can generate more results that are accurate. More
accuracy in purchase intention can be explained from brand
perception if more factors of brand perceptions can be added
inside the study.
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