Effect of Brand Image on Consumer Purchasing Behaviour on Clothing: Comparison between China and the UK’s Consumers
By Kwok Keung Tam
A Dissertation presented in part consideration for the degree of “MSc International Business”
Table of Content
Page numbers Abstract i
Chapter 1: Introduction 1.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing 1.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets 1.2.1 China clothing market 18.104.22.168 Chinese spending habits 22.214.171.124 Impediments to China’s clothing brand development 1.2.2 UK clothing market 126.96.36.199 British spending habits 188.8.131.52 Characteristics of the UK clothing market 1.3 Theoretical framework 1.4 Objectives of the dissertation 1.5 Outline of the dissertation
1 1 2 2 3 4 5 5 6 7 7 8
Chapter 2: Literature review 2.1 Introduction 2.2 The important roles of brand 2.2.1 The characteristics of successful brands 2.3 Brand equity 2.3.1 Brand awareness 2.3.2 Perceived quality 2.3.3 Brand loyalty 2.3.4 Brand association 2.4 Consumer buying behaviour
10 10 10 11 12 13 15 16 17 19
2.4.1 Models of consumer behaviour 2.5 Summary
Chapter 3: Methodology 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Theoretical backgrounds 3.2.1 Review of different research traditions 3.2.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis 3.2.3 Reliability and validity of data 3.3 Justification of research method 3.4 Sampling 3.5 Interview schedule 3.5.1 Stage one 3.5.2 Stage two 3.5.3 Stage three 3.6 Administration 3.7 Analysis strategy 3.7.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis 3.7.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis 184.108.40.206 Within-case analysis 220.127.116.11 Cross-case analysis 3.8 Summary
24 24 24 24 25 26 27 29 31 31 32 34 34 34 34
35 36 37 37
Chapter 4: Research findings and discussion 4.1 Introduction 4.2 Backgrounds of respondents 4.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4.3.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 4.3.2 Brand awareness
38 38 38 40 40
4.2.4 Brand loyalty 4.5 Summary
46 50 53 54 56 57
Chapter 5: Conclusions 5.6 Consumer buying behaviour 4.5 Brand association 18.104.22.168.5 Recommendations for further research
58 58 58 58
59 59 60 60 61 61 62 64
Appendix 1: The 100 top brands 2006
Appendix 2: Interview questions
Appendix 3: Interview transcription
.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 5.4 Results 4.2.5 Brand association 4.4 Implications 5.2 Conclusions 5.3 Perceived quality 4.3.2 Brand awareness 5.1 Introduction 5.6 Consumer buying behaviour 5.3 Limitations 22.214.171.124.2.4 Brand loyalty 5.3 Perceived quality 5.
Brand is a powerful tool to attract more consumers to buy particular products. perceived quality. In the UK. it is important that Chinese factory owners together with marketers should join hands to have better control over the clothes quality. The findings suggested that Chinese tend to have negative perceptions towards the quality of clothes produced in their own country. however. brand loyalty and brand association. clothing brands are much better developed than its China counterparts. comparing the consumer behaviour between the British and Chinese respondents based on the four respects of brand equity. more emphasis should be placed on the marketing strategies such as rewarding customer loyalty with a view to enhance the sustainable development of the clothing brands. namely brand awareness. Having known that China has no influential clothing brands around the world. Some may even regarded it as equity as it can add values to the products.
Semi-structured interviews have been conducted to solicit responses from interviewees for analysis.
. This study examines the factors which contribute to brand equity in the clothing industry.
especially my father Chun Shiu Tam who has devoted himself to the clothing industry for nearly half a century. They have devoted their precious time for the interviews voluntarily and their wholehearted support contributes to the success of this dissertation. He has not only inspired me to do this dissertation. but also encouraged me to face the challenge ahead. I would like to extend my gratitude to my family members. This dissertation is dedicated to my family and I will try my best to do anything. Dr.Acknowledgements
I would like to thank my advisor. in assisting me to finish the dissertation. She has given me support as well as valuable comments throughout the consultation period so that I can manage to handle one of the hardest subjects in my university life.
Last but not least. Vicky Story. I would also acknowledge my school-mates for their help in the data collection process.
read product information. namely pre-purchase. under the influence of globalization and concerted efforts from media advertising. different genders and cultural backgrounds. clothing can help represent our personal identity. Human beings cannot live without the protection from clothes in adverse conditions and this signifies how important clothing is for us.
Several brands. is a kind of necessity that helps keep our bodies warm. decide which and where to buy. clothes can also serve as fashion items. determine whether to buy again from the same retailer. Each stage is of equal importance that can alter the consumer buying decision. in addition to the basic functions. consumers need to take serious consideration during the buying processes. which can tell how significant an individual is. express the status an individual has and what their personal image is like (O’Cass.
.Chapter 1 Introduction
1. show satisfaction to the services or product quality and finally be loyal to the brand. As mentioned by Rayport and Jaworski (2003). the purchasing processes can be divided into three stages. 1996). purchase and post-purchase. Nowadays. as a matter of fact. have become popular not only in their country of origin. 2000).
Shopping for clothes is one of the popular pastimes among people from all ages. Thus. consumers may need to recognize their personal needs. choose the buying modes. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the clothing sector. but also in other markets with high potential.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing Clothing. Having a strong and remarkable brand image could help establish an identity in marketplace (Aaker. These highlight the complication of buying processes and the potential impact a brand could impose in between them. Once consumers make a purchasing decision.
Being an advanced developing country. 2000.
1. consumers appear to rely on the brand image as long as they have little knowledge about the brand. 2005). the concept of brand equity would be utilized as a theoretical framework.
The importance of brand image has inspired many marketing scholars and practitioners to begin researching the concept of ‘brand equity’ (Aaker. On the other hand. 2001. Keller. Under this concept. 2003). In this paper. In order to differentiate one brand from another. Ailawadi. This may probably explain why China is now becoming one of the most influential countries within the clothing sector. which would be illustrated in the following chapters. brands are regarded as valuable assets which can help the companies generate lucrative revenues. 1996. managing brand image is of utmost importance. The differences in their economies have triggered the interest of my study towards their consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector. 1993). China tends to be more dependent on labour-intensive production activities rather than natural resource-based activities (Greenaway and Milner. encourage greater intermediary co-operation as well as increase the chance for further brand extension (Delgado-Ballester and Munuera-Aleman. 1993. 1991. 1998. marketers would develop retail brands with unique image so as to continue to gain popularity and market share (Abend.16 billion US dollars in terms of export value and leading it to become the second largest clothing export market in
.widen the profit margins. In this way.1 China clothing market The clothing industry is one of the most important and hence heavily invested industry in China.2. the UK has transformed from an industrial country to a well-developed country in the recent decades. 2000). Corstjens and Lal. In accordance with Delong et al. (2004). contributing to 74.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets China and the UK are entirely different in their economic structures.
quality and finally trendiness. the Grey China Base Annual Consumer Study (Bates.2. On average. Regarding the criteria for buying clothes. this would also engender intense competition since foreign firms are allowed to sell their products directly to China. This points out the fact that a large majority of Chinese is still in favor of domestic brands in low-priced range. wielding the techniques and human resources to finish the orders placed by the foreign counterparts. This disparity is probably due to the fact that professionals have higher spending power than the students’. It is believed that China could make use of its competitive advantages. Chinese customers show divergent opinions with respect to purchasing clothes. to further strengthen its position in the clothing sector.
The HKTDC (2002) research also reports on the average annual spending on clothing.. As stated by Cui (1997). 2006).3% of their income on buying clothes with women professionals having the highest demand and students’ spending the minimal amount. for instances low labour costs and large portions of usable land. China plays a role as a producer.
. It is shown that they would prefer buying middle-priced range clothes from Hong Kong and luxury brand-named clothes made in foreign countries. However. people spend 7.1. Chinese brands have competitive advantage in fitness and pricing (Delong et al. the development of clothing industry in China becomes even much faster. With the accession of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. followed by cutting.2005 (WTO. 2004). Nowadays. However. It is undeniable that the entry of WTO would provide business opportunities for China. however. pricing.1 Chinese spending habits According to a research conducted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) (2002). 1998) reveals that over two thirds of the consumers regard domestic brands as their first priority. China is known for the manufacture of basic goods in large volumes and foreign registered brands are often designed elsewhere and produced in China. respondents rank fitness as their prime concern.
1. Besides. such confusion does not affect the overall perception towards brands in other countries. They tend to perceive US brands positively as US has a reputation in technological development and high fashion. become a major hindrance to the global brands’ development process. According to a report published by Business Week (2007). Cui (1997) points out that customers would only justify a brand through its image as long as they know little about it. When it comes to the case
. 2004). the lack of globally influential brands is one of the main reasons why China lags behind in the clothing industry with respect to brand development (Delong et al.to middle-priced range market without fully penetrating to the luxurious level. they often find Hong Kong and Taiwan brand names confusing.. Also. Such findings provide insights to the future development of local brands in China.2. none of the Chinese brands can enter the 100 Top Brands in 2006 (see Appendix 1) in which Nike was ranked 31. however. The lack of brand knowledge is probably attributed to the geographical and political differences. This spells out the need for China to establish its own brands with good reputation. This is possibly owing to the fact that Chinese brands are confined to low. However.
China has been connoted with the reputation of low-cost products in the overseas markets for decades. The originally advantageous factors. however. followed by adidas in 71 and the Spain-found clothing company ZARA in 73. Lim and O’Cass (2001) explain that people in the west tend to have negative perception towards brands from emerging economies and hence the number of famous clothing brands in China is limited.
1. Schmitt and Pan (1994) state that Chinese customers could not be able to differentiate between US and European apparel brands.people still tend to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets.2 Impediments to China’s clothing brand development China has competitive advantages in terms of production factors such as low labour costs and growing technology.
March 25). The key motivation for doing so is to build up a global image so as to enhance the company’s international reputation and it is suggested that quality is the major determinant for the overseas customers to make their buying decisions. 2004). Among the respondents. In addition.2.
1. the overall image of Chinese brands could become better in the future. 2007).2. females are more likely
. pales in comparison with the development of the business sector and even has a sign of recession in the recent decades.about the perception of China-produced foreign brands. contributing to nearly 30% of the total domestic products (Economist. nearly two thirds of the companies in China would like to establish their own global brand. The image of China-produced products needs improvement in this sense. it is ironic that most respondents find that they are less authentic. Regarding its GDP growth. According to a research conducted by Weekes (2004). including the clothing industry. because of its mature economic structure. This can be revealed by the gradual decline of employment rate within the UK clothing industry (Jones and Hayes.2 UK clothing market The UK is a European country with population of around 60 million. just around one-third of female respondents and less than half of the male respondents express that they have the saving habits.com. regardless of their quality.
1. which is 21 times less than that of China (Economist. With such impetus and the concerted effort from the industry members.2. it is pursuing a stable rather than aggressive GDP growth rate. the business services and finance sector are the most important source of gross domestic products. The manufacturing sector.
According to a research reported by Hargrave-Silk (2005. 2007).1 British spending habits Spending seems more welcome than saving among the British people.com.
However. 2002). Moore. 2003). strong competitive activities.
As far as the UK fashion retail sector is concerned.
Store cards and loyalty cards are common promotional tactics to solicit consumer’s loyalty. 1994). women may even shop for men’s clothing (Dholakia.2. this is found to hinder the development of British clothing design due to lack of manufacturing facilities (Dagworthy. 2004. 1995). 2003). short-life-cycle products. as well as fluctuating consumer demand (Marciniak and Bruce.2. there is a trend for own brand development. Although the UK is overwhelmed with fashion brands. concentrated markets. This could be explained by the fact that store cards sometimes have much higher interest rates than that of the credit cards and personal loans (Mintel. In
. 1998. the UK clothing industry has shifted its manufacturing section to other countries with low labour costs and skilled labour. Such move can probably account for the significant drop in employment rate and amount of output in the clothing sector (Jones.to spend on clothes than males.2 Characteristics of the UK clothing market Like most of the developed economy. This may possibly explain why shopping is a gendered activity (Dholakia.. South and Spitze. the same research shows that store cards may not be regularly used even though special offers are often given to the cardholders (Weekes. As mentioned by Moore (1995). 2004). a polarized marketplace. 2004). However. the market is characterized by products with small differentiation (Birtwhistle and Freathy. and occasionally. 1999). with nearly half of female respondents saying that they have at least one store card and nearly two-thirds of them own one or two loyalty cards. Siddiqui et al.
1. fashion retailers tend to create product differentiation in which they can distinguish themselves from their potential competitors in terms of product features like design and price. as cited in Carruthers. 1999. leaving alone the design centre with well-trained designers.
Compared with other retailed sector. As far as the same level of product quality is concerned. The theoretical framework adopted in this dissertation would be based on the concept of brand equity and the details of each element are to be discussed and analyzed later in chapter four. This phenomenon spells out the concept of brand equity.
1. namely brand awareness. family-owed businesses and some large scale chain stores. with the comparison between the Chinese and British consumers.4 Objectives of the dissertation The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour in clothing. Mintel. 2003). the retailing sector is fragmented. composing of independent. consumers would appear to be more likely to purchase the products in much higher prices.. As stated by Bearden and Etzel (as cited in Hogg et al. 1998). 2001. marketers and practitioners could devise strategies to increase the sales revenues. consumers would prefer buying brand-name products (Bello and Holbrook.
The clothing sector is particularly chosen in this research. 2004.
According to Aaker (1991). Marciniak and Bruce. 1995).addition. Such phenomena have stimulated the emergence of brand name development in the competitive UK clothing market. Having found out the relationship between brand image and consumer purchasing behaviour. brand equity is mainly derived from four elements. clothing is a kind of public
. with the later one contributing to the largest proportion of market share (Easey.3 Theoretical framework With a well-known brand name. perceived brand equity and brand associations. 2004). brand loyalty. the fashion retailing sector is found to incorporate the largest number of indigenous chains such as Next plc (Marciniak and Bruce.
2007). It is believed that this chapter could provide readers with general information like theories and issues in relation to consumer buying behaviour for clothes so as to make them more
In addition. is on the lookout for extensions.5 Outline of the dissertation The structure of the dissertation is shown as follows:
Chapter 1 is the introductory section. results obtained from the research on brand image could be more conspicuous. China. whereas the UK is a mature market in which consumers are more experienced in purchasing brand-name clothes.
Two assumptions are made throughout the dissertation. Chinese and British consumers are going to be compared in this research since China and the UK have been targeted by many clothing retailers due to their enormous customer base. Famous clothing brands like H&M and ZARA have already obtained their footholds in these two markets that underlie their significant contribution to these companies (H&M. The results of such comparison would offer meaningful insights for further brand development in both China and the UK. In this way. 2007. there are differences in buying behaviour for consumers in China and the UK.
Chapter 2 will incorporate the review of previous studies. ZARA.
1. the research objectives and the dissertation outline. First. being an emerging country with high potential on clothing brands. brand image should have an impact on the consumer buying behaviour of clothing and second. mainly concentrating on clothing industry and consumer buying behaviour. containing the background information of China and the UK clothing industry.necessity with weak reference group influence on the product category but strong reference group influence on the brand choice.
understandable in the forthcoming sections.
. focusing on the description of research design and justification of data. Recommendations would be made with regard to the limitations so as to provide further directions in the future studies. Whether brand image would affect the consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector is shown and also the similarities and differences regarding the circumstances in China and the UK are investigated. Implications towards the business environment and research limitations are also included.
Chapter 3 delineates the research methodology.
Chapter 5 would draw conclusions on the findings from the previous chapters.
Chapter 4 is the core of the dissertation in which research findings are presented and discussed.
In this chapter. 1991. The emergence of brand equity underlies the importance of brand in marketing tactics and hence provides useful insights for managers and further research (Keller. a brand is also composed of products.1 Introduction Consumer behaviour refers to the activities in which people acquire. Murphy. as well as its overall presentation (Murphy. the literatures concerning the roles of brand and brand equity are to be reviewed so as to provide a theoretical framework for the aforementioned analysis. regardless of the importance of cross-country comparisons which will inspire innovative ideas for
understanding the fast-changing consumer habits. 2003). there is a growing number of research conducted in the field of consumer buying behaviour. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the recent decades. 1998) and it is characterized by a noticeable name or symbol which can differentiate the goods and services from the rivals’ (Aaker. 1991. advertising. 1998).
Brand serves a pivotal role for distinguishing goods and services from those of the competitors (Aaker.. 2001). 1998). However. promotion. In addition to a specific brand name. brand is a guarantor of reliability and quality
. This dissertation is going to investigate the differences of British and Chinese in purchasing clothes under the influence of brand image. most of them concentrate on a single country study.Chapter 2 Literature Review
2. 1998).2 The important roles of brand Brand is a name in every consumer’s mind (Mooij. consume and dispose products and services (Blackwell et al. From the consumers’ perspective.
2000). for instances well-priced products and consistent quality (Murphy. consumers have a wide range of choice to choose from when they enter a shopping mall. 2005). namely tangible product. 1998). considers the packaging of the tangible product so as to attract the attention from the potential customers. augmented brand and potential brand. 1999. Tangible product refers to the commodity which meets the basic needs of the customers. Finally and most importantly. Basic brand. 1999).in consumer products (Roman et al. effective after-sales services and the like. 1998. The brand can be further augmented with the provision of credibility. there are four elements for building a successful brand. on the other hand. It is found that consumers’ emotions are one of the major determinants which affect their buying behaviour (Berry.1 The characteristics of successful brands A brand can be an everlasting and lucrative asset as long as it is maintained in a good manner that can continue satisfying consumers’ needs (Batchelor. basic brand. Successful branding could make consumers aware of the presence of the brand and hence could increase the chance of buying the company’s products and services (Doyle. According to a research conducted by Freeride Media LLC (1998) on shopping habits.
2. which are developed in accordance with their perceptions towards the brand. a potential brand is established through engendering customer
. Added to this. consumers would like to buy and use brand-name products with a view to highlight their personality in different situational contexts (Aaker.
Nowadays. consumers would have their preferences. Murphy. Fennis and Pruyn.2. Although successful brands can be totally different in nature. When deciding which products to purchase. 2006). nearly one-forth of the respondents are likely to impulse-buy clothes and accessories.
As mentioned by Levitt (1983). 1998).. they share something in common.
2007). brand equity could be ruined if it is not properly managed. the image of the brand could be well instilled in the customers’ mind. designs as well as copyright. It is found that the volatility of stock market could affect consumers’ purchasing mood. This is supported by the fact that brand equity depends on the number of people with regular purchase (Aaker. including its name and symbol. 1996).
.. Yasin et al. 1998). In countries with well-established legal system. It is not uncommon to find some familiar brands listed on the stock markets in which they could be bought or sold. brand is also a tradable product with measurable financial value (Murphy. Sainsbury and Tesco are all listed on the FTSE 100 index (London Stock Exchange. 1995). which could impose beneficial or detrimental effects on the values arising from the products or services (Aaker. not to mention the growth or declines of retail sales (Blackwell. By doing so. the values of brands have been recognized to both the consumers and producers. patents.
One of the quintessential examples regarding brand as a kind of equity is the imposition of laws to protect intellectual property (Murphy.preference and loyalty. Marks and Spencer. many countries have set up laws to protect trade marks. 2007). 2002).3 Brand equity The term ‘brand equity’ refers to a set of assets and liabilities associated with a brand. For instance. 1991. Brands like HSBC. giving rise to a reduction in sales volume. However. Keller (1998) points out that brand equity signifies the unique marketing effects imposed on the brand. 1998). poor product quality and customer services could adversely affect the brand image. In addition. Concerning the positive side of brand equity. it happens when consumers are willing to pay more for the same level of quality just because of the attractiveness of the name attached to the product (Bello and Holbrook. Vodafone. In order to combat piracy. Added to this.
linking the brand with its corresponding product class (Aaker. 1991. For the consumers. but also attracted more people to invest in the bigger company with high potential (Business Week.
It is important for the potential consumers to be aware of a product so that it can become one of the purchasing choices. brand equity could also allow higher margins through premium pricing and reduced reliance upon promotional activities (Aaker. As for the firm. perceived quality and brand associations (Aaker. There is a high propensity for consumers with good perceptions to buy from the same shop again than those with poor perceptions.1 Brand awareness Brand awareness is one of major determinants of brand equity. 1991). name awareness. the merger between adidas and Reebok in 2005 not only increased their market share so as to compete with Nike in the US sports apparel market. For instance.The above examples highlight the values of brand equity for both consumers and the firm. brand equity could also be a source for the firm to generate cash flow. The level of brand awareness lies in a continuum.
2. brand equity could provide them with information about the brand which influences their confidence during the purchasing process. Besides. 1991).
Brand equity is a broad concept which can be further subdivided into four main areas. These four main areas are to be discussed in the coming sections. 1991). with brand recognition being the lowest level and the first named brand with unaided recall being the highest level. Past purchasing experiences and familiarity with the brand could be attributable to the perceptions generated from the consumers (Aaker. Keller. It refers to the ability of a potential consumer to recall and recognize the brand. namely brand loyalty.3. 1998). This is due to the fact that the product needs to enter the awareness set before it comes to the consideration
. 2005). Owning to the positive image. consumers no longer focus on the short-term promotion but the brand on the whole.
Consumers are hence well-equipped with comparative elements to judge which product or service to purchase (Alvarez and Casielles. Advertising and celebrity endorsement could be some useful tools for raising brand awareness.. As for source
. as pointed out by McGuire (1978). It is found that advertisement attitude is attributable to the influence on brand attitudes. Taiwan would like to become politically independent from China owing to their different political standpoint whereas Hong Kong. In order to achieve brand awareness. 2007). Tsai et al. due to their political separations. being a special administrative region since 1997. In case of China. For source credibility. This could probably explain why consumers tend to buy a recognizable brand rather than an unfamiliar one (Hoyer. 2007).set (Blackwell et al. In addition. 2000). its geographical location and politics could affect the consumer brand awareness level seriously. celebrities can disseminate messages to particular consumers and hence increase the brand awareness.. namely increasing brand name identity and associating it with the product class. Macdonald and Sharp. brands with higher level of awareness would be more likely to be purchased (Yasin et al. For long time. there is an increasing number of advertising campaigns around the world.. (2004).. 1990. celebrity endorsement can give rise to source credibility and source attractiveness. 2001) and an increase in brand awareness is conducive to a higher chance of entering the later set (Nedungadi. In this way. brands from Taiwan and Hong Kong are sometimes confused. 1986. brand awareness can be enhanced through repeat exposure to the brand. two tasks are to be accomplished. affecting consumer’s intention to purchase (Mackenzie et al. In recent decades. Chinese consumers cannot distinguish US apparel brand names from the European ones. 1990). owing to geographical differences. Moreover. 2005).
As mentioned by Keller (1998). According to research conducted by Delong et al.
Several factors can alter the level of brand awareness. has once been a colony of the UK.
1989). 1991). it is found that perceived quality is of utmost importance in determining brand loyalty as well as repeat purchase (Delong et al. 1992).
2.attractiveness. reliability. perceived quality can further be classified into product quality and service quality.2 Perceived quality Another important attribute to brand equity is perceived quality.
Similar to brand awareness. Since it is a kind of intangible. differentiating the position of a brand. Nevertheless. is judged by its corresponding tangibles. To be more specific. charging premium price. successful endorsement can associate the culture of the celebrity world with the endorsed product (McCracken. 1991. durability. it is subjective in nature and hence the knowledge of actual detailed product specifications could have little correlation with the perceived quality.3. perceived quality is determined by a number of factors. reliability. the
country-of-origin of a product is found to affect its perceived quality (Khachaturian and Morganosky. 1998. namely performance. motivating channel members to perform well and also introducing extensions into new brand categories (Aaker. It is defined as the customer’s perception of the overall quality or superiority of a product or service (Aaker. Regarding product quality. there are seven dimensions which affect the consumers’ perception. Yasin. Keller. In addition to the aforementioned dimensions. 1990) and also the perceptions towards the
. 1991). overall feeling towards a brand. In addition. features. This association can raise the public awareness towards the brand. conformance with specifications. 2004). 2007). Service quality.. it is becoming more difficult to obtain satisfactory level of perceived quality owing to the fact that fast and continuous product advancement has already strengthened consumers’ expectations on product quality (Sherman. serviceability as well as fit and finish. Perceived quality of a brand could help generate
values by providing a pivotal reason-to-buy. on the other hand. competence. responsiveness and empathy (Aaker.
Third. loyalty to a brand can enhance trade leverage.. As mentioned by Srikatanyoo and Gnoth (2002). 1991).3 Brand loyalty Brand loyalty is one of the core components of brand equity and also positively and directly affected brand equity (Atilgan et al. it can help reduce the marketing costs of doing business (Aaker. Hence. however. Based on the practice that repeat buying is one of the indicators for brand loyalty. consumers continue to buy the brand. the less vulnerable the customer base would be. 1991). 1991).purchased value (Ahmed and d’Astou. loyal customers could influence the others to purchase the brand.3. consumers could have their preferences for products made from one country over another (Papadopoulos et al.. Brand loyalty is regarded as valuable asset under different circumstances. Loyal customers confer to a higher possibility of repeat purchases and it is less costly to keep customers than to get new ones. Second. Some consumers with strong affiliation to one brand would switch to the shop in which a designated brand is sold.
For many companies. Moreover. Under the influence of brand loyalty.
2. regardless of the superior features. It is found that price is more relevant in judging the perceived quality of a product given that a person lacks the ability to evaluate the quality of a product. consumers are inclined to develop stereotypical beliefs about the products from particular countries. Keller (1998). prices and convenience owned by its competitors (Aaker. In this case. 1993). This is typically true when the product concerned is somewhat risky. having loyal customers is a kind of blessing. 1991). consumers are assured to buy the product if they have some friends or relatives who
. The more loyal the consumers are towards the brand. challenges that such measure may not be totally accurate. 2005). First. price is one of the important cues to
evaluate perceived quality (Aaker. This is due to the fact that some consumers make habitual purchase towards a particular brand just because of its prominence in stock and effective promotions.
the firm could make good use of the time lapse to develop more superior products in order to compete with its rivals. For instance. which contribute to a specific brand image.
. customer satisfaction level needs to be properly managed through conducting consumer research.
2. (2007) further note that equity of a brand is largely supported by consumers’ associations towards the brand. many firms would devise different strategies to maintain and enhance the loyalty from customers.4 Brand association The last dimension for brand equity is brand association.recommend the same model of product. 1998. Silverman. the intangible qualities. Moreover. 2000).. consisting of multiple ideas. According to Aaker (1991). Bansal and Voyer. as well as personal communication sources in making purchasing decision rather than more formal and organizational advertising campaigns (Bansal and Voyer. brand loyalty can
help provide ample time for the firm to response to competitors’ newly launched products. Hence. 1991). several airlines like Cathay Pacific. examples. Keller (1998) and Yasin et al. In addition to the tangible products. Consumers usually depend on informal. for instances innovativeness and distinctiveness are also taken into account as brand associations. This suggests why word-of-mouth communication is one of the most powerful tools in the marketplace (Henricks. It is defined as the specific linkage between the memory and the brand (Aaker. 2000). and facts that create a brand knowledge network (Yoo et al. KLM and chain stores such as TOPMAN provide club-cards or loyalty cards to reward their customers with discounts and other benefits. Brand association is such a complicated concept that connects to one another. Customers can also be rewarded for their loyalty towards the firms so that they will continue to buy the products. Marney. 2000). it is important to treat the customer with respect in order to keep them loyal.
Due to the values obtained from brand loyalty. 1995. 1997.3. Finally. episodes.
they are related to consumers’ emotional feelings. Associations can also be used to trigger the customers to recall their past experiences. 1998).Keller (1993. This can make the brand
. 1991). For experimental benefits. user imagery as well as usage imagery are to be considered. Symbolic benefits. Attributes can be further categorized into product-related attributes as well as non-product related attributes. Attributes refer to the specific characteristics a product has. on the other hand. Benefits are another category in brand associations. Such kind of associations can provide bases for them to make purchase decisions and even become loyal to the brand (Aaker. 1998). First of all. refer to the signal effect that a brand may impose on the consumers. For product-related attributes. they help the customers to process or retrieve information (Keller. Second. Customers are sometimes forgetful and associations towards a brand serve as a brief summary for the customers to make their purchasing decision. They can be classified into functional. price information. Consumers are attracted by the signal when they purchase a product in a particular brand. It is about brand positioning that a well-positioned brand will find it hard to be attacked by its competitors due to its uniqueness. As for non-product related attributes. making the customers remember the brand by heart.
Different brands have different associations to their prospective customers. experimental and symbolic. Function benefits signify the physical or basic advantages a brand may have. the overall features of the product or service are concerned. Associations towards a brand can create value for the firm and so its customers in a number of ways. lying in a continuum from positive to negative (Gabbott and Hogg. benefits and attitudes. They incorporate summary evaluations of information which represent how consumers feel in a long run. Signal effect is determined by the image of consumers and also the personality of the brand. attitudes are regarded as the consumers’ overall assessments towards a brand. brand associations can differentiate one brand from another. namely attributes. Finally. 1998) further divides brand associations into three categories. packaging.
services. buy. As mentioned by Schiffman and Kanuk (2000). There may be products on the market with similar quality and design. the specific brand image attached on a product may differentiate itself from the others. consumer behaviour can influence the economic health of a nation (Blackwell et al. however. some associations can engender positive feelings. Third. money and effort.unbeatable but it is quite difficult to achieve since consumer taste changes quite rapidly. a vivid brand image is established.
Once brand associations are constructed in a meaningful way.4 Consumer buying behaviour Many people do consume a wide range of products every day. from basic necessities to high-valued collectables.
2.. such phenomenon is one of the most interesting and hence heavily investigated topics in the marketing field. brand associations may include some product attributes or consumer benefits which encourage the consumers to purchase the brand. ideas or experiences. use or dispose the products. Brand image possibly affects how consumers perceive the brand and hence their purchasing behaviour. consumer behaviour is about how people make their decisions on personal or household products with the use of their available resources such as time.
The study of consumer buying behaviour is of utmost importance in a number of aspects. Madonna appearance in H&M’s collection advertisement can stimulate customers their positive feelings about the products. adidas slogan ‘Impossible is nothing’. (2006) further provide a holistic view that defines consumer behaviour as the activities and the processes in which individuals or groups choose. Owing to the proliferation of products in the market. First of all. Forth. Consumers would have their preferences in purchasing products from specific retailers and hence the remaining retailers
. For examples. Gabbott and Hogg (1998) and Blackwell et al. contributing to its higher premium price. 2006).
comprising acquisition of goods and services. consumption. which companies to succeed.. consumption and disposal of products or services. 2006).
. Rayport and Jaworski. the firms can make use of such information to devise corresponding marketing strategies in response to the consumers’ needs (Blackwell et al. Second.
2. Based on this loophole. Therefore. purchase and post-purchase (Hoyer and Maclnnis.
As far as the consumer decision process model is concerned.
such definition falls short of the continuity of the processes. Arnoud et al. present consumer behaviour studies regard consumers as important determinants of organizational success and it is found that the most successful organizations are customer-centric (Blackwell et al. 2001. consumption. evaluation. purchase.
Blackwell et al. Although they vary in form of presentation. and also which products to excel. 2003).4. 2006). For instance. (2004) further propose the circle of consumption that recognize purchasing processes as a loop. as well as disposal of used goods. (2001) define consumer behaviour as a summation of acquisition. 1998). The notion ‘the consumer is king’ should be deep-rooted in every business people’s mind that they should try to please these kings using their innovative methods. most of them are composed of stages such as pre-purchase.are selected using the rule of ‘survival of the fittest’. Moreover. pre-purchase. consumers’ decisions can provide a clue for which industry to survive.1 Models of consumer behaviour Several models are developed with a view to provide explanations for the consumer buying behaviours. tailor-made products can be made to enhance customer value and thus facilitate repeat purchase (Gabbott and Hogg.. through understanding the reasons for consumers to buy the products and their buying habits. search for information. These seven steps include need recognition. However. consumers need to go through seven steps before reaching their final decisions.
2006). (2006). namely functional needs and psychological needs. Customers pursuing this kind of search would like to obtain the most updated information about the designated brand. quality and price are commonly used to judge a brand by customers. In this stage. past experiences. 1992). Blackwell et al.
Stage two is the search of information. size.
Stage one is need recognition which occurs when an individual is aware of a difference between their perception and the actual satisfaction level (Solomon et al. As mentioned by Solomon et al... as well as customer satisfaction. income. Rayport and Jaworski (2003) propose a similar model with slight differences regarding the terms used. (2006) add that most consumer research would primarily base on these seven stages and how different elements affect each stage of consumers’ decisions. There are two kinds of needs. 2006). The length and depth of search vary for different customers and depend on variables like personality. social class. consumers pay particular attention to the attributes which are most relevant to their needs (Kolter et al. regardless of the different terms and consolidation of stages. search of information can further be divided into pre-purchase search and ongoing search.. 2005). Pre-purchase search is initiated when consumers recognize a need and hence look for more information from the marketplace. on the other hand.. Any changes in
. is more likely to be based on personal interest on a particular brand. size of purchase.
Stage three comes to the pre-purchase evaluation that consumers compare between different products and brands to make a purchasing decision. Functional needs are related to the performance of the product whereas psychological needs are intrinsically obtained when customers feel contented with shopping or owning a product which they long for.divestment (Blackwell et al. Attributes like quantity. 1997). Ongoing search. prior brand perceptions (Moorthy et al. The buying process is initiated when people recognize their unsatisfied need (Levy and Weitz.
Last but not least. The firms need to think about the possibility of remarketing. 2006).
Stage four refers to the purchase decisions made by the consumers after evaluating the offers from different retailers. as well as point-of-purchase advertising. In addition to in-store purchase.these attributes can affect consumer decisions on brand or product choices (Blackwell et al. customers begin consuming the products whereas in stage six. Rayport and Jaworski (2003) further point out the significant impact of internet on consumer purchasing decision. including retailer and in-store selection. As stated by Blackwell et al. As pointed out by Dholakia and Uusitalo (2002). stage seven comes to divestment. stage six and stage seven are under the category of the post-purchase stage. customers evaluate the consumption process.
. there are two phases contributing to the decision making processes.. 2006). this new kind of non-shop retailing format has begun replacing the fairly established catalogue and TV shopping and its development is rapid albeit it is more recently found in comparison with the existing non-shop retailing modes. This stage is crucial since customers could be possible to make repeat purchases provided that they are satisfied with the aforementioned stages (Rayport and Jaworski. visual displays inside the shops. Retailer selection is made by judging which retailers to buy after investigating the attributes from the previous stage whereas in-store selection is affected by the selling skills of salesperson.
Stage five. (2006). firms can create value by providing lower price or unique offers to the customers so as to excel their competitive advantages over the others. According to Porter (2004).. 2003). in which consumers dispose or recycle the products and at the same time. In stage five. This gives rise to satisfaction when consumers’ expectations are higher than the perceived performance and vice versa (Blackwell et al.
Nowadays. perceived quality. brand loyalty and brand association with the consumer purchasing behaviour that will provide useful insights for the development of the clothing sector. whether the brand image would affect the consumers to purchase clothes is to be investigated. All of them have significant contribution to the brand as equity to the firm.
. and at the same time. In this dissertation.2. perceived quality. It is hoped that by finding out the relationships of brand awareness. brand loyalty and brand associations. products are developed in an unprecedented way. consumers seem to be more aware of the products they buy. Only by understanding the consumer behaviour can the products or brands be developed in a right way.5 Summary This chapter provides a review about the major research and theories regarding the consumer purchasing behaviour. Brands are so important that they are regarded as the equity to a firm. Brand equity can be divided into four dimensions. including brand awareness.
2 Theoretical backgrounds In this section. 2004). as well as justifying the most suitable approach for the research topic.1 Review of different research traditions Based on the methodology used.
In general.Chapter 3 Methodology
3. the research traditions. there are two types of research methods. think and behave (Arnould et al. namely qualitative and quantitative research. This chapter aims at discussing different theories and research methods. The details of the sampling would also be discussed.
. data are gathered. In accordance with Gephart (2004). theories. there are three research traditions. research theories can be classified into different types. interpretive research and critical postmodernism.2. In terms of the science of knowledge acquisition. whereas methodology is acknowledged to be the science of finding out (Babbie. namely positivism. which are determined on the kinds of data being collected. recorded and analyzed in a systematic and objective manner so as to apprehend and foresee how consumers feel.
3. epistemology is about the science of knowing.. and also the validity and reliability of data are discussed in order to provide a general view about how the research is carried out and which factors influence the justification of research method. research is required. During the course of consumer behaviour research. 2004). Each of them encompasses a variety of approaches.1 Introduction With a view to finding out the underlying principles of certain phenomenon.
Positivism makes use of the stance of realism in which the objective reality can be understood by mirror of science. together with the structures and processes within it.
3. In the field of research. mechanisms are the roots of events which are regarded as the deepest level among the three. random sampling
. including experiences. qualitative research is sometimes regarded as a relatively minor methodology than its quantitative counterpart and there are some assumptions that only experimental data. it underlines the assumption of symbolic reality. 2004. Fisher (2004) notes that the linkage between interpretations are dialogic and hence interpretive research aims at soliciting people’s accounts of how they find the world. interpretative research focuses on subjective interpretations to describe meanings and understand reality.2. As far as the description and explanation of phenomena are concerned. Finally. feelings and motivations of people (Babbie. quantitative research focuses on analyzing numerical data whereas qualitative research deals with meanings. it assumes that a social world exists externally that should be measured objectively (Easterby-Smith et al. events and mechanisms. research methods can be classified in a dichotomy between quantitative and qualitative research. the majority of positivist research
incorporates the comparison of qualitative case studies to analyze if there are any connections between variables. Fisher (2004) further reveals that critical postmodernism is a kind of realism which comprises three levels of reality. Experiences are our perceptions and encounters of the world.. 2002).
As for critical postmodernism.
While positivism stresses on objectivity. In accordance to Fisher (2004). examining the attitudes. which is shaped by values and crystallizes over time. official statistics.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis Generally. Events are concerned about what has happened in the world by our experiences to them. Dey. 1993). Added to this.
for example. 2000).3 Reliability and validity of data The reliability and validity of the data and findings are of pivotal importance to the whole research. having a complete set of categorization for the events or activities described (Silverman. Qualitative analysis. however. 1989). 2000). Quantitative research surpasses qualitative in a sense that it can analyze data based on representative samples from a large population (Proctor. suffers from the problem of ‘anecdotalism’ in which it just narrates some examples of phenomenon without taking less clear data into account (Silverman. 2000).
Both the quantitative research and qualitative research have their own advantages and disadvantages.
3. qualitative research tends to focus on describing the process of how we define and measure variables in everyday life (Silverman. both of them are not perfect in a sense that they need to serve as a complement to each other. quantitative analysis is stronger than qualitative analysis in that it can persuade readers with large-scale. numeric data. Nevertheless. research needs a partnership and it could be beneficial to collaborate rather than compete between the different kinds of research methods. 2000).
As for qualitative research. As suggested by Easterby-Smith et al. 1964. attitude (Kirk and Miller. 1986). it is more likely to look into people’s in-depth feelings. Silverman. That is why it is suggested that qualitative research should be used more often at the early or exploratory stage of a study (Silverman. Unlike quantitative research. In this way.and quantified data can lead to valid or generalizable social facts. Cicourel. 1975). These determine whether the research can engender
. which uses ad hoc procedures to define and measure variables (Blumer. the reliability of tape-recorded and transcribed data is argued by some to be weakened owing to the possibility of missing some trivial but crucial pauses and overlaps (Silverman. 1956. (2002). Besides.2. 2000).
it is found that having reliable research results is not always attributable to valid outcomes (Davis and Bremner. (2003). to justify reliability. which are judged by different observers or by the same observer on different occasions (Hammersley. 1992). While reliability is correlated to consistency.
As mentioned by Tesch (1990). This may affect the reliability of the research findings.
This dissertation makes use of the qualitative research method and there have been some discussions on qualitative research regarding its reliability and validity. As pointed out by Davis and Bremner (2006). opinions and attitudes towards brand image are investigated.3 Justification of research method Different research methods should be adopted based on the nature of research. namely language-orientated approach.useful findings or not. qualitative research is more suitable in terms of soliciting the consumers’ in-depth responses.
3. and the original form of the materials is unavailable (Silverman. the research cannot be claimed valid so long as there are only few exemplary instances reported. Hence. However. there are as much as forty types of qualitative research in three main orientations. These underlie the importance of ensuring reliable methods and making valid conclusions in the research process. As mentioned by Saunders et al. 2006). 2000). This dissertation aims at finding out consumer purchasing behaviour on clothing in which their beliefs. one can replicate the same research to see whether the same outcomes are obtained on subsequent occasions. Besides. giving an accurate account to the social phenomena (Hammersley. validity concerns about the truth (Silverman. 1992).
Reliability connotes to the consistency on the research results. the findings of qualitative research are not necessarily repeatable since they reflect reality at the time of data collection.
The structure of interviews lies in a continuum in which fully-structured and unstructured interviews are the two extreme poles (Breakwell. focus group can also be a useful kind of research method that brings together some interviewees. Language-oriented approach concerns the use of language and meaning of words. 2000). interviews are chosen as the data collection methods. ranging from the initial stage for identifying areas to more detailed exploration. researchers may find it difficult to assemble a large group of people and the control over the interviewees is minimal (Gamson.descriptive/ interpretative approach. Proctor (2000) notes that the usefulness of qualitative research depends heavily on the researchers’ skills. Qualitative interviews refer to the interaction between an interviewer and interviewee on a topic which needs not to follow particular order and words in questioning and answering (Babbie. Although focus groups are much more effective and cheaper than interviews as one may see. the thorough description and interpretation of social phenomena are the central focus. For instance. In case of interviews. Based on the descriptive and interpretive nature in this research. However.
One may argue why interviews but not the other types of qualitative research methods are chosen in this research. researchers should show their ability to ask further in-depth questions based on the answers obtained. Added to this. 1992). Finally. interviews are more controllable than focus groups in this regard. During the course of interviews. Thus. interviewers may need to probe each answer and make use of the replies for further questioning (Proctor. Breakwell (2006) points out that interviews are flexible in that they can be used at any stage in the research process. say 12-15 people. 2006).
theory-building approach tries to examine the connections between social phenomena.
. in a room to engage in a guided discussion on a common topic (Babbie. as well as theory-building approach. 2004). 2004). In descriptive/ interpretative approach.
semi-structured interviews are chosen in this research. it is suggested that interviewers be trained for a specific study if necessary since their manner in questioning could impose an effect on how reliable and valid the data will be (Proctor. 2006). This can enrich the data collected from the interviewing process (Smith and Eatough. non-probability sampling is used
. It is suggested that interviews could be complemented with other types of data such as observation and diary techniques so that the data obtained can be more valid.4 Sampling As far as the sampling method is concerned. In accordance with Breakwell (2006).Structured interviews are characterized by their fixed nature and sequence of questions or the fixed nature of answers allowed. These can help solicit consistent responses and hence the reliability of data can be much enhanced.
When it comes to the process of data collection. Unlike structured interviews. Moreover. researchers can follow up some unexpected. interviews depend on respondents’ accurate and complete responses. As pointed out by Smith and Osborn (2003). In addition. unstructured interviews do not have specific formats. Interviewees may find these kind of interviews constrained as they are not free to provide information which is important in their mind. This gives rise to the possibility of unreliable and invalid data. 2000). Such format can enhance the sensitive and empathic facets of the findings. like other self-report methods. leaving more room for the interviewees to respond. underlying the importance human-to-human relationship of interviews (Fontana and Fry. 2000). researchers tend to regard people as experiential experts on a specific topic under investigation. interesting responses emerged during the interviews. with the use of a semi-structured format. 2006). Being reliable does not necessarily attribute to validity but it is found that inconsistent responses may lead to certain inaccuracy (Davis and Bremner. it is important to develop a systematic set of questions and help the interviewees to understand the questions.
3. Among different structures of interviews.
This is a combination of quota sampling and convenience sampling under the non-probability sampling classifications. Moreover. 9 of them are master students and the remaining one is a PhD student. 1982). 2005). this can be sacrificed for a greater degree of internal validity (Carpenter and Fairhurst.
. In this research. 2004). as comparisons of British and Chinese buying behaviour for clothes are investigated. though a homogeneous sample has lesser degree of external validity. findings reveal that homogeneous respondents can help reduce the possibility of measurement model error (Assael and Keon. The criteria for judging whether they are Chinese or British customers are based on the passports they are holding together with the number of years they have lived in their home country. 10 Nottingham University students were chosen to have face-to-face interviews. researchers tend to choose interviewees which are easier to be looked for. 2003). in quota sampling method. The male to female ratio of Chinese and British samples is 1 to 1 (see Table 1 for details). 2002.
Student samples are used in this research because they can enhance homogeneity and it is much easier to control error during theory testing (Goldsmith. They should have lived in China or the UK for long enough time than in other places that they are regarded as Chinese or British. As mentioned by Proctor (2000). Hence. researchers deliberately look for participants so that they are of equal distribution for comparison whereas in convenience sampling. Unlike probability sampling which select samples randomly in a pool of population. equal proportions of British and Chinese were interviewed.
Among the 10 samples. All of them are students aged between 22 and 28.as the tool for this research. Malhotra and King. non-probability sampling looks for participants on purpose (Babbie.
say 30 minutes. Also. the main theme of the interview was introduced with the provision of general ideas about what the interviewees were expected to answer.5 Interview schedule The interview is composed of three stages. with the former one being dominant in the interview (see Appendix 2). namely open-ended questions and closed-ended questions. The questions may not follow the order as set in the interview schedule as the respondents will react to them differently.
After the introduction. Questions 1
. so they were not covered here. The issues relating to confidentiality and record permission were already mentioned at the time when the appointment was made.5. As suggested by Smith and Eatough (2006).
3.Table 1: Distribution of samples in terms of gender and nationality Nationality Sample particulars Gender Number of respondents Chinese Male 2 Female 3 Male 3 British Female 2
3. There are two types of questions. 2006). was mentioned. the questions were learnt by heart before the interviews. the interview began with some general questions regarding consumer spending habits on clothing. it is better to have mental prompts rather than constantly referring to the interview questions in the course of the interview. As mentioned by Smith and Eatough (2006). a successful interview incorporates both general and specific questions which will move between each other fairly seamlessly. Open-ended questions are preferred since they allow the interviewees to answer as little or as much as they choose.1 Stage one In this stage. The approximate length of the interview. which are discussed in the following sections. leaving more room for them to think of the issue (Breakwell.
brand equity is regarded as the summation of brand awareness. were discussed. 1999.
Question 4 attempts to find out the criteria of clothes selection in which the interviewees consider. Since this research is
about the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. How often do you buy clothes?
2.to 3 attempt to serve as ice-breaking as the interviewees may not be prepared to answer in-depth questions at the very beginning of the interview. 1998). further probing questions would be asked if the respondents mention something related to brand and brand equity. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy?
3. these can help understand their spending styles. Mooij.2 Stage two This stage covers in-depth questions about their views to clothing brand image. probing questions were asked if needed. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them?
Questions 5 to 10 are brand equity-related questions. The questions in this stage are as follows. As mentioned in the literatures.5. It also intends to investigate whether brand is an important criterion for consumers to choose particular products to purchase as mentioned in the literature (Doyle. Main issues covered in the literatures in chapter 2. including brand and brand equity.
. Moreover. In order to explore more information from interviewees’ responses.
4. How much do you spend on clothing each month?
There are three questions in this stage and they are listed as follows:
Do you recommend brands?
9. purchase and post-purchase (Blackwell et al. Why do you like this brand?
Question 11 asks for the interviewees’ opinions about the new emerging online shopping mode whereas question 12 is about their post-purchase actions they took towards the clothes they had purchased. 1991. 1993). these two questions try to figure out their purchase and post-purchase behaviour. After finding out what the interviewees would do before making their purchasing decisions from the aforementioned questions. there are three stages for purchasing products or services.
5. 2006.. Keller. Do you shop online for clothes?
12. 2003). How do you judge the quality of the clothes?
7. As mentioned in some consumer behaviour models. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase?
. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes?
8. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand?
10. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands?
6. including pre-purchase. These questions are to find out whether brand equity is as important as what has been noted in the literatures. brand loyalty and brand association (Aaker. Rayport and Jaworski.
This serves as a summary of how interviewees perceive brands by providing their own definitions which may be similar or different from what is said in the literature. 2004).3 Stage three In the last stage of the interview. Originated from two socialists Glaser and Strauss (1967). the interviewees were asked to write a sentence which starts with the words ‘Brand is’. The production and the use of transcripts are essential research activities that they involve close. The interviews were then transcribed.
3.7 Analysis strategy This section introduces the concept of grounded theory and the use of within-case and cross-case analysis as the strategies for analyzing the research data.7. It focuses on
. possibly attributing to important research findings (Atkinson and Heritage. repeated listening to the records which often reveal some unnoted recurring features. depending on the interviewees’ familiarity to the questions and their willingness to provide more fruitful responses. they would be thanked for providing their valuable time to attend the interview. 1984). themes. After the interviewees have finished writing the sentence.3.6 Administration The interviews were conducted in the places such as rooms in the student accommodations or common areas in the university where the interviewees felt comfortable to answer the questions.
3. and common categories from observational data (Babbie.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis Grounded theory is one of the important concepts suggesting how researcher conducts their research. it attempts to derive theories based on the analysis of patterns. They lasted for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. The processes were recorded with the use of MP3 player with the approval from the interviewees so as to facilitate the subsequent analysis.
As mentioned by Strauss and Corbin (1990). (2002). namely within-case and cross-case
. Besides. According to Easterby-Smith et al. qualitative data as well as interpretative thematic analysis of the qualitative data.. 1993). methodology skills can be developed in a number of areas such as handling and analyzing of large volumes of ill-structured. one of the benefits of grounded analysis is that qualitative research structure has first been derived from the data. 2006). researchers could be both scientific and creative at the same time under this theory. Hence. provided that they follow three rules.
3. In addition. leading to further analysis of themes. which can enhance the validity and reliability of the data (Babbie. patterns and categories. it demonstrates some main strategies of qualitative inquiry that contain creative interplay of theories and methods during the integrated process of social research (Henwood and Pidgeon. maintaining an attitude of skepticism. They include periodically stepping back and asking. based on grounded theory. re-coding.different ways to code data (Dey. conceptualization. especially the use of systemic coding. interviews can be analyzed in two distinctive but interrelated ways.
The importance of research procedures is heightened in the grounded theory. including familiarization. 2004). linking and finally re-evaluation
(Easterby-Smith et al. 2002). cataloguing concepts. these could explain why grounded theory has gained much popularity in recent decades (Henwood and Pidgeon. These imply the seriousness of such theory in interpreting data and provide the basis for analyzing the ten interviews conducted. 2006).7. reflection.
Grounded theory does have some impact on the qualitative research. There are seven stages for grounded analysis in total. as well as following the research procedures.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis As mentioned by Miles and Huberman (1994).
analysis. In this dissertation, the interviews conducted were investigated based on these two approaches. The summary of these two approaches is shown in Figure 1.
Listening to tape and producing a transcript
Coding the transcript
Analyzing data with tables in codes and quotes
Looking for patterns from similar and different responses
Creating tables based on responses from interviewees
Figure 1: Overview of analysis
126.96.36.199 Within-case analysis During the interviews, notes were first jotted down and then the summary of each individual interview was made after listening to the MP3 recorder for the sake of keeping the fresh memory of the interview content. A full transcription of each interview (see Appendix 3) was made after the completion of the whole interview process. After finishing the transcription, the main ideas of the interviews were summarized and presented in form of tables with codes like ‘+’ standing for interviewee who has mentioned this idea, whilst ‘-‘ connoting to a negative response to the question. Some quotes from the answers would be
illustrated for explanation if necessary.
188.8.131.52 Cross-case analysis Cross-case analysis aims at looking for convergences and divergences in the data, recognizing ways to account for the similarities and differences of the respondents (Smith and Eatough, 2006; Smith and Osborn, 2003). Each interview was analyzed in the same way as mentioned in the within-case analysis. Then the patterns emerged were analyzed based the several tables in different themes.
3.8 Summary In this chapter, the methodology used in this dissertation has been justified and explained. Qualitative semi-structured interviews have been chosen as a mean to collect data since they are found to be more appropriate for soliciting responses in relation to attitudes, opinions and feelings. Besides, the sampling method was covered. In the course of data collection, the combination of convenience and quota sampling was being used. In addition, the schedule of interview was discussed with a view to providing some general ideas about the underlying reasons for asking such questions. The data collected would be analyzed using the methods of within-case and cross-case analysis. The research findings will be presented and discussed in the next chapter.
Chapter 4 Research Findings and Discussion
4.1 Introduction This chapter aims at presenting and discussing findings obtained from the interviews concerning the effect of clothing brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. As mentioned in chapter 3, 10 people, including 5 British and 5 Chinese were interviewed. Each interview was recorded and transcribed for the purpose of analysis in this chapter.
As far as the analysis is concerned, it will be based on the most pertinent quotes, which reveal the viewpoints from the British and Chinese respondents respectively. According to Easterby-Smith et al. (2002), qualitative researchers need to communicate the findings in an honest and systematic manner, disseminating the richness of the findings and hence the experience of the researchers. In addition, the analysis should be open to verification as far as possible so that the others are free to repeat what has been done and check the conclusions (Breakwell, 2006).
The chapter consists of three sections in which the respondents’ backgrounds, the effect of brand image on them and also their opinions of brand are presented and compared.
4.2 Backgrounds of respondents All respondents are students from the University of Nottingham, with nine of them being master students and one of them being a PhD student. Their ages range from 22 to 27 and the male to female ratio is 1 to 1.
The first three questions try to solicit the interviewees’ response about their clothing spending habits, asking about their shopping frequency, money spent
British. 23. This could probably be explained by the findings mentioned in chapter 2 that consumers’ emotion is one of the determining factors for buying clothes (Berry. some of them pointed out that their financial status would have an impact on their frequency of buying clothes. 23.
“…This year…not at all (buying clothes). In England. British. Because I have been poor. 27. maybe 3 times a year. quite rare. These are in line with the literature that students spend less than the other groups like working class as far as clothes purchasing is concerned (HKTDC.” Hannah. buy every 4 to 5 months. Male
“I’m a sort of impulsive buyer…’Oh gosh! I really need to buy some clothes now.” Mark. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. But before that.” Kevin.” Narinder.on clothes and also the types of clothes they purchased. One of them was slightly different in that she indicated that she is an impulsive buyer and hence she would buy clothes based on her moods and feelings at the time of purchase. 24. let’s go’. Female
“…Maybe not often recently because I have not got a lot of income for clothes. Generally. maybe one item every couple of month. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). many respondents revealed that they buy clothes at a regular interval. ranging from every week to three or four times a year. One of the respondents revealed that he preferred buying clothes at special occasions like seasonal discounts so that the prices can be much more affordable. Female
Besides. so I’ll buy them when I need them…probably. Chinese. Male
“In China. 2002). 2000). British.
retailers. Although it is mentioned in the literature that more females would like shopping than males (Dholakia. 24.3. British. 1993).. It really gets a large variation. 1998) and hence it could have a beneficial or detrimental effect on customers’ buying decisions (Yasin et al. One of the male respondents revealed that he would spend about 50 to 250 pounds for clothes each time. brand names can add tremendous value to the products. with more emphasis being placed on the comparisons between British and Chinese consumers so as to provide new insights for further development of brands in the clothing sector. More male than female respondents manifested that they would buy clothes in medium or above price ranges. 1991. As mentioned in chapter 2.When asking about the price range of clothes. Male
The above quotes illustrate that clothes purchasing behaviour varies from time to time and from person to person. Whether brand is a determining factor is
“Probably. In the coming section. Keller. 1999. brand is important for product development in that it can be instilled in consumers’ minds (Mooij. it does not really mean that males have less spending power. Sometimes. South and Spitze.
4. however. more than half of them were fond of buying clothes in the medium or high price ranges. There could be two identical clothes in the world. whether brand image would affect clothes purchasing behaviour is investigated.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour
4. it varies anywhere between 50 to 250 pounds. I buy lots of clothes and it lasts me for half a year…” Neil. targeting to buy clothes in medium to high price ranges. 2007). It could be as simple as they are cheap and good looking or they are brand-named.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions As mentioned previously in chapter 2. 1994). the reasons why people buy them vary. as well as consumers (Aaker.
Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz
+ + +
+ + + + +
+ + + + +
+ + + + +
Functional use (Sports)
Table 3: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (Chinese respondents)
Country of origin
Comfortable.or words in blue: Response with prompt
. Table 2: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (British respondents)
Country of origin
Comfortable.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. Suitable
Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key
+ + + + +
+ + -
+ + +
+ + + + +
+ + + + +
+ + + + +
Pleasant. +/. The columns named ‘country of origin’ and ‘advert’ would be discussed in later sections. in which the respondents were asked about the reasons of buying particular clothes.examined in question 4. The results from both British and Chinese respondents are illustrated in Tables 2 and 3 accordingly. Intuition
all respondents from both nations regard quality.
Some of the UK respondents revealed that they look for brand names in buying clothes. two UK interviewees stated that brand names do not initiate them to buy during their shopping. Moreover. I wouldn’t buy something because it’s from H&M or because it’s from ZARA.” Hannah. but I do not particularly look for brand names. British. 1991). in which one of them highlighted the importance of past shopping experiences as mentioned in the literature (Aaker. nine out of ten respondents had not provided immediate answer to question 4 regarding this issue until prompt was given. 24. If I have good experiences with something. 24.
When it comes to the effect of brand on buying clothes. British.As observed from Tables 2 and 3. Male
“Never. the British and Chinese interviewees showed some divergent viewpoints. I probably buy again. I wouldn’t specifically buy it because it’s from there.” Mark. Well. Male
“Well.” Neil. 23. I mean I will buy clothes from a shop. Female
. However. style and price as some of the determining factors for buying clothes. the findings from literature that Chinese find these three as important criteria for buying clothes (HKTDC. I bought it (she points at her top) yesterday from NEXT. In this regard.
“Yes. They are probably the shops I like. Because I know it a little bit good quality or that it’s going to be last well or perform well. British. 2002) seem also applicable to the UK respondents. Actually.
Based on the above findings.
4.All Chinese respondents found that brand is one of the key factors for them to consider when buying clothes. and buy more clothes to change. 2006). if I buy cheap ones. The UK respondents tend to buy clothes they like but not merely because of the brands. including
. So. Chinese. Chinese.” Jovi. 24. Fennis and Pruyn. one of them pointed out that brands can help change her personal style. For some T-shirts. 1999. as well as quality (Roman et al. H&M and Dorothy Perkins…It’s quick for me to dislike the clothes that I bought. I can use less money. This issue was examined through asking the question ‘In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands?’ There are mainly four ways for the respondents to learn about the brands. brand can make potential consumers aware of the products (Aaker. if I buy too many big brands. In addition. 1991). Female
“Yes. I bought some big brands like designer labels. 2005). so I have more faith in those brands for their clothes.2 Brand awareness As mentioned in the literature.. 26. I changed my purchasing habits to some cheap stuff like Primark. This is consistent with the literature that brand-named products can be served as a guarantor of reliability.
“I do think most of the brands. which is coherent with the literature that brands are used to highlight personality under different circumstances (Aaker. One of them mentioned that reputable brands in medium to high price ranges connote to better quality and cutting. it seems that brands are more likely to have an impact on Chinese than British interviewees. I think they mostly get better cutting and better quality. like medium.” Vanessa.to high-priced brands. It can be in consistent with my changing look and just lower the cost. do have better quality than cheaper brands.3. it costs me too much. But recently.
. 2007).or words in blue: Response with prompt
+ + +
+ + + +
Advertisement is a powerful tool for raising brand awareness (Mackenzie et al. 1986. +/. Table 4: Ways to learn about clothing brands (British respondents)
Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinda Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz
+ + +
From shops. Tsai et al.. The results are shown in Tables 4 and 5. internet and shops. peers. Some of the UK and Chinese respondents did regard it as one of the methods to know the brands. two of them
. with the number of Chinese respondents outweighing British.advertisement. Among these respondents. Internet From shops
Table 5: Ways to learn about clothing brands (Chinese respondents)
Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key +/.or words in black: Initial response without prompt.
they (basketball players) will show up. 1978) and enhance attractiveness (McCracken. similar number of Chinese and the UK respondents agreed that it does have impact on their purchasing decisions. and it’s easy to make connections. David Beckham. Marketing people may affect me someway. Female
“I used to play basketball and so I used to watch NBA games. Lance Armstrong. Male
“I guess it does (have an effect) on subliminal basis. Zidane (is very
memorable)…because I know them through their sports achievement. he was the representative of adidas previously…” Vivian. 24. Chinese. they are familiar faces. 23. British. on the street…they (advertisers) put posters in the public areas.” Neil. advertisements in the shopping mall. which confirms with the literature that celebrity endorsement can lead to product credibility (McGuire.”
“The adidas ‘impossible is nothing’ advert with leading sportsmen like Michael Jordan.mentioned that they became more aware of the brands through the celebrities in the advertisements.
. so they associate themselves with brands.” Kevin. Like Coby Bryrant.
“It (Advertising) is important because the brand image is built up so that you will choose (to buy them). you know. Chinese. During the game break. Male
As far as peers influence on clothes purchasing is concerned. 23. 1989).
“How do you judge the quality of the clothes?” Their attitudes towards country-of-origins of clothes were also solicited from the follow-up questions. in which interviewees were asked.
. I will consider them.
4. and from my mind.” Neil. Male
“If I am training and I see a friend wearing a new T-shirt or something. 24. So. Chinese.” Kevin. 4 British interviewees revealed that they became familiar with the brands through shop visiting. when I go shopping next time.“Maybe they (my friends) buy very nice clothes.3. Male
Other sources for raising brand awareness like internet surfing and shop visiting are also prevalent among Chinese and British respondents. 23. The findings are illustrated in Tables 6 and 7. they are nice to put them on. British.3 Perceived quality The issue of perceived quality was investigated through question 6. I will ask them what the brand is…my brother bought a Helly Hansen sportswear. while 4 Chinese interviewees got their brand information via internet surfing. that’s cool.
followed by style. +/. There are no significance differences between British
. price and performance.Table 6: Criteria for judging clothes quality (British respondents)
Country of origin
Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz
+ + +
+ + + Performance
Table 7: Criteria for judging clothes quality (Chinese respondents)
Country of origin
Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key
+ + + + + + + + + +
+ + + -
+/. 1991). colour. Most of them could mention these judging criteria at once. in which these criteria are important for consumers in judging product quality (Aaker.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. nine out of ten respondents regard materials as one of the criteria for judging clothes quality.or words in blue: Response with prompt
As shown in Tables 6 and 7. durability.
22. they represent better quality. France No comment No comment No comment
Countries with lowest quality
No comment No comment No comment No comment No comment
. Two Chinese interviewees pointed out that country of origin is correlated with quality. I expect Puma quality basically. Male
When further question was asked about the issue ‘Which country’s clothes do you think they’re of highest/ lowest quality?’ British and Chinese respondents showed divergent views.” Jovi.
“In some of the countries like Japan. British. Female
“It should all be good quality if they have a brand name on it because it’s what the brand name stands for. France or Italy. For buying Puma shoes. country of origin seems not to have an impact to the UK respondents on perceived quality. Contradictory to the literature. 3 Chinese respondents found that it would have an effect on the clothes perceived quality.and Chinese respondents. 24. France Italy.
Regarding country of origin. so the countries don’t really affect it. The results are listed in Tables 8 and 9.
Table 8: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (British respondents)
Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz
Countries with highest quality
Italy. Chinese.” Michael.
China. India..Table 9: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (Chinese respondents)
Countries with highest quality
“I don’t have some preconception about it. Thailand. some South American countries
UK. US. Male
For those who can tell the names of specific countries. If Puma gets its stuff from China. many of them mentioned that France and Italy can produce clothes in high quality. including China. they should meet the required quality. Because I know from every country.” Michael. Male
“They suppose to all be the same. Denmark
Less developed countries No comment China
As shown in Table 8. British. from Thailand. Italy
Countries with lowest quality
China. just a few British respondents try to provide the names of specific countries. British. you can buy good or bad clothes.” Neil. 3 of the Chinese respondents could mention that some less developed countries. South Africa
Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang
. These findings can be explained by the literatures in that China does not have influential brands with phenomenal quality (Delong et al. 22. they show up the same quality standard in all countries. produce poor quality clothes. However. France. 24. 2004). only Chinese respondents made comments on countries which make clothes in the lowest quality. Italy No comment Korea.
maybe it’s the reason.
. 1997). Chinese. This is in line with what has mentioned in the literature that China is proficient in production and hence many foreign investors would like to produce their already-designed products there (Cui. I think those made-in-China are something good. if I consider some basic ones. China don’t have very famous brands. Lowest (quality) maybe China. 8 and 12 in which the respondents were asked whether they buy the same brands regularly and also if they recommend brands to the others. The results are illustrated in Tables 10 and 11. 23. one Chinese interviewee specifically pointed out different countries should have their competitive advantage in either production or design. Italy as well.
“China is good at manufacturing and Italy and France are good at design. Chinese.3. Female
Nevertheless. I will prefer France or Italy ones. 26.” Vanessa. If it’s about big brands. or some of the developing countries.4 Brand loyalty The issue regarding brand loyalty was investigated through questions 7.” Vivian.“I think the UK and US have top brands. Actually.
more Chinese respondents tend to buy the same brands. they pointed out that they are quite satisfied with the clothes they had purchased. The quotes of regular buyers are shown as follow:
.Table 10: Clothes purchasing habit (British respondents)
Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz
Club card owner
+ + -
Table 11: Clothes purchasing habit (Chinese respondents)
Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang
Club card owner
+ + + +
+ + + -
+ + + +
As observed from Tables 10 and 11. For those who buy regularly from the same brands. and also hold the club cards of their favourite stores than the UK interviewees. recommend brands to friends or relatives. whereas the others think they need to take other factors like price and style into consideration and hence they do not buy the same brands regularly.
I will tell them. Topshop’s price is affordable and also I like the style from All Saints” Narinder. for examples. Male
“I will if I visit some shops and they have good stuff. 24. none of the UK respondents have any clothing club cards even though the shops take this chance to reward their loyalty in terms of discounts
“I just like it. In the UK. CEU and Vertical Club.” Mark.” Neil. The Diesel jeans fit me well. British.the certain shops that I sort of rely upon….. 27. 23. British. I like Fred Perry. They have quite a lot of varieties of different design for me to choose from. there are quite many. British. Female
“I reckon the design fits me and these brands have high quality which is what I’m looking for. In Hong Kong. I will tell my friends. so I will buy them more often. say ‘Go ahead! They are really good.“I do have a few brands that I prefer.” Vivian. Chinese.. Male
“(I like buying from) Diesel for jeans. 26. There are casual wears good for everyday dress and they are of reasonable prices. Female
As far as brand recommendation is concerned. 23.’” Vanessa. Chinese. four respondents cited that they would recommend brands as long as they are good. Topshop and All Saints. 24. Chinese.” Jovi. Female
“If it is excellent performance and if someone asks me.
we need not apply for the loyalty cards. That’s why I don’t apply for it. Some of them did mention the drawbacks of applying these cards. Chinese. It’s not stylish but it is well made. Vivian. The price is acceptable. 27. These findings confirm what has mentioned in the literature that associated brand images can help enhance the value of brands (Yasin. The quotes for some non-club card owners are shown below:
“No. it takes time to apply for it and maybe I will not spend much money on the same shops…I tried to apply House of Fraser and M&S (loyalty cards). 24. Female
4.3. British. 26. It fits my age and my occupation as students. Store cards are dangerous. Both the British and Chinese respondents managed to recall some positive connotations of their favourite brands. it is examined through questions 9 and 10 in which interviewees were asked about their favourite brand images.” Narinder. store cards try to get more money from me when I don’t have more. 23. Female
. not so complicated design” Jovi. Chinese. 2007).as cited in the literature (Aaker. Sometimes.5 Brand association Regarding brand association.” Vanessa.
“I like something that is simple and good for casual and everyday wear. Female
“I think it’s casual and good quality. Female
“Because we have student cards and we can enjoy the offer. 1991). Chinese. they always make them like credit cards and I don’t want to have one more credit card.
British.” Vanessa. fits my age. I prefer some simple image.” Mark. I prefer very colourful image.6 Consumer buying behaviour It is found in the literature that internet shopping is gaining its popularity among consumers (Dholakia and Uusitalo. For shirts.
. crickets but skiing and snowboarding and surfing…” Michael. Male
“For Topshop. British. the respondents were asked if they had shopped online for clothes in question 11. British. All Saints is a bit more innovative. Male
“They are practical. Chinese.“They do something stylish and good quality…sometimes good offer. it’s a kind of like casual clothing. alternative sports. I prefer blue jeans.” Alick. For T-shirt. Female
“Basically. For jeans. they work well. Female
“It’s just sort of reasonably well-priced and sort of good quality. usually cotton…” Hannah. 23. khaki style…quality is good. 26. In order to investigate this issue. 24. British. 23.” Kevin. 27. 24. Male
“Simple. coloured fabrics…it’s a sort of a bit unusual. 22. 2002). 27. Male
“60s hippie. and they look good.” Narinder. Chinese. Female
“’Simply Me’.” Neil. not like football. like grid shirts. Chinese. British.
Surprisingly. not right colour. Female
Even though some of the interviewees do not shop online for clothes. you can buy it online. 23. These signify the fact that online shopping for clothes is not impossible but something need to be done to improve it as far as the problems of fitting before purchasing and online security are concerned. Male
“I don’t buy online. To be honest. I will consider maybe it is not safe to shopping online. Male
. I can see how it looks like…so I never buy clothes online. British. If you can’t find (suitable clothes) in the markets or in the shops.” Kevin.
“Not really. Female
“I like fitting. including the varieties of choices. right size as well” Vivian. I’ll have a look and compare prices.” Narinder. just like the clothes from the markets. Chinese. 23. 22. Chinese. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. no. 24. nine out of ten interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes via the internet due to several reasons. but I don’t buy online. lower prices and informative websites. 27. British. Because I can’t try the clothes to see if they are suitable or not” Jovi.” Michael. some of them can point out the positive aspects of internet shopping. The clothes online are cheap. One of them mentioned the poor internet security while the others revealed that they could not try the clothes before paying for it.
“For clothes. try on to see if it is fit probably. Chinese. but I know many people do.
“Brand is something difficult to understand. Female
4.4 Results In the last question. 26. respondents were asked to provide their comments on brand. It may not be the spirit of clothes. Chinese.” (It means brands are not easy to be broken up. 27. Chinese. These are what internet offers. 24. Female
.” Alick. 26. Female
“Brand is an important but not decisive indicator for my choice of shopping. Chinese.” Kevin. Male
“Brand is just like the name of people.” Vivian.) Vanessa. but it represents the taste and quality of them. Chinese. almost everything is quite good. and I’m not fond of popular ones!” Hannah.“(Shop online) Sometimes. The only thing is that sometimes the delivery fee is not that cheap. maybe one or twice a month.
“Brand is something that adds value to clothing but not a must” Jovi. British. Chinese. 24. a way for companies to keep consumers back to spend their money. The quotes below show their perceptions towards what brand is in their mind. good quality and good prices. 23. 23. Female
“Brand is not a paper bag. Male
“Brand is a way for people to identify each other.” Vanessa. It is good. Chinese.
Some of the responses from interviewees were quoted and analyzed so as to highlight the important findings for further brand image development. rather than the designer. manufacturer. 22. 27. Male
“Brand is not unimportant to my decision making when buying clothes. I realized.
. however. 24. British.” Michael. British. mainly focusing on the four dimensions of brand equity. Female
“Brand is the identity of a product or service.5 Summary This chapter presented the findings from the interviews of both British and Chinese respondents. Male
“Brand is the label a company use to market/ advertise them with.” Neil. British. Then it came to the analysis and discussion of interviews’ findings to look for any similarities and differences between British and Chinese respondents.” Mark. respondents’ backgrounds were introduced to provide some thorough understandings on their clothes purchasing habits. 23.
At the beginning of the chapter. My clothes purchased tend to be based on the individual garment. that a brand can be a powerful draw for many shoppers. Male
4.“Brand is not something I would follow because of the name. British.” Narinda.
style and price as their most important criteria for choosing clothes.
This chapter will provide an overview of the research findings. However.2 Conclusions The findings in chapter 4 do have some implications for the development of brand image. In addition.2.1 Introduction Based on the research findings in chapter 4. The comparisons were made between the British and Chinese respondents’ purchasing behaviour throughout the last chapter. They are presented under each sub-section as shown below. brand is one of their considerations.
5. providing insights for comprehending consumer purchasing behaviour and further investigations. this chapter draws conclusions on what has been analyzed and discussed. with the inclusions of similarities and differences between the British and Chinese consumers. It is then followed by the research limitations and
recommendations for further research. For those British respondents who did not look for brands when purchasing clothes.Chapter 5 Conclusions
5. It was found that there are slight differences between the Chinese and British consumers in terms of their attitudes towards brand equity. more Chinese than UK respondents expressed that brand is important for them to choose particular clothes to buy. Our findings suggested that all British and Chinese respondents regard quality.
5. they cited that what they liked is more important.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions The determining factors for clothes purchasing have been examined.
5. internet and shops. these methods for spreading the brand image are commonly employed by both British and Chinese respondents.As revealed from the above findings.
In addition. none of the UK respondents thought it would affect their perception of clothes quality whereas some Chinese respondents had cited that some countries connoted to better quality. price and performance. for example. Nevertheless. colour.2. if brand-named clothes can incorporate the other criteria the consumers are looking for. famous sportsmen can be attributable to good sportswear performance. many Chinese respondents had the preconception that China and
.2 Brand awareness To increase the publicity. In terms of advertisements. That is to say. the brands need to become more aware among the consumers. From the findings.3 Perceived quality The findings suggested that most respondents tend to judge the clothes quality by looking at the materials. some respondents from both nations cited that they had been affected by celebrity advertising in which they could associate the brand image with the celebrities’ images.2. brand can have a value-adding function in that some respondents are fond of particular brands. There are no significant differences between British and Chinese respondents regarding these issues. followed by style. when it comes to the country of origin of clothes. More Chinese respondents
expressed that they had been influenced by advertisements and internet than British interviewees. whereas British respondents tended to know the brands through on-the-spot purchase in the shops. consumers think of the other criteria as well. peers. it could enhance the chance for consumers to buy the clothes. durability. However. respondents tend to know the brands through advertisements.
5. none of the UK respondents cited that they had had some loyalty cards from clothing shops. whereas they did think that clothes from Italy and France normally confer to better quality. the British respondents did not have strong feelings about where the clothes come from..4 Brand loyalty This aspect of brand equity is important for the development of customer base and encouraging repeat purchase. prices. This coincides with the findings by Keller (1993) that consumers are attracted by the signal when they consider buying particular product. From the findings. it is good at manufacturing (Cui.5 Brand association The association between brand and memory of respondents was investigated. Some characteristics of the brands in which they are fond of were mentioned. As brand can provide guarantee of quality to consumers. such perceptions may be attributable to their loyalty towards the brands (Aaker. 2004).
5. there would still be chances for China to produce well-perceived quality clothes. However. regardless of the nations the respondents belong to.other developing countries produce clothes in poor quality.2. China does not have influential global clothing brands (Delong et al. some respondents did reveal that they are frequent buyers of the same brands and also recommend brands to their friends and relatives. by working on the brand development. while most of the Chinese respondents had. however. Also. styles. functions etc. This brings out an important issue that Chinese brands should get rid of their poor image on perceived quality at least to the Chinese themselves.
Such discrepancies may be because the UK respondents tend to buy clothes from more independent stores which are less likely to offer loyalty cards. 1997).
. including the product features. 1991). All respondents could recall some positive aspects of their favourite brands at once.2.
whereas the shoppers need to be aware of the login procedures. online security is also a matter of concern. the retailers should be more vigilant in the design of verification system. There are three limitations regarding the sampling method. some respondents cited that online shopping is good for its informative websites. 2002) but the findings suggested that buying clothes online was not that common among the respondents.2.
Internet shopping is gaining its popularity (Dholakia and Uusitalo.3 Limitations During the course of research. Most of the interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes through the internet.6 Consumer buying behaviour Consumers can shop for clothes via different channels. time and also interpreting skills.
As far as sampling method is concerned. not to divulge personal information to unknown third parties. One of the obstacles for online clothes purchasing is that the consumers can not try on the clothes to see if they are fit or not. and whether online shopping for clothes is popular among the respondents from both nations was examined. several limitations were found to hinder the overall accuracy of the findings.The establishment of such positive images can help enhance the brand values and there are no significant differences between the British and Chinese respondents in this regard. various choices and cheaper prices. However. Added to this. the details of the size and materials should be listed on the website to reduce the chances of buying wrong clothes. something should be done on the aforementioned drawbacks.
5. qualitative research can not provide representative samples from the target population even though they can detect
. In order to make it more prevalent for clothes shopping.
5. In terms of fitting. For online securities.
4 Implications This dissertation attempts to find out the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. 1992) and data obtained are influenced by the interviewers’ manner. including the skills of handling follow-up and probing questions (Proctor. As long as more time is allowed. more samples could be gathered so that it could enhance the overall conclusiveness of the interviews. having a propensity of getting deviated results. gender and age. There are numerous brands around the world. however. 2000). 1991).
.minor problems that are not obvious in a quantitative study (Proctor. will have an effect on the interviewees’ willingness to participate and their nature of answers. since in-depth interviews were chosen to be the method of data collection. Interviewers may ask leading questions that distort respondents’ answers (Levy and Weitz. for instances accent.
Finally. Such discretion of choosing samples may introduce a source of bias since there is a possibility to omit some types of people. This is the author’s second time to do the dissertation and the aspects like nervousness and lack of experiences can also be regarded as some of the limitations for this dissertation. the combination of quota and convenience samples was used. The dissertation was confined to finish within the summer term which lasted for 3 months. In addition. 2000). Students were used as the subjects for investigation and they tend to be more susceptible to the views. In selecting the students. interviewers’ questioning skill is also one of the determinants for answer accuracy. the responses from the in-depth interviews can be subjected to researcher’s effects. especially for those who are difficult to contact (Proctor. ideas and products of other cultures than older people (Netemeyer et al. the number of samples interviewed is limited. the characteristics of the interviewers.. whether the brand is influential or not depends on how it is perceived. 2000).
In terms of time. During the interviews.
Under the premise that brand is regarded as equity for marketers. durability. price and performance.
This dissertation highlights the comparisons between British and Chinese. From the findings. As far as perceived quality is concerned. Chinese brand developers should put more efforts on quality control
. In addition. marketers can devise different reward methods in different forms such as discounts.Therefore. To reward loyal customers. having mentioned that customers judge the quality mostly based on the factors like materials. the study of brand can provide an insight for further brand development. Through understanding how customers behave in these four aspects. the investment in brand loyalty could enhance the chance of repeat purchase and broaden the customer base. it is of utmost importance to keep the customers’ positive perceptions towards the brands so that the chances for repeat purchase would be increased. This provides an important insight that Chinese customers should get rid of their negative perceptions towards the clothes quality. style. perceived quality. marketers can think of relevant strategies. aiming at finding out their similarities and differences in the consumer purchasing behaviour on clothes. manufacturers together with retailers need to join hands to produce better clothes for the customers to choose from. owing to the fact that consumers will buy clothes after they have known them well. Such positive connotations are achieved through working closely on brand awareness. marketers should make use good of the traditional channels like advertisements and word-of-mouth and devise new methods to communicate with customers. namely brand awareness. colour. brand loyalty and brand association. As for brand association. In terms of brand awareness. some Chinese respondents have negative perceptions towards clothes quality produced from China and other developing countries whereas their British counterparts do not have such strong feelings. perceived quality and brand loyalty. four different areas were investigated.
More interviewers could be hired and trained to collect as much data as they can.
More samples should be interviewed as long as time and money are not constraints. 2002). For instances.
Further research could also be done on comparisons between some other countries’ consumers in which they are found to have significant impact on consumer behaviour. other kinds of research methods such as focus group and even some quantitative research methods could be used so as to provide findings from different perspectives. This could provide much more conclusive results. The use of club cards was found to be more common among Chinese than the UK respondents for buying clothes.with a view to establish some strong national clothing brands among themselves. Marketers could consider the feasibility of getting this idea widespread in the clothes retailing industry as other retail sectors.
For the UK. for instance working class. It is important to make improvement in the further research to provide more fruitful and representative findings. it should be more aware of the marketing strategies to enhance the overall brand equity. Other sampling groups.5 Recommendations for further research Although the findings from this research are interesting and useful as one may think. have done. This may change the buying attitude that Chinese are now confined to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets (HKTDC. like supermarkets. could
5. it could think of making online clothes purchasing more popular and also introducing varieties of benefits to reward loyal customers. there are several limitations as mentioned in the previous section. in addition to semi-structured interviews. since famous clothing brands are not uncommon in such developed country. It is hoped that Chinese can have some influential global clothing brands by doing so. Besides.
By taking the above recommendations. researchers could be able to get more representative and deeper findings from different perspectives.
.also be investigated since they may provide entirely different results as what have been obtained from the student samples. exploring the research to a higher stratum as far as brand development is concerned.
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S. U. Germany Japan U. Italy U. Germany U.Appendix 1: The 100 Top Brands 2006
Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 Microsoft IBM GE Intel Nokia Toyota Disney McDonald Mercedes-Benz Citi Marlboro Hewlett-Packard American Express BMW Gillette Louis Vuitton Cisco Honda Samsung Merrill Lynch Pepsi Nescafe Google Dell Sony Budweiser HSBC Oracle Ford Nike UPS JPMorgan SAP Canon Morgan Stanley Goldman Sachs Pfizer Apple Kellogg Ikea UBS Novartis Siemens Harley-Davidson Gucci eBay Philips Accenture MTV Name Coca-Cola Country U.S.S. Japan S. U. Japan U.S. Netherlands Bermuda U.S. Japan Britain S.S. U. Finland Japan U.S.S.S.S. France U.Korea U.S.S.S. U. France U.S. U.Korea Britain Japan Britain U. U.S.S. Germany U.S. Germany France U. Netherlands France France U.S. U.S.S. Britain Japan U.S. U.S. U.S. U. France U.S.com Pizza Hut Danone Caterpillar Motorola Kodak adidas Rolex Zara Audi Hyundai BP Panasonic Reuters Kraft Porsche Hermes Tiffany & Co.S.S. U.S.S.S. Britain U. U.S. Switzerland U.S.S. U. France U.S.S.S. U. U. Hennessy Duracell ING Cartier Moet & Chandon Johnson & Johnson Shell Nissen Starbucks Lexus Smirnoff LG Bulgari Prada Armani Burberry Nivea Levi Name Nintendo Country Japan U.S.S.Korea Italy Italy Italy Britain Germany U.S. Sweden Switzerland Switzerland Germany U. U.
(Data adopted from Business Week (2007))
.S.S. Germany U.S. U. Switzerland U.S. U. U.S.S. U. U. France U.S. Germany Switzerland Spain Germany S. U. U. U.S.S. U.S. U.S.S.S. Rank 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 Gap L’Oreal Heinz Yahoo! Volkswagen Xerox Colgate Wrigley KFC Chanel Avon Nestle Kleenex Amazon.
What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 13. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. Do you shop online for clothes? 12. How often do you buy clothes? 2. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? 5. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6.Appendix 2: Interview Questions
Name: Course: Nationality: Age: Year of study: Year of living in your home country: 1. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 4. Why do you like this brand? 11. Can you comment on what brand is to you? (Note: Further probing questions would be asked after each of the above question if necessary)
. Do you recommend brands? 9.
since clothes are more expensive than those in China. I had a girlfriend who likes shopping. Kevin.
Chris: How much do you spend on clothing each month? In case of China and also the UK?
Kevin: In China. so in winter. it would be like 40 to 50 pounds. It would talk about 30 minutes. In England.Appendix 3: Interview Transcription
Name: Kevin Fang Age: 23 Gender: Male Nationality: Chinese
Kevin: Yes. I would like to ask you about your purchasing behaviour on clothes.
. How often do you buy clothes?
Kevin: In China. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. so normally I spent 30 pounds more or less each time when I went shopping. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season).
Kevin: Because in China. In England.
Chris: Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? I mean high-priced.
Chris: So you buy clothes less frequently in the UK. Summer clothes are cheaper than winter clothes. around 20 to 30 pounds each time. I was the company. maybe 3 times a year.
medium-priced or low-priced?
Kevin: Medium-priced. I don’t buy very cheap clothes. I prefer higher quality, good taste, so these clothes are more expensive.
Chris: What about the kinds of clothes you buy? Sports apparel, casual wear, formal wear or others?
Kevin: The first two. I buy casual wear more frequently than sports apparels. Sports apparels are just for doing some exercises, and I won’t wear sports apparels on streets. But I buy trainers.
Chris: You really seldom buy formal wear.
Kevin: There are not many chances for me to wear. I have one, just one.
Chris: What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them?
Kevin: I prefer quality as I said, and good taste…I prefer some grand clothes…I like Jack and Jones, and Levi’s. For shoes, I like adidas and Reeboks.
Chris: You have mentioned something about price before, so do you think price is one of your considerations?
Kevin: Yes of course. My girlfriend likes to go to some markets where she can find many cheap clothes. Some of them are on discount and some of them are out of season, she is pursuing that kind of clothes.
Chris: What about you?
Kevin: I like buying shoes in a very good ground. I don’t like bargain with the prices. Some clothes have the absolute prices.
Chris: So when you went to the market with your girlfriend, did you buy them? Because normally we need to bargain in the market.
Kevin: If you go to some small shops, these clothes do not have ground, you can bargain with the shop assistants. But in some shopping malls, some clothes have ground, you cannot bargain with them. Because they are of fixed prices and the quality is good.
Chris: Which one do you prefer? Shops or Market?
Chris: What about brand?
Kevin: Yea, Jack and Jones.
Chris: What about country of origin?
Kevin: Um…I’m not sure which countries these clothes come from because some are made in China, maybe the designers are from other countries. Most of them I think they are from Europe.
Chris: So you have no special preferences?
Chris: If I divide the question into 2, maybe do you have any preference for the country of manufacture?
Kevin: As I said, most of them are made in China.
Chris: What about the country of design?
Chris: Do you have special preferences for the clothes made in Europe?
Kevin: Actually, we can’t find the clothes made in Europe, but in China.
Chris: What about advertising?
Kevin: Advertising is important. Sometimes, I go shopping for clothes just up to the advertising…and maybe there are reputations.
Chris: Do you have any advertisement series come to your mind?
Kevin: Levi’s…their advertisement for jeans is very impressive…so are the one from Jack and Jones.
Chris: What is the advertisement about? For Levi’s, why can it make you so memorable?
Kevin: Because people who wear the clothes look very nice, look very handsome with the clothes.
Chris: You mentioned some people appearing in this advertisement. Are these people celebrities?
Kevin: No, just models. Some of them are Chinese and some of them are foreigners.
Chris: How do you judge the quality of clothes?
Kevin: It depends. I will consider them. For summer clothes. and from my mind. but the prices for these kinds of clothes are high. I only wear them for one to two year. How can they affect you?
Kevin: Maybe they buy very nice clothes. not frequently. of course. they put posters in the public areas. on the streets.
. I can’t afford it.
Chris: In what way do you usually learn about clothing brands?
Kevin: TV. advertisements in the shopping mall. so maybe next time I go shopping. would it have an impact on you to buy the clothes?
Chris: But you maybe affected by them.Chris: If some advertisements feature the celebrities.
Chris: Do you talk about buying clothes with your friends frequently?
Kevin: No. For winter clothes. So it needs to keep the quality for that period. it may be longer. they are nice to put them on.
Chris: What about peer influence? Do you know some brands from your friends?
Kevin: Yes. from my perspective.
these clothes are from very good brands and they quality is conceivable. and Demank (Jack and Jones). then it’s of high quality.
Kevin: As long as it can. I think their quality is good. you know.
Chris: So you think these two countries produce the highest quality clothes?
Kevin: I consider brands more than the countries.
Chris: Any others to judge the quality?
Kevin: Colour…the feeling…whether or not it becomes fade after washing it.
Chris: Do you have some ideas that which countries’ clothes you think they are of highest or lowest quality?
Kevin: Korea (for E-land). Would country of origin affect your perceptions towards clothes quality?
Kevin: As I said most of them are made in China. some brands have their own manufacturing (plants) in China. I never compare which clothes come from which countries.
Chris: So you judge the quality in terms of durability.Chris: So if it’s durable. by the colour. keep the quality until out-of-date.
. by the feeling of texture and whether it will fade or not.
Chris: What about lowest quality?
Kevin: No. we prefer clothes from other countries.
Chris: So you believe quality goes with prices?
Kevin: Actually for young people. you go to that shop again to buy clothes?
Kevin: Ah.Chris: Why do you have such feelings?
Kevin: I think quality goes high as prices go high. the appearance is more important…the quality.
Chris: You mean China usually sells cheap clothes?
Kevin: Yea. I think quality is not a problem for these brands. we may buy some sport apparels like LiNing.
Chris: Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes?
Kevin: Every time I go shopping. I will go to those places…not E-land. maybe cheaper than from other countries. it’s high
Chris: Do you recommend brands to your friends or someone else?
. not many.
Chris: So because of the quality and the appearance. but it doesn’t have any brands in casual wear category. but for casual wear. of course.
Chris: So you mean maybe China has some famous brands in sport apparels. I only bought E-land once… I also buy clothes from Kuhle. famous among young people. it just likes Jack and Jones.
how does such image come from?
Kevin: I think its appearance. maybe they will ignore it. I prefer very colorful image. I never buy clothes online.
. I don’t know. I will buy it. The clothes online are cheap. advertising is the first impression and packaging is on-the-spot influence. you can buy it online. For jeans.
Chris: Why not?
Kevin: I think every one has their own place. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. I prefer blue jeans. If you can’t find in the market or in the shops.Kevin: No. if I recommend my preference to him or her. maybe they will keep in mind. like grid shirts. like the clothes from the markets. To be honest. Maybe girls can find more suitable size than guys do. I know many girls do that. if it is fit to me.
Chris: Can you describe the image of your favorite brand?
Kevin: I prefer very simple image. but I know many people do. For shirts. For T-shirt. So. I can see how it looks like. After I put it on. I prefer some simple image.
Chris: Does such image come from advertising and packaging?
Chris: So you mentioned something about colour and simplicity.
Chris: Do you shop online for clothes?
the size may not fit and the quality as well…
Chris: What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchased?
Kevin: If I am satisfied with the clothes I bought.
. they will give me 5 to 10 percent discount or some credits.
Chris: If the shops do offer you some loyalty cards. I have one from Kuhle and one from Jack and Jones. maybe take it as my pajamas. As long as l finish shopping. would you apply for it?
Kevin: Yea. but less frequently. I will not go to the see any clothes within a short interval. would you go to the same shops to have a look again?
Kevin: Maybe I will go there next season when I go shopping.
Chris: If you are satisfied. So next time I go to these shops to buy clothes. just after finish shopping. I will go there again to see some new clothes…new arrival…But I will not go to the same shops very frequently. at least once a week. they will give me a VIP card.
Chris: What are the bad things of buying clothes online?
Kevin: As I said. it maybe the advantage of buying clothes online. if I buy clothes more than 40 or 50 pounds once. that’s the main advantage. You can find some clothes which you can’t buy in the shops or markets. But if I’m not satisfied with it. I will wear it very regularly. I can get some gifts from the accumulated credits. of course I will wear it.
Kevin: Yea. Normally. maybe they are there. maybe after one or two month.Chris: So.
Chris: That’s all for the interview. Thanks very much.
Chris: So you said ‘Brand is just like the name of people. sunglasses. It may not the spirit of the clothes. something like that. glasses. I would like you to help me finish a sentence starting with ‘Brand is’. but it represents the taste and quality of them.like some accessories. belts.