Measuring customer-based brand equity: empirical evidence from the sportswear market in China

Xiao Tong
Department of Clothing, Textiles, and Interior Design, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA, and

Jana M. Hawley
Department of Apparel, Textiles and Interior Design, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA
Abstract Purpose – This study seeks to examine the practicality and applications of a customer-based brand equity model in the Chinese sportswear market. Design/methodology/approach – Based on Aaker’s well-known conceptual framework of brand equity, this study employed structural equation modeling to investigate the causal relationships among the four dimensions of brand equity and overall brand equity in the sportswear industry. The present study used a sample of 304 actual consumers from China’s two largest cities, Beijing and Shanghai. Findings – The findings conclude that brand association and brand loyalty are influential dimensions of brand equity. Weak support was found for the perceived quality and brand awareness dimensions. Research limitations/implications – Future research needs to be done if the results are to be expanded into other regional Chinese markets in light of the significant gaps between different regions. Further research also could strengthen this analysis by adding performance measurement into the model. Practical implications – The paper shows that sportswear brand managers and marketing planners should consider the relative importance of brand equity in their overall brand equity evaluation, and should concentrate their efforts primarily on building brand loyalty and image. Originality/value – This study contributes to the scant literature testing the applicability of consumer-based brand equity in the sportswear industry. Since China is the world’s fastest-growing market for sportswear products, this study also provides important insights about the understanding of Chinese consumers’ perceptions of overall brand equity and its dimensions. Keywords Brand equity, Sports, Clothing, China, Consumers Paper type Research paper

An executive summary for managers and executive readers can be found at the end of this article.

The active sportswear and athletic footwear product group is one of the most heavily branded areas in the global apparel market. Estimates hold that over three-quarters of the total active sportswear market, and nearly 80 percent of authentic footwear, are branded. According to Just-style, three global sportswear brands, Nike, Adidas, and Reebok, had 33 percent of the global active sportswear and athletic footwear market in 2007 (Newbery, 2008). Branding remains the industry’s largest source of competitive advantage. This is an area of clothing in which customers’ purchasing choices are frequently determined by the sports figures they admire, or the teams they follow, and the brands they aspire to wear (Newbery, 2008). Therefore, brand equity plays a strategic
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Journal of Product & Brand Management 18/4 (2009) 262– 271 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited [ISSN 1061-0421] [DOI 10.1108/10610420910972783]

role in helping sportswear brand managers gain competitive advantage and make wise management decisions. When correctly measured, it is the appropriate metric for evaluating the long-term impact of marketing decisions (Simon and Sullivan, 1993). Although the literature identifies several dimensions of brand equity from other industries, existing research on brand equity in the sportswear industry is still spare. Despite the growing importance of the Chinese market in sportswear products, the topic of how a sportswear firm builds brand equity there appears to be under-researched. By retesting the most popularly adopted brand equity dimensions, this study aims to empirically test and operationalize the customerbased brand equity components and how they interact within the context of sportswear brands in a Chinese sample. The end results of this research also lead to a deeper understanding of a sportswear brand equity concept as well as some implications for practitioners working in the sportswear industry. To accomplish the above stated goals, this paper offers a brief introduction to China’s sportswear market, followed by a review of relevant theoretical literature and a description of the hypotheses of the study. Next, it describes the methodology and rationale for measuring customer-based brand equity. Conclusions and managerial implications follow. 262

. The indirect approach tries to identify potential sources of such equity. 2002). China is seeing its sportswear market burgeoning (Asiamoney. 2006). the effectiveness of marketing communications. 1994). and that the country’s sporting goods market had posted an annual growth rate of 10 percent in recent years (Business Wire. 2006). 1996). p. the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics has also significantly increased interest in sports in China (The Economist. by the end of 2005. and it was estimated that by 2010 more than 40 percent of the population (about half a billion people) would become active sports participants (China Internet Information Center. and the success of brand extensions and licensing opportunities. Aaker (1991) defines it as a set of assets (and liabilities) linked to a brand’s name and symbol that add to (or subtract from) the value provided by a product or service to a firm and/or that firm’s customers. An increasingly sophisticated and wealthy customer base and more international brands entering China after the country’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) have resulted in a highly competitive sportswear market. Reebok. 1996). comfort.233 outlets as it set out to capture the marketing opportunity presented by the Olympics. whereas the direct approach focuses on consumer responses to different elements of the firm’s marketing program.Measuring customer-based brand equity Xiao Tong and Jana M.” A thorough understanding of brand equity from the customer’s point of view is essential for successful brand management. 2002). 263 with Nike remaining in the number one spot (Brand Strategy. familiarity. 2008).3 billion consumers. Puma. has been thriving and prosperous. the Chinese sportswear market is highly competitive and fragmented. 2003).. However. 2006). and higher profit. According to the General Administration of Sport in China.. 2006). and Li-Ning. as Chinese lifestyles become busier. Hawley Journal of Product & Brand Management Volume 18 · Number 4 · 2009 · 262 –271 Literature review Brand building in the Chinese sportswear market With 1.” Conceptual framework and research hypotheses Conceptual framework According to Keller (1993). the mainland’s biggest sportswear company. Sports styles and the growing population of those who follow and participate in sports have a growing influence in the clothing and footwear market in China. 37 percent of China’s total population had taken part in regular physical exercise. a customer’s willingness to seek out new distribution channels. Proponents contend that for a brand to have value. which is believed to have increased awareness of a healthier lifestyle. 2007). 1995. and a growing interest in sports among its consumers. Research consistently shows that rising wealth leads to greater interest in sports. Second. 8) explains. positive customer-based brand equity “can lead to greater revenue. As Keller (1993. 2006). people are increasingly valuing their leisure time. customer-based brand equity is defined from the perspective of the customer and is based on consumer knowledge. The recent strong growth of sportswear subcategories such as hiking and mountain climbing lifestyle apparel has proved this (Chan et al. 2007). 2003). The meaning of the term brand equity has been debated in a number of different ways and for a number of different purposes (Keller. especially in the medium and premium segments. it is the difference between overall brand preference and multiattributed preference based on objectively measured attribute levels (Park and Srinivasan. p. leisure activities. such as NBA basketball player Yao Ming. fashion status. lower cost. The competition in China’s sportswear market is now shifting from price to brand building. leisure-time sports has become a fashion among the more affluent Chinese (Brand Strategy. the economy’s average growth rate in the past five years has been close to 10 percent. 2005). there is both an indirect and a direct approach to measuring customer-based brand equity. Nike’s sales in China surged 35 percent in 2007 over the previous year (Barris and Cheng. 1993). Based on the value of brand equity. Both the Nike and Adidas brands believe that by 2010. Along with the rise of Chinese athletes on the international stage. Furthermore. while the clothing sector. none of the other definitions is meaningful (Cobb-Walgren et al. Branding and product images are becoming increasingly important to Chinese consumers.. 2006). 1995). Keller (1993. International brands are enjoying strong sales growth in the Chinese market. Brand equity is the added value endowed by the brand name (Farquhar et al. and brands that reflect self-expression in China (Bashford. and is intimately connected with China’s growing economic power and its emergence onto the world stage (Brand Strategy. Customer-based brand equity (CBBE) Since the term “brand equity” emerged in the. and premium quality (Urbanowicz et al. 1980s. 2007). rising disposable incomes. just after the USA (Griffin. sport in China is more than just a game. and they are especially popular among young Chinese consumers because of their reputation. 2003). and overall quality and choice intention (Agarwal and Rao. First. 1991). Adidas. stimulated by this sustained gross domestic product (GDP) growth and rising income levels. there has been a growing interest in the subject among marketing academicians and practitioners (Cobb-Walgren et al. and associations with respect to the brand (Washburn and Plank. The China Sporting Goods Industry Report 2006-2007 indicated that annual sales revenues of China’s sporting goods in 2006 were RMB 30-40 billion. the encouragement of an optimistic economy. The 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics was expected to further expand China’s sportswear market by more than 25 percent a year (The Economist. 2003).. China will become their second-largest sportswear market in the world. with hundreds of brands vying for consumer attention (Asiamoney. Nike. and branding and product image are becoming increasingly important to Chinese consumers in these segments (The Economist. added 936 brand stores in 2007 to expand its network to 5. 2006). Compared to the definition of brand equity from a financial perspective as the total value of the brand that is a separable asset when it is sold or included in a balance sheet (Feldwick. just as they are to those in Europe and the USA (Datamonitor. Partially due to the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. The implications of customer-based research suggest that measures of customers’ brand perceptions are . especially in sportswear (Asiamoney. 2007). If the brand has no meaning to the customer. it must be valued by the customer. Keller. 2) coined the CBBE definiton as “the differential effect of brand knowledge on consumer response to the marketing of the brand. it has direct implications for the firm’s ability to command higher prices. It is also about national pride and achievement. and Fila are the favorite brands.

Perceived quality has a significant positive direct effect on brand equity. CBBE occurs when consumers have a high level of awareness and hold some strong. Brand loyalty has a significant positive direct effect on brand equity. 1989). It has been empirically tested in a number of previous studies (Atilgan et al. which is the most commonly cited. it is defined as the degree to which a buying unit. Brand awareness Brand awareness is an important component of brand equity. this study sets out to retest the measurement of customer-based brand equity with sportswear brands in the Chinese market. 1991). Kotler (1991) notes the intimate connection among product and service quality. From a behavioral perspective. Marketers across all product and service categories have increasingly recognized the importance of perceived quality in brand decisions (Morton. Strong. It is not the real quality of the product but the customer’s perception of the overall quality or superiority of the product (or service) with respect to its intended purpose. forms a brand image. Brand equity is a multidimensional concept and a complex phenomenon. relative to alternatives (Zeithaml. positive customer-based brand equity has a significant influence on the financial performance of the firms (Kim and Kim. Perceived quality lends value to a brand in several ways: high quality gives consumers a good reason to buy the brand and allows the brand to differentiate itself from its competitors. 2001).. Yoo et al. provide a reason to buy. 2000). Brand association has a significant positive direct effect on brand equity. Thus. 2005. strong brand equity means that customers have high brand-name awareness. 2001). usually organized in some meaningful way. customer satisfaction. they also make more frequent purchases than comparable non-loyal customers (Bowen and Shoemaker. and to have a strong basis for the brand extension (Aaker. Yoo and Donthu. It refers to the ability of a potential buyer to recognize or recall a brand as a member of a certain product category (Aaker. create positive attitudes or feelings. 1991). the first four represent customers’ evaluations and reactions to the brand that can be readily understood by consumers (Barwise. Brand loyalty Brand loyalty is at the heart of brand equity. brand awareness consists of two sub-dimensions: brand recall and recognition. brand loyalty is defined as “the tendency to be loyal to a focal brand as demonstrated by the intention to buy it as a primary choice” (Oliver. Based on this. With Aaker’s brand equity model. Brand recognition is the basic first step in the task of brand communication. and company profitability. perceive that the brand is of high quality. 2004. to charge a premium price. the following hypothesis is posited: H2. brand association. Brand association Brand association is anything “linked” in memory to a brand (Aaker. the following hypothesis of the relationship between brand loyalty and brand equity is proposed: H4. concentrates its purchases over time on a particular brand within a product category (Schoell and Guiltinan. trademarks. 1996) grouped it into five categories: perceived quality. and channel relationships. Among several brand equity models in the literature. From an attitudinal perspective. This study conceptualizes brand loyalty not on the basis of consumer behavior but rather on the basis of consumer perception. brand loyalty adds considerable value to a brand and/or its firm because it provides a set of habitual buyers for a long period of time. whereby a firm communicates the product’s attributes until a brand name is established with which to associate them. According to Aaker (1991). 1997). differentiate the brand. Brand association can be seen in all forms and reflects features of the product or aspects independent of the product itself (Chen. 2004). Loyal customers are less likely to switch to a competitor solely because of price. It is the major component (Aaker. 1994). favorable. and provide a basis for extensions (Aaker. 1991). brand awareness. then.Measuring customer-based brand equity Xiao Tong and Jana M. 1990). brand loyalty. 1991). this study uses the one constructed by Aaker (1991). 1991). It is believed to contain the meaning of the brand for consumers. A set of associations. According to Keller (1993). Among these five brand equity dimensions. Aaker (1991. and are loyal to the brand. 1996. 264 . 1998). Brand associations create value for the firm and its customers by helping to process/retrieve information.. 1988). Brand awareness can be a sign of quality and commitment. and other proprietary brand assets such as patents. letting consumers become familiar with a brand and helping them consider it at the point of purchase (Aaker. Kim and Kim. which is shown in Figure 1. Hawley Journal of Product & Brand Management Volume 18 · Number 4 · 2009 · 262 –271 accurate reflections of brand performance in the marketplace. Hence. In summary. 1993. Based on the above definition and the suggested relationship of perceived quality and brand equity in the literature. the following hypothesis is posited: H3. Keller (2002) separated it into two components: awareness and association. The relationship between brand equity and brand equity dimensions Perceived quality Perceived quality is the “core/primary” facet across the CBBE framework (Aaker. maintain a favorable brand image. Brand awareness has a significant positive direct effect on brand equity. such as a household. Researchers have been challenged to define and measure brand loyalty. and unique brand associations in their memories. so they have been widely adopted to measure customer-based brand equity in previous studies. 1991). Farquhar. the following hypothesis is formulated: Figure 1 A conceptual framework for brand equity H1.

Product stimuli Four sports shoe brands – Nike. Structural equation modeling was employed for confirmatory factor analysis and path analyses. RMSEA # 1. A total of 26 were eliminated either because they were incomplete or because the respondents did not meet the target age range (18-39 years old). and root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA). 1973). Local graduate students administered the surveys in the selected areas. Singh. and with moderate to high incomes. the target population of this study was defined as young shoppers between the ages of 18 and 39. and GFI and CFI greater than 0. Measures for brand awareness were adopted from Aaker (1991) and Yoo et al. (2000) and Pappu et al. As the leading sportswear brands among China’s teen and young adult consumers (Brand Strategy.1. Sample and data collection Having considered that the young generation comprises the major consumers for branded sportswear products (Dickson et al. brand/corporation reputation.90. 265 Exogenous factors As previously discussed. as well as demographic questions. and Pappu et al.” Data analysis Of the total surveys collected. RMR # 0. adjusted goodness of fit (AGFI). and country of origin. Six shopping centers were chosen based on market investigations in Beijing and Shanghai (three in each city). 2004). In the first stage. translated into Mandarin. five items for which were developed based on Aaker (1996). and Puma – were selected as stimuli in the study. 2006). marketing strategies. especially urban youth. Consumers who were visually estimated to be 18 to 39 years old were approached and asked to respond to the questions. Hawley Journal of Product & Brand Management Volume 18 · Number 4 · 2009 · 262 –271 Methodology A research framework was designed to test the abovehypothesized relationships in the sportswear industry in China. 2008). but participation was entirely voluntary. and approximately 30 percent (n ¼ 94) reported household . five items were used to capture the consumer’s overall commitment to being loyal to a specific brand. For this purpose. goodness of fit (GFI).. This consideration was based on the fact that China is the world’s fastest-growing market for sportswear products. the hypotheses of the relationships between constructs were tested. 304 were considered valid and were used in the final analysis. Brand equity items were developed from existing scales to measure the five constructs on a five-point Likert scale (1 ¼ strongly disagree to 5 ¼ strongly agree).. Brand personality (uniqueness and favorableness) and organizational associations were used as measures for brand association. Shopping center intercept surveys were employed to collect consumer perceptions. the measurement model was analyzed to ensure sufficient reliability and validity of the constructs.. In the second stage. The resulting questionnaire was originally drafted in English. market share. A small gift incentive was offered with each questionnaire in order to increase the response rate. the questionnaire was pretested in the USA on a sample of bilingual Chinese graduate students from a Midwestern American university and later pretested in China. Borrowed from Yoo et al. (2005). are increasingly attracted to branded sportswear (Urbanowicz et al. Results Demographic characteristics The distribution of demographic variables of the sample indicated that the respondents tended to be young.. root mean square residual (RMR). the sports shoe market was targeted. brand awareness. brand association.0. More than 80 percent (n ¼ 252) were under 30 years of age.Measuring customer-based brand equity Xiao Tong and Jana M. and brand loyalty – were considered in the customer-based brand equity measure of this study. The survey questionnaire consisted of items for measuring the dimensions of brand equity. thus representing one of the most important market segments for foreign apparel retailers in China (Kwan et al. Endogenous factors The scale of customer-based overall brand equity was largely derived from the work of Yoo et al.80. and overall brand equity. with some adoptions. From the four listed brands. Adidas. single. Perceived quality measured consumers’ subjective judgments about a brand’s overall excellence or superiority. We followed the two-step approach recommended by Anderson and Gerbing (1988). then to respond to all the statements in the questionnaire for that specific brand. 69 percent were male (n ¼ 210) and 31 percent were female (n ¼ 94). (2005). This group of consumers is willing to spend more time and money to buy clothing. Model fit criteria suggested by Hu and Bentler (1999) were used for both the measurement and the structural model: (x2)/df. using three items adopted from Aaker (1991) and Pappu et al. such as price. Instrument and measures The instrument was developed and administered in accordance with guidelines for designing an effective international marketing instrument (Brisling et al. 87 percent (n ¼ 264) were single. 58 percent (n ¼ 175) had a college degree. Acceptable models should have (x2)/df # 3. it seems smarter to purchase X” and “X is more than a product to me. and young Chinese consumers. they represent different combinations of market factors. 1995). 1973. In another attempt to increase functional and conceptual equivalence. four brand equity dimensions – perceived quality. An example of the four items developed was “If another brand is not different from X in any way.. Reebok. with four items measuring the strength of the brand in a consumer’s memory as reflected by the consumer’s ability to identify various elements of it. comparative fit index (CFI). then backtranslated into English by two native Mandarin speakers to ensure that it corresponded with the English version (Brisling et al. Keller (1993). respondents were first asked to choose the one they were most familiar with. (2005). (2000). (2000) and other previous studies with the purpose of examining consumers’ overall attitudes toward the focal brand and their intention to select the brand against its counterpart. The scales of brand equity dimensions came primarily from previous research. highly educated. Among the 304 respondents. 2003). AGFI $ 0.

which indicated the positive and direct role of brand association (b ¼ 0:47. such as China. The average variance extracted varied from 0. and brand loyalty) were proposed to be the antecedents of brand equity. money. They suggest that different brand equity dimensions contribute to overall equity in different ways. AGFI ¼ 0:85. both perceived quality (b ¼ 20:07. .. 266 The results provided strong support for H3 and H4. strong associations that support a competitively attractive and distinct brand position could create a favorable feeling and behavior toward the brand and lead to a strong sportswear brand in China (Kim and Kim. which was very close to the traditional acceptable value of 0. Yoo et al. indicating the essential role of developing brand loyalty in building brand equity in the Chinese sportswear market. however. Discussion and managerial implications Building brand equity is crucial for a heavily branded product category. t ¼ 4:88) in affecting brand equity. the estimated model results supported for only two of the four hypotheses (see Figure 2). and RMSEA ¼ 0:07). its was concluded that they did not have a direct significant influence on brand equity (see Table II). the results show that brand association is positively related to brand equity. The result was that one brand awareness statement. and brand equity was the endogenous variable.6. its parameters were tested to decide whether to accept the proposed relationships between exogenous and endogamous constructs (Hair et al. Four other constructs met the recommended cut-off value.50 to 0. and items with adequate Cronbach’s alphas were retained for the scales. and varied from 0. Structural model According to our hypotheses. Although the four exogenous constructs (perceived quality. one brand association statement. a structural equation modeling was developed to assess the statistical significance of the proposed relationships between overall brand equity and its dimensions (see Figure 2). and one overall brand equity statement were excluded from the final scale due to a low item-total correlation. t ¼ 5:74) and brand loyalty (g ¼ 0:52. t ¼ 6:16) and brand loyalty (g ¼ 0:57. such as Yoo et al. and cosmetics. composite reliability. This means that. GFI ¼ 0:91. which roughly reflect the four brands’ current positions in terms of market share in the Chinese market. Since marketing/brand managers often have limited resources (e. these findings can help them prioritize and allocate resources across the dimensions. However. The empirical data and statistical tests in this study did not provide enough support for the positive and direct relationship between perceived quality and brand awareness and brand equity. AGFI ¼ 0:84. 2000).g. Although these findings are based on the evidence from the sportswear industry in China. and 9 percent for Reebok. t ¼ 5:88) were significant and all positive. brand association. consistent with previous studies.. All of the fit measures indicated that the structural model was moderately acceptable (ðx2 Þ=df ¼ 2:84 (p . satisfying the criteria of 0. RMR ¼ 0:04. 2004. t ¼ 3:94) and brand loyalty (b ¼ 0:48. we found that both brand associations and brand loyalty had a significant effect on band equity. This result confirms other research findings. This result is also in line with some earlier studies (e. time.000. Table I shows the factor loadings. The composite reliability varied from 0. brand association. The ratio of respondents to the selected four brands was: 47 percent for Nike. 1998).Measuring customer-based brand equity Xiao Tong and Jana M. As a result. when the correlation among dimensions was specified in the structural model.. Unidimensionality and convergent validity of the constructs were assessed by the composite reliability measure and the average variance extracted (AVE) respectively.68. Apart from the model’s general fit for the data. Although these findings do not completely support all of Aaker’s brand dimensions. demonstrating good discriminant validity of all scales. a confirmative factor analysis (CFA) with Amos 5. Reliability and validity of measures First. 32 percent for Adidas. like sportswear.0 Graphics software (SEM package) for the measurement model with five constructs was performed. fashion accessories.69.g. footwear. t ¼ 6:05). on the sportswear industry in a representative Chinese sample.. Hawley Journal of Product & Brand Management Volume 18 · Number 4 · 2009 · 262 –271 annual income of more than $6. all of the four exogenous variables were proposed to be intercorrelated. 2000). t ¼ 20:83) and brand awareness (b ¼ 0:10. t ¼ 0:77) were found to have either very low or negative parameter estimates. CFI ¼ 0:90.59 to 0. Thus.76. 12 percent for Puma. CFI ¼ 0:90. The goodness-offit statistics indicated that all criteria met the recommended values in the measurement model (( x2 Þ=df ¼ 2:88. satisfying the convergent validity criteria. Perceived quality. and RMSEA ¼ 0:08). In addition. The purpose of this study was to examine and retest the applicability of Aaker’s brand equity model. Cronbach’s alpha coefficients were used to examine the internal consistency of the items. and brand loyalty were all taken as the exogenous variables. and the intercorrelations between brand awareness and brand association (g ¼ 0:69. It should be noted. all of the constructs were acceptable and a total of eighteen items were retained for the five constructs in the study. indicating that having high quality or having a brand name alone is not a guarantee of a successful brand in the sportswear industry. In addition. brand awareness. and average variance extracted.81. within a highly competitive and brand conscious market. thus satisfying the criteria of 0. 2000). they are helpful in other clothing-related industries as well. brand awareness. perceived quality and brand awareness might affect brand equity by influencing brand association and brand loyalty first (see Table III). Next. the discriminant validity of the scales evaluated for all possible paired combinations of the constructs and all x2 differences were significant. Yoo et al. 1993. the intercorrelations between perceived quality and brand association (g ¼ 0:52. such as general clothing.50. Loyalty demonstrated the strongest impact.60 to 0. Many previous studies also suggested a potential casual order might exist among the brand equity dimensions (Oliver. The value of Cronbach’s alpha for “brand awareness” was calculated as a score of 0. Therefore. Yoo et al. All factor loadings were significant..70. 1997. and that an order exists among the four dimensions. Swait et al. GFI ¼ 0:90. and manpower) to implement branding strategies.. RMR ¼ 0:04. the most common conceptual framework for the measurement of customer-based brand equity. 0:00). Here. (2000) and Kim and Kim (2004).

76 0. 2002. compared to competing brands BAS2 I respect and admire people who wear X BAS3 I like the brand image of X BAS4 I like and trust the company. which makes X products Brand loyalty (a50:81. Yoo et al. therefore. AVE ¼ average variance extracted. which have high importance in the construct of brand equity.07 11. X means the specific brand. – means the path parameter was set to 1. CR ¼ composite reliability.18 – 10.Measuring customer-based brand equity Xiao Tong and Jana M. 2000).81 0. and strong brand image to provide customers with a reason to buy the brand. The first is that managers should concentrate their efforts primarily on brand loyalty and brand image. all loadings are significant at 0.. CR 5 0:60.001 level Figure 2 Relationships between four dimensions of brand equity and overall brand equity Two implications can be derived here. and non-price promotion are potentially effective marketing strategies to build a strong brand image and brand loyalty (Aaker. 1995. it seems smarter to purchase X is more than a product to me OBE3 Notes: a ¼ Cronbach’s alpha.60 0.69 0. I would prefer to buy X OBE2 If another brand is not different from X in any way. the key is to create a unique. AVE 5 0:53) BL1 I consider myself to be loyal to X BL2 When buying athletic shoes.95 Perceived quality (a50:73. AVE 5 0:69a) PQ1 I trust the quality of products from Xb PQ2 Products from X would be of very good quality PQ3 Products from X offer excellent features Brand awareness (a50:68.66 0. AVE 5 0:51) BAW1 Some characteristics of X come to my mind quickly BAW2 I can recognize X quickly among other competing brands BAW3 I am familiar with X brand Brand association (a50:70.59 0.63 0.69 0.60 t-value d 10. Cobb-Walgren et al.74 0.60 0.70 7. CR 5 0:63. Hawley Journal of Product & Brand Management Volume 18 · Number 4 · 2009 · 262 –271 Table I Confirmatory factor analysis for the constructs Latent variables and observed indicators Standardized factor loading 0. 1991.68 0. no t-value was given. 1991. Keller. advertising across different media.44 7.01 –c 9. CR 5 0:64.90 9. In the highly competitive sportswear industry. then work to keep their loyalty and gain their repeat business (Aaker. 1999). especially the relationship of . The second implication is that marketing/brand managers should consider the intercorrelations among the four dimensions of brand equity.22 – 10.67 0.15 – 6. sports event sponsorships. X would be my first choice BL3 I will keep on buying X as long as it provides me satisfied products BL4 I am still willing to buy X even if its price is a little higher than that of its competitors BL5 I would love to recommend X to my friends Overall brand equity (a50:71.62 0.. AVE 5 0:50) BAS1 X has very unique brand image.02 6. CR 5 0:76.23 10. Fan and Pfitzenmaier.64 – 8. Celebrity/star 267 endorsements. 2002.56 7.71 0.59 0. Tepeci.64 0. AVE 5 0:52) OBE1 Even if another brand has the same features as X. CR 5 0:61.65 0. favorable.

Vol. S. Aksoy. Bashford. September 14. Marketing Letters. p. Chen. Hawley Journal of Product & Brand Management Volume 18 · Number 4 · 2009 · 262 –271 Table II Results of hypotheses testing Hypotheses Relationships Perceived quality ! brand equity Brand awareness ! brand equity Brand association ! brand equity Brand loyalty ! brand equity Standardized coefficient 20. small wardrobes”. and the relationship of brand awareness to brand association and brand loyalty. First. Anderson. p. November. M. (1996). China Internet Information Center (2006). and Shoemaker.001 levels perceived quality to brand association and brand loyalty. 40. (1993). 1991. V.88 1. (1996). “Using free association to examine the relationship between the characteristics of brand associations and brand equity”. P.g.00 0.00 0. Barris. 237-48.J. 1-3. “Loyalty: a strategic commitment”. “Nationwide physical fitness program retrieved”.Measuring customer-based brand equity Xiao Tong and Jana M. Vol.48 5. # # 0. 3. Barwise.05 0. it is limited to the sportswear market in China and focuses on only the two largest cities. D. brand preferences. future research needs to be done if the results are to be expanded into other regional Chinese markets in light of significant regional gaps in consumer attitudes and behaviors. C.57 Brand association n t-value Brand loyalty t-value Exogenous constructs Perceived quality Brand awareness Brand association Brand loyalty n 6. and Robert. Vol. Thus. Free Press. pp. Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly. (1988).C. “Brand equity: snark or boojum?”. NY. J.001 Results Unsupported Unsupported Supported Supported H1 H2 H3 H4 Note: Explained variance ðR2 Þ ¼ 0:80 Table III Correlations among exogenous constructs Perceived quality n t-value 1. 1997).05 Exogenous constructs Brand awareness n t-value 1. The Journal of Product & Brand Management. 24 No. D. (2007). Vol.88 p-value .07 0. C. September 20.. 23 Nos 2/3. Free Press. Vol. . M. “An empirical comparison of consumer based measures of brand equity”. Journal of Advertising. 439-51.05 0. pp. Measuring Brand Equity across Products and Markets. “Beware piracy if you’re breaking China”. Business Wire (2007). e.W. 268 Asiamoney (2006). 237-47. New York. 12-25. 1.52 6. 411-23.16 5.77 3. and Tse. It should also be noted that no performance measurements have been conducted in this study due to the inability to gather the required financial data. would further strengthen this research. “Earnings digest: Nike.83 0. and Rao. 93-104. and purchase intent”. NY. pp. Note: All correlations are significant at 0. “Chinese sports: China flexes its muscles”.00 0. p. December 20. W. paced by sales abroad. “Structural equation modeling in practice: a review and recommended two-step approach”. pp. Wall Street Journal. M. Crosscultural Research Methods. J. Marketing Intelligence & Planning. (2005). 3. and Donthu. R.001 0. C. S.65 0.68 1. Vol. “League tables – narrowing the consumer focus in China”. managers should not undervalue the effects of perceived quality and brand awareness. Promotions and Incentives. pp. we suggest that when concentrating on creating brand association and brand loyalty.T. pp. D. Oliver. Aaker. Vol. high quality enables consumers to recognize a brand’s distinctiveness and superiority and leads to consumer satisfaction and loyalty (Aaker. (1973). pp. N.china. R. 3. Beal. “Determinants of the brand equity: a verification approach in the beverage industry in Turkey”. June. Lonner.74 6. expects more gains”. (1991). “Brand equity. S. E. Brisling. 15-16.W.69 0. The McKinsey Quarterly.J. sales and profit. (2001).67 6.K. available at: www. “China sporting goods industry report 2006-2007 out now”. Cobb-Walgren. Beijing and Shanghai. C7. International Journal of Research in Marketing. Agarwal. New York. A. pp. and Cheng.A. and Akinci. 1. Including performance measurement and financial performance of the studied sportswear brands. org. 103 No. While brand awareness serves as a foundation for brand image and brand loyalty. S. John Wiley & Sons. (1995).48 t-value 2 0. A. (1998).94 4. Brand Strategy (2006). Chan. 10 Nos 6/7.52 0. 1. Bowen. September. pp. Managing Brand Equity.47 0. (2007). (2003). W. “China: small budgets. Psychological Bulletin.htm (accessed May 10. References Aaker.. Cheung.10 0. 25-40. 2008). and Gerbing. NY. As a result. Limitations This study has two major limitations. 10 No. 39 No. New York. Atilgan.A. 7 No.

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Dr Hawley is a Fulbright Scholar to India and a Global Scholar to Thailand. This prompts Tong and Hawley to conclude that strong associations which “support a competitively attractive and distinct brand position” can help to inspire positive attitude and behavior toward the brand. perceived quality. Previous research concluded that brand associations help customers to better process or retrieve information. A sample of 304 was obtained. Reebok and market leader Nike. with 69 percent of respondents being male and 31 percent female. Chinese consumers are increasingly viewing branding and product image as highly important. and increases the likelihood of it being chosen over alternatives. Previous research had indicated the possibility of a “causal order” among the brand equity components. The positive relationship between brand association and brand equity likewise mirrored other findings. highly educated consumers with moderate to high incomes. Brand equity has customarily been assessed from the financial perspective but researchers are now suggesting that understanding how the customer perceives this equity is arguably even more important. Earlier studies found brand loyalty to have the strongest effect on brand equity and the results here provided further evidence of this. Various constructs have been suggested including the argument that it is comprised of five categories. research into the role of brand equity in the sportswear sector is so far limited. Hawley Journal of Product & Brand Management Volume 18 · Number 4 · 2009 · 262 –271 published on the topic. China’s sportswear market has grown significantly in recent years. brand loyalty. brand association and brand loyalty would all directly influence brand equity. These assets have the ability to enhance or tarnish the value the product or service offers the company and/or its customers. brand awareness. loyal consumers who perceived a brand favorably could make more frequent purchases than non-loyal and be less likely to switch to a cheaper rival. Like their counterparts in Europe and the USA. The allocation of participants to the four brands was an approximate reflection of each brand’s current market share in China. profitability of a company have been noted by marketing managers within various categories. there is now a growing inclination towards a brandoriented marketing focus. brand awareness and brand association reflect a customer perspective and have subsequently been widely used in other studies to measure CBBE. Research and findings In the current study. Surveys were carried out at shopping centers in Beijing and Shanghai and customers who appeared to be aged between 18 and 39 were targeted on the basis that such consumers represent an important market segment for sportswear products. The measure reflects consumer perception of product appropriateness. single. differentiate the brand and develop positive attitudes or feelings. revenue. Tong and Hawley examine how these four components affect brand equity for sports shoe brands in the Chinese market. Her work in sustainability has gained her international recognition. Trendiness. They can also influence purchase decision making and justify band extensions. profit. The significant expansion of domestic sportswear company Li-Ning is mirrored by robust sales growth for leading international brands that include Adidas.Measuring customer-based brand equity Xiao Tong and Jana M. Perceived quality is considered a core ingredient of CBBE. It was nevertheless suggested that these dimensions may impact on brand association and brand loyalty and in this way indirectly influence brand equity. they point to the lack of support for significant and positive direct influence on brand equity by perceived quality and brand awareness as evidence that success in the Chinese sportswear cannot be assured through high quality or brand name alone. provided support only for brand association and brand loyalty in this respect. Of these five. Links between product and service quality. In this respect. the existence of a perceptual component is also considered. One key interpretation is that it reflects a group of assets or liabilities that are associated to a brand’s name or logo. Brand awareness is sub-divided into brand recall and recognition and is recognized as a key influent on potential buyers. The 2008 Beijing Olympics is considered partly responsible for the rising interest in sport in China. Whereas manufacturers in China’s sportswear market formerly competed almost exclusively on price. comfort. reputation and quality associated with such brands serves to heighten their appeal to young Chinese consumers. Most were young. customer satisfaction and the success and . While many scholars measure loyalty through continuous purchase behavior. quality or superiority in relation to competing brands. Adidas. 270 Components of brand equity Brand equity is recognized a key in helping sportswear companies gain competitive advantage in an industry where consumers aspire towards the brands adorned by their favorite sporting figures or teams. Study findings. Puma. However. Participants were asked to choose which of Nike. Brand loyalty is regarded as the major element of CBBE. marketing and brand extensions among other areas. Different definitions of brand equity have surfaced depending on the context of its deployment. The premise is that customer-based brand equity (CBBE) can also potentially impact on cost. Analysts recognize brand equity as complex and multidimensional. the influence of perceived quality and brand awareness was extremely low or negative. And with the strength of the country’s economy making consumers more affluent. On the other hand. In contrast. Executive summary and implications for managers and executives This summary has been provided to allow managers and executives a rapid appreciation of the content of the article. Reebok and Puma they were most familiar with and then respond to questionnaire statements pertaining to that brand. She has conducted a faculty-led study abroad to India and Mexico. Awareness of a brand can indicate familiarity and commitment. Those with a particular interest in the topic covered may then read the article in toto to take advantage of the more comprehensive description of the research undertaken and its results to get the full benefit of the material present. however. Brand association relates to a group of attributes than combine in the consumer’s memory to form an image of the brand. The authors had predicted that perceived quality.

Hawley Journal of Product & Brand Management Volume 18 · Number 4 · 2009 · 262 –271 Recommendations for marketing and further study Evidence that these dimensions impact differently on brand equity may help marketers to allocate resources more effectively.Measuring customer-based brand equity Xiao Tong and Jana M. non-price promotions and cross-media advertising. In this competitive environment. Confining this study to China’s sportswear market is acknowledged as a limitation. Supplied by Marketing Consultants for Emerald. For the latter purpose. A powerful brand image that is distinctive and favorable will initially attract consumers to the brand and provide a platform for developing their loyalty.) To purchase reprints of this article please e-mail: reprints@emeraldinsight. They likewise urge brand managers to consider the order and relationships that exist between the components and. the main focus should be on brand image and brand loyalty.emeraldinsight. ´ (A precis of the article “Measuring customer based brand equity: empirical evidence from the sportswear market in China”. event sponsorships. Or visit our web site for further details: 271 . not to underrate the indirect influence of perceived quality and brand awareness on overall equity. Extending the research to include other regions of the country is recommended. the authors recommend a marketing strategy that incorporates celebrity endorsements. while the authors likewise believe that findings could benefit further by the inclusion of performance measurements of the brands chosen for the study. although it is argued that findings may be relevant to other apparel-related sectors.

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