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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 22.214.171.124 Chinese spending habits 126.96.36.199 Impediments to China’s clothing brand development 1.2.2 UK clothing market 188.8.131.52 British spending habits 184.108.40.206 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 220.127.116.11 Within-case analysis 18.104.22.168 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
2 Brand awareness 5.2.6 Consumer buying behaviour 5.4 Brand loyalty 5.3.3 Perceived quality 22.214.171.124.2 Conclusions 5.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 5.4 Implications 5.5 Recommendations for further research 58 58 58 58 59 59 60 60 61 61 62 64 References 66 Appendix 1: The 100 top brands 2006 79 Appendix 2: Interview questions 80 Appendix 3: Interview transcription 81 .3.2.1 Introduction 5.4 Results 126.96.36.199 Limitations 5.3 Perceived quality 4.4 Brand loyalty 4.2.5 Brand association 4.6 Consumer buying behaviour 4.2.5 Summary 46 50 53 54 56 57 Chapter 5: Conclusions 5.5 Brand association 5.
In the UK. namely brand awareness. Some may even regarded it as equity as it can add values to the products. comparing the consumer behaviour between the British and Chinese respondents based on the four respects of brand equity. i . brand loyalty and brand association. This study examines the factors which contribute to brand equity in the clothing industry. 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. it is important that Chinese factory owners together with marketers should join hands to have better control over the clothes quality. Having known that China has no influential clothing brands around the world. The findings suggested that Chinese tend to have negative perceptions towards the quality of clothes produced in their own country. however. clothing brands are much better developed than its China counterparts.Abstract Brand is a powerful tool to attract more consumers to buy particular products. perceived quality. Semi-structured interviews have been conducted to solicit responses from interviewees for analysis.
especially my father Chun Shiu Tam who has devoted himself to the clothing industry for nearly half a century. Vicky Story. 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. 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. In addition. in assisting me to finish the dissertation. ii .Acknowledgements I would like to thank my advisor. He has not only inspired me to do this dissertation. Dr. They have devoted their precious time for the interviews voluntarily and their wholehearted support contributes to the success of this dissertation. but also encouraged me to face the challenge ahead. I would also acknowledge my school-mates for their help in the data collection process.
Once consumers make a purchasing decision. These highlight the complication of buying processes and the potential impact a brand could impose in between them. purchase and post-purchase. decide which and where to buy. different genders and cultural backgrounds. the purchasing processes can be divided into three stages. Each stage is of equal importance that can alter the consumer buying decision. have become popular not only in their country of origin. under the influence of globalization and concerted efforts from media advertising.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing Clothing. show satisfaction to the services or product quality and finally be loyal to the brand. As mentioned by Rayport and Jaworski (2003). Having a strong and remarkable brand image could help establish an identity in marketplace (Aaker. in addition to the basic functions. consumers may need to recognize their personal needs.Chapter 1 Introduction 1. 1 . Human beings cannot live without the protection from clothes in adverse conditions and this signifies how important clothing is for us. express the status an individual has and what their personal image is like (O’Cass. Nowadays. but also in other markets with high potential. 2000). Owing to the proliferation of brands in the clothing sector. Thus. which can tell how significant an individual is. consumers need to take serious consideration during the buying processes. 1996). clothing can help represent our personal identity. Shopping for clothes is one of the popular pastimes among people from all ages. Several brands. read product information. determine whether to buy again from the same retailer. namely pre-purchase. is a kind of necessity that helps keep our bodies warm. as a matter of fact. choose the buying modes. clothes can also serve as fashion items.
1991. contributing to 74. Corstjens and Lal. Being an advanced developing country. In this way. encourage greater intermediary co-operation as well as increase the chance for further brand extension (Delgado-Ballester and Munuera-Aleman. The differences in their economies have triggered the interest of my study towards their consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector.16 billion US dollars in terms of export value and leading it to become the second largest clothing export market in 2 . 1996. Under this concept.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets China and the UK are entirely different in their economic structures. (2004). 2003). In accordance with Delong et al. This may probably explain why China is now becoming one of the most influential countries within the clothing sector. China tends to be more dependent on labour-intensive production activities rather than natural resource-based activities (Greenaway and Milner. 2000. consumers appear to rely on the brand image as long as they have little knowledge about the brand.1 China clothing market The clothing industry is one of the most important and hence heavily invested industry in China. In this paper. brands are regarded as valuable assets which can help the companies generate lucrative revenues. 1993. 2001. 1993). the concept of brand equity would be utilized as a theoretical framework. On the other hand. managing brand image is of utmost importance. Keller. Ailawadi.widen the profit margins. In order to differentiate one brand from another. The importance of brand image has inspired many marketing scholars and practitioners to begin researching the concept of ‘brand equity’ (Aaker.2. which would be illustrated in the following chapters. 2000). 1. the UK has transformed from an industrial country to a well-developed country in the recent decades. marketers would develop retail brands with unique image so as to continue to gain popularity and market share (Abend. 1. 1998. 2005).
followed by cutting. Nowadays. however. With the accession of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. It is undeniable that the entry of WTO would provide business opportunities for China. Chinese customers show divergent opinions with respect to purchasing clothes. This points out the fact that a large majority of Chinese is still in favor of domestic brands in low-priced range. 1. China is known for the manufacture of basic goods in large volumes and foreign registered brands are often designed elsewhere and produced in China. 1998) reveals that over two thirds of the consumers regard domestic brands as their first priority.1 Chinese spending habits According to a research conducted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) (2002). 3 . Regarding the criteria for buying clothes. On average. the development of clothing industry in China becomes even much faster. to further strengthen its position in the clothing sector. the Grey China Base Annual Consumer Study (Bates. This disparity is probably due to the fact that professionals have higher spending power than the students’. It is shown that they would prefer buying middle-priced range clothes from Hong Kong and luxury brand-named clothes made in foreign countries. Chinese brands have competitive advantage in fitness and pricing (Delong et al. China plays a role as a producer. wielding the techniques and human resources to finish the orders placed by the foreign counterparts. However.3% of their income on buying clothes with women professionals having the highest demand and students’ spending the minimal amount. this would also engender intense competition since foreign firms are allowed to sell their products directly to China. quality and finally trendiness. pricing. people spend 7.2005 (WTO. As stated by Cui (1997). It is believed that China could make use of its competitive advantages.1. for instances low labour costs and large portions of usable land. respondents rank fitness as their prime concern. 2004). The HKTDC (2002) research also reports on the average annual spending on clothing..2. 2006). However.
The originally advantageous factors. 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.1.2. This spells out the need for China to establish its own brands with good reputation.people still tend to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets.to middle-priced range market without fully penetrating to the luxurious level. none of the Chinese brands can enter the 100 Top Brands in 2006 (see Appendix 1) in which Nike was ranked 31. 1. The lack of brand knowledge is probably attributed to the geographical and political differences. become a major hindrance to the global brands’ development process. Such findings provide insights to the future development of local brands in China.. China has been connoted with the reputation of low-cost products in the overseas markets for decades. This is possibly owing to the fact that Chinese brands are confined to low. According to a report published by Business Week (2007). however. followed by adidas in 71 and the Spain-found clothing company ZARA in 73. When it comes to the case 4 . Besides. They tend to perceive US brands positively as US has a reputation in technological development and high fashion. However. such confusion does not affect the overall perception towards brands in other countries. 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. 2004). Schmitt and Pan (1994) state that Chinese customers could not be able to differentiate between US and European apparel brands. however. they often find Hong Kong and Taiwan brand names confusing.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. Cui (1997) points out that customers would only justify a brand through its image as long as they know little about it. Also.
including the clothing industry.1 British spending habits Spending seems more welcome than saving among the British people. 2007). 2004). nearly two thirds of the companies in China would like to establish their own global brand. Regarding its GDP growth. the overall image of Chinese brands could become better in the future.2 UK clothing market The UK is a European country with population of around 60 million. it is pursuing a stable rather than aggressive GDP growth rate. Among the respondents. pales in comparison with the development of the business sector and even has a sign of recession in the recent decades.com. contributing to nearly 30% of the total domestic products (Economist. which is 21 times less than that of China (Economist. The manufacturing sector. This can be revealed by the gradual decline of employment rate within the UK clothing industry (Jones and Hayes.2. the business services and finance sector are the most important source of gross domestic products.about the perception of China-produced foreign brands. The image of China-produced products needs improvement in this sense. March 25). 1. 1. because of its mature economic structure.2. With such impetus and the concerted effort from the industry members. In addition.com. females are more likely 5 . just around one-third of female respondents and less than half of the male respondents express that they have the saving habits. regardless of their quality. 2007). According to a research reported by Hargrave-Silk (2005. it is ironic that most respondents find that they are less authentic.2. According to a research conducted by Weekes (2004). 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.
there is a trend for own brand development.to spend on clothes than males. However. leaving alone the design centre with well-trained designers. this is found to hinder the development of British clothing design due to lack of manufacturing facilities (Dagworthy. and occasionally. 2004).2. 1998.2. 2004). 2003). South and Spitze. As mentioned by Moore (1995). This may possibly explain why shopping is a gendered activity (Dholakia. 1. Although the UK is overwhelmed with fashion brands. the UK clothing industry has shifted its manufacturing section to other countries with low labour costs and skilled labour. as cited in Carruthers. 1994). As far as the UK fashion retail sector is concerned. 2002). the market is characterized by products with small differentiation (Birtwhistle and Freathy. 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. 1995). 1999. as well as fluctuating consumer demand (Marciniak and Bruce. 1999). the same research shows that store cards may not be regularly used even though special offers are often given to the cardholders (Weekes. Store cards and loyalty cards are common promotional tactics to solicit consumer’s loyalty. women may even shop for men’s clothing (Dholakia. 2004. In 6 . 2003). concentrated markets. strong competitive activities. However. Such move can probably account for the significant drop in employment rate and amount of output in the clothing sector (Jones.2 Characteristics of the UK clothing market Like most of the developed economy. Moore. 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. short-life-cycle products. 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. Siddiqui et al. a polarized marketplace..
brand loyalty. consumers would appear to be more likely to purchase the products in much higher prices. 1. with the comparison between the Chinese and British consumers. Having found out the relationship between brand image and consumer purchasing behaviour. As stated by Bearden and Etzel (as cited in Hogg et al.3 Theoretical framework With a well-known brand name.addition. perceived brand equity and brand associations.. 2004). According to Aaker (1991). brand equity is mainly derived from four elements. namely brand awareness. 2004. This phenomenon spells out the concept of brand equity. Such phenomena have stimulated the emergence of brand name development in the competitive UK clothing market. 1. clothing is a kind of public 7 . Compared with other retailed sector. Mintel. 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. consumers would prefer buying brand-name products (Bello and Holbrook. 2001. Marciniak and Bruce. 1995).4 Objectives of the dissertation The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour in clothing. the fashion retailing sector is found to incorporate the largest number of indigenous chains such as Next plc (Marciniak and Bruce. family-owed businesses and some large scale chain stores. 1998). 2003). composing of independent. The clothing sector is particularly chosen in this research. with the later one contributing to the largest proportion of market share (Easey. As far as the same level of product quality is concerned. the retailing sector is fragmented. marketers and practitioners could devise strategies to increase the sales revenues.
whereas the UK is a mature market in which consumers are more experienced in purchasing brand-name clothes. 1. there are differences in buying behaviour for consumers in China and the UK.5 Outline of the dissertation The structure of the dissertation is shown as follows: Chapter 1 is the introductory section. In addition. containing the background information of China and the UK clothing industry. brand image should have an impact on the consumer buying behaviour of clothing and second. 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. the research objectives and the dissertation outline. Chapter 2 will incorporate the review of previous studies. ZARA. In this way. 2007. First. 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 8 .necessity with weak reference group influence on the product category but strong reference group influence on the brand choice. China. 2007). results obtained from the research on brand image could be more conspicuous. 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. is on the lookout for extensions. being an emerging country with high potential on clothing brands. The results of such comparison would offer meaningful insights for further brand development in both China and the UK. Two assumptions are made throughout the dissertation. mainly concentrating on clothing industry and consumer buying behaviour.
Implications towards the business environment and research limitations are also included. focusing on the description of research design and justification of data. 9 . 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.understandable in the forthcoming sections. Chapter 3 delineates the research methodology. 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. Recommendations would be made with regard to the limitations so as to provide further directions in the future studies.
2001). Murphy. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the recent decades. 2. This dissertation is going to investigate the differences of British and Chinese in purchasing clothes under the influence of brand image. packaging. 1998).1 Introduction Consumer behaviour refers to the activities in which people acquire. most of them concentrate on a single country study. In this chapter. a brand is also composed of products. 1998). In addition to a specific brand name.Chapter 2 Literature Review 2. promotion. as well as its overall presentation (Murphy. 1991. 1998) and it is characterized by a noticeable name or symbol which can differentiate the goods and services from the rivals’ (Aaker. Brand serves a pivotal role for distinguishing goods and services from those of the competitors (Aaker. regardless of the importance of cross-country comparisons which will inspire innovative ideas for understanding the fast-changing consumer habits. However. consume and dispose products and services (Blackwell et al. 2003). 1991. there is a growing number of research conducted in the field of consumer buying behaviour.. 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. The emergence of brand equity underlies the importance of brand in marketing tactics and hence provides useful insights for managers and further research (Keller. Keller. brand is a guarantor of reliability and quality 10 . From the consumers’ perspective.2 The important roles of brand Brand is a name in every consumer’s mind (Mooij. advertising. 1998).
Finally and most importantly. there are four elements for building a successful brand. augmented brand and potential brand. Although successful brands can be totally different in nature. When deciding which products to purchase.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. consumers have a wide range of choice to choose from when they enter a shopping mall.in consumer products (Roman et al. Tangible product refers to the commodity which meets the basic needs of the customers. 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. they share something in common. 2005). 2000). Added to this. a potential brand is established through engendering customer 11 . consumers would have their preferences. 2006). Basic brand. which are developed in accordance with their perceptions towards the brand. on the other hand. It is found that consumers’ emotions are one of the major determinants which affect their buying behaviour (Berry. According to a research conducted by Freeride Media LLC (1998) on shopping habits.. 1999. effective after-sales services and the like. 1999). The brand can be further augmented with the provision of credibility. 1998). Nowadays. considers the packaging of the tangible product so as to attract the attention from the potential customers. As mentioned by Levitt (1983). Fennis and Pruyn.2. Murphy. 1998. nearly one-forth of the respondents are likely to impulse-buy clothes and accessories. for instances well-priced products and consistent quality (Murphy. 2. namely tangible product. consumers would like to buy and use brand-name products with a view to highlight their personality in different situational contexts (Aaker. basic brand. 1998).
Keller (1998) points out that brand equity signifies the unique marketing effects imposed on the brand. In addition. the values of brands have been recognized to both the consumers and producers. 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. For instance. including its name and symbol. Yasin et al. 2. Concerning the positive side of brand equity.preference and loyalty. In countries with well-established legal system. Marks and Spencer. Added to this. 12 . 1998). 1991. poor product quality and customer services could adversely affect the brand image. 1998). By doing so. not to mention the growth or declines of retail sales (Blackwell. This is supported by the fact that brand equity depends on the number of people with regular purchase (Aaker. patents. 1995). In order to combat piracy. One of the quintessential examples regarding brand as a kind of equity is the imposition of laws to protect intellectual property (Murphy. which could impose beneficial or detrimental effects on the values arising from the products or services (Aaker. 2002). the image of the brand could be well instilled in the customers’ mind. designs as well as copyright. many countries have set up laws to protect trade marks. 2007).. Vodafone. giving rise to a reduction in sales volume. Brands like HSBC. 1996). 2007). It is found that the volatility of stock market could affect consumers’ purchasing mood. Sainsbury and Tesco are all listed on the FTSE 100 index (London Stock Exchange. brand equity could be ruined if it is not properly managed. brand is also a tradable product with measurable financial value (Murphy. However.3 Brand equity The term ‘brand equity’ refers to a set of assets and liabilities associated with a brand. It is not uncommon to find some familiar brands listed on the stock markets in which they could be bought or sold.
1991). There is a high propensity for consumers with good perceptions to buy from the same shop again than those with poor perceptions.The above examples highlight the values of brand equity for both consumers and the firm. name awareness. 1991). It refers to the ability of a potential consumer to recall and recognize the brand. Keller. linking the brand with its corresponding product class (Aaker. 1991.1 Brand awareness Brand awareness is one of major determinants of brand equity. This is due to the fact that the product needs to enter the awareness set before it comes to the consideration 13 . perceived quality and brand associations (Aaker. brand equity could also be a source for the firm to generate cash flow. Besides. 1998). These four main areas are to be discussed in the coming sections. For instance. 2. The level of brand awareness lies in a continuum. 2005). brand equity could also allow higher margins through premium pricing and reduced reliance upon promotional activities (Aaker. As for the firm.3. brand equity could provide them with information about the brand which influences their confidence during the purchasing process. For the consumers. consumers no longer focus on the short-term promotion but the brand on the whole. Owning to the positive image. It is important for the potential consumers to be aware of a product so that it can become one of the purchasing choices. but also attracted more people to invest in the bigger company with high potential (Business Week. namely brand loyalty. Past purchasing experiences and familiarity with the brand could be attributable to the perceptions generated from the consumers (Aaker. 1991). 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. with brand recognition being the lowest level and the first named brand with unaided recall being the highest level. Brand equity is a broad concept which can be further subdivided into four main areas.
Consumers are hence well-equipped with comparative elements to judge which product or service to purchase (Alvarez and Casielles. its geographical location and politics could affect the consumer brand awareness level seriously. 2005). Advertising and celebrity endorsement could be some useful tools for raising brand awareness. celebrities can disseminate messages to particular consumers and hence increase the brand awareness. due to their political separations. 2001) and an increase in brand awareness is conducive to a higher chance of entering the later set (Nedungadi. brands from Taiwan and Hong Kong are sometimes confused. In addition. owing to geographical differences. there is an increasing number of advertising campaigns around the world. Chinese consumers cannot distinguish US apparel brand names from the European ones. two tasks are to be accomplished.. According to research conducted by Delong et al. In this way. 2007). as pointed out by McGuire (1978).. has once been a colony of the UK.set (Blackwell et al. As mentioned by Keller (1998). namely increasing brand name identity and associating it with the product class. 1990). Macdonald and Sharp. For source credibility. 2007). This could probably explain why consumers tend to buy a recognizable brand rather than an unfamiliar one (Hoyer. 1986.. brands with higher level of awareness would be more likely to be purchased (Yasin et al. For long time. It is found that advertisement attitude is attributable to the influence on brand attitudes. 1990. (2004). 2000). In recent decades. celebrity endorsement can give rise to source credibility and source attractiveness. being a special administrative region since 1997. brand awareness can be enhanced through repeat exposure to the brand. Tsai et al.. As for source 14 . Moreover. In case of China. In order to achieve brand awareness. Taiwan would like to become politically independent from China owing to their different political standpoint whereas Hong Kong. affecting consumer’s intention to purchase (Mackenzie et al. Several factors can alter the level of brand awareness.
the country-of-origin of a product is found to affect its perceived quality (Khachaturian and Morganosky. 2. features. It is defined as the customer’s perception of the overall quality or superiority of a product or service (Aaker. In addition. 1991). Nevertheless. there are seven dimensions which affect the consumers’ perception. successful endorsement can associate the culture of the celebrity world with the endorsed product (McCracken. 1992). on the other hand. perceived quality is determined by a number of factors. 1998. Perceived quality of a brand could help generate values by providing a pivotal reason-to-buy. To be more specific. reliability. 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. reliability. 1991). Regarding product quality.2 Perceived quality Another important attribute to brand equity is perceived quality. 2007).. Keller. Service quality. responsiveness and empathy (Aaker. Similar to brand awareness.3. it is subjective in nature and hence the knowledge of actual detailed product specifications could have little correlation with the perceived quality. Yasin. it is found that perceived quality is of utmost importance in determining brand loyalty as well as repeat purchase (Delong et al. 1990) and also the perceptions towards the 15 . conformance with specifications. durability. serviceability as well as fit and finish. differentiating the position of a brand. 2004). This association can raise the public awareness towards the brand. 1991. is judged by its corresponding tangibles. competence. In addition to the aforementioned dimensions. namely performance.attractiveness. charging premium price. overall feeling towards a brand. motivating channel members to perform well and also introducing extensions into new brand categories (Aaker. 1989). perceived quality can further be classified into product quality and service quality. Since it is a kind of intangible.
1993). First. Based on the practice that repeat buying is one of the indicators for brand loyalty. As mentioned by Srikatanyoo and Gnoth (2002). For many companies.purchased value (Ahmed and d’Astou. 1991). regardless of the superior features. however. Loyal customers confer to a higher possibility of repeat purchases and it is less costly to keep customers than to get new ones. consumers continue to buy the brand. Some consumers with strong affiliation to one brand would switch to the shop in which a designated brand is sold. consumers are assured to buy the product if they have some friends or relatives who 16 . This is typically true when the product concerned is somewhat risky. having loyal customers is a kind of blessing. Keller (1998). Third. prices and convenience owned by its competitors (Aaker. loyalty to a brand can enhance trade leverage. it can help reduce the marketing costs of doing business (Aaker. Brand loyalty is regarded as valuable asset under different circumstances.3.. 1991). loyal customers could influence the others to purchase the brand. Moreover.. 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. 1991). Second. Under the influence of brand loyalty. price is one of the important cues to evaluate perceived quality (Aaker. consumers could have their preferences for products made from one country over another (Papadopoulos et al. Hence. 2. consumers are inclined to develop stereotypical beliefs about the products from particular countries.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. The more loyal the consumers are towards the brand. 2005). challenges that such measure may not be totally accurate. the less vulnerable the customer base would be. 1991). 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. In this case.
17 . the intangible qualities. customer satisfaction level needs to be properly managed through conducting consumer research. (2007) further note that equity of a brand is largely supported by consumers’ associations towards the brand. several airlines like Cathay Pacific. episodes.. 1991). This suggests why word-of-mouth communication is one of the most powerful tools in the marketplace (Henricks. 1997.recommend the same model of product. Brand association is such a complicated concept that connects to one another. KLM and chain stores such as TOPMAN provide club-cards or loyalty cards to reward their customers with discounts and other benefits. 2000). many firms would devise different strategies to maintain and enhance the loyalty from customers. For instance. Keller (1998) and Yasin et al. brand loyalty can help provide ample time for the firm to response to competitors’ newly launched products. According to Aaker (1991). 1995. it is important to treat the customer with respect in order to keep them loyal. 2000). for instances innovativeness and distinctiveness are also taken into account as brand associations.4 Brand association The last dimension for brand equity is brand association. Marney. Bansal and Voyer.3. 2000). Consumers usually depend on informal. Hence. as well as personal communication sources in making purchasing decision rather than more formal and organizational advertising campaigns (Bansal and Voyer. examples. the firm could make good use of the time lapse to develop more superior products in order to compete with its rivals. Silverman. Due to the values obtained from brand loyalty. It is defined as the specific linkage between the memory and the brand (Aaker. 2. consisting of multiple ideas. and facts that create a brand knowledge network (Yoo et al. 1998. Customers can also be rewarded for their loyalty towards the firms so that they will continue to buy the products. In addition to the tangible products. Moreover. Finally. which contribute to a specific brand image.
Consumers are attracted by the signal when they purchase a product in a particular brand. As for non-product related attributes. packaging. 1998). on the other hand. attitudes are regarded as the consumers’ overall assessments towards a brand. refer to the signal effect that a brand may impose on the consumers. They incorporate summary evaluations of information which represent how consumers feel in a long run. 1998) further divides brand associations into three categories. Different brands have different associations to their prospective customers. Such kind of associations can provide bases for them to make purchase decisions and even become loyal to the brand (Aaker. Second. It is about brand positioning that a well-positioned brand will find it hard to be attacked by its competitors due to its uniqueness. 1991). Symbolic benefits. they help the customers to process or retrieve information (Keller. For experimental benefits. Customers are sometimes forgetful and associations towards a brand serve as a brief summary for the customers to make their purchasing decision. namely attributes. they are related to consumers’ emotional feelings. brand associations can differentiate one brand from another. Signal effect is determined by the image of consumers and also the personality of the brand. They can be classified into functional. Attributes refer to the specific characteristics a product has. Function benefits signify the physical or basic advantages a brand may have. price information. making the customers remember the brand by heart.Keller (1993. experimental and symbolic. lying in a continuum from positive to negative (Gabbott and Hogg. benefits and attitudes. Associations can also be used to trigger the customers to recall their past experiences. user imagery as well as usage imagery are to be considered. First of all. Attributes can be further categorized into product-related attributes as well as non-product related attributes. the overall features of the product or service are concerned. This can make the brand 18 . For product-related attributes. 1998). Finally. Benefits are another category in brand associations. Associations towards a brand can create value for the firm and so its customers in a number of ways.
brand associations may include some product attributes or consumer benefits which encourage the consumers to purchase the brand. consumer behaviour can influence the economic health of a nation (Blackwell et al. Brand image possibly affects how consumers perceive the brand and hence their purchasing behaviour. First of all. a vivid brand image is established. Third. from basic necessities to high-valued collectables. ideas or experiences. 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 specific brand image attached on a product may differentiate itself from the others. 2006). Forth.unbeatable but it is quite difficult to achieve since consumer taste changes quite rapidly. (2006) further provide a holistic view that defines consumer behaviour as the activities and the processes in which individuals or groups choose. Once brand associations are constructed in a meaningful way. Gabbott and Hogg (1998) and Blackwell et al. such phenomenon is one of the most interesting and hence heavily investigated topics in the marketing field. There may be products on the market with similar quality and design. Madonna appearance in H&M’s collection advertisement can stimulate customers their positive feelings about the products. use or dispose the products. however. contributing to its higher premium price. As mentioned by Schiffman and Kanuk (2000). 2. buy. some associations can engender positive feelings. For examples. The study of consumer buying behaviour is of utmost importance in a number of aspects.4 Consumer buying behaviour Many people do consume a wide range of products every day.. Consumers would have their preferences in purchasing products from specific retailers and hence the remaining retailers 19 . Owing to the proliferation of products in the market. money and effort. services. adidas slogan ‘Impossible is nothing’.
4. 2003). as well as disposal of used goods. 2006). consumption.are selected using the rule of ‘survival of the fittest’. 20 post-consumption evaluation and . consumption. 2001. These seven steps include need recognition. and also which products to excel. most of them are composed of stages such as pre-purchase. Blackwell et al. comprising acquisition of goods and services. For instance. purchase and post-purchase (Hoyer and Maclnnis. Second. Rayport and Jaworski. However. such definition falls short of the continuity of the processes. As far as the consumer decision process model is concerned. evaluation. 1998). consumers’ decisions can provide a clue for which industry to survive. which companies to succeed. consumers need to go through seven steps before reaching their final decisions. 2006)... the firms can make use of such information to devise corresponding marketing strategies in response to the consumers’ needs (Blackwell et al. (2001) define consumer behaviour as a summation of acquisition. 2.1 Models of consumer behaviour Several models are developed with a view to provide explanations for the consumer buying behaviours. through understanding the reasons for consumers to buy the products and their buying habits. (2004) further propose the circle of consumption that recognize purchasing processes as a loop. Therefore. search for information. purchase. Moreover. 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. 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. tailor-made products can be made to enhance customer value and thus facilitate repeat purchase (Gabbott and Hogg. Although they vary in form of presentation. consumption and disposal of products or services. Arnoud et al. pre-purchase. Based on this loophole.
as well as customer satisfaction. Ongoing search. regardless of the different terms and consolidation of stages.. 2006). The length and depth of search vary for different customers and depend on variables like personality. The buying process is initiated when people recognize their unsatisfied need (Levy and Weitz. quality and price are commonly used to judge a brand by customers. Any changes in 21 . 2005). Stage two is the search of information. on the other hand. 2006). (2006) add that most consumer research would primarily base on these seven stages and how different elements affect each stage of consumers’ decisions. 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. Customers pursuing this kind of search would like to obtain the most updated information about the designated brand. Pre-purchase search is initiated when consumers recognize a need and hence look for more information from the marketplace. Rayport and Jaworski (2003) propose a similar model with slight differences regarding the terms used. There are two kinds of needs. social class. (2006). Blackwell et al.. As mentioned by Solomon et al. search of information can further be divided into pre-purchase search and ongoing search. namely functional needs and psychological needs. 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. 1997). Attributes like quantity. is more likely to be based on personal interest on a particular brand. size of purchase. size. consumers pay particular attention to the attributes which are most relevant to their needs (Kolter et al.divestment (Blackwell et al. past experiences. 1992).. income. prior brand perceptions (Moorthy et al.. Stage three comes to the pre-purchase evaluation that consumers compare between different products and brands to make a purchasing decision. In this stage.
22 . Last but not least. in which consumers dispose or recycle the products and at the same time. including retailer and in-store selection. According to Porter (2004). stage six and stage seven are under the category of the post-purchase stage. 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 four refers to the purchase decisions made by the consumers after evaluating the offers from different retailers. as well as point-of-purchase advertising. visual displays inside the shops. firms can create value by providing lower price or unique offers to the customers so as to excel their competitive advantages over the others.. 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. there are two phases contributing to the decision making processes. Stage five. customers begin consuming the products whereas in stage six. In addition to in-store purchase. As pointed out by Dholakia and Uusitalo (2002). As stated by Blackwell et al. 2006). 2003). The firms need to think about the possibility of remarketing. 2006). Rayport and Jaworski (2003) further point out the significant impact of internet on consumer purchasing decision. stage seven comes to divestment. In stage five.. customers evaluate the consumption process. This gives rise to satisfaction when consumers’ expectations are higher than the perceived performance and vice versa (Blackwell et al.these attributes can affect consumer decisions on brand or product choices (Blackwell et al. (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.
It is hoped that by finding out the relationships of brand awareness. Nowadays. perceived quality. Only by understanding the consumer behaviour can the products or brands be developed in a right way. Brand equity can be divided into four dimensions. products are developed in an unprecedented way. brand loyalty and brand associations. Brands are so important that they are regarded as the equity to a firm. consumers seem to be more aware of the products they buy. In this dissertation. perceived quality. and at the same time. All of them have significant contribution to the brand as equity to the firm. 23 .2.5 Summary This chapter provides a review about the major research and theories regarding the consumer purchasing behaviour. 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. including brand awareness.
The details of the sampling would also be discussed. the research traditions. data are gathered. 2004).1 Introduction With a view to finding out the underlying principles of certain phenomenon. theories. interpretive research and critical postmodernism.1 Review of different research traditions Based on the methodology used. In general. In accordance with Gephart (2004). think and behave (Arnould et al.. During the course of consumer behaviour research. research is required. recorded and analyzed in a systematic and objective manner so as to apprehend and foresee how consumers feel.2 Theoretical backgrounds In this section. as well as justifying the most suitable approach for the research topic. there are two types of research methods. there are three research traditions. 3. 2004). namely qualitative and quantitative research.Chapter 3 Methodology 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 theories can be classified into different types. In terms of the science of knowledge acquisition. 3. 24 . whereas methodology is acknowledged to be the science of finding out (Babbie.2. Each of them encompasses a variety of approaches. This chapter aims at discussing different theories and research methods. which are determined on the kinds of data being collected. namely positivism.
2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis Generally.2. together with the structures and processes within it. examining the attitudes. In the field of research. feelings and motivations of people (Babbie. As far as the description and explanation of phenomena are concerned. it assumes that a social world exists externally that should be measured objectively (Easterby-Smith et al. events and mechanisms. qualitative research is sometimes regarded as a relatively minor methodology than its quantitative counterpart and there are some assumptions that only experimental data. which is shaped by values and crystallizes over time. 1993). Fisher (2004) further reveals that critical postmodernism is a kind of realism which comprises three levels of reality. As for critical postmodernism. it underlines the assumption of symbolic reality. In accordance to Fisher (2004). official statistics. mechanisms are the roots of events which are regarded as the deepest level among the three. Dey. 2002). 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. 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..Positivism makes use of the stance of realism in which the objective reality can be understood by mirror of science. While positivism stresses on objectivity. quantitative research focuses on analyzing numerical data whereas qualitative research deals with meanings. Events are concerned about what has happened in the world by our experiences to them. random sampling 25 . 3. Experiences are our perceptions and encounters of the world. Finally. 2004. Added to this. interpretative research focuses on subjective interpretations to describe meanings and understand reality. including experiences.
1986). 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. which uses ad hoc procedures to define and measure variables (Blumer. 2000). Unlike quantitative research. 3. attitude (Kirk and Miller. Nevertheless. Besides. 2000). (2002).2. As suggested by Easterby-Smith et al. 1975). qualitative research tends to focus on describing the process of how we define and measure variables in everyday life (Silverman. quantitative analysis is stronger than qualitative analysis in that it can persuade readers with large-scale. These determine whether the research can engender 26 . suffers from the problem of ‘anecdotalism’ in which it just narrates some examples of phenomenon without taking less clear data into account (Silverman. research needs a partnership and it could be beneficial to collaborate rather than compete between the different kinds of research methods. Cicourel. 2000). Silverman. 1989). both of them are not perfect in a sense that they need to serve as a complement to each other. Qualitative analysis.and quantified data can lead to valid or generalizable social facts. 2000). 1964. 2000). it is more likely to look into people’s in-depth feelings. That is why it is suggested that qualitative research should be used more often at the early or exploratory stage of a study (Silverman. having a complete set of categorization for the events or activities described (Silverman. Quantitative research surpasses qualitative in a sense that it can analyze data based on representative samples from a large population (Proctor. Both the quantitative research and qualitative research have their own advantages and disadvantages.3 Reliability and validity of data The reliability and validity of the data and findings are of pivotal importance to the whole research. for example. numeric data. however. As for qualitative research. In this way. 1956.
Hence. Besides. 27 . As mentioned by Tesch (1990). the research cannot be claimed valid so long as there are only few exemplary instances reported.3 Justification of research method Different research methods should be adopted based on the nature of research.useful findings or not. Reliability connotes to the consistency on the research results. This dissertation aims at finding out consumer purchasing behaviour on clothing in which their beliefs. This dissertation makes use of the qualitative research method and there have been some discussions on qualitative research regarding its reliability and validity. to justify reliability. However. and the original form of the materials is unavailable (Silverman. opinions and attitudes towards brand image are investigated. validity concerns about the truth (Silverman. namely language-orientated approach. As mentioned by Saunders et al. 2000). qualitative research is more suitable in terms of soliciting the consumers’ in-depth responses. the findings of qualitative research are not necessarily repeatable since they reflect reality at the time of data collection. These underlie the importance of ensuring reliable methods and making valid conclusions in the research process. (2003). This may affect the reliability of the research findings. 2000). it is found that having reliable research results is not always attributable to valid outcomes (Davis and Bremner. 1992). which are judged by different observers or by the same observer on different occasions (Hammersley. one can replicate the same research to see whether the same outcomes are obtained on subsequent occasions. While reliability is correlated to consistency. As pointed out by Davis and Bremner (2006). 1992). 3. 2006). there are as much as forty types of qualitative research in three main orientations. giving an accurate account to the social phenomena (Hammersley.
focus group can also be a useful kind of research method that brings together some interviewees. In descriptive/ interpretative approach. 28 . interviews are more controllable than focus groups in this regard.descriptive/ interpretative approach. 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. 2004). One may argue why interviews but not the other types of qualitative research methods are chosen in this research. as well as theory-building approach. Finally. However. interviews are chosen as the data collection methods. Breakwell (2006) points out that interviews are flexible in that they can be used at any stage in the research process. Language-oriented approach concerns the use of language and meaning of words. Added to this. Although focus groups are much more effective and cheaper than interviews as one may see. For instance. in a room to engage in a guided discussion on a common topic (Babbie. interviewers may need to probe each answer and make use of the replies for further questioning (Proctor. Based on the descriptive and interpretive nature in this research. 2004). the thorough description and interpretation of social phenomena are the central focus. researchers should show their ability to ask further in-depth questions based on the answers obtained. researchers may find it difficult to assemble a large group of people and the control over the interviewees is minimal (Gamson. During the course of interviews. 2006). Thus. Proctor (2000) notes that the usefulness of qualitative research depends heavily on the researchers’ skills. 2000). The structure of interviews lies in a continuum in which fully-structured and unstructured interviews are the two extreme poles (Breakwell. ranging from the initial stage for identifying areas to more detailed exploration. theory-building approach tries to examine the connections between social phenomena. say 12-15 people. 1992). In case of interviews.
When it comes to the process of data collection.4 Sampling As far as the sampling method is concerned. Unlike structured interviews. Moreover. semi-structured interviews are chosen in this research. with the use of a semi-structured format. As pointed out by Smith and Osborn (2003).Structured interviews are characterized by their fixed nature and sequence of questions or the fixed nature of answers allowed. it is important to develop a systematic set of questions and help the interviewees to understand the questions. This can enrich the data collected from the interviewing process (Smith and Eatough. Such format can enhance the sensitive and empathic facets of the findings. Among different structures of interviews. interviews depend on respondents’ accurate and complete responses. 2006). 2000). 2000). researchers can follow up some unexpected. 3. unstructured interviews do not have specific formats. In accordance with Breakwell (2006). interesting responses emerged during the interviews. 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. 2006). In addition. Interviewees may find these kind of interviews constrained as they are not free to provide information which is important in their mind. leaving more room for the interviewees to respond. 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. researchers tend to regard people as experiential experts on a specific topic under investigation. This gives rise to the possibility of unreliable and invalid data. Being reliable does not necessarily attribute to validity but it is found that inconsistent responses may lead to certain inaccuracy (Davis and Bremner. non-probability sampling is used 29 . underlying the importance human-to-human relationship of interviews (Fontana and Fry. These can help solicit consistent responses and hence the reliability of data can be much enhanced. like other self-report methods.
though a homogeneous sample has lesser degree of external validity. 2003). 10 Nottingham University students were chosen to have face-to-face interviews. researchers tend to choose interviewees which are easier to be looked for. Student samples are used in this research because they can enhance homogeneity and it is much easier to control error during theory testing (Goldsmith. In this research. All of them are students aged between 22 and 28. Among the 10 samples. 9 of them are master students and the remaining one is a PhD student. This is a combination of quota sampling and convenience sampling under the non-probability sampling classifications. Unlike probability sampling which select samples randomly in a pool of population. equal proportions of British and Chinese were interviewed. Moreover. 2005). Hence. Malhotra and King. 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). as comparisons of British and Chinese buying behaviour for clothes are investigated. 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. The male to female ratio of Chinese and British samples is 1 to 1 (see Table 1 for details). 2004).as the tool for this research. 2002. non-probability sampling looks for participants on purpose (Babbie. findings reveal that homogeneous respondents can help reduce the possibility of measurement model error (Assael and Keon. researchers deliberately look for participants so that they are of equal distribution for comparison whereas in convenience sampling. 30 . this can be sacrificed for a greater degree of internal validity (Carpenter and Fairhurst. 1982). in quota sampling method.
5. 2006). The issues relating to confidentiality and record permission were already mentioned at the time when the appointment was made. a successful interview incorporates both general and specific questions which will move between each other fairly seamlessly. leaving more room for them to think of the issue (Breakwell. say 30 minutes. the interview began with some general questions regarding consumer spending habits on clothing. with the former one being dominant in the interview (see Appendix 2). so they were not covered here. The approximate length of the interview. There are two types of questions.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. which are discussed in the following sections. As mentioned by Smith and Eatough (2006).5 Interview schedule The interview is composed of three stages. As suggested by Smith and Eatough (2006). The questions may not follow the order as set in the interview schedule as the respondents will react to them differently. the main theme of the interview was introduced with the provision of general ideas about what the interviewees were expected to answer. was mentioned. 3. namely open-ended questions and closed-ended questions.1 Stage one In this stage. Also. it is better to have mental prompts rather than constantly referring to the interview questions in the course of the interview. Questions 1 31 . Open-ended questions are preferred since they allow the interviewees to answer as little or as much as they choose. After the introduction. the questions were learnt by heart before the interviews.
How often do you buy clothes? 2. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? Questions 5 to 10 are brand equity-related questions. There are three questions in this stage and they are listed as follows: 1. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 3. Mooij. probing questions were asked if needed. brand equity is regarded as the summation of brand awareness. 1999. were discussed. 1998). 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. In order to explore more information from interviewees’ responses. 4. including brand and brand equity. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. 32 . Moreover. Question 4 attempts to find out the criteria of clothes selection in which the interviewees consider. As mentioned in the literatures. Since this research is about the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. The questions in this stage are as follows.5. Main issues covered in the literatures in chapter 2. further probing questions would be asked if the respondents mention something related to brand and brand equity. these can help understand their spending styles.2 Stage two This stage covers in-depth questions about their views to clothing brand image.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.
Rayport and Jaworski. 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. brand loyalty and brand association (Aaker. including pre-purchase. purchase and post-purchase (Blackwell et al. 1993). These questions are to find out whether brand equity is as important as what has been noted in the literatures. these two questions try to figure out their purchase and post-purchase behaviour. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. 1991. Do you shop online for clothes? 12. Keller. 5. 11. As mentioned in some consumer behaviour models. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 33 . In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. Do you recommend brands? 9. there are three stages for purchasing products or services.perceived quality. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8.. After finding out what the interviewees would do before making their purchasing decisions from the aforementioned questions. 2003). 2006.
3. the interviewees were asked to write a sentence which starts with the words ‘Brand is’. possibly attributing to important research findings (Atkinson and Heritage. They lasted for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. 1984). repeated listening to the records which often reveal some unnoted recurring features. After the interviewees have finished writing the sentence. The production and the use of transcripts are essential research activities that they involve close. depending on the interviewees’ familiarity to the questions and their willingness to provide more fruitful responses. 3.3 Stage three In the last stage of the interview. 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. 3. Originated from two socialists Glaser and Strauss (1967). it attempts to derive theories based on the analysis of patterns. The processes were recorded with the use of MP3 player with the approval from the interviewees so as to facilitate the subsequent analysis.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. It focuses on 34 .1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis Grounded theory is one of the important concepts suggesting how researcher conducts their research.5. themes. they would be thanked for providing their valuable time to attend the interview. and common categories from observational data (Babbie.7. The interviews were then transcribed. 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).
including familiarization. researchers could be both scientific and creative at the same time under this theory. namely within-case and cross-case 35 . 2006). interviews can be analyzed in two distinctive but interrelated ways. (2002). Besides. reflection. The importance of research procedures is heightened in the grounded theory. 2006). these could explain why grounded theory has gained much popularity in recent decades (Henwood and Pidgeon. 2004). Grounded theory does have some impact on the qualitative research. especially the use of systemic coding. These imply the seriousness of such theory in interpreting data and provide the basis for analyzing the ten interviews conducted. There are seven stages for grounded analysis in total. 3. cataloguing concepts. 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. patterns and categories. As mentioned by Strauss and Corbin (1990). According to Easterby-Smith et al.different ways to code data (Dey. 1993). linking and finally re-evaluation (Easterby-Smith et al.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis As mentioned by Miles and Huberman (1994). which can enhance the validity and reliability of the data (Babbie. qualitative data as well as interpretative thematic analysis of the qualitative data. one of the benefits of grounded analysis is that qualitative research structure has first been derived from the data. based on grounded theory.. as well as following the research procedures. leading to further analysis of themes. Hence. They include periodically stepping back and asking. conceptualization. maintaining an attitude of skepticism. In addition. 2002). re-coding.7. methodology skills can be developed in a number of areas such as handling and analyzing of large volumes of ill-structured. provided that they follow three rules.
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
188.8.131.52 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.
184.108.40.206 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. In England. Male 39 . I will buy clothes if there are discounts.” Kevin. Chinese. so I’ll buy them when I need them…probably. “I’m a sort of impulsive buyer…’Oh gosh! I really need to buy some clothes now. 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. 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. “…This year…not at all (buying clothes). 27. British. Female “…Maybe not often recently because I have not got a lot of income for clothes. buy every 4 to 5 months. maybe one item every couple of month. Male “In China. 23. 2000). many respondents revealed that they buy clothes at a regular interval. 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. maybe 3 times a year.” Mark. ranging from every week to three or four times a year. some of them pointed out that their financial status would have an impact on their frequency of buying clothes.” Hannah. British. Because I have been poor. 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. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). let’s go’. 23.” Narinder.on clothes and also the types of clothes they purchased. 2002). But before that. quite rare. Female Besides. Generally. 24.
I buy lots of clothes and it lasts me for half a year…” Neil. 1991. 4. as well as consumers (Aaker. One of the male respondents revealed that he would spend about 50 to 250 pounds for clothes each time. “Probably. South and Spitze. More male than female respondents manifested that they would buy clothes in medium or above price ranges. Male The above quotes illustrate that clothes purchasing behaviour varies from time to time and from person to person. retailers. In the coming section. 1998) and hence it could have a beneficial or detrimental effect on customers’ buying decisions (Yasin et al. 1999. 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. It really gets a large variation. 2007). the reasons why people buy them vary..When asking about the price range of clothes. Although it is mentioned in the literature that more females would like shopping than males (Dholakia. As mentioned in chapter 2. 24. There could be two identical clothes in the world. however.3. Sometimes. brand names can add tremendous value to the products. more than half of them were fond of buying clothes in the medium or high price ranges. whether brand image would affect clothes purchasing behaviour is investigated. targeting to buy clothes in medium to high price ranges. it varies anywhere between 50 to 250 pounds.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions As mentioned previously in chapter 2.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4. It could be as simple as they are cheap and good looking or they are brand-named. Keller. 1994). British. brand is important for product development in that it can be instilled in consumers’ minds (Mooij. 1993). it does not really mean that males have less spending power. Whether brand is a determining factor is 40 .
in which the respondents were asked about the reasons of buying particular clothes. Table 2: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (British respondents) Reason Name Brand Country of origin Advert Quality Style Price Others Comfortable. Intuition +/.or words in black: Initial response without prompt.or words in blue: Response with prompt 41 . +/. The columns named ‘country of origin’ and ‘advert’ would be discussed in later sections. Non-label Non-advert Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz + + + - - + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Functional use (Sports) Personal need Table 3: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (Chinese respondents) Reason Name Brand Country of origin Advert Quality Style Price Others Comfortable. Suitable Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key + + + + + + + - + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Pleasant. The results from both British and Chinese respondents are illustrated in Tables 2 and 3 accordingly.examined in question 4.
I mean I will buy clothes from a shop. 24. the British and Chinese interviewees showed some divergent viewpoints. I bought it (she points at her top) yesterday from NEXT. British. “Yes. I probably buy again. British. However. When it comes to the effect of brand on buying clothes. Moreover. 1991). In this regard.” Mark. Because I know it a little bit good quality or that it’s going to be last well or perform well. Some of the UK respondents revealed that they look for brand names in buying clothes. I wouldn’t specifically buy it because it’s from there. 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.” Neil. 24.” Hannah. I wouldn’t buy something because it’s from H&M or because it’s from ZARA. in which one of them highlighted the importance of past shopping experiences as mentioned in the literature (Aaker.As observed from Tables 2 and 3. all respondents from both nations regard quality. 2002) seem also applicable to the UK respondents. Well. Male “Well. If I have good experiences with something. but I do not particularly look for brand names. Male “Never. Actually. They are probably the shops I like. Female 42 . 23. British. nine out of ten respondents had not provided immediate answer to question 4 regarding this issue until prompt was given. two UK interviewees stated that brand names do not initiate them to buy during their shopping.
so I have more faith in those brands for their clothes. In addition. Chinese. it costs me too much. Female “Yes. I can use less money. as well as quality (Roman et al. which is coherent with the literature that brands are used to highlight personality under different circumstances (Aaker. “I do think most of the brands.” Jovi..” Vanessa.to high-priced brands. I think they mostly get better cutting and better quality. For some T-shirts.2 Brand awareness As mentioned in the literature. The UK respondents tend to buy clothes they like but not merely because of the brands. including 43 . Female Based on the above findings. This is consistent with the literature that brand-named products can be served as a guarantor of reliability. 4. Fennis and Pruyn. do have better quality than cheaper brands. one of them pointed out that brands can help change her personal style. It can be in consistent with my changing look and just lower the cost.All Chinese respondents found that brand is one of the key factors for them to consider when buying clothes. One of them mentioned that reputable brands in medium to high price ranges connote to better quality and cutting. So. But recently. and buy more clothes to change. 26. 2006). 24. I changed my purchasing habits to some cheap stuff like Primark. H&M and Dorothy Perkins…It’s quick for me to dislike the clothes that I bought. 1999. like medium.3. Chinese. if I buy too many big brands. 1991). it seems that brands are more likely to have an impact on Chinese than British interviewees. 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 cheap ones. I bought some big brands like designer labels. 2005).
+/.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. The results are shown in Tables 4 and 5. with the number of Chinese respondents outweighing British. 2007)... two of them 44 . Table 4: Ways to learn about clothing brands (British respondents) Name Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinda Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Advert Peers Others + - + + + From shops From shops. Some of the UK and Chinese respondents did regard it as one of the methods to know the brands.or words in blue: Response with prompt Advert Peers Others Internet + + + + + + + Internet Internet From shops Advertisement is a powerful tool for raising brand awareness (Mackenzie et al. internet and shops. Among these respondents. Tsai et al.advertisement. 1986. peers. Internet From shops From shops Table 5: Ways to learn about clothing brands (Chinese respondents) Name Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key +/.
1978) and enhance attractiveness (McCracken. Chinese.” Neil. so they associate themselves with brands. Marketing people may affect me someway. you know. 23. on the street…they (advertisers) put posters in the public areas. and it’s easy to make connections. 45 . advertisements in the shopping mall. which confirms with the literature that celebrity endorsement can lead to product credibility (McGuire. Zidane (is very memorable)…because I know them through their sports achievement. 24. During the game break.” Kevin. Like Coby Bryrant. he was the representative of adidas previously…” Vivian. Male As far as peers influence on clothes purchasing is concerned. Chinese. Lance Armstrong.” “I used to play basketball and so I used to watch NBA games. British. David Beckham. Male “I guess it does (have an effect) on subliminal basis.mentioned that they became more aware of the brands through the celebrities in the advertisements. Female “TV. 1989). they are familiar faces. “It (Advertising) is important because the brand image is built up so that you will choose (to buy them). similar number of Chinese and the UK respondents agreed that it does have impact on their purchasing decisions. 23. they (basketball players) will show up.” “The adidas ‘impossible is nothing’ advert with leading sportsmen like Michael Jordan.
and from my mind. Chinese. 23. while 4 Chinese interviewees got their brand information via internet surfing. The findings are illustrated in Tables 6 and 7. 4 British interviewees revealed that they became familiar with the brands through shop visiting. “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. 4. I will consider them.“Maybe they (my friends) buy very nice clothes.” Neil.” Kevin.3. 46 . in which interviewees were asked. So. Male “If I am training and I see a friend wearing a new T-shirt or something. they are nice to put them on. I will ask them what the brand is…my brother bought a Helly Hansen sportswear. 24. that’s cool. British. Male Other sources for raising brand awareness like internet surfing and shop visiting are also prevalent among Chinese and British respondents. when I go shopping next time.3 Perceived quality The issue of perceived quality was investigated through question 6.
colour.or words in black: Initial response without prompt.Table 6: Criteria for judging clothes quality (British respondents) Criteria Name Materials Style Colour Durability Country of origin Others Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz + + + + + + + Performance Price + - Table 7: Criteria for judging clothes quality (Chinese respondents) Criteria Name Materials Style Colour Durability Country of origin Others Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key + + + + + + + + + + + + + - +/. followed by style. 1991).or words in blue: Response with prompt As shown in Tables 6 and 7. nine out of ten respondents regard materials as one of the criteria for judging clothes quality. There are no significance differences between British 47 . Most of them could mention these judging criteria at once. durability. in which these criteria are important for consumers in judging product quality (Aaker. +/. price and performance.
France or Italy. Regarding country of origin. For buying Puma shoes. British.” Jovi. “In some of the countries like Japan. Female “It should all be good quality if they have a brand name on it because it’s what the brand name stands for. so the countries don’t really affect it. France Italy. France No comment No comment No comment Countries with lowest quality No comment No comment No comment No comment No comment 48 . Contradictory to the literature. The results are listed in Tables 8 and 9.and Chinese respondents. 24. I expect Puma quality basically. Two Chinese interviewees pointed out that country of origin is correlated with quality. they represent better quality. Table 8: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (British respondents) Countries Name Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Countries with highest quality Italy.” Michael. Chinese. 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. 22. 3 Chinese respondents found that it would have an effect on the clothes perceived quality. country of origin seems not to have an impact to the UK respondents on perceived quality.
just a few British respondents try to provide the names of specific countries. South Africa Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang France.” Michael. 24. However. Malaysia. US. some South American countries Vivian Li UK. produce poor quality clothes. Because I know from every country. Male “They suppose to all be the same. France. from Thailand. you can buy good or bad clothes. These findings can be explained by the literatures in that China does not have influential brands with phenomenal quality (Delong et al. If Puma gets its stuff from China. Male For those who can tell the names of specific countries. Denmark Less developed countries No comment China As shown in Table 8. 49 . including China. India. Thailand. “I don’t have some preconception about it. 22.. they should meet the required quality. many of them mentioned that France and Italy can produce clothes in high quality. they show up the same quality standard in all countries.” Neil. British.Table 9: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (Chinese respondents) Countries Name Jovi Chong Countries with highest quality Japan. 3 of the Chinese respondents could mention that some less developed countries. only Chinese respondents made comments on countries which make clothes in the lowest quality. 2004). Italy Countries with lowest quality China. Italy China. British. Italy No comment Korea.
Chinese. Chinese. China don’t have very famous brands. 1997). I will prefer France or Italy ones. or some of the developing countries. Actually.4 Brand loyalty The issue regarding brand loyalty was investigated through questions 7. If it’s about big brands. one Chinese interviewee specifically pointed out different countries should have their competitive advantage in either production or design. Lowest (quality) maybe China. Italy as well. Female 4. The results are illustrated in Tables 10 and 11. 26. 50 . “China is good at manufacturing and Italy and France are good at design. 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. 23. maybe it’s the reason.3. 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.“I think the UK and US have top brands.” Vivian. if I consider some basic ones. Female Nevertheless.” Vanessa.
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. recommend brands to friends or relatives. they pointed out that they are quite satisfied with the clothes they had purchased. For those who buy regularly from the same brands. more Chinese respondents tend to buy the same brands. and also hold the club cards of their favourite stores than the UK interviewees.Table 10: Clothes purchasing habit (British respondents) Name Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Regular buyer Recommend brands Club card owner + + - + - - Table 11: Clothes purchasing habit (Chinese respondents) Name Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Regular buyer Recommend brands Club card owner + + + + + + + - + + + + As observed from Tables 10 and 11. The quotes of regular buyers are shown as follow: 51 .
Female “I reckon the design fits me and these brands have high quality which is what I’m looking for. I like Fred Perry... Female “If it is excellent performance and if someone asks me. They have quite a lot of varieties of different design for me to choose from.the certain shops that I sort of rely upon…. I will tell them. 24. British. 24. 23. I will tell my friends.” Jovi. Female As far as brand recommendation is concerned. There are casual wears good for everyday dress and they are of reasonable prices. Chinese. Chinese. Female “I just like it.’” Vanessa. four respondents cited that they would recommend brands as long as they are good.” Neil. 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 52 . British. Topshop’s price is affordable and also I like the style from All Saints” Narinder. In Hong Kong.“I do have a few brands that I prefer. so I will buy them more often. British. for examples. say ‘Go ahead! They are really good. Male “(I like buying from) Diesel for jeans. Male Surprisingly. In the UK. Topshop and All Saints. 26. Chinese.” Mark. 27. there are quite many. “I will if I visit some shops and they have good stuff. The Diesel jeans fit me well. 23. CEU and Vertical Club.” Vivian.
British.as cited in the literature (Aaker. Chinese. they always make them like credit cards and I don’t want to have one more credit card. 27.” Narinder. 1991). Female 53 . The price is acceptable. These findings confirm what has mentioned in the literature that associated brand images can help enhance the value of brands (Yasin. Female 4. 26. Some of them did mention the drawbacks of applying these cards. Female “I think it’s casual and good quality. 2007). 24. Both the British and Chinese respondents managed to recall some positive connotations of their favourite brands.” Vanessa. Store cards are dangerous. Vivian. It fits my age and my occupation as students. Female “Because we have student cards and we can enjoy the offer. Chinese.3. store cards try to get more money from me when I don’t have more. “I like something that is simple and good for casual and everyday wear. it is examined through questions 9 and 10 in which interviewees were asked about their favourite brand images.5 Brand association Regarding brand association. That’s why I don’t apply for it. It’s not stylish but it is well made. The quotes for some non-club card owners are shown below: “No. Chinese. 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). Sometimes. not so complicated design” Jovi. 23. we need not apply for the loyalty cards.
Male “Simple. 2002). I prefer blue jeans. 27.6 Consumer buying behaviour It is found in the literature that internet shopping is gaining its popularity among consumers (Dholakia and Uusitalo. khaki style…quality is good. Male “60s hippie. British. Female “It’s just sort of reasonably well-priced and sort of good quality. 22. British. Chinese. 27. the respondents were asked if they had shopped online for clothes in question 11.” Vanessa. like grid shirts. Chinese. Male “They are practical. not like football. 24. 24. In order to investigate this issue. and they look good.” Narinder. Male “For Topshop. For jeans. fits my age. 54 .” Neil. All Saints is a bit more innovative. alternative sports. Female “Basically.“They do something stylish and good quality…sometimes good offer. 23. they work well. British. I prefer some simple image.” Mark. 23. British. 26. crickets but skiing and snowboarding and surfing…” Michael. Chinese. For shirts.” Kevin. British. Male 4. usually cotton…” Hannah. I prefer very colourful image. it’s a kind of like casual clothing. coloured fabrics…it’s a sort of a bit unusual. Female “’Simply Me’. For T-shirt.3.” Alick.
but I know many people do.” Narinder. lower prices and informative websites. British. not right colour. Female Even though some of the interviewees do not shop online for clothes. I’ll have a look and compare prices. I will consider maybe it is not safe to shopping online. The clothes online are cheap. right size as well” Vivian. Chinese. 23. 24. If you can’t find (suitable clothes) in the markets or in the shops. but I don’t buy online. you can buy it online. nine out of ten interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes via the internet due to several reasons. 27.” Kevin. “For clothes. Female “Not really.” Michael. Female “I like fitting. try on to see if it is fit probably. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. I can see how it looks like…so I never buy clothes online. Because I can’t try the clothes to see if they are suitable or not” Jovi. Chinese. 23. just like the clothes from the markets. 22. Male 55 . One of them mentioned the poor internet security while the others revealed that they could not try the clothes before paying for it. Chinese. some of them can point out the positive aspects of internet shopping. including the varieties of choices. 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. no. British. To be honest.Surprisingly. “No. Male “I don’t buy online.
Female “Brand is not a paper bag. Female “Brand is an important but not decisive indicator for my choice of shopping.” Kevin. British. These are what internet offers. 24.” Vanessa. good quality and good prices. and I’m not fond of popular ones!” Hannah. 26. “Brand is something that adds value to clothing but not a must” Jovi.” Vivian. 23.“(Shop online) Sometimes. The only thing is that sometimes the delivery fee is not that cheap. Chinese. 26. Chinese. Chinese. Chinese. maybe one or twice a month. a way for companies to keep consumers back to spend their money.” Alick. It may not be the spirit of clothes. Male “Brand is just like the name of people. 23. 27. respondents were asked to provide their comments on brand. Chinese. almost everything is quite good. Male “Brand is a way for people to identify each other. Female 56 . but it represents the taste and quality of them. Chinese. 24.) Vanessa.” (It means brands are not easy to be broken up. Female “Brand is something difficult to understand. Female 4. It is good.4 Results In the last question. The quotes below show their perceptions towards what brand is in their mind.
British. manufacturer. however. My clothes purchased tend to be based on the individual garment. 22. Male “Brand is the label a company use to market/ advertise them with. that a brand can be a powerful draw for many shoppers. mainly focusing on the four dimensions of brand equity.” Neil. 27. Then it came to the analysis and discussion of interviews’ findings to look for any similarities and differences between British and Chinese respondents.“Brand is not something I would follow because of the name. Male 4. I realized. respondents’ backgrounds were introduced to provide some thorough understandings on their clothes purchasing habits.” Narinda. British.” Michael. British. Female “Brand is the identity of a product or service. 24.” Mark.5 Summary This chapter presented the findings from the interviews of both British and Chinese respondents. 23. British. Male “Brand is not unimportant to my decision making when buying clothes. rather than the designer. Some of the responses from interviewees were quoted and analyzed so as to highlight the important findings for further brand image development. At the beginning of the chapter. 57 .
Our findings suggested that all British and Chinese respondents regard quality. The comparisons were made between the British and Chinese respondents’ purchasing behaviour throughout the last chapter. providing insights for comprehending consumer purchasing behaviour and further investigations. with the inclusions of similarities and differences between the British and Chinese consumers.Chapter 5 Conclusions 5. 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. It was found that there are slight differences between the Chinese and British consumers in terms of their attitudes towards brand equity. However. 5. This chapter will provide an overview of the research findings.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions The determining factors for clothes purchasing have been examined. brand is one of their considerations. They are presented under each sub-section as shown below. more Chinese than UK respondents expressed that brand is important for them to choose particular clothes to buy.2.1 Introduction Based on the research findings in chapter 4. this chapter draws conclusions on what has been analyzed and discussed. In addition. they cited that what they liked is more important.2 Conclusions The findings in chapter 4 do have some implications for the development of brand image. 5. style and price as their most important criteria for choosing clothes. 58 .
In general. From the findings. There are no significant differences between British and Chinese respondents regarding these issues. brand can have a value-adding function in that some respondents are fond of particular brands.As revealed from the above findings. In addition. consumers think of the other criteria as well. 5. That is to say. peers. colour.2 Brand awareness To increase the publicity. 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. famous sportsmen can be attributable to good sportswear performance.2. for example. whereas British respondents tended to know the brands through on-the-spot purchase in the shops. these methods for spreading the brand image are commonly employed by both British and Chinese respondents. it could enhance the chance for consumers to buy the clothes. internet and shops. followed by style. when it comes to the country of origin of clothes. Nevertheless. respondents tend to know the brands through advertisements. durability. if brand-named clothes can incorporate the other criteria the consumers are looking for. 5.2. price and performance. In terms of advertisements. 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. However.3 Perceived quality The findings suggested that most respondents tend to judge the clothes quality by looking at the materials. More Chinese respondents expressed that they had been influenced by advertisements and internet than British interviewees. many Chinese respondents had the preconception that China and 59 . the brands need to become more aware among the consumers.
there would still be chances for China to produce well-perceived quality clothes. This coincides with the findings by Keller (1993) that consumers are attracted by the signal when they consider buying particular product. All respondents could recall some positive aspects of their favourite brands at once.2.. However.4 Brand loyalty This aspect of brand equity is important for the development of customer base and encouraging repeat purchase. regardless of the nations the respondents belong to.5 Brand association The association between brand and memory of respondents was investigated. styles. including the product features. by working on the brand development.other developing countries produce clothes in poor quality. 5. 2004). while most of the Chinese respondents had. however. 5. functions etc. it is good at manufacturing (Cui. none of the UK respondents cited that they had had some loyalty cards from clothing shops. Also. Such discrepancies may be because the UK respondents tend to buy clothes from more independent stores which are less likely to offer loyalty cards. 60 . some respondents did reveal that they are frequent buyers of the same brands and also recommend brands to their friends and relatives. China does not have influential global clothing brands (Delong et al. 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. 1991). However. such perceptions may be attributable to their loyalty towards the brands (Aaker. prices. 1997). Some characteristics of the brands in which they are fond of were mentioned.2. From the findings. 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. As brand can provide guarantee of quality to consumers.
time and also interpreting skills. 5. In order to make it more prevalent for clothes shopping. various choices and cheaper prices. As far as sampling method is concerned. several limitations were found to hinder the overall accuracy of the findings. something should be done on the aforementioned drawbacks. Added to this. online security is also a matter of concern. whereas the shoppers need to be aware of the login procedures.2. Internet shopping is gaining its popularity (Dholakia and Uusitalo. There are three limitations regarding the sampling method. not to divulge personal information to unknown third parties. the retailers should be more vigilant in the design of verification system. and whether online shopping for clothes is popular among the respondents from both nations was examined.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. some respondents cited that online shopping is good for its informative websites. 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. 2002) but the findings suggested that buying clothes online was not that common among the respondents. the details of the size and materials should be listed on the website to reduce the chances of buying wrong clothes. In terms of fitting.6 Consumer buying behaviour Consumers can shop for clothes via different channels. Most of the interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes through the internet. 5. qualitative research can not provide representative samples from the target population even though they can detect 61 . For online securities. However.3 Limitations During the course of research.
As long as more time is allowed. whether the brand is influential or not depends on how it is perceived. 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. however. There are numerous brands around the world. since in-depth interviews were chosen to be the method of data collection. 2000). the responses from the in-depth interviews can be subjected to researcher’s effects. In selecting the students.minor problems that are not obvious in a quantitative study (Proctor. Such discretion of choosing samples may introduce a source of bias since there is a possibility to omit some types of people. especially for those who are difficult to contact (Proctor. In addition. interviewers’ questioning skill is also one of the determinants for answer accuracy. 1992) and data obtained are influenced by the interviewers’ manner. 5.. 1991). ideas and products of other cultures than older people (Netemeyer et al. 2000). the number of samples interviewed is limited. 62 . for instances accent. having a propensity of getting deviated results. Students were used as the subjects for investigation and they tend to be more susceptible to the views.4 Implications This dissertation attempts to find out the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. more samples could be gathered so that it could enhance the overall conclusiveness of the interviews. including the skills of handling follow-up and probing questions (Proctor. the characteristics of the interviewers. gender and age. Finally. the combination of quota and convenience samples was used. The dissertation was confined to finish within the summer term which lasted for 3 months. Interviewers may ask leading questions that distort respondents’ answers (Levy and Weitz. During the interviews. 2000). will have an effect on the interviewees’ willingness to participate and their nature of answers. In terms of time.
Under the premise that brand is regarded as equity for marketers. 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. price and performance. having mentioned that customers judge the quality mostly based on the factors like materials. colour. As far as perceived quality is concerned. marketers can devise different reward methods in different forms such as discounts. style. As for brand association. the study of brand can provide an insight for further brand development. marketers should make use good of the traditional channels like advertisements and word-of-mouth and devise new methods to communicate with customers. From the findings. In addition. In terms of brand awareness. Such positive connotations are achieved through working closely on brand awareness. brand loyalty and brand association. the investment in brand loyalty could enhance the chance of repeat purchase and broaden the customer base. To reward loyal customers. marketers can think of relevant strategies. Chinese brand developers should put more efforts on quality control 63 . perceived quality and brand loyalty. perceived quality. it is of utmost importance to keep the customers’ positive perceptions towards the brands so that the chances for repeat purchase would be increased. durability. four different areas were investigated. aiming at finding out their similarities and differences in the consumer purchasing behaviour on clothes. Through understanding how customers behave in these four aspects.Therefore. namely brand awareness. This dissertation highlights the comparisons between British and Chinese. This provides an important insight that Chinese customers should get rid of their negative perceptions towards the clothes quality. 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.
This may change the buying attitude that Chinese are now confined to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets (HKTDC.with a view to establish some strong national clothing brands among themselves. since famous clothing brands are not uncommon in such developed country. The use of club cards was found to be more common among Chinese than the UK respondents for buying clothes. For the UK.5 Recommendations for further research Although the findings from this research are interesting and useful as one may think. 2002). 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. in addition to semi-structured interviews. it could think of making online clothes purchasing more popular and also introducing varieties of benefits to reward loyal customers. Besides. there are several limitations as mentioned in the previous section. for instance working class. For instances. More interviewers could be hired and trained to collect as much data as they can. have done. it should be more aware of the marketing strategies to enhance the overall brand equity. like supermarkets. 5. could 64 . More samples should be interviewed as long as time and money are not constraints. This could provide much more conclusive results. Other sampling groups. 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. Marketers could consider the feasibility of getting this idea widespread in the clothes retailing industry as other retail sectors. It is hoped that Chinese can have some influential global clothing brands by doing so. It is important to make improvement in the further research to provide more fruitful and representative findings.
also be investigated since they may provide entirely different results as what have been obtained from the student samples. researchers could be able to get more representative and deeper findings from different perspectives. exploring the research to a higher stratum as far as brand development is concerned. 65 . By taking the above recommendations.
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S.S. U. U.S.S. France U.S.Korea U.Korea Britain Japan Britain U.S. U.S.S.S.S. Netherlands Bermuda U.S. U.Korea Italy Italy Italy Britain Germany U.S.S.S.S.S. Britain Japan U. U. U.S. 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. U. France U.S. Japan Britain S.S.S.S.S.S. U.S.S. U. France U. U.S.S. U. Switzerland U.S. Sweden Switzerland Switzerland Germany U.S. Germany Switzerland Spain Germany S. U. Germany U.S.S.com Pizza Hut Danone Caterpillar Motorola Kodak adidas Rolex Zara Audi Hyundai BP Panasonic Reuters Kraft Porsche Hermes Tiffany & Co.S. France U.S. Japan U. U. U.S. Japan S. U.S. (Data adopted from Business Week (2007)) 79 . 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. Italy U. U.S.S.S.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. Germany Japan U. Netherlands France France U.S.S.S.S. U. U. Finland Japan U. Germany U. U. U. Britain U.S.S. U.S. U.S. U. France U.S. Germany France U. U. Switzerland U.S.S. Germany U. U.
Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 4. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? 5. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 13. How often do you buy clothes? 2. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. Can you comment on what brand is to you? (Note: Further probing questions would be asked after each of the above question if necessary) 80 . Do you recommend brands? 9. Why do you like this brand? 11. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. Do you shop online for clothes? 12.Appendix 2: Interview Questions Name: Course: Nationality: Age: Year of study: Year of living in your home country: 1. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6.
How often do you buy clothes? Kevin: In China. Kevin. I was the company. It would talk about 30 minutes. Chris: Why? Kevin: Because in China. In England. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. since clothes are more expensive than those in China. around 20 to 30 pounds each time. Chris: So you buy clothes less frequently in the UK. Chris: How much do you spend on clothing each month? In case of China and also the UK? Kevin: In China. In England. Summer clothes are cheaper than winter clothes. it would be like 40 to 50 pounds. I would like to ask you about your purchasing behaviour on clothes.Appendix 3: Interview Transcription Name: Kevin Fang Age: 23 Gender: Male Nationality: Chinese Chris: Hi. so in winter. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). 81 . Kevin: Yes. Chris: Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? I mean high-priced. so normally I spent 30 pounds more or less each time when I went shopping. I had a girlfriend who likes shopping. 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.
they put posters in the public areas. and from my mind. on the streets. Chris: What about peer influence? Do you know some brands from your friends? Kevin: Yes. not frequently. Chris: Do you talk about buying clothes with your friends frequently? Kevin: No. Chris: How do you judge the quality of clothes? Kevin: It depends. I only wear them for one to two year. I will consider them. so maybe next time I go shopping. For summer clothes.Chris: If some advertisements feature the celebrities. but the prices for these kinds of clothes are high. advertisements in the shopping mall. For winter clothes. of course. So it needs to keep the quality for that period. it will. Chris: But you maybe affected by them. I can’t afford it. How can they affect you? Kevin: Maybe they buy very nice clothes. it may be longer. would it have an impact on you to buy the clothes? Kevin: Yes. Chris: In what way do you usually learn about clothing brands? Kevin: TV. they are nice to put them on. 85 . from my perspective.
you know. Chris: What about lowest quality? Kevin: China…maybe. and Demank (Jack and Jones). keep the quality until out-of-date. 86 .Chris: So if it’s durable. Chris: Any others to judge the quality? Kevin: Colour…the feeling…whether or not it becomes fade after washing it. by the colour. Chris: Do you have some ideas that which countries’ clothes you think they are of highest or lowest quality? Kevin: Korea (for E-land). some brands have their own manufacturing (plants) in China. Kevin: As long as it can. these clothes are from very good brands and they quality is conceivable. Chris: So you think these two countries produce the highest quality clothes? Kevin: I consider brands more than the countries. Would country of origin affect your perceptions towards clothes quality? Kevin: As I said most of them are made in China. I think their quality is good. then it’s of high quality. by the feeling of texture and whether it will fade or not. I never compare which clothes come from which countries. Chris: So you judge the quality in terms of durability.
maybe cheaper than from other countries.Chris: Why do you have such feelings? Kevin: I think quality goes high as prices go high. we may buy some sport apparels like LiNing. but it doesn’t have any brands in casual wear category. you go to that shop again to buy clothes? Kevin: Ah. the appearance is more important…the quality. of course. famous among young people. Kevin: No. we prefer clothes from other countries. I only bought E-land once… I also buy clothes from Kuhle. I think quality is not a problem for these brands. not many. Chris: So because of the quality and the appearance. but for casual wear. Chris: So you mean maybe China has some famous brands in sport apparels. it’s high Chris: Do you recommend brands to your friends or someone else? 87 . Chris: Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? Kevin: Every time I go shopping. Chris: So you believe quality goes with prices? Kevin: Actually for young people. I will go to those places…not E-land. Chris: You mean China usually sells cheap clothes? Kevin: Yea. it just likes Jack and Jones.
like grid shirts. Chris: So you mentioned something about colour and simplicity. Chris: Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? Kevin: I prefer very simple image. maybe they will keep in mind. I will buy it. For T-shirt. if I recommend my preference to him or her. you can buy it online. advertising is the first impression and packaging is on-the-spot influence. I prefer some simple image. For shirts. maybe they will ignore it. I know many girls do that.Kevin: No. For jeans. how does such image come from? Kevin: I think its appearance. I don’t know. but I know many people do. like the clothes from the markets. So. I prefer blue jeans. Chris: Does such image come from advertising and packaging? Kevin: Yea. Chris: Why not? Kevin: I think every one has their own place. 88 . I can see how it looks like. if it is fit to me. If you can’t find in the market or in the shops. I prefer very colorful image. To be honest. After I put it on. Chris: Do you shop online for clothes? Kevin: No. The clothes online are cheap. Maybe girls can find more suitable size than guys do. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. I never buy clothes online.
I have one from Kuhle and one from Jack and Jones. at least once a week. Normally. they will give me a VIP card. 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. But if I’m not satisfied with it. would you go to the same shops to have a look again? Kevin: Maybe I will go there next season when I go shopping. of course I will wear it. As long as l finish shopping. 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. So next time I go to these shops to buy clothes. would you apply for it? Kevin: Yea. maybe after one or two month. they will give me 5 to 10 percent discount or some credits. Chris: If you are satisfied.Chris: So. Kevin: Yea. maybe they are there. if I buy clothes more than 40 or 50 pounds once. that’s the main advantage. it maybe the advantage of buying clothes online. 89 . You can find some clothes which you can’t buy in the shops or markets. I will not go to the see any clothes within a short interval. maybe take it as my pajamas. Chris: What are the bad things of buying clothes online? Kevin: As I said. I can get some gifts from the accumulated credits. but less frequently. I will wear it very regularly. Chris: If the shops do offer you some loyalty cards.
Chris: That’s all for the interview. Thanks very much. belts. but it represents the taste and quality of them.like some accessories. It may not the spirit of the clothes. 90 . wallet. I would like you to help me finish a sentence starting with ‘Brand is’. Chris: So you said ‘Brand is just like the name of people. sunglasses. something like that. glasses.
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