Effect of Brand Image on Consumer Purchasing Behaviour on Clothing: Comparison between China and the UK’s Consumers

By Kwok Keung Tam


A Dissertation presented in part consideration for the degree of “MSc International Business”

Table of Content
Page numbers Abstract i



Chapter 1: Introduction 1.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing 1.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets 1.2.1 China clothing market Chinese spending habits Impediments to China’s clothing brand development 1.2.2 UK clothing market British spending habits 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

20 23

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 Within-case analysis Cross-case analysis 3.8 Summary

24 24 24 24 25 26 27 29 31 31 32 34 34 34 34

35 36 37 37

Chapter 4: Research findings and discussion 4.1 Introduction 4.2 Backgrounds of respondents 4.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4.3.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 4.3.2 Brand awareness

38 38 38 40 40


4 Implications 5.3 Perceived quality 5.3.5 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 .5 Brand association Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 5.4.2 Brand awareness 5.4 Brand loyalty 5.3 Perceived quality 4.4 Results 4.2 Conclusions 5.6 Consumer buying behaviour Limitations 5.5 Summary 46 50 53 54 56 57 Chapter 5: Conclusions 5.2.4 Brand loyalty Consumer buying behaviour 4.1 Introduction 5.5 Brand association 4.3.

it is important that Chinese factory owners together with marketers should join hands to have better control over the clothes quality. however. perceived quality. brand loyalty and brand association. This study examines the factors which contribute to brand equity in the clothing industry.Abstract Brand is a powerful tool to attract more consumers to buy particular products. In the UK. Semi-structured interviews have been conducted to solicit responses from interviewees for analysis. Some may even regarded it as equity as it can add values to the products. clothing brands are much better developed than its China counterparts. The findings suggested that Chinese tend to have negative perceptions towards the quality of clothes produced in their own country. comparing the consumer behaviour between the British and Chinese respondents based on the four respects of brand equity. namely brand awareness. 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. i . Having known that China has no influential clothing brands around the world.

Vicky Story. but also encouraged me to face the challenge ahead.Acknowledgements I would like to thank my advisor. In addition. in assisting me to finish the dissertation. I would also acknowledge my school-mates for their help in the data collection process. 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. They have devoted their precious time for the interviews voluntarily and their wholehearted support contributes to the success of this dissertation. Dr. 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. He has not only inspired me to do this dissertation. Last but not least. ii . especially my father Chun Shiu Tam who has devoted himself to the clothing industry for nearly half a century.

Owing to the proliferation of brands in the clothing sector. consumers may need to recognize their personal needs. Having a strong and remarkable brand image could help establish an identity in marketplace (Aaker. namely pre-purchase. 1996). These highlight the complication of buying processes and the potential impact a brand could impose in between them. Nowadays. clothing can help represent our personal identity. choose the buying modes. Shopping for clothes is one of the popular pastimes among people from all ages. consumers need to take serious consideration during the buying processes. Once consumers make a purchasing decision. Each stage is of equal importance that can alter the consumer buying decision. As mentioned by Rayport and Jaworski (2003). different genders and cultural backgrounds. 1 . as a matter of fact. show satisfaction to the services or product quality and finally be loyal to the brand. purchase and post-purchase. 2000). the purchasing processes can be divided into three stages.Chapter 1 Introduction 1. in addition to the basic functions.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing Clothing. is a kind of necessity that helps keep our bodies warm. under the influence of globalization and concerted efforts from media advertising. express the status an individual has and what their personal image is like (O’Cass. clothes can also serve as fashion items. Several brands. determine whether to buy again from the same retailer. have become popular not only in their country of origin. read product information. Human beings cannot live without the protection from clothes in adverse conditions and this signifies how important clothing is for us. but also in other markets with high potential. which can tell how significant an individual is. decide which and where to buy. Thus.

1 China clothing market The clothing industry is one of the most important and hence heavily invested industry in China. which would be illustrated in the following chapters. 1991. encourage greater intermediary co-operation as well as increase the chance for further brand extension (Delgado-Ballester and Munuera-Aleman. In this way. 2000). Being an advanced developing country. the UK has transformed from an industrial country to a well-developed country in the recent decades. The importance of brand image has inspired many marketing scholars and practitioners to begin researching the concept of ‘brand equity’ (Aaker. In accordance with Delong et al. The differences in their economies have triggered the interest of my study towards their consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector. 2003). This may probably explain why China is now becoming one of the most influential countries within the clothing sector.2. 2005). 1998. 1993). China tends to be more dependent on labour-intensive production activities rather than natural resource-based activities (Greenaway and Milner. In order to differentiate one brand from another.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets China and the UK are entirely different in their economic structures. contributing to 74. the concept of brand equity would be utilized as a theoretical framework. Corstjens and Lal. marketers would develop retail brands with unique image so as to continue to gain popularity and market share (Abend. 1993. In this paper. 1.16 billion US dollars in terms of export value and leading it to become the second largest clothing export market in 2 . 1996. 1. consumers appear to rely on the brand image as long as they have little knowledge about the brand. brands are regarded as valuable assets which can help the companies generate lucrative revenues.widen the profit margins. Ailawadi. Under this concept. On the other hand. Keller. 2001. (2004). 2000. managing brand image is of utmost importance.

China is known for the manufacture of basic goods in large volumes and foreign registered brands are often designed elsewhere and produced in China. people spend 7. However. wielding the techniques and human resources to finish the orders placed by the foreign counterparts. the development of clothing industry in China becomes even much faster. this would also engender intense competition since foreign firms are allowed to sell their products directly to China. 1. 2004).1 Chinese spending habits According to a research conducted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) (2002). to further strengthen its position in the clothing sector. however. It is shown that they would prefer buying middle-priced range clothes from Hong Kong and luxury brand-named clothes made in foreign countries. With the accession of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. 1998) reveals that over two thirds of the consumers regard domestic brands as their first priority. Regarding the criteria for buying clothes. The HKTDC (2002) research also reports on the average annual spending on clothing. It is undeniable that the entry of WTO would provide business opportunities for China.. 3 . respondents rank fitness as their prime concern.1. Nowadays. China plays a role as a producer. Chinese customers show divergent opinions with respect to purchasing clothes. However. pricing. On average.2. followed by cutting. quality and finally trendiness. Chinese brands have competitive advantage in fitness and pricing (Delong et al. As stated by Cui (1997). 2006). It is believed that China could make use of its competitive advantages. for instances low labour costs and large portions of usable land.3% of their income on buying clothes with women professionals having the highest demand and students’ spending the minimal amount. This points out the fact that a large majority of Chinese is still in favor of domestic brands in low-priced range. This disparity is probably due to the fact that professionals have higher spending power than the students’.2005 (WTO. the Grey China Base Annual Consumer Study (Bates.

however.to middle-priced range market without fully penetrating to the luxurious level. 1. They tend to perceive US brands positively as US has a reputation in technological development and high fashion. however. According to a report published by Business Week (2007). Such findings provide insights to the future development of local brands in China. Also. become a major hindrance to the global brands’ development process. Besides.1. China has been connoted with the reputation of low-cost products in the overseas markets for decades.2.2 Impediments to China’s clothing brand development China has competitive advantages in terms of production factors such as low labour costs and growing technology. followed by adidas in 71 and the Spain-found clothing company ZARA in 73. The lack of brand knowledge is probably attributed to the geographical and political differences. This spells out the need for China to establish its own brands with good reputation. 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. 2004). When it comes to the case 4 . This is possibly owing to the fact that Chinese brands are confined to low. Schmitt and Pan (1994) state that Chinese customers could not be able to differentiate between US and European apparel brands. they often find Hong Kong and Taiwan brand names confusing. such confusion does not affect the overall perception towards brands in other countries. The originally advantageous factors. Cui (1997) points out that customers would only justify a brand through its image as long as they know little about it.people still tend to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets.. 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. none of the Chinese brands can enter the 100 Top Brands in 2006 (see Appendix 1) in which Nike was ranked 31. However.

pales in comparison with the development of the business sector and even has a sign of recession in the recent decades. In addition. 1. According to a research conducted by Weekes (2004).com. regardless of their quality. females are more likely 5 . The manufacturing sector. 2004).2.2. 1.about the perception of China-produced foreign brands. 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.2. 2007). 2007). According to a research reported by Hargrave-Silk (2005. With such impetus and the concerted effort from the industry members. This can be revealed by the gradual decline of employment rate within the UK clothing industry (Jones and Hayes. which is 21 times less than that of China (Economist. just around one-third of female respondents and less than half of the male respondents express that they have the saving habits. nearly two thirds of the companies in China would like to establish their own global brand.2 UK clothing market The UK is a European country with population of around 60 million. including the clothing industry. Regarding its GDP growth. The image of China-produced products needs improvement in this sense. March 25). contributing to nearly 30% of the total domestic products (Economist.1 British spending habits Spending seems more welcome than saving among the British people. it is pursuing a stable rather than aggressive GDP growth rate. it is ironic that most respondents find that they are less authentic. Among the respondents. the business services and finance sector are the most important source of gross domestic products.com. the overall image of Chinese brands could become better in the future. because of its mature economic structure.

2003). the market is characterized by products with small differentiation (Birtwhistle and Freathy..2 Characteristics of the UK clothing market Like most of the developed economy. 1. strong competitive activities. As mentioned by Moore (1995). Store cards and loyalty cards are common promotional tactics to solicit consumer’s loyalty. short-life-cycle products. South and Spitze. as well as fluctuating consumer demand (Marciniak and Bruce. and occasionally. 2004). 2004).2. leaving alone the design centre with well-trained designers. 1999). However. Siddiqui et al. 1999. In 6 . 2003). As far as the UK fashion retail sector is concerned. as cited in Carruthers. 1994). Although the UK is overwhelmed with fashion brands. there is a trend for own brand development. However. a polarized marketplace. Such move can probably account for the significant drop in employment rate and amount of output in the clothing sector (Jones. 1998. 2002). This may possibly explain why shopping is a gendered activity (Dholakia. women may even shop for men’s clothing (Dholakia. 1995). concentrated markets. 2004. Moore.to spend on clothes than males.2. the UK clothing industry has shifted its manufacturing section to other countries with low labour costs and skilled labour. the same research shows that store cards may not be regularly used even though special offers are often given to the cardholders (Weekes. this is found to hinder the development of British clothing design due to lack of manufacturing facilities (Dagworthy. 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. 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. 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.

Mintel.4 Objectives of the dissertation The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour in clothing. Compared with other retailed sector. 2001. 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. brand equity is mainly derived from four elements. with the later one contributing to the largest proportion of market share (Easey. The clothing sector is particularly chosen in this research.. According to Aaker (1991). 1998).3 Theoretical framework With a well-known brand name. composing of independent. clothing is a kind of public 7 . As stated by Bearden and Etzel (as cited in Hogg et al. 1995). brand loyalty. 1. Having found out the relationship between brand image and consumer purchasing behaviour. consumers would prefer buying brand-name products (Bello and Holbrook. with the comparison between the Chinese and British consumers. perceived brand equity and brand associations. 2004. 1. the retailing sector is fragmented. As far as the same level of product quality is concerned. consumers would appear to be more likely to purchase the products in much higher prices.addition. the fashion retailing sector is found to incorporate the largest number of indigenous chains such as Next plc (Marciniak and Bruce. marketers and practitioners could devise strategies to increase the sales revenues. 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. Marciniak and Bruce. 2003). namely brand awareness. family-owed businesses and some large scale chain stores.

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 . brand image should have an impact on the consumer buying behaviour of clothing and second. In addition. there are differences in buying behaviour for consumers in China and the UK. ZARA. whereas the UK is a mature market in which consumers are more experienced in purchasing brand-name clothes. 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. Chapter 2 will incorporate the review of previous studies.5 Outline of the dissertation The structure of the dissertation is shown as follows: Chapter 1 is the introductory section. China.necessity with weak reference group influence on the product category but strong reference group influence on the brand choice. The results of such comparison would offer meaningful insights for further brand development in both China and the UK. mainly concentrating on clothing industry and consumer buying behaviour. the research objectives and the dissertation outline. 2007. Two assumptions are made throughout the dissertation. is on the lookout for extensions. First. being an emerging country with high potential on clothing brands. containing the background information of China and the UK clothing industry. In this way. 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. 1. results obtained from the research on brand image could be more conspicuous. 2007).

Recommendations would be made with regard to the limitations so as to provide further directions in the future studies. Whether brand image would affect the consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector is shown and also the similarities and differences regarding the circumstances in China and the UK are investigated. 9 . Chapter 5 would draw conclusions on the findings from the previous chapters. Chapter 3 delineates the research methodology.understandable in the forthcoming sections. Implications towards the business environment and research limitations are also included. Chapter 4 is the core of the dissertation in which research findings are presented and discussed. focusing on the description of research design and justification of data.

Keller. 1998). packaging. there is a growing number of research conducted in the field of consumer buying behaviour. In this chapter. 1998). 2. 1991. promotion.2 The important roles of brand Brand is a name in every consumer’s mind (Mooij. Murphy. 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. 1998). This dissertation is going to investigate the differences of British and Chinese in purchasing clothes under the influence of brand image. 2001). Owing to the proliferation of brands in the recent decades. brand is a guarantor of reliability and quality 10 .. 1998) and it is characterized by a noticeable name or symbol which can differentiate the goods and services from the rivals’ (Aaker. 2003). 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. consume and dispose products and services (Blackwell et al. In addition to a specific brand name.1 Introduction Consumer behaviour refers to the activities in which people acquire. as well as its overall presentation (Murphy. most of them concentrate on a single country study. 1991. From the consumers’ perspective.Chapter 2 Literature Review 2. a brand is also composed of products. The emergence of brand equity underlies the importance of brand in marketing tactics and hence provides useful insights for managers and further research (Keller. However. advertising.

1998). 1998. consumers would like to buy and use brand-name products with a view to highlight their personality in different situational contexts (Aaker. Although successful brands can be totally different in nature. on the other hand. 1999). consumers would have their preferences. a potential brand is established through engendering customer 11 .2. there are four elements for building a successful brand. basic brand. nearly one-forth of the respondents are likely to impulse-buy clothes and accessories. Added to this.in consumer products (Roman et al. they share something in common. which are developed in accordance with their perceptions towards the brand. As mentioned by Levitt (1983). considers the packaging of the tangible product so as to attract the attention from the potential customers.. augmented brand and potential brand. Murphy. 1998). Finally and most importantly. effective after-sales services and the like. Fennis and Pruyn. namely tangible product. 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. for instances well-priced products and consistent quality (Murphy. consumers have a wide range of choice to choose from when they enter a shopping mall. 2000). Nowadays.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. 2. 2005). It is found that consumers’ emotions are one of the major determinants which affect their buying behaviour (Berry. When deciding which products to purchase. 2006). 1999. According to a research conducted by Freeride Media LLC (1998) on shopping habits. Basic brand. The brand can be further augmented with the provision of credibility.

1995). 2.. It is not uncommon to find some familiar brands listed on the stock markets in which they could be bought or sold. It is found that the volatility of stock market could affect consumers’ purchasing mood. giving rise to a reduction in sales volume. In order to combat piracy. the image of the brand could be well instilled in the customers’ mind. 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. One of the quintessential examples regarding brand as a kind of equity is the imposition of laws to protect intellectual property (Murphy. patents. 1998). Added to this. many countries have set up laws to protect trade marks. 1996). Sainsbury and Tesco are all listed on the FTSE 100 index (London Stock Exchange. brand is also a tradable product with measurable financial value (Murphy. Brands like HSBC. the values of brands have been recognized to both the consumers and producers. which could impose beneficial or detrimental effects on the values arising from the products or services (Aaker. 1991. Vodafone. This is supported by the fact that brand equity depends on the number of people with regular purchase (Aaker. Marks and Spencer. For instance. However. not to mention the growth or declines of retail sales (Blackwell. In countries with well-established legal system. Concerning the positive side of brand equity.preference and loyalty. By doing so. including its name and symbol. Yasin et al. 2007). poor product quality and customer services could adversely affect the brand image.3 Brand equity The term ‘brand equity’ refers to a set of assets and liabilities associated with a brand. brand equity could be ruined if it is not properly managed. 1998). designs as well as copyright. 12 . 2002). Keller (1998) points out that brand equity signifies the unique marketing effects imposed on the brand. In addition. 2007).

Besides. 1991). 1991. 1991). Keller.3. 2. It is important for the potential consumers to be aware of a product so that it can become one of the purchasing choices.1 Brand awareness Brand awareness is one of major determinants of brand equity. 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. There is a high propensity for consumers with good perceptions to buy from the same shop again than those with poor perceptions. Past purchasing experiences and familiarity with the brand could be attributable to the perceptions generated from the consumers (Aaker. Owning to the positive image. brand equity could also allow higher margins through premium pricing and reduced reliance upon promotional activities (Aaker.The above examples highlight the values of brand equity for both consumers and the firm. This is due to the fact that the product needs to enter the awareness set before it comes to the consideration 13 . brand equity could provide them with information about the brand which influences their confidence during the purchasing process. linking the brand with its corresponding product class (Aaker. These four main areas are to be discussed in the coming sections. 1991). name awareness. The level of brand awareness lies in a continuum. 2005). As for the firm. with brand recognition being the lowest level and the first named brand with unaided recall being the highest level. For the consumers. It refers to the ability of a potential consumer to recall and recognize the brand. 1998). brand equity could also be a source for the firm to generate cash flow. perceived quality and brand associations (Aaker. For instance. namely brand loyalty. Brand equity is a broad concept which can be further subdivided into four main areas. consumers no longer focus on the short-term promotion but the brand on the whole. but also attracted more people to invest in the bigger company with high potential (Business Week.

2007). there is an increasing number of advertising campaigns around the world. In this way. due to their political separations. 1990. For long time. In addition. Taiwan would like to become politically independent from China owing to their different political standpoint whereas Hong Kong. Several factors can alter the level of brand awareness. being a special administrative region since 1997... celebrity endorsement can give rise to source credibility and source attractiveness. 2005). 2007). 2001) and an increase in brand awareness is conducive to a higher chance of entering the later set (Nedungadi. For source credibility. affecting consumer’s intention to purchase (Mackenzie et al. Macdonald and Sharp... namely increasing brand name identity and associating it with the product class. two tasks are to be accomplished. its geographical location and politics could affect the consumer brand awareness level seriously. brands from Taiwan and Hong Kong are sometimes confused. as pointed out by McGuire (1978). In recent decades. In case of China. 1990). has once been a colony of the UK. brands with higher level of awareness would be more likely to be purchased (Yasin et al. owing to geographical differences. brand awareness can be enhanced through repeat exposure to the brand. Advertising and celebrity endorsement could be some useful tools for raising brand awareness. Chinese consumers cannot distinguish US apparel brand names from the European ones. This could probably explain why consumers tend to buy a recognizable brand rather than an unfamiliar one (Hoyer. (2004). Consumers are hence well-equipped with comparative elements to judge which product or service to purchase (Alvarez and Casielles. celebrities can disseminate messages to particular consumers and hence increase the brand awareness. 2000). According to research conducted by Delong et al. As for source 14 . In order to achieve brand awareness. Moreover. 1986. It is found that advertisement attitude is attributable to the influence on brand attitudes.set (Blackwell et al. As mentioned by Keller (1998). Tsai et al.

To be more specific. 1998. motivating channel members to perform well and also introducing extensions into new brand categories (Aaker. features.2 Perceived quality Another important attribute to brand equity is perceived quality. Since it is a kind of intangible. successful endorsement can associate the culture of the celebrity world with the endorsed product (McCracken. In addition. 2. 1991). reliability. is judged by its corresponding tangibles. 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. Regarding product quality. serviceability as well as fit and finish. This association can raise the public awareness towards the brand. perceived quality can further be classified into product quality and service quality. Service quality. 1990) and also the perceptions towards the 15 . competence. differentiating the position of a brand.3. reliability. it is found that perceived quality is of utmost importance in determining brand loyalty as well as repeat purchase (Delong et al. conformance with specifications. Nevertheless. durability.. Yasin. Perceived quality of a brand could help generate values by providing a pivotal reason-to-buy. the country-of-origin of a product is found to affect its perceived quality (Khachaturian and Morganosky. It is defined as the customer’s perception of the overall quality or superiority of a product or service (Aaker. namely performance.attractiveness. Similar to brand awareness. overall feeling towards a brand. In addition to the aforementioned dimensions. responsiveness and empathy (Aaker. it is subjective in nature and hence the knowledge of actual detailed product specifications could have little correlation with the perceived quality. 1989). 2004). 1991). charging premium price. 1991. there are seven dimensions which affect the consumers’ perception. on the other hand. 1992). perceived quality is determined by a number of factors. 2007). Keller.

prices and convenience owned by its competitors (Aaker. consumers are assured to buy the product if they have some friends or relatives who 16 .. The more loyal the consumers are towards the brand. Second. 1991). having loyal customers is a kind of blessing. 1991). 2005). In this case. 1991). however.. challenges that such measure may not be totally accurate. Keller (1998). consumers could have their preferences for products made from one country over another (Papadopoulos et al. consumers continue to buy the brand. consumers are inclined to develop stereotypical beliefs about the products from particular countries. Brand loyalty is regarded as valuable asset under different circumstances. 1991). Based on the practice that repeat buying is one of the indicators for brand loyalty. As mentioned by Srikatanyoo and Gnoth (2002). 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. loyal customers could influence the others to purchase the brand. Moreover. price is one of the important cues to evaluate perceived quality (Aaker. the less vulnerable the customer base would be.purchased value (Ahmed and d’Astou. Loyal customers confer to a higher possibility of repeat purchases and it is less costly to keep customers than to get new ones. Under the influence of brand loyalty. 1993). 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. loyalty to a brand can enhance trade leverage.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. First. Third. it can help reduce the marketing costs of doing business (Aaker. Some consumers with strong affiliation to one brand would switch to the shop in which a designated brand is sold. For many companies. regardless of the superior features. 2. This is typically true when the product concerned is somewhat risky.3. Hence.

Bansal and Voyer. Finally. Keller (1998) and Yasin et al. Hence. KLM and chain stores such as TOPMAN provide club-cards or loyalty cards to reward their customers with discounts and other benefits. Marney. episodes. and facts that create a brand knowledge network (Yoo et al. It is defined as the specific linkage between the memory and the brand (Aaker. for instances innovativeness and distinctiveness are also taken into account as brand associations. For instance. many firms would devise different strategies to maintain and enhance the loyalty from customers. 1998. According to Aaker (1991). consisting of multiple ideas. Customers can also be rewarded for their loyalty towards the firms so that they will continue to buy the products. brand loyalty can help provide ample time for the firm to response to competitors’ newly launched products. Brand association is such a complicated concept that connects to one another. This suggests why word-of-mouth communication is one of the most powerful tools in the marketplace (Henricks.. Silverman. 1991). which contribute to a specific brand image. it is important to treat the customer with respect in order to keep them loyal. Consumers usually depend on informal. Moreover. 2000). several airlines like Cathay Pacific. Due to the values obtained from brand loyalty.3. 2000). as well as personal communication sources in making purchasing decision rather than more formal and organizational advertising campaigns (Bansal and Voyer. 1997. customer satisfaction level needs to be properly managed through conducting consumer research. 1995. (2007) further note that equity of a brand is largely supported by consumers’ associations towards the brand. the firm could make good use of the time lapse to develop more superior products in order to compete with its rivals. In addition to the tangible products. 17 . 2000).recommend the same model of product. 2. the intangible qualities. examples.4 Brand association The last dimension for brand equity is brand association.

they help the customers to process or retrieve information (Keller. It is about brand positioning that a well-positioned brand will find it hard to be attacked by its competitors due to its uniqueness. on the other hand. First of all. brand associations can differentiate one brand from another. experimental and symbolic. price information. packaging. Associations can also be used to trigger the customers to recall their past experiences. Attributes can be further categorized into product-related attributes as well as non-product related attributes. Associations towards a brand can create value for the firm and so its customers in a number of ways. refer to the signal effect that a brand may impose on the consumers. benefits and attitudes. They can be classified into functional. Finally. Symbolic benefits. Customers are sometimes forgetful and associations towards a brand serve as a brief summary for the customers to make their purchasing decision. 1998). Signal effect is determined by the image of consumers and also the personality of the brand. user imagery as well as usage imagery are to be considered. 1998) further divides brand associations into three categories. lying in a continuum from positive to negative (Gabbott and Hogg. Benefits are another category in brand associations. Function benefits signify the physical or basic advantages a brand may have. Second. This can make the brand 18 . For experimental benefits. 1991). 1998). They incorporate summary evaluations of information which represent how consumers feel in a long run. namely attributes. Attributes refer to the specific characteristics a product has. Different brands have different associations to their prospective customers.Keller (1993. making the customers remember the brand by heart. As for non-product related attributes. attitudes are regarded as the consumers’ overall assessments towards a brand. Such kind of associations can provide bases for them to make purchase decisions and even become loyal to the brand (Aaker. the overall features of the product or service are concerned. they are related to consumers’ emotional feelings. Consumers are attracted by the signal when they purchase a product in a particular brand. For product-related attributes.

Once brand associations are constructed in a meaningful way. Forth. such phenomenon is one of the most interesting and hence heavily investigated topics in the marketing field. brand associations may include some product attributes or consumer benefits which encourage the consumers to purchase the brand. adidas slogan ‘Impossible is nothing’. ideas or experiences. (2006) further provide a holistic view that defines consumer behaviour as the activities and the processes in which individuals or groups choose. First of all. the specific brand image attached on a product may differentiate itself from the others. The study of consumer buying behaviour is of utmost importance in a number of aspects. Consumers would have their preferences in purchasing products from specific retailers and hence the remaining retailers 19 . Madonna appearance in H&M’s collection advertisement can stimulate customers their positive feelings about the products. use or dispose the products. however. There may be products on the market with similar quality and design.unbeatable but it is quite difficult to achieve since consumer taste changes quite rapidly. As mentioned by Schiffman and Kanuk (2000). contributing to its higher premium price. Gabbott and Hogg (1998) and Blackwell et al. some associations can engender positive feelings. Third. consumer behaviour is about how people make their decisions on personal or household products with the use of their available resources such as time. from basic necessities to high-valued collectables. consumer behaviour can influence the economic health of a nation (Blackwell et al. services. a vivid brand image is established.. 2.4 Consumer buying behaviour Many people do consume a wide range of products every day. For examples. Owing to the proliferation of products in the market. buy. 2006). money and effort. Brand image possibly affects how consumers perceive the brand and hence their purchasing behaviour.

20 post-consumption evaluation and .. As far as the consumer decision process model is concerned. Arnoud et al. and also which products to excel. 2006). Therefore. which companies to succeed. 2001. Although they vary in form of presentation. However. 1998). For instance. These seven steps include need recognition. such definition falls short of the continuity of the processes. most of them are composed of stages such as pre-purchase. purchase. as well as disposal of used goods. 2. Moreover.. through understanding the reasons for consumers to buy the products and their buying habits. Based on this loophole. present consumer behaviour studies regard consumers as important determinants of organizational success and it is found that the most successful organizations are customer-centric (Blackwell et al. (2001) define consumer behaviour as a summation of acquisition. Rayport and Jaworski. purchase and post-purchase (Hoyer and Maclnnis. 2006). Blackwell et al. consumers need to go through seven steps before reaching their final decisions. comprising acquisition of goods and services. consumption.1 Models of consumer behaviour Several models are developed with a view to provide explanations for the consumer buying behaviours. Second. consumption. 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. 2003). the firms can make use of such information to devise corresponding marketing strategies in response to the consumers’ needs (Blackwell et al. consumers’ decisions can provide a clue for which industry to survive.4. evaluation. pre-purchase. search for information. consumption and disposal of products or services.are selected using the rule of ‘survival of the fittest’. tailor-made products can be made to enhance customer value and thus facilitate repeat purchase (Gabbott and Hogg. (2004) further propose the circle of consumption that recognize purchasing processes as a loop.

quality and price are commonly used to judge a brand by customers. is more likely to be based on personal interest on a particular brand. 1997). 2006). Ongoing search.. Stage two is the search of information. (2006) add that most consumer research would primarily base on these seven stages and how different elements affect each stage of consumers’ decisions. In this stage. regardless of the different terms and consolidation of stages. Attributes like quantity. 1992). Rayport and Jaworski (2003) propose a similar model with slight differences regarding the terms used.. size of purchase.. social class. as well as customer satisfaction. Pre-purchase search is initiated when consumers recognize a need and hence look for more information from the marketplace. The length and depth of search vary for different customers and depend on variables like personality. Customers pursuing this kind of search would like to obtain the most updated information about the designated brand. There are two kinds of needs. size.divestment (Blackwell et al. The buying process is initiated when people recognize their unsatisfied need (Levy and Weitz. 2006). past experiences. income. namely functional needs and psychological needs. on the other hand. search of information can further be divided into pre-purchase search and ongoing search. 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. As mentioned by Solomon et al. Stage three comes to the pre-purchase evaluation that consumers compare between different products and brands to make a purchasing decision.. prior brand perceptions (Moorthy et al. Any changes in 21 . 2005). 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. (2006). consumers pay particular attention to the attributes which are most relevant to their needs (Kolter et al. Blackwell et al.

customers evaluate the consumption process. As stated by Blackwell et al.. 2003). 2006). 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. including retailer and in-store selection. firms can create value by providing lower price or unique offers to the customers so as to excel their competitive advantages over the others. According to Porter (2004). 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. In stage five. in which consumers dispose or recycle the products and at the same time.. as well as point-of-purchase advertising. This gives rise to satisfaction when consumers’ expectations are higher than the perceived performance and vice versa (Blackwell et al. 22 . visual displays inside the shops. stage six and stage seven are under the category of the post-purchase stage. customers begin consuming the products whereas in stage six. The firms need to think about the possibility of remarketing. Stage five.these attributes can affect consumer decisions on brand or product choices (Blackwell et al. 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. 2006). In addition to in-store purchase. Rayport and Jaworski (2003) further point out the significant impact of internet on consumer purchasing decision. As pointed out by Dholakia and Uusitalo (2002). Last but not least. stage seven comes to divestment. Stage four refers to the purchase decisions made by the consumers after evaluating the offers from different retailers. (2006).

consumers seem to be more aware of the products they buy. whether the brand image would affect the consumers to purchase clothes is to be investigated. All of them have significant contribution to the brand as equity to the firm. perceived quality.2. Brands are so important that they are regarded as the equity to a firm. perceived quality. In this dissertation. 23 . It is hoped that by finding out the relationships of brand awareness. Nowadays. brand loyalty and brand association with the consumer purchasing behaviour that will provide useful insights for the development of the clothing sector.5 Summary This chapter provides a review about the major research and theories regarding the consumer purchasing behaviour. including brand awareness. Only by understanding the consumer behaviour can the products or brands be developed in a right way. brand loyalty and brand associations. and at the same time. products are developed in an unprecedented way. Brand equity can be divided into four dimensions.

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.2. Each of them encompasses a variety of approaches.Chapter 3 Methodology 3. In accordance with Gephart (2004). there are two types of research methods. 3.1 Introduction With a view to finding out the underlying principles of certain phenomenon.1 Review of different research traditions Based on the methodology used. 2004). research is required. research theories can be classified into different types. namely positivism. as well as justifying the most suitable approach for the research topic.. During the course of consumer behaviour research. In general. 24 . interpretive research and critical postmodernism.2 Theoretical backgrounds In this section. In terms of the science of knowledge acquisition. 3. epistemology is about the science of knowing. data are gathered. theories. 2004). The details of the sampling would also be discussed. namely qualitative and quantitative research. This chapter aims at discussing different theories and research methods. whereas methodology is acknowledged to be the science of finding out (Babbie. the research traditions. which are determined on the kinds of data being collected. think and behave (Arnould et al. there are three research traditions. recorded and analyzed in a systematic and objective manner so as to apprehend and foresee how consumers feel.

events and mechanisms.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis Generally. interpretative research focuses on subjective interpretations to describe meanings and understand reality. Finally. While positivism stresses on objectivity.. As far as the description and explanation of phenomena are concerned. official statistics. 2002). Experiences are our perceptions and encounters of the world.Positivism makes use of the stance of realism in which the objective reality can be understood by mirror of science. 3. feelings and motivations of people (Babbie. In the field of research. together with the structures and processes within it. which is shaped by values and crystallizes over time. 1993).2. random sampling 25 . the majority of positivist research incorporates the comparison of qualitative case studies to analyze if there are any connections between variables. In accordance to Fisher (2004). qualitative research is sometimes regarded as a relatively minor methodology than its quantitative counterpart and there are some assumptions that only experimental data. 2004. Added to this. As for critical postmodernism. quantitative research focuses on analyzing numerical data whereas qualitative research deals with meanings. it underlines the assumption of symbolic reality. 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. Fisher (2004) further reveals that critical postmodernism is a kind of realism which comprises three levels of reality. examining the attitudes. Dey. mechanisms are the roots of events which are regarded as the deepest level among the three. it assumes that a social world exists externally that should be measured objectively (Easterby-Smith et al. including experiences. Events are concerned about what has happened in the world by our experiences to them. research methods can be classified in a dichotomy between quantitative and qualitative research.

suffers from the problem of ‘anecdotalism’ in which it just narrates some examples of phenomenon without taking less clear data into account (Silverman. Besides. which uses ad hoc procedures to define and measure variables (Blumer. Cicourel. 1989). 1986). numeric data. 2000). 1956. 2000).2. however. having a complete set of categorization for the events or activities described (Silverman. Unlike quantitative research. Silverman. (2002).and quantified data can lead to valid or generalizable social facts. for example. research needs a partnership and it could be beneficial to collaborate rather than compete between the different kinds of research methods. 2000). 1975). Nevertheless. attitude (Kirk and Miller. As for qualitative research. both of them are not perfect in a sense that they need to serve as a complement to each other. Quantitative research surpasses qualitative in a sense that it can analyze data based on representative samples from a large population (Proctor. That is why it is suggested that qualitative research should be used more often at the early or exploratory stage of a study (Silverman. 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. it is more likely to look into people’s in-depth feelings. Qualitative analysis. quantitative analysis is stronger than qualitative analysis in that it can persuade readers with large-scale.3 Reliability and validity of data The reliability and validity of the data and findings are of pivotal importance to the whole research. 2000). qualitative research tends to focus on describing the process of how we define and measure variables in everyday life (Silverman. These determine whether the research can engender 26 . 2000). In this way. As suggested by Easterby-Smith et al. 3. Both the quantitative research and qualitative research have their own advantages and disadvantages. 1964.

2006). This may affect the reliability of the research findings. opinions and attitudes towards brand image are investigated. the findings of qualitative research are not necessarily repeatable since they reflect reality at the time of data collection. 27 . 1992). As mentioned by Tesch (1990). to justify reliability. 1992). it is found that having reliable research results is not always attributable to valid outcomes (Davis and Bremner. there are as much as forty types of qualitative research in three main orientations. Besides. and the original form of the materials is unavailable (Silverman. These underlie the importance of ensuring reliable methods and making valid conclusions in the research process.3 Justification of research method Different research methods should be adopted based on the nature of research. 2000). Reliability connotes to the consistency on the research results. which are judged by different observers or by the same observer on different occasions (Hammersley. qualitative research is more suitable in terms of soliciting the consumers’ in-depth responses. 2000). namely language-orientated approach. As pointed out by Davis and Bremner (2006). one can replicate the same research to see whether the same outcomes are obtained on subsequent occasions. validity concerns about the truth (Silverman. This dissertation makes use of the qualitative research method and there have been some discussions on qualitative research regarding its reliability and validity. As mentioned by Saunders et al. While reliability is correlated to consistency. the research cannot be claimed valid so long as there are only few exemplary instances reported. (2003). However. Hence. This dissertation aims at finding out consumer purchasing behaviour on clothing in which their beliefs.useful findings or not. 3. giving an accurate account to the social phenomena (Hammersley.

In case of interviews. theory-building approach tries to examine the connections between social phenomena. researchers should show their ability to ask further in-depth questions based on the answers obtained. 28 . as well as theory-building approach. interviews are more controllable than focus groups in this regard. 2004). the thorough description and interpretation of social phenomena are the central focus. Added to this. 1992). focus group can also be a useful kind of research method that brings together some interviewees. Thus. in a room to engage in a guided discussion on a common topic (Babbie. researchers may find it difficult to assemble a large group of people and the control over the interviewees is minimal (Gamson. 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.descriptive/ interpretative approach. ranging from the initial stage for identifying areas to more detailed exploration. One may argue why interviews but not the other types of qualitative research methods are chosen in this research. Breakwell (2006) points out that interviews are flexible in that they can be used at any stage in the research process. 2006). The structure of interviews lies in a continuum in which fully-structured and unstructured interviews are the two extreme poles (Breakwell. interviewers may need to probe each answer and make use of the replies for further questioning (Proctor. Language-oriented approach concerns the use of language and meaning of words. say 12-15 people. For instance. During the course of interviews. However. Finally. In descriptive/ interpretative approach. Although focus groups are much more effective and cheaper than interviews as one may see. 2000). 2004). interviews are chosen as the data collection methods. Based on the descriptive and interpretive nature in this research. Proctor (2000) notes that the usefulness of qualitative research depends heavily on the researchers’ skills.

semi-structured interviews are chosen in this research. 2000). In addition. Being reliable does not necessarily attribute to validity but it is found that inconsistent responses may lead to certain inaccuracy (Davis and Bremner. with the use of a semi-structured format. researchers tend to regard people as experiential experts on a specific topic under investigation. As pointed out by Smith and Osborn (2003). it is important to develop a systematic set of questions and help the interviewees to understand the questions. it is suggested that interviewers be trained for a specific study if necessary since their manner in questioning could impose an effect on how reliable and valid the data will be (Proctor. 2006). interviews depend on respondents’ accurate and complete responses. interesting responses emerged during the interviews. 2000). This gives rise to the possibility of unreliable and invalid data. 3.Structured interviews are characterized by their fixed nature and sequence of questions or the fixed nature of answers allowed. Moreover. 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. Such format can enhance the sensitive and empathic facets of the findings.4 Sampling As far as the sampling method is concerned. When it comes to the process of data collection. These can help solicit consistent responses and hence the reliability of data can be much enhanced. underlying the importance human-to-human relationship of interviews (Fontana and Fry. Unlike structured interviews. 2006). This can enrich the data collected from the interviewing process (Smith and Eatough. Among different structures of interviews. unstructured interviews do not have specific formats. leaving more room for the interviewees to respond. non-probability sampling is used 29 . researchers can follow up some unexpected. In accordance with Breakwell (2006). like other self-report methods. Interviewees may find these kind of interviews constrained as they are not free to provide information which is important in their mind.

2004). 9 of them are master students and the remaining one is a PhD student. Hence. Student samples are used in this research because they can enhance homogeneity and it is much easier to control error during theory testing (Goldsmith. 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. All of them are students aged between 22 and 28. 30 . Unlike probability sampling which select samples randomly in a pool of population. 10 Nottingham University students were chosen to have face-to-face interviews. 2003). equal proportions of British and Chinese were interviewed. Malhotra and King. as comparisons of British and Chinese buying behaviour for clothes are investigated. In this research. this can be sacrificed for a greater degree of internal validity (Carpenter and Fairhurst. 2005). This is a combination of quota sampling and convenience sampling under the non-probability sampling classifications. Moreover. 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. though a homogeneous sample has lesser degree of external validity. The male to female ratio of Chinese and British samples is 1 to 1 (see Table 1 for details). Among the 10 samples. 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. 1982). 2002.as the tool for this research. As mentioned by Proctor (2000). in quota sampling method. non-probability sampling looks for participants on purpose (Babbie. researchers tend to choose interviewees which are easier to be looked for.

Open-ended questions are preferred since they allow the interviewees to answer as little or as much as they choose. namely open-ended questions and closed-ended questions. The questions may not follow the order as set in the interview schedule as the respondents will react to them differently. which are discussed in the following sections. the interview began with some general questions regarding consumer spending habits on clothing. the questions were learnt by heart before the interviews. say 30 minutes.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. was mentioned. Questions 1 31 . As suggested by Smith and Eatough (2006). leaving more room for them to think of the issue (Breakwell.5 Interview schedule The interview is composed of three stages. so they were not covered here.5. 3. a successful interview incorporates both general and specific questions which will move between each other fairly seamlessly. 2006). There are two types of questions. it is better to have mental prompts rather than constantly referring to the interview questions in the course of the interview. with the former one being dominant in the interview (see Appendix 2). The approximate length of the interview.1 Stage one In this stage. After the introduction. The issues relating to confidentiality and record permission were already mentioned at the time when the appointment was made. the main theme of the interview was introduced with the provision of general ideas about what the interviewees were expected to answer. Also. As mentioned by Smith and Eatough (2006).

As mentioned in the literatures. Main issues covered in the literatures in chapter 2. The questions in this stage are as follows. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? Questions 5 to 10 are brand equity-related questions. Question 4 attempts to find out the criteria of clothes selection in which the interviewees consider. further probing questions would be asked if the respondents mention something related to brand and brand equity. 1999. were discussed. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. There are three questions in this stage and they are listed as follows: 1. Moreover. probing questions were asked if needed. Mooij. including brand and brand equity. 1998). Since this research is about the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 3. 32 . brand equity is regarded as the summation of brand awareness. In order to explore more information from interviewees’ responses.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. 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. these can help understand their spending styles. How often do you buy clothes? 2. 4.2 Stage two This stage covers in-depth questions about their views to clothing brand image.5.

perceived quality. 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. As mentioned in some consumer behaviour models. 2006. brand loyalty and brand association (Aaker. 11. 1993). Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8. Do you shop online for clothes? 12. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 33 . Do you recommend brands? 9. there are three stages for purchasing products or services. Keller. 5. including pre-purchase. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. these two questions try to figure out their purchase and post-purchase behaviour. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10. purchase and post-purchase (Blackwell et al.. 1991. After finding out what the interviewees would do before making their purchasing decisions from the aforementioned questions. Rayport and Jaworski. 2003). These questions are to find out whether brand equity is as important as what has been noted in the literatures.

the interviewees were asked to write a sentence which starts with the words ‘Brand is’. They lasted for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. and common categories from observational data (Babbie. The interviews were then transcribed. depending on the interviewees’ familiarity to the questions and their willingness to provide more fruitful responses.7. 1984).1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis Grounded theory is one of the important concepts suggesting how researcher conducts their research. Originated from two socialists Glaser and Strauss (1967). After the interviewees have finished writing the sentence.5.6 Administration The interviews were conducted in the places such as rooms in the student accommodations or common areas in the university where the interviewees felt comfortable to answer the questions. 3. they would be thanked for providing their valuable time to attend the interview. themes. it attempts to derive theories based on the analysis of patterns. repeated listening to the records which often reveal some unnoted recurring features.3. 3. 3. 2004).3 Stage three In the last stage of the interview. possibly attributing to important research findings (Atkinson and Heritage. 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. It focuses on 34 . The processes were recorded with the use of MP3 player with the approval from the interviewees so as to facilitate the subsequent analysis. The production and the use of transcripts are essential research activities that they involve close.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.

2002). which can enhance the validity and reliability of the data (Babbie. These imply the seriousness of such theory in interpreting data and provide the basis for analyzing the ten interviews conducted.different ways to code data (Dey.7. especially the use of systemic coding. reflection. maintaining an attitude of skepticism. qualitative data as well as interpretative thematic analysis of the qualitative data. interviews can be analyzed in two distinctive but interrelated ways. re-coding. Grounded theory does have some impact on the qualitative research. (2002). as well as following the research procedures. As mentioned by Strauss and Corbin (1990). Hence. The importance of research procedures is heightened in the grounded theory. these could explain why grounded theory has gained much popularity in recent decades (Henwood and Pidgeon. They include periodically stepping back and asking. There are seven stages for grounded analysis in total. namely within-case and cross-case 35 . 2006). Besides.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis As mentioned by Miles and Huberman (1994). patterns and categories. leading to further analysis of themes. based on grounded theory. conceptualization.. researchers could be both scientific and creative at the same time under this theory. linking and finally re-evaluation (Easterby-Smith et al. one of the benefits of grounded analysis is that qualitative research structure has first been derived from the data. 3. methodology skills can be developed in a number of areas such as handling and analyzing of large volumes of ill-structured. 1993). 2006). provided that they follow three rules. 2004). 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. including familiarization. cataloguing concepts. In addition. According to Easterby-Smith et al.

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.

Within-case analysis

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

Cross-case analysis

Figure 1: Overview of analysis 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. 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

normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season).” Kevin. 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. Because I have been poor. maybe one item every couple of month. Generally. But before that. Male “In China. 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. In England. ranging from every week to three or four times a year.on clothes and also the types of clothes they purchased.” Hannah. 24. 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. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. quite rare. many respondents revealed that they buy clothes at a regular interval. Female “…Maybe not often recently because I have not got a lot of income for clothes. so I’ll buy them when I need them…probably. buy every 4 to 5 months. 27. British. 23. 2000). “…This year…not at all (buying clothes). Chinese. British. “I’m a sort of impulsive buyer…’Oh gosh! I really need to buy some clothes now. let’s go’. maybe 3 times a year.” Narinder. 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.” Mark. Female Besides. 23. Male 39 . 2002). some of them pointed out that their financial status would have an impact on their frequency of buying clothes. British.

24. retailers.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4. more than half of them were fond of buying clothes in the medium or high price ranges. Keller. the reasons why people buy them vary. 1991. 4. Sometimes. 1998) and hence it could have a beneficial or detrimental effect on customers’ buying decisions (Yasin et al. brand is important for product development in that it can be instilled in consumers’ minds (Mooij.3.. It really gets a large variation. 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 could be as simple as they are cheap and good looking or they are brand-named. as well as consumers (Aaker. however. it does not really mean that males have less spending power. Male The above quotes illustrate that clothes purchasing behaviour varies from time to time and from person to person. I buy lots of clothes and it lasts me for half a year…” Neil. More male than female respondents manifested that they would buy clothes in medium or above price ranges.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions As mentioned previously in chapter 2. brand names can add tremendous value to the products.When asking about the price range of clothes. There could be two identical clothes in the world. One of the male respondents revealed that he would spend about 50 to 250 pounds for clothes each time. British. “Probably. In the coming section. 1993). 1994). 1999. it varies anywhere between 50 to 250 pounds. Whether brand is a determining factor is 40 . targeting to buy clothes in medium to high price ranges. South and Spitze. As mentioned in chapter 2. whether brand image would affect clothes purchasing behaviour is investigated. Although it is mentioned in the literature that more females would like shopping than males (Dholakia. 2007).

Intuition +/. The results from both British and Chinese respondents are illustrated in Tables 2 and 3 accordingly. Table 2: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (British respondents) Reason Name Brand Country of origin Advert Quality Style Price Others Comfortable.examined in question 4. +/. Suitable Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key + + + + + + + - + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Pleasant.or words in blue: Response with prompt 41 . 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.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. The columns named ‘country of origin’ and ‘advert’ would be discussed in later sections. in which the respondents were asked about the reasons of buying particular clothes.

nine out of ten respondents had not provided immediate answer to question 4 regarding this issue until prompt was given. When it comes to the effect of brand on buying clothes. However. Actually. style and price as some of the determining factors for buying clothes. British. all respondents from both nations regard quality. Male “Well. Some of the UK respondents revealed that they look for brand names in buying clothes. Well. but I do not particularly look for brand names. I bought it (she points at her top) yesterday from NEXT.” Hannah. the findings from literature that Chinese find these three as important criteria for buying clothes (HKTDC. in which one of them highlighted the importance of past shopping experiences as mentioned in the literature (Aaker. 1991). 24. I probably buy again. I wouldn’t buy something because it’s from H&M or because it’s from ZARA. Female 42 . British. “Yes. Because I know it a little bit good quality or that it’s going to be last well or perform well.As observed from Tables 2 and 3.” Neil. Male “Never. In this regard.” Mark. They are probably the shops I like. 24. If I have good experiences with something. I mean I will buy clothes from a shop. 2002) seem also applicable to the UK respondents. Moreover. I wouldn’t specifically buy it because it’s from there. two UK interviewees stated that brand names do not initiate them to buy during their shopping. British. 23. the British and Chinese interviewees showed some divergent viewpoints.

It can be in consistent with my changing look and just lower the cost. 24. so I have more faith in those brands for their clothes. In addition. if I buy too many big brands. But recently. if I buy cheap ones. one of them pointed out that brands can help change her personal style. 1999. Female Based on the above findings. including 43 . Chinese.to high-priced brands. it costs me too much. brand can make potential consumers aware of the products (Aaker. it seems that brands are more likely to have an impact on Chinese than British interviewees. I can use less money. as well as quality (Roman et al. 2006). For some T-shirts. “I do think most of the brands. One of them mentioned that reputable brands in medium to high price ranges connote to better quality and cutting. Chinese. Fennis and Pruyn. The UK respondents tend to buy clothes they like but not merely because of the brands. 26.. 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.All Chinese respondents found that brand is one of the key factors for them to consider when buying clothes.2 Brand awareness As mentioned in the literature. 4. like medium. This is consistent with the literature that brand-named products can be served as a guarantor of reliability. 2005). I bought some big brands like designer labels.” Vanessa. which is coherent with the literature that brands are used to highlight personality under different circumstances (Aaker. Female “Yes. I think they mostly get better cutting and better quality. and buy more clothes to change. H&M and Dorothy Perkins…It’s quick for me to dislike the clothes that I bought.3. So.” Jovi. do have better quality than cheaper brands. I changed my purchasing habits to some cheap stuff like Primark. 1991).

peers. 2007). Some of the UK and Chinese respondents did regard it as one of the methods to know the brands. The results are shown in Tables 4 and 5.. +/. 1986.advertisement. Tsai et al. with the number of Chinese respondents outweighing British. two of them 44 . internet and shops.. 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.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. Among these respondents. 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 +/.or words in black: Initial response without prompt.

similar number of Chinese and the UK respondents agreed that it does have impact on their purchasing decisions. Male “I guess it does (have an effect) on subliminal basis. Like Coby Bryrant. Zidane (is very memorable)…because I know them through their sports achievement. 1989).mentioned that they became more aware of the brands through the celebrities in the advertisements. 24. so they associate themselves with brands. they (basketball players) will show up. During the game break. Marketing people may affect me someway. “It (Advertising) is important because the brand image is built up so that you will choose (to buy them). 23. on the street…they (advertisers) put posters in the public areas.” “I used to play basketball and so I used to watch NBA games. Lance Armstrong. 23. 1978) and enhance attractiveness (McCracken.” Kevin. he was the representative of adidas previously…” Vivian.” “The adidas ‘impossible is nothing’ advert with leading sportsmen like Michael Jordan.” Neil. you know. they are familiar faces. advertisements in the shopping mall. which confirms with the literature that celebrity endorsement can lead to product credibility (McGuire. Chinese. and it’s easy to make connections. 45 . Male As far as peers influence on clothes purchasing is concerned. British. Chinese. Female “TV. David Beckham.

Male Other sources for raising brand awareness like internet surfing and shop visiting are also prevalent among Chinese and British respondents. that’s cool. 4 British interviewees revealed that they became familiar with the brands through shop visiting. Male “If I am training and I see a friend wearing a new T-shirt or something. 24. I will consider them. and from my mind. “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.3 Perceived quality The issue of perceived quality was investigated through question 6. I will ask them what the brand is…my brother bought a Helly Hansen sportswear. British. The findings are illustrated in Tables 6 and 7. when I go shopping next time. 4. they are nice to put them on.3. in which interviewees were asked. 46 .“Maybe they (my friends) buy very nice clothes. while 4 Chinese interviewees got their brand information via internet surfing.” Neil. 23. So. Chinese.” Kevin.

Most of them could mention these judging criteria at once. durability.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 + + + + + + + + + + + + + - +/. price and performance. followed by style. nine out of ten respondents regard materials as one of the criteria for judging clothes quality. colour.or words in blue: Response with prompt As shown in Tables 6 and 7. 1991). in which these criteria are important for consumers in judging product quality (Aaker.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. There are no significance differences between British 47 . +/.

I expect Puma quality basically. Female “It should all be good quality if they have a brand name on it because it’s what the brand name stands for. Contradictory to the literature. 3 Chinese respondents found that it would have an effect on the clothes perceived quality. For buying Puma shoes.and Chinese respondents. British. Regarding country of origin. they represent better quality.” Jovi.” Michael. 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. France No comment No comment No comment Countries with lowest quality No comment No comment No comment No comment No comment 48 . so the countries don’t really affect it. France Italy. country of origin seems not to have an impact to the UK respondents on perceived quality. The results are listed in Tables 8 and 9. Two Chinese interviewees pointed out that country of origin is correlated with quality. Chinese. 24. 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. “In some of the countries like Japan. 22. France or Italy.

22. Because I know from every country. you can buy good or bad clothes. 49 . Thailand. they should meet the required quality. Italy No comment Korea. Malaysia. If Puma gets its stuff from China. British. India. including China. Italy Countries with lowest quality China. many of them mentioned that France and Italy can produce clothes in high quality. British. Italy China. from Thailand. These findings can be explained by the literatures in that China does not have influential brands with phenomenal quality (Delong et al. France. 24.Table 9: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (Chinese respondents) Countries Name Jovi Chong Countries with highest quality Japan. US. they show up the same quality standard in all countries. Male “They suppose to all be the same. only Chinese respondents made comments on countries which make clothes in the lowest quality. Denmark Less developed countries No comment China As shown in Table 8..” Michael. just a few British respondents try to provide the names of specific countries. produce poor quality clothes. 2004). Male For those who can tell the names of specific countries. some South American countries Vivian Li UK. However.” Neil. South Africa Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang France. “I don’t have some preconception about it. 3 of the Chinese respondents could mention that some less developed countries.

“I think the UK and US have top brands. Lowest (quality) maybe China. Female 4. Chinese. Chinese. China don’t have very famous brands. 50 .” Vanessa. If it’s about big brands. “China is good at manufacturing and Italy and France are good at design. I think those made-in-China are something good. if I consider some basic ones.4 Brand loyalty The issue regarding brand loyalty was investigated through questions 7. Female Nevertheless. Actually. one Chinese interviewee specifically pointed out different countries should have their competitive advantage in either production or design. Italy as well. 23. The results are illustrated in Tables 10 and 11. maybe it’s the reason. or some of the developing countries. I will prefer France or Italy ones.3. 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. 1997). 26.” Vivian. 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.

The quotes of regular buyers are shown as follow: 51 . more Chinese respondents tend to buy the same brands.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. recommend brands to friends or relatives. For those who buy regularly from the same brands. 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. they pointed out that they are quite satisfied with the clothes they had purchased. and also hold the club cards of their favourite stores than the UK interviewees.

. Female “I reckon the design fits me and these brands have high quality which is what I’m looking for. British. The Diesel jeans fit me well.” Vivian.. Female “If it is excellent performance and if someone asks me. In the UK. I will tell them. Chinese. Female “I just like it. CEU and Vertical Club.“I do have a few brands that I prefer. There are casual wears good for everyday dress and they are of reasonable prices. British. I like Fred Perry. “I will if I visit some shops and they have good stuff. 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 . Chinese. 24. Male “(I like buying from) Diesel for jeans. I will tell my friends. 26. 23. Male Surprisingly. 23. British.the certain shops that I sort of rely upon…. there are quite many. say ‘Go ahead! They are really good. Chinese. In Hong Kong. 27. for examples. Female As far as brand recommendation is concerned.” Jovi. Topshop and All Saints.” Neil. They have quite a lot of varieties of different design for me to choose from. so I will buy them more often.” Mark. Topshop’s price is affordable and also I like the style from All Saints” Narinder.’” Vanessa. 24. four respondents cited that they would recommend brands as long as they are good.

Female 53 . Female “Because we have student cards and we can enjoy the offer. Chinese. 2007). These findings confirm what has mentioned in the literature that associated brand images can help enhance the value of brands (Yasin. Both the British and Chinese respondents managed to recall some positive connotations of their favourite brands. 26. It fits my age and my occupation as students. “I like something that is simple and good for casual and everyday wear. Vivian.3. The quotes for some non-club card owners are shown below: “No. Female “I think it’s casual and good quality.” Vanessa. Some of them did mention the drawbacks of applying these cards. That’s why I don’t apply for it. it is examined through questions 9 and 10 in which interviewees were asked about their favourite brand images. Chinese. British. Chinese. Store cards are dangerous. The price is acceptable. 23. they always make them like credit cards and I don’t want to have one more credit card. It’s not stylish but it is well made. 27. 1991). Female 4. we need not apply for the loyalty cards.as cited in the literature (Aaker.5 Brand association Regarding brand association. not so complicated design” Jovi. Sometimes. it takes time to apply for it and maybe I will not spend much money on the same shops…I tried to apply House of Fraser and M&S (loyalty cards). 24. store cards try to get more money from me when I don’t have more.” Narinder.

27. 22. For shirts.” Mark. 23. British. like grid shirts. Male “For Topshop. 27. fits my age. 24. 26. 24. alternative sports. Male 4. crickets but skiing and snowboarding and surfing…” Michael. I prefer very colourful image. Female “’Simply Me’. For T-shirt.3. For jeans. and they look good. Chinese.” Alick. British. In order to investigate this issue. 54 . I prefer some simple image.” Neil. British. the respondents were asked if they had shopped online for clothes in question 11. All Saints is a bit more innovative. Male “They are practical. coloured fabrics…it’s a sort of a bit unusual. I prefer blue jeans.” Vanessa.“They do something stylish and good quality…sometimes good offer. khaki style…quality is good. British. Male “60s hippie. 23. it’s a kind of like casual clothing. they work well. not like football. Chinese. usually cotton…” Hannah.” Narinder.” Kevin. 2002). British.6 Consumer buying behaviour It is found in the literature that internet shopping is gaining its popularity among consumers (Dholakia and Uusitalo. Chinese. Male “Simple. Female “It’s just sort of reasonably well-priced and sort of good quality. Female “Basically.

” Kevin. not right colour. Female “I like fitting. Chinese. The clothes online are cheap. I can see how it looks like…so I never buy clothes online. 24.” Narinder. just like the clothes from the markets. 22. Male 55 . some of them can point out the positive aspects of internet shopping. but I know many people do. 27. “For clothes. To be honest. British. I’ll have a look and compare prices. you can buy it online. 23. Because I can’t try the clothes to see if they are suitable or not” Jovi. but I don’t buy online. Female Even though some of the interviewees do not shop online for clothes. Male “I don’t buy online. including the varieties of choices. 23. These signify the fact that online shopping for clothes is not impossible but something need to be done to improve it as far as the problems of fitting before purchasing and online security are concerned. Chinese. lower prices and informative websites. British. try on to see if it is fit probably. Female “Not really. I will consider maybe it is not safe to shopping online. “No.Surprisingly. If you can’t find (suitable clothes) in the markets or in the shops. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. One of them mentioned the poor internet security while the others revealed that they could not try the clothes before paying for it. no. right size as well” Vivian. Chinese.” Michael. nine out of ten interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes via the internet due to several reasons.

almost everything is quite good.” Vanessa. 23. Chinese. Chinese. It may not be the spirit of clothes. but it represents the taste and quality of them.” Alick. 24. Male “Brand is just like the name of people. 26. 26. These are what internet offers. Female “Brand is not a paper bag. British.4 Results In the last question. maybe one or twice a month. Female “Brand is something difficult to understand. “Brand is something that adds value to clothing but not a must” Jovi. a way for companies to keep consumers back to spend their money. The only thing is that sometimes the delivery fee is not that cheap. respondents were asked to provide their comments on brand. Chinese. good quality and good prices. Female “Brand is an important but not decisive indicator for my choice of shopping.“(Shop online) Sometimes. 23. Female 56 . Chinese.” Kevin. Male “Brand is a way for people to identify each other.” Vivian. 27. Chinese. The quotes below show their perceptions towards what brand is in their mind.) Vanessa.” (It means brands are not easy to be broken up. 24. It is good. and I’m not fond of popular ones!” Hannah. Chinese. Female 4.

Male “Brand is the label a company use to market/ advertise them with. respondents’ backgrounds were introduced to provide some thorough understandings on their clothes purchasing habits.” Michael. My clothes purchased tend to be based on the individual garment. At the beginning of the chapter. 23.” Narinda. that a brand can be a powerful draw for many shoppers. 24. British. I realized. British. Female “Brand is the identity of a product or service. British. however.5 Summary This chapter presented the findings from the interviews of both British and Chinese respondents.” Mark. 27.“Brand is not something I would follow because of the name. 22. mainly focusing on the four dimensions of brand equity.” Neil. Some of the responses from interviewees were quoted and analyzed so as to highlight the important findings for further brand image development. manufacturer. rather than the designer. British. Then it came to the analysis and discussion of interviews’ findings to look for any similarities and differences between British and Chinese respondents. Male 4. Male “Brand is not unimportant to my decision making when buying clothes. 57 .

brand is one of their considerations. more Chinese than UK respondents expressed that brand is important for them to choose particular clothes to buy. For those British respondents who did not look for brands when purchasing clothes. 5. In addition. providing insights for comprehending consumer purchasing behaviour and further investigations. They are presented under each sub-section as shown below.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions The determining factors for clothes purchasing have been examined. they cited that what they liked is more important. this chapter draws conclusions on what has been analyzed and discussed. 58 . It is then followed by the research limitations and recommendations for further research. with the inclusions of similarities and differences between the British and Chinese consumers. It was found that there are slight differences between the Chinese and British consumers in terms of their attitudes towards brand equity.2 Conclusions The findings in chapter 4 do have some implications for the development of brand image.2.Chapter 5 Conclusions 5. However.1 Introduction Based on the research findings in chapter 4. The comparisons were made between the British and Chinese respondents’ purchasing behaviour throughout the last chapter. 5. Our findings suggested that all British and Chinese respondents regard quality. This chapter will provide an overview of the research findings. style and price as their most important criteria for choosing clothes.

More Chinese respondents expressed that they had been influenced by advertisements and internet than British interviewees. if brand-named clothes can incorporate the other criteria the consumers are looking for. internet and shops. 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. respondents tend to know the brands through advertisements. followed by style. the brands need to become more aware among the consumers.2. when it comes to the country of origin of clothes. In general. There are no significant differences between British and Chinese respondents regarding these issues. for example. 5. colour. peers. 5. whereas British respondents tended to know the brands through on-the-spot purchase in the shops. famous sportsmen can be attributable to good sportswear performance. In terms of advertisements.As revealed from the above findings. In addition. brand can have a value-adding function in that some respondents are fond of particular brands. price and performance. Nevertheless. 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. consumers think of the other criteria as well.2. many Chinese respondents had the preconception that China and 59 . these methods for spreading the brand image are commonly employed by both British and Chinese respondents. That is to say.3 Perceived quality The findings suggested that most respondents tend to judge the clothes quality by looking at the materials. From the findings. durability. it could enhance the chance for consumers to buy the clothes. However.2 Brand awareness To increase the publicity.

while most of the Chinese respondents had. 5.2. However. none of the UK respondents cited that they had had some loyalty cards from clothing shops. styles. Such discrepancies may be because the UK respondents tend to buy clothes from more independent stores which are less likely to offer loyalty cards. China does not have influential global clothing brands (Delong et al.other developing countries produce clothes in poor quality. by working on the brand development. However.5 Brand association The association between brand and memory of respondents was investigated. This brings out an important issue that Chinese brands should get rid of their poor image on perceived quality at least to the Chinese themselves. such perceptions may be attributable to their loyalty towards the brands (Aaker. some respondents did reveal that they are frequent buyers of the same brands and also recommend brands to their friends and relatives. 5.. however.2. 60 . 1991). As brand can provide guarantee of quality to consumers. whereas they did think that clothes from Italy and France normally confer to better quality. Some characteristics of the brands in which they are fond of were mentioned. there would still be chances for China to produce well-perceived quality clothes. All respondents could recall some positive aspects of their favourite brands at once. From the findings.4 Brand loyalty This aspect of brand equity is important for the development of customer base and encouraging repeat purchase. functions etc. it is good at manufacturing (Cui. including the product features. 2004). Also. prices. regardless of the nations the respondents belong to. the British respondents did not have strong feelings about where the clothes come from. This coincides with the findings by Keller (1993) that consumers are attracted by the signal when they consider buying particular product. 1997).

There are three limitations regarding the sampling method. In terms of fitting. For online securities. 5. not to divulge personal information to unknown third parties.2. However. time and also interpreting skills. and whether online shopping for clothes is popular among the respondents from both nations was examined. several limitations were found to hinder the overall accuracy of the findings. 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. In order to make it more prevalent for clothes shopping. 2002) but the findings suggested that buying clothes online was not that common among the respondents. online security is also a matter of concern. 5. whereas the shoppers need to be aware of the login procedures. Internet shopping is gaining its popularity (Dholakia and Uusitalo.6 Consumer buying behaviour Consumers can shop for clothes via different channels. the retailers should be more vigilant in the design of verification system. some respondents cited that online shopping is good for its informative websites. As far as sampling method is concerned. various choices and cheaper prices. Added to this. the details of the size and materials should be listed on the website to reduce the chances of buying wrong clothes. qualitative research can not provide representative samples from the target population even though they can detect 61 .3 Limitations During the course of research. something should be done on the aforementioned drawbacks.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. Most of the interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes through the internet.

having a propensity of getting deviated results. 5. In addition. 1991). whether the brand is influential or not depends on how it is perceived. In terms of time. more samples could be gathered so that it could enhance the overall conclusiveness of the interviews. since in-depth interviews were chosen to be the method of data collection. will have an effect on the interviewees’ willingness to participate and their nature of answers. Students were used as the subjects for investigation and they tend to be more susceptible to the views. for instances accent. 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. including the skills of handling follow-up and probing questions (Proctor. Finally.4 Implications This dissertation attempts to find out the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. the number of samples interviewed is limited. gender and age. 2000). 2000). 62 . 1992) and data obtained are influenced by the interviewers’ manner. ideas and products of other cultures than older people (Netemeyer et al. the responses from the in-depth interviews can be subjected to researcher’s effects.. The dissertation was confined to finish within the summer term which lasted for 3 months. the characteristics of the interviewers. however. interviewers’ questioning skill is also one of the determinants for answer accuracy.minor problems that are not obvious in a quantitative study (Proctor. 2000). Interviewers may ask leading questions that distort respondents’ answers (Levy and Weitz. the combination of quota and convenience samples was used. In selecting the students. Such discretion of choosing samples may introduce a source of bias since there is a possibility to omit some types of people. During the interviews. There are numerous brands around the world. especially for those who are difficult to contact (Proctor. As long as more time is allowed.

manufacturers together with retailers need to join hands to produce better clothes for the customers to choose from. Under the premise that brand is regarded as equity for marketers. aiming at finding out their similarities and differences in the consumer purchasing behaviour on clothes. durability. style.Therefore. namely brand awareness. In terms of brand awareness. To reward loyal customers. four different areas were investigated. Such positive connotations are achieved through working closely on brand awareness. perceived quality and brand loyalty. colour. marketers should make use good of the traditional channels like advertisements and word-of-mouth and devise new methods to communicate with customers. perceived quality. This dissertation highlights the comparisons between British and Chinese. it is of utmost importance to keep the customers’ positive perceptions towards the brands so that the chances for repeat purchase would be increased. the study of brand can provide an insight for further brand development. As for brand association. brand loyalty and brand association. Through understanding how customers behave in these four aspects. This provides an important insight that Chinese customers should get rid of their negative perceptions towards the clothes quality. From the findings. having mentioned that customers judge the quality mostly based on the factors like materials. As far as perceived quality is concerned. price and performance. the investment in brand loyalty could enhance the chance of repeat purchase and broaden the customer base. owing to the fact that consumers will buy clothes after they have known them well. 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. marketers can think of relevant strategies. marketers can devise different reward methods in different forms such as discounts. Chinese brand developers should put more efforts on quality control 63 . In addition.

it could think of making online clothes purchasing more popular and also introducing varieties of benefits to reward loyal customers. Marketers could consider the feasibility of getting this idea widespread in the clothes retailing industry as other retail sectors. like supermarkets.5 Recommendations for further research Although the findings from this research are interesting and useful as one may think. in addition to semi-structured interviews. This may change the buying attitude that Chinese are now confined to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets (HKTDC. For the UK. have done. since famous clothing brands are not uncommon in such developed country. for instance working class. could 64 . More interviewers could be hired and trained to collect as much data as they can. For instances. It is hoped that Chinese can have some influential global clothing brands by doing so. Other sampling groups. 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. it should be more aware of the marketing strategies to enhance the overall brand equity. Besides. This could provide much more conclusive results.with a view to establish some strong national clothing brands among themselves. It is important to make improvement in the further research to provide more fruitful and representative findings. 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. 2002). The use of club cards was found to be more common among Chinese than the UK respondents for buying clothes. More samples should be interviewed as long as time and money are not constraints. there are several limitations as mentioned in the previous section. 5.

exploring the research to a higher stratum as far as brand development is concerned. 65 . By taking the above recommendations. researchers could be able to get more representative and deeper findings from different perspectives.also be investigated since they may provide entirely different results as what have been obtained from the student samples.

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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. Germany U.S. U.S. U. France U.S.S. Germany U. Netherlands France France U. U.Korea Italy Italy Italy Britain Germany U. U. Japan U. U. U. Japan Britain S.S.S. U.S.S.S. U. U.S.S.Korea U. U. Germany Switzerland Spain Germany S. U.S.S.S. 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. Finland Japan U.S.S. Britain U.S.S.S. Germany France U.S. Britain Japan U. Switzerland U. France U.S.Korea Britain Japan Britain U.S. Sweden Switzerland Switzerland Germany U.S. Netherlands Bermuda U. U.com Pizza Hut Danone Caterpillar Motorola Kodak adidas Rolex Zara Audi Hyundai BP Panasonic Reuters Kraft Porsche Hermes Tiffany & Co. Switzerland U.S. U. U.S.S.S.S. (Data adopted from Business Week (2007)) 79 .S.S. France U. U. U.S. U.S. Germany Japan U. U.S.S.S.S. U. U. U.S. France U.S. 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. Japan S. U. Germany U.S.S. France U.S. U.S.S.S.S.S.S. U. Italy U.

Appendix 2: Interview Questions Name: Course: Nationality: Age: Year of study: Year of living in your home country: 1. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 13. Why do you like this brand? 11. How often do you buy clothes? 2. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 4. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. Do you shop online for clothes? 12. 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. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? 5. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7.

Appendix 3: Interview Transcription Name: Kevin Fang Age: 23 Gender: Male Nationality: Chinese Chris: Hi. I was the company. 81 . Kevin. maybe 3 times a year. Chris: So you buy clothes less frequently in the UK. In England. so in winter. I had a girlfriend who likes shopping. Chris: Why? Kevin: Because in China. I would like to ask you about your purchasing behaviour on clothes. around 20 to 30 pounds each time. Summer clothes are cheaper than winter clothes. It would talk about 30 minutes. it would be like 40 to 50 pounds. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). so normally I spent 30 pounds more or less each time when I went shopping. Kevin: Yes. In England. since clothes are more expensive than those in China. How often do you buy clothes? Kevin: In China. Chris: How much do you spend on clothing each month? In case of China and also the UK? Kevin: In China. Chris: Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? I mean high-priced.

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?

Kevin: Shops.

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?

Kevin: No.

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?

Kevin: Europe.

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.

For winter clothes.Chris: If some advertisements feature the celebrities. but the prices for these kinds of clothes are high. Chris: In what way do you usually learn about clothing brands? Kevin: TV. I only wear them for one to two year. Chris: What about peer influence? Do you know some brands from your friends? Kevin: Yes. 85 . I will consider them. on the streets. so maybe next time I go shopping. Chris: Do you talk about buying clothes with your friends frequently? Kevin: No. Chris: But you maybe affected by them. So it needs to keep the quality for that period. they put posters in the public areas. of course. it will. not frequently. How can they affect you? Kevin: Maybe they buy very nice clothes. I can’t afford it. from my perspective. would it have an impact on you to buy the clothes? Kevin: Yes. Chris: How do you judge the quality of clothes? Kevin: It depends. it may be longer. advertisements in the shopping mall. and from my mind. they are nice to put them on. For summer clothes.

I think their quality is good. Chris: Any others to judge the quality? Kevin: Colour…the feeling…whether or not it becomes fade after washing it. Chris: So you think these two countries produce the highest quality clothes? Kevin: I consider brands more than the countries. 86 . by the feeling of texture and whether it will fade or not. these clothes are from very good brands and they quality is conceivable. Chris: What about lowest quality? Kevin: China…maybe. some brands have their own manufacturing (plants) in China. then it’s of high quality. Chris: Do you have some ideas that which countries’ clothes you think they are of highest or lowest quality? Kevin: Korea (for E-land). Kevin: As long as it can. keep the quality until out-of-date. you know.Chris: So if it’s durable. Chris: So you judge the quality in terms of durability. and Demank (Jack and Jones). by the colour. Would country of origin affect your perceptions towards clothes quality? Kevin: As I said most of them are made in China. I never compare which clothes come from which countries.

Kevin: No. but for casual wear. I only bought E-land once… I also buy clothes from Kuhle. you go to that shop again to buy clothes? Kevin: Ah. famous among young people. Chris: You mean China usually sells cheap clothes? Kevin: Yea. Chris: So because of the quality and the appearance. Chris: Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? Kevin: Every time I go shopping. not many. maybe cheaper than from other countries. it’s high Chris: Do you recommend brands to your friends or someone else? 87 . I will go to those places…not E-land. the appearance is more important…the quality. but it doesn’t have any brands in casual wear category. Chris: So you believe quality goes with prices? Kevin: Actually for young people.Chris: Why do you have such feelings? Kevin: I think quality goes high as prices go high. Chris: So you mean maybe China has some famous brands in sport apparels. I think quality is not a problem for these brands. we may buy some sport apparels like LiNing. we prefer clothes from other countries. it just likes Jack and Jones. of course.

I don’t know. if I recommend my preference to him or her. So. like grid shirts. if it is fit to me. I prefer blue jeans. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. Chris: Why not? Kevin: I think every one has their own place. maybe they will ignore it. I can see how it looks like. how does such image come from? Kevin: I think its appearance. For T-shirt. Chris: Does such image come from advertising and packaging? Kevin: Yea. you can buy it online. To be honest. I will buy it.Kevin: No. If you can’t find in the market or in the shops. I prefer some simple image. I prefer very colorful image. I know many girls do that. Chris: Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? Kevin: I prefer very simple image. 88 . For shirts. The clothes online are cheap. For jeans. maybe they will keep in mind. Chris: So you mentioned something about colour and simplicity. like the clothes from the markets. but I know many people do. Chris: Do you shop online for clothes? Kevin: No. Maybe girls can find more suitable size than guys do. I never buy clothes online. advertising is the first impression and packaging is on-the-spot influence. After I put it on.

Kevin: Yea. I can get some gifts from the accumulated credits. at least once a week. it maybe the advantage of buying clothes online. 89 . maybe they are there. I will wear it very regularly. maybe take it as my pajamas. But if I’m not satisfied with it. Chris: If you are satisfied. I will go there again to see some new clothes…new arrival…But I will not go to the same shops very frequently. Chris: If the shops do offer you some loyalty cards. would you apply for it? Kevin: Yea. but less frequently. As long as l finish shopping. they will give me 5 to 10 percent discount or some credits. if I buy clothes more than 40 or 50 pounds once. Normally. I will not go to the see any clothes within a short interval. maybe after one or two month. would you go to the same shops to have a look again? Kevin: Maybe I will go there next season when I go shopping. just after finish shopping. So next time I go to these shops to buy clothes.Chris: So. the size may not fit and the quality as well… Chris: What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchased? Kevin: If I am satisfied with the clothes I bought. they will give me a VIP card. I have one from Kuhle and one from Jack and Jones. You can find some clothes which you can’t buy in the shops or markets. that’s the main advantage. Chris: What are the bad things of buying clothes online? Kevin: As I said. of course I will wear it.

wallet. belts. glasses.like some accessories. sunglasses. It may not the spirit of the clothes. something like that. Chris: That’s all for the interview. Chris: So you said ‘Brand is just like the name of people. 90 . Thanks very much. I would like you to help me finish a sentence starting with ‘Brand is’. but it represents the taste and quality of them.