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  • Effect of Brand Image on Consumer Purchasing Behaviour on Clothing: Comparison between China and the UK’s Consumers By Kwok Keung Tam 2007A Dissertation presented in part considerationfor the degree of “MSc International Business”
  • Table of Content Page numbersAbstract iAcknowledgements iiChapter 1: Introduction 11.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing 11.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets 2 1.2.1 China clothing market 2 1.2.1.1 Chinese spending habits 3 1.2.1.2 Impediments to China’s clothing brand development 4 1.2.2 UK clothing market 5 1.2.2.1 British spending habits 5 1.2.2.2 Characteristics of the UK clothing market 61.3 Theoretical framework 71.4 Objectives of the dissertation 71.5 Outline of the dissertation 8Chapter 2: Literature review 102.1 Introduction 102.2 The important roles of brand 10 2.2.1 The characteristics of successful brands 112.3 Brand equity 12 2.3.1 Brand awareness 13 2.3.2 Perceived quality 15 2.3.3 Brand loyalty 16 2.3.4 Brand association 172.4 Consumer buying behaviour 19
  • 2.4.1 Models of consumer behaviour 202.5 Summary 23Chapter 3: Methodology 243.1 Introduction 243.2 Theoretical backgrounds 24 3.2.1 Review of different research traditions 24 3.2.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis 25 3.2.3 Reliability and validity of data 263.3 Justification of research method 273.4 Sampling 293.5 Interview schedule 31 3.5.1 Stage one 31 3.5.2 Stage two 32 3.5.3 Stage three 343.6 Administration 343.7 Analysis strategy 34 3.7.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data 34 analysis 3.7.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis 35 3.7.2.1 Within-case analysis 36 3.7.2.2 Cross-case analysis 373.8 Summary 37Chapter 4: Research findings and discussion 384.1 Introduction 384.2 Backgrounds of respondents 384.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 40 4.3.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing 40 decisions 4.3.2 Brand awareness 43
  • 4.3.3 Perceived quality 46 4.3.4 Brand loyalty 50 4.3.5 Brand association 53 4.3.6 Consumer buying behaviour 544.4 Results 564.5 Summary 57Chapter 5: Conclusions 585.1 Introduction 585.2 Conclusions 58 5.2.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing 58 decisions 5.2.2 Brand awareness 59 5.2.3 Perceived quality 59 5.2.4 Brand loyalty 60 5.2.5 Brand association 60 5.2.6 Consumer buying behaviour 615.3 Limitations 615.4 Implications 625.5 Recommendations for further research 64References 66Appendix 1: The 100 top brands 2006 79Appendix 2: Interview questions 80Appendix 3: Interview transcription 81
  • AbstractBrand is a powerful tool to attract more consumers to buy particular products.Some may even regarded it as equity as it can add values to the products. Thisstudy examines the factors which contribute to brand equity in the clothingindustry, comparing the consumer behaviour between the British and Chineserespondents based on the four respects of brand equity, namely brandawareness, perceived quality, brand loyalty and brand association.Semi-structured interviews have been conducted to solicit responses frominterviewees for analysis. The findings suggested that Chinese tend to havenegative perceptions towards the quality of clothes produced in their owncountry. Having known that China has no influential clothing brands around theworld, it is important that Chinese factory owners together with marketersshould join hands to have better control over the clothes quality. In the UK,clothing brands are much better developed than its China counterparts,however, more emphasis should be placed on the marketing strategies suchas rewarding customer loyalty with a view to enhance the sustainabledevelopment of the clothing brands. i
  • AcknowledgementsI would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Vicky Story, in assisting me to finish thedissertation. She has given me support as well as valuable commentsthroughout the consultation period so that I can manage to handle one of thehardest subjects in my university life.In addition, I would also acknowledge my school-mates for their help in thedata collection process. They have devoted their precious time for theinterviews voluntarily and their wholehearted support contributes to thesuccess of this dissertation.Last but not least, I would like to extend my gratitude to my family members,especially my father Chun Shiu Tam who has devoted himself to the clothingindustry for nearly half a century. He has not only inspired me to do thisdissertation, but also encouraged me to face the challenge ahead. Thisdissertation is dedicated to my family and I will try my best to do anything. ii
  • Chapter 1 Introduction1.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothingClothing, as a matter of fact, is a kind of necessity that helps keep our bodieswarm. Human beings cannot live without the protection from clothes in adverseconditions and this signifies how important clothing is for us. Nowadays, inaddition to the basic functions, clothes can also serve as fashion items, whichcan tell how significant an individual is, express the status an individual hasand what their personal image is like (O’Cass, 2000). Thus, clothing can helprepresent our personal identity.Shopping for clothes is one of the popular pastimes among people from allages, different genders and cultural backgrounds. Owing to the proliferation ofbrands in the clothing sector, consumers need to take serious considerationduring the buying processes. As mentioned by Rayport and Jaworski (2003),the purchasing processes can be divided into three stages, namelypre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase. Each stage is of equal importancethat can alter the consumer buying decision. Once consumers make apurchasing decision, consumers may need to recognize their personal needs,read product information, decide which and where to buy, determine whetherto buy again from the same retailer, choose the buying modes, showsatisfaction to the services or product quality and finally be loyal to the brand.These highlight the complication of buying processes and the potential impacta brand could impose in between them.Several brands, under the influence of globalization and concerted efforts frommedia advertising, have become popular not only in their country of origin, butalso in other markets with high potential. Having a strong and remarkablebrand image could help establish an identity in marketplace (Aaker, 1996), 1
  • widen the profit margins, encourage greater intermediary co-operation as wellas increase the chance for further brand extension (Delgado-Ballester andMunuera-Aleman, 2005). In accordance with Delong et al. (2004), consumersappear to rely on the brand image as long as they have little knowledge aboutthe brand. In this way, managing brand image is of utmost importance. In orderto differentiate one brand from another, marketers would develop retail brandswith unique image so as to continue to gain popularity and market share(Abend, 2000; Ailawadi, 2001; Corstjens and Lal, 2000).The importance of brand image has inspired many marketing scholars andpractitioners to begin researching the concept of ‘brand equity’ (Aaker, 1991,1996; Keller, 1993, 1998, 2003). Under this concept, brands are regarded asvaluable assets which can help the companies generate lucrative revenues.In this paper, the concept of brand equity would be utilized as a theoreticalframework, which would be illustrated in the following chapters.1.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing marketsChina and the UK are entirely different in their economic structures. Being anadvanced developing country, China tends to be more dependent onlabour-intensive production activities rather than natural resource-basedactivities (Greenaway and Milner, 1993). This may probably explain why Chinais now becoming one of the most influential countries within the clothing sector.On the other hand, the UK has transformed from an industrial country to awell-developed country in the recent decades. The differences in theireconomies have triggered the interest of my study towards their consumerbuying behaviour in the clothing sector.1.2.1 China clothing marketThe clothing industry is one of the most important and hence heavily investedindustry in China, contributing to 74.16 billion US dollars in terms of exportvalue and leading it to become the second largest clothing export market in 2
  • 2005 (WTO, 2006). With the accession of World Trade Organization (WTO) in2001, the development of clothing industry in China becomes even muchfaster. It is believed that China could make use of its competitive advantages,for instances low labour costs and large portions of usable land, to furtherstrengthen its position in the clothing sector. Nowadays, China plays a role asa producer, wielding the techniques and human resources to finish the ordersplaced by the foreign counterparts. As stated by Cui (1997), China is known forthe manufacture of basic goods in large volumes and foreign registered brandsare often designed elsewhere and produced in China. It is undeniable that theentry of WTO would provide business opportunities for China. However, thiswould also engender intense competition since foreign firms are allowed to selltheir products directly to China.1.2.1.1 Chinese spending habitsAccording to a research conducted by the Hong Kong Trade DevelopmentCouncil (HKTDC) (2002), Chinese customers show divergent opinions withrespect to purchasing clothes. It is shown that they would prefer buyingmiddle-priced range clothes from Hong Kong and luxury brand-named clothesmade in foreign countries. However, the Grey China Base Annual ConsumerStudy (Bates, 1998) reveals that over two thirds of the consumers regarddomestic brands as their first priority. This points out the fact that a largemajority of Chinese is still in favor of domestic brands in low-priced range.The HKTDC (2002) research also reports on the average annual spending onclothing. On average, people spend 7.3% of their income on buying clotheswith women professionals having the highest demand and students’ spendingthe minimal amount. This disparity is probably due to the fact thatprofessionals have higher spending power than the students’. Regarding thecriteria for buying clothes, respondents rank fitness as their prime concern,followed by cutting, pricing, quality and finally trendiness. Chinese brands havecompetitive advantage in fitness and pricing (Delong et al., 2004), however, 3
  • people still tend to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets. This ispossibly owing to the fact that Chinese brands are confined to low- tomiddle-priced range market without fully penetrating to the luxurious level.Such findings provide insights to the future development of local brands inChina.1.2.1.2 Impediments to China’s clothing brand developmentChina has competitive advantages in terms of production factors such as lowlabour costs and growing technology, however, the lack of globally influentialbrands is one of the main reasons why China lags behind in the clothingindustry with respect to brand development (Delong et al., 2004). According toa report published by Business Week (2007), none of the Chinese brands canenter the 100 Top Brands in 2006 (see Appendix 1) in which Nike was ranked31, followed by adidas in 71 and the Spain-found clothing company ZARA in 73.Lim and O’Cass (2001) explain that people in the west tend to have negativeperception towards brands from emerging economies and hence the numberof famous clothing brands in China is limited. Besides, Cui (1997) points outthat customers would only justify a brand through its image as long as theyknow little about it. This spells out the need for China to establish its ownbrands with good reputation.China has been connoted with the reputation of low-cost products in theoverseas markets for decades. The originally advantageous factors, however,become a major hindrance to the global brands’ development process. Schmittand Pan (1994) state that Chinese customers could not be able to differentiatebetween US and European apparel brands. Also, they often find Hong Kongand Taiwan brand names confusing. The lack of brand knowledge is probablyattributed to the geographical and political differences. However, suchconfusion does not affect the overall perception towards brands in othercountries. They tend to perceive US brands positively as US has a reputationin technological development and high fashion. When it comes to the case 4
  • about the perception of China-produced foreign brands, it is ironic that mostrespondents find that they are less authentic, regardless of their quality. Theimage of China-produced products needs improvement in this sense.According to a research reported by Hargrave-Silk (2005, March 25), nearlytwo thirds of the companies in China would like to establish their own globalbrand. The key motivation for doing so is to build up a global image so as toenhance the company’s international reputation and it is suggested that qualityis the major determinant for the overseas customers to make their buyingdecisions. With such impetus and the concerted effort from the industrymembers, the overall image of Chinese brands could become better in thefuture.1.2.2 UK clothing marketThe UK is a European country with population of around 60 million, which is 21times less than that of China (Economist.com, 2007). Regarding its GDPgrowth, because of its mature economic structure, it is pursuing a stable ratherthan aggressive GDP growth rate. In addition, the business services andfinance sector are the most important source of gross domestic products,contributing to nearly 30% of the total domestic products (Economist.com,2007). The manufacturing sector, including the clothing industry, pales incomparison with the development of the business sector and even has a signof recession in the recent decades. This can be revealed by the gradualdecline of employment rate within the UK clothing industry (Jones and Hayes,2004).1.2.2.1 British spending habitsSpending seems more welcome than saving among the British people.According to a research conducted by Weekes (2004), just around one-third offemale respondents and less than half of the male respondents express thatthey have the saving habits. Among the respondents, females are more likely 5
  • to spend on clothes than males, with nearly half of female respondents sayingthat they have at least one store card and nearly two-thirds of them own one ortwo loyalty cards. This may possibly explain why shopping is a genderedactivity (Dholakia, 1999; South and Spitze, 1994), and occasionally, womenmay even shop for men’s clothing (Dholakia, 1999).Store cards and loyalty cards are common promotional tactics to solicitconsumer’s loyalty. However, the same research shows that store cards maynot be regularly used even though special offers are often given to thecardholders (Weekes, 2004). This could be explained by the fact that storecards sometimes have much higher interest rates than that of the credit cardsand personal loans (Mintel, 2002).1.2.2.2 Characteristics of the UK clothing marketLike most of the developed economy, the UK clothing industry has shifted itsmanufacturing section to other countries with low labour costs and skilledlabour, leaving alone the design centre with well-trained designers. Such movecan probably account for the significant drop in employment rate and amountof output in the clothing sector (Jones, 2003). However, this is found to hinderthe development of British clothing design due to lack of manufacturingfacilities (Dagworthy, as cited in Carruthers, 2004).As far as the UK fashion retail sector is concerned, there is a trend for ownbrand development, concentrated markets, strong competitive activities, apolarized marketplace, short-life-cycle products, as well as fluctuatingconsumer demand (Marciniak and Bruce, 2004; Siddiqui et al., 2003). Asmentioned by Moore (1995), fashion retailers tend to create productdifferentiation in which they can distinguish themselves from their potentialcompetitors in terms of product features like design and price. Although the UKis overwhelmed with fashion brands, the market is characterized by productswith small differentiation (Birtwhistle and Freathy, 1998; Moore, 1995). In 6
  • addition, the retailing sector is fragmented, composing of independent,family-owed businesses and some large scale chain stores, with the later onecontributing to the largest proportion of market share (Easey, 2001; Marciniakand Bruce, 2004; Mintel, 2003). Compared with other retailed sector, thefashion retailing sector is found to incorporate the largest number ofindigenous chains such as Next plc (Marciniak and Bruce, 2004). Suchphenomena have stimulated the emergence of brand name development inthe competitive UK clothing market.1.3 Theoretical frameworkWith a well-known brand name, consumers would appear to be more likely topurchase the products in much higher prices. As far as the same level ofproduct quality is concerned, consumers would prefer buying brand-nameproducts (Bello and Holbrook, 1995). This phenomenon spells out the conceptof brand equity.According to Aaker (1991), brand equity is mainly derived from four elements,namely brand awareness, brand loyalty, perceived brand equity and brandassociations. The theoretical framework adopted in this dissertation would bebased on the concept of brand equity and the details of each element are to bediscussed and analyzed later in chapter four.1.4 Objectives of the dissertationThe aim of this dissertation is to investigate the effect of brand image onconsumer purchasing behaviour in clothing, with the comparison between theChinese and British consumers. Having found out the relationship betweenbrand image and consumer purchasing behaviour, marketers and practitionerscould devise strategies to increase the sales revenues.The clothing sector is particularly chosen in this research. As stated byBearden and Etzel (as cited in Hogg et al., 1998), clothing is a kind of public 7
  • necessity with weak reference group influence on the product category butstrong reference group influence on the brand choice. In this way, resultsobtained from the research on brand image could be more conspicuous.In addition, Chinese and British consumers are going to be compared in thisresearch since China and the UK have been targeted by many clothingretailers due to their enormous customer base. Famous clothing brands likeH&M and ZARA have already obtained their footholds in these two marketsthat underlie their significant contribution to these companies (H&M, 2007;ZARA, 2007). China, being an emerging country with high potential on clothingbrands, is on the lookout for extensions, whereas the UK is a mature market inwhich consumers are more experienced in purchasing brand-name clothes.The results of such comparison would offer meaningful insights for furtherbrand development in both China and the UK.Two assumptions are made throughout the dissertation. First, brand imageshould have an impact on the consumer buying behaviour of clothing andsecond, there are differences in buying behaviour for consumers in China andthe UK.1.5 Outline of the dissertationThe structure of the dissertation is shown as follows:Chapter 1 is the introductory section, containing the background information ofChina and the UK clothing industry, the research objectives and thedissertation outline.Chapter 2 will incorporate the review of previous studies, mainly concentratingon clothing industry and consumer buying behaviour. It is believed that thischapter could provide readers with general information like theories and issuesin relation to consumer buying behaviour for clothes so as to make them more 8
  • understandable in the forthcoming sections.Chapter 3 delineates the research methodology, focusing on the description ofresearch design and justification of data.Chapter 4 is the core of the dissertation in which research findings arepresented and discussed. Whether brand image would affect the consumerbuying behaviour in the clothing sector is shown and also the similarities anddifferences regarding the circumstances in China and the UK are investigated.Chapter 5 would draw conclusions on the findings from the previous chapters.Implications towards the business environment and research limitations arealso included. Recommendations would be made with regard to the limitationsso as to provide further directions in the future studies. 9
  • Chapter 2 Literature Review2.1 IntroductionConsumer behaviour refers to the activities in which people acquire, consumeand dispose products and services (Blackwell et al., 2001). Owing to theproliferation of brands in the recent decades, there is a growing number ofresearch conducted in the field of consumer buying behaviour. However, mostof them concentrate on a single country study, regardless of the importance ofcross-country comparisons which will inspire innovative ideas forunderstanding the fast-changing consumer habits. This dissertation is going toinvestigate the differences of British and Chinese in purchasing clothes underthe influence of brand image.In this chapter, the literatures concerning the roles of brand and brand equityare to be reviewed so as to provide a theoretical framework for theaforementioned analysis.Brand serves a pivotal role for distinguishing goods and services from those ofthe competitors (Aaker, 1991; Murphy, 1998). The emergence of brand equityunderlies the importance of brand in marketing tactics and hence providesuseful insights for managers and further research (Keller, 2003).2.2 The important roles of brandBrand is a name in every consumer’s mind (Mooij, 1998) and it ischaracterized by a noticeable name or symbol which can differentiate thegoods and services from the rivals’ (Aaker, 1991; Keller, 1998). In addition to aspecific brand name, a brand is also composed of products, packaging,promotion, advertising, as well as its overall presentation (Murphy, 1998).From the consumers’ perspective, brand is a guarantor of reliability and quality 10
  • in consumer products (Roman et al., 2005). Added to this, consumers wouldlike to buy and use brand-name products with a view to highlight theirpersonality in different situational contexts (Aaker, 1999; Fennis and Pruyn,2006).Nowadays, consumers have a wide range of choice to choose from when theyenter a shopping mall. It is found that consumers’ emotions are one of themajor determinants which affect their buying behaviour (Berry, 2000).According to a research conducted by Freeride Media LLC (1998) on shoppinghabits, nearly one-forth of the respondents are likely to impulse-buy clothesand accessories. When deciding which products to purchase, consumerswould have their preferences, which are developed in accordance with theirperceptions towards the brand. Successful branding could make consumersaware of the presence of the brand and hence could increase the chance ofbuying the company’s products and services (Doyle, 1999).2.2.1 The characteristics of successful brandsA brand can be an everlasting and lucrative asset as long as it is maintained ina good manner that can continue satisfying consumers’ needs (Batchelor,1998; Murphy, 1998). Although successful brands can be totally different innature, they share something in common, for instances well-priced productsand consistent quality (Murphy, 1998).As mentioned by Levitt (1983), there are four elements for building asuccessful brand, namely tangible product, basic brand, augmented brand andpotential brand. Tangible product refers to the commodity which meets thebasic needs of the customers. Basic brand, on the other hand, considers thepackaging of the tangible product so as to attract the attention from thepotential customers. The brand can be further augmented with the provision ofcredibility, effective after-sales services and the like. Finally and mostimportantly, a potential brand is established through engendering customer 11
  • preference and loyalty. By doing so, the image of the brand could be wellinstilled in the customers’ mind.2.3 Brand equityThe term ‘brand equity’ refers to a set of assets and liabilities associated with abrand, including its name and symbol, which could impose beneficial ordetrimental effects on the values arising from the products or services (Aaker,1991; Yasin et al., 2007). Added to this, Keller (1998) points out that brandequity signifies the unique marketing effects imposed on the brand.Concerning the positive side of brand equity, it happens when consumers arewilling to pay more for the same level of quality just because of theattractiveness of the name attached to the product (Bello and Holbrook, 1995).However, brand equity could be ruined if it is not properly managed. Forinstance, poor product quality and customer services could adversely affectthe brand image, giving rise to a reduction in sales volume.One of the quintessential examples regarding brand as a kind of equity is theimposition of laws to protect intellectual property (Murphy, 1998). In countrieswith well-established legal system, the values of brands have been recognizedto both the consumers and producers. In order to combat piracy, manycountries have set up laws to protect trade marks, patents, designs as well ascopyright. In addition, brand is also a tradable product with measurablefinancial value (Murphy, 1998). It is not uncommon to find some familiar brandslisted on the stock markets in which they could be bought or sold. Brands likeHSBC, Marks and Spencer, Vodafone, Sainsbury and Tesco are all listed onthe FTSE 100 index (London Stock Exchange, 2007). It is found that thevolatility of stock market could affect consumers’ purchasing mood, not tomention the growth or declines of retail sales (Blackwell, 2002). This issupported by the fact that brand equity depends on the number of people withregular purchase (Aaker, 1996). 12
  • The above examples highlight the values of brand equity for both consumersand the firm. For the consumers, brand equity could provide them withinformation about the brand which influences their confidence during thepurchasing process. There is a high propensity for consumers with goodperceptions to buy from the same shop again than those with poor perceptions.Past purchasing experiences and familiarity with the brand could beattributable to the perceptions generated from the consumers (Aaker, 1991).As for the firm, brand equity could also be a source for the firm to generatecash flow. For instance, the merger between adidas and Reebok in 2005 notonly increased their market share so as to compete with Nike in the US sportsapparel market, but also attracted more people to invest in the bigger companywith high potential (Business Week, 2005). Besides, brand equity could alsoallow higher margins through premium pricing and reduced reliance uponpromotional activities (Aaker, 1991). Owning to the positive image, consumersno longer focus on the short-term promotion but the brand on the whole.Brand equity is a broad concept which can be further subdivided into four mainareas, namely brand loyalty, name awareness, perceived quality and brandassociations (Aaker, 1991; Keller, 1998). These four main areas are to bediscussed in the coming sections.2.3.1 Brand awarenessBrand awareness is one of major determinants of brand equity. It refers to theability of a potential consumer to recall and recognize the brand, linking thebrand with its corresponding product class (Aaker, 1991). The level of brandawareness lies in a continuum, with brand recognition being the lowest leveland the first named brand with unaided recall being the highest level.It is important for the potential consumers to be aware of a product so that itcan become one of the purchasing choices. This is due to the fact that theproduct needs to enter the awareness set before it comes to the consideration 13
  • set (Blackwell et al., 2001) and an increase in brand awareness is conducive toa higher chance of entering the later set (Nedungadi, 1990). In this way,brands with higher level of awareness would be more likely to be purchased(Yasin et al., 2007). This could probably explain why consumers tend to buy arecognizable brand rather than an unfamiliar one (Hoyer, 1990; Macdonaldand Sharp, 2000).Several factors can alter the level of brand awareness. In case of China, itsgeographical location and politics could affect the consumer brand awarenesslevel seriously. According to research conducted by Delong et al. (2004),owing to geographical differences, Chinese consumers cannot distinguish USapparel brand names from the European ones. In addition, brands from Taiwanand Hong Kong are sometimes confused, due to their political separations. Forlong time, Taiwan would like to become politically independent from Chinaowing to their different political standpoint whereas Hong Kong, being a specialadministrative region since 1997, has once been a colony of the UK.As mentioned by Keller (1998), brand awareness can be enhanced throughrepeat exposure to the brand. In order to achieve brand awareness, two tasksare to be accomplished, namely increasing brand name identity andassociating it with the product class. Advertising and celebrity endorsementcould be some useful tools for raising brand awareness. It is found thatadvertisement attitude is attributable to the influence on brand attitudes,affecting consumer’s intention to purchase (Mackenzie et al., 1986; Tsai et al.,2007). In recent decades, there is an increasing number of advertisingcampaigns around the world. Consumers are hence well-equipped withcomparative elements to judge which product or service to purchase (Alvarezand Casielles, 2005). Moreover, celebrity endorsement can give rise to sourcecredibility and source attractiveness. For source credibility, as pointed out byMcGuire (1978), celebrities can disseminate messages to particularconsumers and hence increase the brand awareness. As for source 14
  • attractiveness, successful endorsement can associate the culture of thecelebrity world with the endorsed product (McCracken, 1989). This associationcan raise the public awareness towards the brand.2.3.2 Perceived qualityAnother important attribute to brand equity is perceived quality. It is defined asthe customer’s perception of the overall quality or superiority of a product orservice (Aaker, 1991; Keller, 1998; Yasin, 2007). Since it is a kind of intangible,overall feeling towards a brand, it is subjective in nature and hence theknowledge of actual detailed product specifications could have little correlationwith the perceived quality. Perceived quality of a brand could help generatevalues by providing a pivotal reason-to-buy, differentiating the position of abrand, charging premium price, motivating channel members to perform welland also introducing extensions into new brand categories (Aaker, 1991). Inaddition, it is found that perceived quality is of utmost importance indetermining brand loyalty as well as repeat purchase (Delong et al., 2004).Nevertheless, it is becoming more difficult to obtain satisfactory level ofperceived quality owing to the fact that fast and continuous productadvancement has already strengthened consumers’ expectations on productquality (Sherman, 1992).Similar to brand awareness, perceived quality is determined by a number offactors. To be more specific, perceived quality can further be classified intoproduct quality and service quality. Regarding product quality, there are sevendimensions which affect the consumers’ perception, namely performance,features, conformance with specifications, reliability, durability, serviceability aswell as fit and finish. Service quality, on the other hand, is judged by itscorresponding tangibles, reliability, competence, responsiveness and empathy(Aaker, 1991). In addition to the aforementioned dimensions, thecountry-of-origin of a product is found to affect its perceived quality(Khachaturian and Morganosky, 1990) and also the perceptions towards the 15
  • purchased value (Ahmed and d’Astou, 1993). As mentioned by Srikatanyooand Gnoth (2002), consumers are inclined to develop stereotypical beliefsabout the products from particular countries. Hence, consumers could havetheir preferences for products made from one country over another(Papadopoulos et al., 1991). Moreover, price is one of the important cues toevaluate perceived quality (Aaker, 1991). It is found that price is more relevantin judging the perceived quality of a product given that a person lacks theability to evaluate the quality of a product.2.3.3 Brand loyaltyBrand loyalty is one of the core components of brand equity and also positivelyand directly affected brand equity (Atilgan et al., 2005). Under the influence ofbrand loyalty, consumers continue to buy the brand, regardless of the superiorfeatures, prices and convenience owned by its competitors (Aaker, 1991). Themore loyal the consumers are towards the brand, the less vulnerable thecustomer base would be. Based on the practice that repeat buying is one ofthe indicators for brand loyalty, Keller (1998), however, challenges that suchmeasure may not be totally accurate. This is due to the fact that someconsumers make habitual purchase towards a particular brand just because ofits prominence in stock and effective promotions.For many companies, having loyal customers is a kind of blessing. Brandloyalty is regarded as valuable asset under different circumstances. First, itcan help reduce the marketing costs of doing business (Aaker, 1991). Loyalcustomers confer to a higher possibility of repeat purchases and it is lesscostly to keep customers than to get new ones. Second, loyalty to a brand canenhance trade leverage. Some consumers with strong affiliation to one brandwould switch to the shop in which a designated brand is sold. Third, loyalcustomers could influence the others to purchase the brand. This is typicallytrue when the product concerned is somewhat risky. In this case, consumersare assured to buy the product if they have some friends or relatives who 16
  • recommend the same model of product. This suggests why word-of-mouthcommunication is one of the most powerful tools in the marketplace (Henricks,1998; Marney, 1995; Silverman, 1997; Bansal and Voyer, 2000). Consumersusually depend on informal, as well as personal communication sources inmaking purchasing decision rather than more formal and organizationaladvertising campaigns (Bansal and Voyer, 2000). Finally, brand loyalty canhelp provide ample time for the firm to response to competitors’ newlylaunched products. Hence, the firm could make good use of the time lapse todevelop more superior products in order to compete with its rivals.Due to the values obtained from brand loyalty, many firms would devisedifferent strategies to maintain and enhance the loyalty from customers.According to Aaker (1991), it is important to treat the customer with respect inorder to keep them loyal. Moreover, customer satisfaction level needs to beproperly managed through conducting consumer research. Customers canalso be rewarded for their loyalty towards the firms so that they will continue tobuy the products. For instance, several airlines like Cathay Pacific, KLM andchain stores such as TOPMAN provide club-cards or loyalty cards to rewardtheir customers with discounts and other benefits.2.3.4 Brand associationThe last dimension for brand equity is brand association. It is defined as thespecific linkage between the memory and the brand (Aaker, 1991). Keller(1998) and Yasin et al. (2007) further note that equity of a brand is largelysupported by consumers’ associations towards the brand, which contribute toa specific brand image. Brand association is such a complicated concept thatconnects to one another, consisting of multiple ideas, episodes, examples, andfacts that create a brand knowledge network (Yoo et al., 2000). In addition tothe tangible products, the intangible qualities, for instances innovativeness anddistinctiveness are also taken into account as brand associations. 17
  • Keller (1993, 1998) further divides brand associations into three categories,namely attributes, benefits and attitudes. Attributes refer to the specificcharacteristics a product has. Attributes can be further categorized intoproduct-related attributes as well as non-product related attributes. Forproduct-related attributes, the overall features of the product or service areconcerned. As for non-product related attributes, price information, packaging,user imagery as well as usage imagery are to be considered. Benefits areanother category in brand associations. They can be classified into functional,experimental and symbolic. Function benefits signify the physical or basicadvantages a brand may have. For experimental benefits, they are related toconsumers’ emotional feelings. Symbolic benefits, on the other hand, refer tothe signal effect that a brand may impose on the consumers. Signal effect isdetermined by the image of consumers and also the personality of the brand.Consumers are attracted by the signal when they purchase a product in aparticular brand. Finally, attitudes are regarded as the consumers’ overallassessments towards a brand. They incorporate summary evaluations ofinformation which represent how consumers feel in a long run, lying in acontinuum from positive to negative (Gabbott and Hogg, 1998).Different brands have different associations to their prospective customers.Such kind of associations can provide bases for them to make purchasedecisions and even become loyal to the brand (Aaker, 1991). Associationstowards a brand can create value for the firm and so its customers in a numberof ways. First of all, they help the customers to process or retrieve information(Keller, 1998). Customers are sometimes forgetful and associations towards abrand serve as a brief summary for the customers to make their purchasingdecision. Associations can also be used to trigger the customers to recall theirpast experiences, making the customers remember the brand by heart.Second, brand associations can differentiate one brand from another. It isabout brand positioning that a well-positioned brand will find it hard to beattacked by its competitors due to its uniqueness. This can make the brand 18
  • unbeatable but it is quite difficult to achieve since consumer taste changesquite rapidly. Third, brand associations may include some product attributes orconsumer benefits which encourage the consumers to purchase the brand.Forth, some associations can engender positive feelings. For examples,adidas slogan ‘Impossible is nothing’, Madonna appearance in H&M’scollection advertisement can stimulate customers their positive feelings aboutthe products.Once brand associations are constructed in a meaningful way, a vivid brandimage is established. Brand image possibly affects how consumers perceivethe brand and hence their purchasing behaviour. There may be products onthe market with similar quality and design, however, the specific brand imageattached on a product may differentiate itself from the others, contributing to itshigher premium price.2.4 Consumer buying behaviourMany people do consume a wide range of products every day, from basicnecessities to high-valued collectables. Owing to the proliferation of productsin the market, such phenomenon is one of the most interesting and henceheavily investigated topics in the marketing field. As mentioned by Schiffmanand Kanuk (2000), consumer behaviour is about how people make theirdecisions on personal or household products with the use of their availableresources such as time, money and effort. Gabbott and Hogg (1998) andBlackwell et al. (2006) further provide a holistic view that defines consumerbehaviour as the activities and the processes in which individuals or groupschoose, buy, use or dispose the products, services, ideas or experiences.The study of consumer buying behaviour is of utmost importance in a numberof aspects. First of all, consumer behaviour can influence the economic healthof a nation (Blackwell et al., 2006). Consumers would have their preferences inpurchasing products from specific retailers and hence the remaining retailers 19
  • are selected using the rule of ‘survival of the fittest’. Therefore, consumers’decisions can provide a clue for which industry to survive, which companies tosucceed, and also which products to excel. Second, through understanding thereasons for consumers to buy the products and their buying habits, the firmscan make use of such information to devise corresponding marketingstrategies in response to the consumers’ needs (Blackwell et al., 2006). Forinstance, tailor-made products can be made to enhance customer value andthus facilitate repeat purchase (Gabbott and Hogg, 1998). Moreover, presentconsumer behaviour studies regard consumers as important determinants oforganizational success and it is found that the most successful organizationsare customer-centric (Blackwell et al., 2006). The notion ‘the consumer is king’should be deep-rooted in every business people’s mind that they should try toplease these kings using their innovative methods.2.4.1 Models of consumer behaviourSeveral models are developed with a view to provide explanations for theconsumer buying behaviours. Although they vary in form of presentation, mostof them are composed of stages such as pre-purchase, purchase andpost-purchase (Hoyer and Maclnnis, 2001; Rayport and Jaworski, 2003).Blackwell et al. (2001) define consumer behaviour as a summation ofacquisition, consumption and disposal of products or services. However,such definition falls short of the continuity of the processes. Based on thisloophole, Arnoud et al. (2004) further propose the circle of consumption thatrecognize purchasing processes as a loop, comprising acquisition of goodsand services, consumption, as well as disposal of used goods.As far as the consumer decision process model is concerned, consumers needto go through seven steps before reaching their final decisions. These sevensteps include need recognition, search for information, pre-purchase,evaluation, purchase, consumption, post-consumption evaluation and 20
  • divestment (Blackwell et al., 2006). Rayport and Jaworski (2003) propose asimilar model with slight differences regarding the terms used. Blackwell et al.(2006) add that most consumer research would primarily base on these sevenstages and how different elements affect each stage of consumers’ decisions,regardless of the different terms and consolidation of stages.Stage one is need recognition which occurs when an individual is aware of adifference between their perception and the actual satisfaction level (Solomonet al., 2006). The buying process is initiated when people recognize theirunsatisfied need (Levy and Weitz, 1992). There are two kinds of needs,namely functional needs and psychological needs. Functional needs arerelated to the performance of the product whereas psychological needs areintrinsically obtained when customers feel contented with shopping or owninga product which they long for.Stage two is the search of information. The length and depth of search vary fordifferent customers and depend on variables like personality, social class,income, size of purchase, past experiences, prior brand perceptions (Moorthyet al., 1997), as well as customer satisfaction. As mentioned by Solomon et al.(2006), search of information can further be divided into pre-purchase searchand ongoing search. Pre-purchase search is initiated when consumersrecognize a need and hence look for more information from the marketplace.Ongoing search, on the other hand, is more likely to be based on personalinterest on a particular brand. Customers pursuing this kind of search wouldlike to obtain the most updated information about the designated brand.Stage three comes to the pre-purchase evaluation that consumers comparebetween different products and brands to make a purchasing decision. In thisstage, consumers pay particular attention to the attributes which are mostrelevant to their needs (Kolter et al., 2005). Attributes like quantity, size, qualityand price are commonly used to judge a brand by customers. Any changes in 21
  • these attributes can affect consumer decisions on brand or product choices(Blackwell et al., 2006). According to Porter (2004), firms can create value byproviding lower price or unique offers to the customers so as to excel theircompetitive advantages over the others.Stage four refers to the purchase decisions made by the consumers afterevaluating the offers from different retailers. As stated by Blackwell et al.(2006), there are two phases contributing to the decision making processes,including retailer and in-store selection. Retailer selection is made by judgingwhich retailers to buy after investigating the attributes from the previous stagewhereas in-store selection is affected by the selling skills of salesperson, visualdisplays inside the shops, as well as point-of-purchase advertising. In additionto in-store purchase, Rayport and Jaworski (2003) further point out thesignificant impact of internet on consumer purchasing decision. As pointed outby Dholakia and Uusitalo (2002), this new kind of non-shop retailing format hasbegun replacing the fairly established catalogue and TV shopping and itsdevelopment is rapid albeit it is more recently found in comparison with theexisting non-shop retailing modes.Stage five, stage six and stage seven are under the category of thepost-purchase stage. In stage five, customers begin consuming the productswhereas in stage six, customers evaluate the consumption process. This givesrise to satisfaction when consumers’ expectations are higher than theperceived performance and vice versa (Blackwell et al., 2006). Last but notleast, stage seven comes to divestment, in which consumers dispose orrecycle the products and at the same time. The firms need to think about thepossibility of remarketing. This stage is crucial since customers could bepossible to make repeat purchases provided that they are satisfied with theaforementioned stages (Rayport and Jaworski, 2003). 22
  • 2.5 SummaryThis chapter provides a review about the major research and theoriesregarding the consumer purchasing behaviour. Brands are so important thatthey are regarded as the equity to a firm. Brand equity can be divided into fourdimensions, including brand awareness, perceived quality, brand loyalty andbrand associations. All of them have significant contribution to the brand asequity to the firm.Nowadays, consumers seem to be more aware of the products they buy, andat the same time, products are developed in an unprecedented way. Only byunderstanding the consumer behaviour can the products or brands bedeveloped in a right way. In this dissertation, whether the brand image wouldaffect the consumers to purchase clothes is to be investigated. It is hoped thatby finding out the relationships of brand awareness, perceived quality, brandloyalty and brand association with the consumer purchasing behaviour that willprovide useful insights for the development of the clothing sector. 23
  • Chapter 3 Methodology3.1 IntroductionWith a view to finding out the underlying principles of certain phenomenon,research is required. In terms of the science of knowledge acquisition,epistemology is about the science of knowing, whereas methodology isacknowledged to be the science of finding out (Babbie, 2004). During thecourse of consumer behaviour research, data are gathered, recorded andanalyzed in a systematic and objective manner so as to apprehend andforesee how consumers feel, think and behave (Arnould et al., 2004).In general, there are two types of research methods, namely qualitative andquantitative research. Each of them encompasses a variety of approaches,which are determined on the kinds of data being collected. This chapter aimsat discussing different theories and research methods, as well as justifying themost suitable approach for the research topic. The details of the samplingwould also be discussed.3.2 Theoretical backgroundsIn this section, the research traditions, theories, and also the validity andreliability of data are discussed in order to provide a general view about howthe research is carried out and which factors influence the justification ofresearch method.3.2.1 Review of different research traditionsBased on the methodology used, research theories can be classified intodifferent types. In accordance with Gephart (2004), there are three researchtraditions, namely positivism, interpretive research and critical postmodernism. 24
  • Positivism makes use of the stance of realism in which the objective reality canbe understood by mirror of science. Added to this, it assumes that a socialworld exists externally that should be measured objectively (Easterby-Smith etal., 2002). In accordance to Fisher (2004), the majority of positivist researchincorporates the comparison of qualitative case studies to analyze if there areany connections between variables.While positivism stresses on objectivity, interpretative research focuses onsubjective interpretations to describe meanings and understand reality. Fisher(2004) notes that the linkage between interpretations are dialogic and henceinterpretive research aims at soliciting people’s accounts of how they find theworld, together with the structures and processes within it.As for critical postmodernism, it underlines the assumption of symbolic reality,which is shaped by values and crystallizes over time. Fisher (2004) furtherreveals that critical postmodernism is a kind of realism which comprises threelevels of reality, including experiences, events and mechanisms. Experiencesare our perceptions and encounters of the world. Events are concerned aboutwhat has happened in the world by our experiences to them. Finally,mechanisms are the roots of events which are regarded as the deepest levelamong the three.3.2.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysisGenerally, research methods can be classified in a dichotomy betweenquantitative and qualitative research. As far as the description and explanationof phenomena are concerned, quantitative research focuses on analyzingnumerical data whereas qualitative research deals with meanings, examiningthe attitudes, feelings and motivations of people (Babbie, 2004; Dey, 1993). Inthe field of research, qualitative research is sometimes regarded as a relativelyminor methodology than its quantitative counterpart and there are someassumptions that only experimental data, official statistics, random sampling 25
  • and quantified data can lead to valid or generalizable social facts. That is why itis suggested that qualitative research should be used more often at the earlyor exploratory stage of a study (Silverman, 2000). Nevertheless, both of themare not perfect in a sense that they need to serve as a complement to eachother. As suggested by Easterby-Smith et al. (2002), research needs apartnership and it could be beneficial to collaborate rather than competebetween the different kinds of research methods.Both the quantitative research and qualitative research have their ownadvantages and disadvantages. Quantitative research surpasses qualitative ina sense that it can analyze data based on representative samples from a largepopulation (Proctor, 2000), having a complete set of categorization for theevents or activities described (Silverman, 2000). In this way, quantitativeanalysis is stronger than qualitative analysis in that it can persuade readerswith large-scale, numeric data.As for qualitative research, it is more likely to look into people’s in-depthfeelings, for example, attitude (Kirk and Miller, 1986). Unlike quantitativeresearch, which uses ad hoc procedures to define and measure variables(Blumer, 1956; Cicourel, 1964; Silverman, 1975), qualitative research tends tofocus on describing the process of how we define and measure variables ineveryday life (Silverman, 2000). Qualitative analysis, however, suffers from theproblem of ‘anecdotalism’ in which it just narrates some examples ofphenomenon without taking less clear data into account (Silverman, 1989).Besides, the reliability of tape-recorded and transcribed data is argued bysome to be weakened owing to the possibility of missing some trivial butcrucial pauses and overlaps (Silverman, 2000).3.2.3 Reliability and validity of dataThe reliability and validity of the data and findings are of pivotal importance tothe whole research. These determine whether the research can engender 26
  • useful findings or not.Reliability connotes to the consistency on the research results, which arejudged by different observers or by the same observer on different occasions(Hammersley, 1992). As pointed out by Davis and Bremner (2006), to justifyreliability, one can replicate the same research to see whether the sameoutcomes are obtained on subsequent occasions. While reliability is correlatedto consistency, validity concerns about the truth (Silverman, 2000), giving anaccurate account to the social phenomena (Hammersley, 1992). However, it isfound that having reliable research results is not always attributable to validoutcomes (Davis and Bremner, 2006).This dissertation makes use of the qualitative research method and there havebeen some discussions on qualitative research regarding its reliability andvalidity. As mentioned by Saunders et al. (2003), the findings of qualitativeresearch are not necessarily repeatable since they reflect reality at the time ofdata collection. This may affect the reliability of the research findings. Besides,the research cannot be claimed valid so long as there are only few exemplaryinstances reported, and the original form of the materials is unavailable(Silverman, 2000). These underlie the importance of ensuring reliable methodsand making valid conclusions in the research process.3.3 Justification of research methodDifferent research methods should be adopted based on the nature ofresearch. This dissertation aims at finding out consumer purchasing behaviouron clothing in which their beliefs, opinions and attitudes towards brand imageare investigated. Hence, qualitative research is more suitable in terms ofsoliciting the consumers’ in-depth responses.As mentioned by Tesch (1990), there are as much as forty types of qualitativeresearch in three main orientations, namely language-orientated approach, 27
  • descriptive/ interpretative approach, as well as theory-building approach.Language-oriented approach concerns the use of language and meaning ofwords. In descriptive/ interpretative approach, the thorough description andinterpretation of social phenomena are the central focus. Finally,theory-building approach tries to examine the connections between socialphenomena. Based on the descriptive and interpretive nature in this research,interviews are chosen as the data collection methods. Qualitative interviewsrefer to the interaction between an interviewer and interviewee on a topicwhich needs not to follow particular order and words in questioning andanswering (Babbie, 2004). During the course of interviews, interviewers mayneed to probe each answer and make use of the replies for further questioning(Proctor, 2000).One may argue why interviews but not the other types of qualitative researchmethods are chosen in this research. For instance, focus group can also be auseful kind of research method that brings together some interviewees, say12-15 people, in a room to engage in a guided discussion on a common topic(Babbie, 2004). Although focus groups are much more effective and cheaperthan interviews as one may see, researchers may find it difficult to assemble alarge group of people and the control over the interviewees is minimal(Gamson, 1992). Thus, interviews are more controllable than focus groups inthis regard. Added to this, Breakwell (2006) points out that interviews areflexible in that they can be used at any stage in the research process, rangingfrom the initial stage for identifying areas to more detailed exploration.However, Proctor (2000) notes that the usefulness of qualitative researchdepends heavily on the researchers’ skills. In case of interviews, researchersshould show their ability to ask further in-depth questions based on theanswers obtained.The structure of interviews lies in a continuum in which fully-structured andunstructured interviews are the two extreme poles (Breakwell, 2006). 28
  • Structured interviews are characterized by their fixed nature and sequence ofquestions or the fixed nature of answers allowed. Interviewees may find thesekind of interviews constrained as they are not free to provide information whichis important in their mind. Unlike structured interviews, unstructured interviewsdo not have specific formats, leaving more room for the interviewees torespond. Among different structures of interviews, semi-structured interviewsare chosen in this research. As pointed out by Smith and Osborn (2003), withthe use of a semi-structured format, researchers tend to regard people asexperiential experts on a specific topic under investigation. Such format canenhance the sensitive and empathic facets of the findings, underlying theimportance human-to-human relationship of interviews (Fontana and Fry,2000). Moreover, researchers can follow up some unexpected, interestingresponses emerged during the interviews. This can enrich the data collectedfrom the interviewing process (Smith and Eatough, 2006).When it comes to the process of data collection, like other self-report methods,interviews depend on respondents’ accurate and complete responses. Thisgives rise to the possibility of unreliable and invalid data. In accordance withBreakwell (2006), it is important to develop a systematic set of questions andhelp the interviewees to understand the questions. These can help solicitconsistent responses and hence the reliability of data can be much enhanced.Being reliable does not necessarily attribute to validity but it is found thatinconsistent responses may lead to certain inaccuracy (Davis and Bremner,2006). It is suggested that interviews could be complemented with other typesof data such as observation and diary techniques so that the data obtained canbe more valid. In addition, it is suggested that interviewers be trained for aspecific study if necessary since their manner in questioning could impose aneffect on how reliable and valid the data will be (Proctor, 2000).3.4 SamplingAs far as the sampling method is concerned, non-probability sampling is used 29
  • as the tool for this research. Unlike probability sampling which select samplesrandomly in a pool of population, non-probability sampling looks forparticipants on purpose (Babbie, 2004). In this research, as comparisons ofBritish and Chinese buying behaviour for clothes are investigated, 10Nottingham University students were chosen to have face-to-face interviews.This is a combination of quota sampling and convenience sampling under thenon-probability sampling classifications. As mentioned by Proctor (2000), inquota sampling method, researchers deliberately look for participants so thatthey are of equal distribution for comparison whereas in convenience sampling,researchers tend to choose interviewees which are easier to be looked for.Among the 10 samples, equal proportions of British and Chinese wereinterviewed. All of them are students aged between 22 and 28. The male tofemale ratio of Chinese and British samples is 1 to 1 (see Table 1 for details). 9of them are master students and the remaining one is a PhD student. Thecriteria for judging whether they are Chinese or British customers are based onthe passports they are holding together with the number of years they havelived in their home country. They should have lived in China or the UK for longenough time than in other places that they are regarded as Chinese or British.Student samples are used in this research because they can enhancehomogeneity and it is much easier to control error during theory testing(Goldsmith, 2002; Malhotra and King, 2003). Moreover, findings reveal thathomogeneous respondents can help reduce the possibility of measurementmodel error (Assael and Keon, 1982). Hence, though a homogeneous samplehas lesser degree of external validity, this can be sacrificed for a greaterdegree of internal validity (Carpenter and Fairhurst, 2005). 30
  • Table 1: Distribution of samples in terms of gender and nationality Nationality Chinese BritishSample particularsGender Male Female Male FemaleNumber of respondents 2 3 3 23.5 Interview scheduleThe interview is composed of three stages, which are discussed in thefollowing sections. There are two types of questions, namely open-endedquestions and closed-ended questions, with the former one being dominant inthe interview (see Appendix 2). Open-ended questions are preferred sincethey allow the interviewees to answer as little or as much as they choose,leaving more room for them to think of the issue (Breakwell, 2006). Thequestions may not follow the order as set in the interview schedule as therespondents will react to them differently. Also, the questions were learnt byheart before the interviews. As mentioned by Smith and Eatough (2006), it isbetter to have mental prompts rather than constantly referring to the interviewquestions in the course of the interview.3.5.1 Stage oneIn this stage, the main theme of the interview was introduced with the provisionof general ideas about what the interviewees were expected to answer. Theapproximate length of the interview, say 30 minutes, was mentioned. Theissues relating to confidentiality and record permission were alreadymentioned at the time when the appointment was made, so they were notcovered here.After the introduction, the interview began with some general questionsregarding consumer spending habits on clothing. As suggested by Smith andEatough (2006), a successful interview incorporates both general and specificquestions which will move between each other fairly seamlessly. Questions 1 31
  • to 3 attempt to serve as ice-breaking as the interviewees may not be preparedto answer in-depth questions at the very beginning of the interview. Moreover,these can help understand their spending styles.There are three questions in this stage and they are listed as follows:1. How often do you buy clothes?2. How much do you spend on clothing each month?3. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy?3.5.2 Stage twoThis stage covers in-depth questions about their views to clothing brand image.Main issues covered in the literatures in chapter 2, including brand and brandequity, were discussed. In order to explore more information from interviewees’responses, probing questions were asked if needed. The questions in thisstage are as follows.Question 4 attempts to find out the criteria of clothes selection in which theinterviewees consider. It also intends to investigate whether brand is animportant criterion for consumers to choose particular products to purchase asmentioned in the literature (Doyle, 1999; Mooij, 1998). Since this research isabout the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour, furtherprobing questions would be asked if the respondents mention somethingrelated to brand and brand equity.4. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them?Questions 5 to 10 are brand equity-related questions. As mentioned in theliteratures, brand equity is regarded as the summation of brand awareness, 32
  • perceived quality, brand loyalty and brand association (Aaker, 1991; Keller,1993). These questions are to find out whether brand equity is as important aswhat has been noted in the literatures.5. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands?6. How do you judge the quality of the clothes?7. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes?8. Do you recommend brands?9. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand?10. Why do you like this brand?Question 11 asks for the interviewees’ opinions about the new emerging onlineshopping mode whereas question 12 is about their post-purchase actions theytook towards the clothes they had purchased. As mentioned in someconsumer behaviour models, there are three stages for purchasing products orservices, including pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase (Blackwell et al.,2006; Rayport and Jaworski, 2003). After finding out what the intervieweeswould do before making their purchasing decisions from the aforementionedquestions, these two questions try to figure out their purchase andpost-purchase behaviour.11. Do you shop online for clothes?12. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 33
  • 3.5.3 Stage threeIn the last stage of the interview, the interviewees were asked to write asentence which starts with the words ‘Brand is’. This serves as a summary ofhow interviewees perceive brands by providing their own definitions which maybe similar or different from what is said in the literature. After the intervieweeshave finished writing the sentence, they would be thanked for providing theirvaluable time to attend the interview.3.6 AdministrationThe interviews were conducted in the places such as rooms in the studentaccommodations or common areas in the university where the intervieweesfelt comfortable to answer the questions. They lasted for approximately 20 to30 minutes, depending on the interviewees’ familiarity to the questions andtheir willingness to provide more fruitful responses. The processes wererecorded with the use of MP3 player with the approval from the interviewees soas to facilitate the subsequent analysis. The interviews were then transcribed.The production and the use of transcripts are essential research activities thatthey involve close, repeated listening to the records which often reveal someunnoted recurring features, possibly attributing to important research findings(Atkinson and Heritage, 1984).3.7 Analysis strategyThis section introduces the concept of grounded theory and the use ofwithin-case and cross-case analysis as the strategies for analyzing theresearch data.3.7.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysisGrounded theory is one of the important concepts suggesting how researcherconducts their research. Originated from two socialists Glaser and Strauss(1967), it attempts to derive theories based on the analysis of patterns, themes,and common categories from observational data (Babbie, 2004). It focuses on 34
  • different ways to code data (Dey, 1993). In addition, based on grounded theory,methodology skills can be developed in a number of areas such as handlingand analyzing of large volumes of ill-structured, qualitative data as well asinterpretative thematic analysis of the qualitative data. Hence, these couldexplain why grounded theory has gained much popularity in recent decades(Henwood and Pidgeon, 2006). As mentioned by Strauss and Corbin (1990),researchers could be both scientific and creative at the same time under thistheory, provided that they follow three rules. They include periodically steppingback and asking, maintaining an attitude of skepticism, as well as following theresearch procedures.Grounded theory does have some impact on the qualitative research.According to Easterby-Smith et al. (2002), one of the benefits of groundedanalysis is that qualitative research structure has first been derived from thedata, leading to further analysis of themes, patterns and categories. Besides, itdemonstrates some main strategies of qualitative inquiry that contain creativeinterplay of theories and methods during the integrated process of socialresearch (Henwood and Pidgeon, 2006).The importance of research procedures is heightened in the grounded theory,especially the use of systemic coding, which can enhance the validity andreliability of the data (Babbie, 2004). There are seven stages for groundedanalysis in total, including familiarization, reflection, conceptualization,cataloguing concepts, re-coding, linking and finally re-evaluation(Easterby-Smith et al., 2002). These imply the seriousness of such theory ininterpreting data and provide the basis for analyzing the ten interviewsconducted.3.7.2 Within-case and cross-case analysisAs mentioned by Miles and Huberman (1994), interviews can be analyzed intwo distinctive but interrelated ways, namely within-case and cross-case 35
  • analysis. In this dissertation, the interviews conducted were investigated basedon these two approaches. The summary of these two approaches is shown inFigure 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 analysis3.7.2.1 Within-case analysisDuring the interviews, notes were first jotted down and then the summary ofeach individual interview was made after listening to the MP3 recorder for thesake of keeping the fresh memory of the interview content. A full transcriptionof each interview (see Appendix 3) was made after the completion of the wholeinterview process. After finishing the transcription, the main ideas of theinterviews were summarized and presented in form of tables with codes like ‘+’standing for interviewee who has mentioned this idea, whilst ‘-‘ connoting to anegative response to the question. Some quotes from the answers would be 36
  • illustrated for explanation if necessary.3.7.2.2 Cross-case analysisCross-case analysis aims at looking for convergences and divergences in thedata, recognizing ways to account for the similarities and differences of therespondents (Smith and Eatough, 2006; Smith and Osborn, 2003). Eachinterview was analyzed in the same way as mentioned in the within-caseanalysis. Then the patterns emerged were analyzed based the several tablesin different themes.3.8 SummaryIn this chapter, the methodology used in this dissertation has been justified andexplained. Qualitative semi-structured interviews have been chosen as a meanto collect data since they are found to be more appropriate for solicitingresponses in relation to attitudes, opinions and feelings. Besides, the samplingmethod was covered. In the course of data collection, the combination ofconvenience and quota sampling was being used. In addition, the schedule ofinterview was discussed with a view to providing some general ideas about theunderlying reasons for asking such questions. The data collected would beanalyzed using the methods of within-case and cross-case analysis. Theresearch findings will be presented and discussed in the next chapter. 37
  • Chapter 4 Research Findings and Discussion4.1 IntroductionThis chapter aims at presenting and discussing findings obtained from theinterviews concerning the effect of clothing brand image on consumerpurchasing behaviour. As mentioned in chapter 3, 10 people, including 5British and 5 Chinese were interviewed. Each interview was recorded andtranscribed for the purpose of analysis in this chapter.As far as the analysis is concerned, it will be based on the most pertinentquotes, which reveal the viewpoints from the British and Chinese respondentsrespectively. According to Easterby-Smith et al. (2002), qualitative researchersneed to communicate the findings in an honest and systematic manner,disseminating the richness of the findings and hence the experience of theresearchers. In addition, the analysis should be open to verification as far aspossible so that the others are free to repeat what has been done and checkthe 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 arepresented and compared.4.2 Backgrounds of respondentsAll respondents are students from the University of Nottingham, with nine ofthem being master students and one of them being a PhD student. Their agesrange 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 theirclothing spending habits, asking about their shopping frequency, money spent 38
  • on clothes and also the types of clothes they purchased. Generally, manyrespondents revealed that they buy clothes at a regular interval, ranging fromevery week to three or four times a year. One of them was slightly different inthat she indicated that she is an impulsive buyer and hence she would buyclothes based on her moods and feelings at the time of purchase. This couldprobably be explained by the findings mentioned in chapter 2 that consumers’emotion is one of the determining factors for buying clothes (Berry, 2000).“I’m a sort of impulsive buyer…’Oh gosh! I really need to buy some clothesnow, let’s go’.” Narinder, 27, British, FemaleBesides, some of them pointed out that their financial status would have animpact on their frequency of buying clothes. One of the respondents revealedthat he preferred buying clothes at special occasions like seasonal discountsso that the prices can be much more affordable. These are in line with theliterature that students spend less than the other groups like working class asfar as clothes purchasing is concerned (HKTDC, 2002).“…This year…not at all (buying clothes). Because I have been poor. But beforethat, maybe one item every couple of month.” Hannah, 24, British, 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, quiterare.” Mark, 23, British, Male“In China, normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). In England,maybe 3 times a year, I will buy clothes if there are discounts.” Kevin, 23, Chinese, Male 39
  • When asking about the price range of clothes, more than half of them werefond of buying clothes in the medium or high price ranges. Although it ismentioned in the literature that more females would like shopping than males(Dholakia, 1999; South and Spitze, 1994), it does not really mean that maleshave less spending power. More male than female respondents manifestedthat they would buy clothes in medium or above price ranges. One of the malerespondents revealed that he would spend about 50 to 250 pounds for clotheseach time, targeting to buy clothes in medium to high price ranges.“Probably, it varies anywhere between 50 to 250 pounds. It really gets a largevariation. Sometimes, I buy lots of clothes and it lasts me for half a year…” Neil, 24, British, MaleThe above quotes illustrate that clothes purchasing behaviour varies from timeto time and from person to person. There could be two identical clothes in theworld, however, the reasons why people buy them vary. It could be as simpleas they are cheap and good looking or they are brand-named. As mentioned inchapter 2, brand names can add tremendous value to the products, retailers,as well as consumers (Aaker, 1991; Keller, 1993). In the coming section,whether brand image would affect clothes purchasing behaviour isinvestigated, with more emphasis being placed on the comparisons betweenBritish and Chinese consumers so as to provide new insights for furtherdevelopment of brands in the clothing sector.4.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour4.3.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisionsAs mentioned previously in chapter 2, brand is important for productdevelopment in that it can be instilled in consumers’ minds (Mooij, 1998) andhence it could have a beneficial or detrimental effect on customers’ buyingdecisions (Yasin et al., 2007). Whether brand is a determining factor is 40
  • examined in question 4, in which the respondents were asked about the reasons of buying particular clothes. The results from both British and Chinese respondents are illustrated in Tables 2 and 3 accordingly. The columns named ‘country of origin’ and ‘advert’ would be discussed in later sections. Table 2: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (British respondents) Reason Brand Country Advert Quality Style Price Others Name of originHannah Comfortable;Smith - - - + + + Non-labelMark Non-advertMorrison - - - + + +Neil FunctionalBowley + - - + + + use (Sports)NarinderSandhu + - - + + +Michael PersonalKosciukiewicz + - - + + + need Table 3: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (Chinese respondents) Reason Brand Country Advert Quality Style Price Others Name of originJovi Comfortable;Chong + - - + + + SuitableVivianLi + + + + + +Vanessa Pleasant;Fang + + + + + + IntuitionAlickWong + - - + + +KevinFang + - + + + + Key +/- or words in black: Initial response without prompt; +/- or words in blue: Response with prompt 41
  • As observed from Tables 2 and 3, all respondents from both nations regardquality, style and price as some of the determining factors for buying clothes. Inthis regard, the findings from literature that Chinese find these three asimportant criteria for buying clothes (HKTDC, 2002) seem also applicable tothe UK respondents.When it comes to the effect of brand on buying clothes, nine out of tenrespondents had not provided immediate answer to question 4 regarding thisissue until prompt was given. Moreover, the British and Chinese intervieweesshowed some divergent viewpoints.Some of the UK respondents revealed that they look for brand names inbuying clothes, in which one of them highlighted the importance of pastshopping experiences as mentioned in the literature (Aaker, 1991). However,two UK interviewees stated that brand names do not initiate them to buy duringtheir shopping.“Yes. If I have good experiences with something, I probably buy again.Because I know it a little bit good quality or that it’s going to be last well orperform well.” Neil, 24, British, Male“Well, I wouldn’t buy something because it’s from H&M or because it’s fromZARA. They are probably the shops I like. I wouldn’t specifically buy it becauseit’s from there.” Mark, 23, British, Male“Never. Well, I mean I will buy clothes from a shop. Actually, I bought it (shepoints at her top) yesterday from NEXT, but I do not particularly look for brandnames.” Hannah, 24, British, Female 42
  • All Chinese respondents found that brand is one of the key factors for them toconsider when buying clothes. One of them mentioned that reputable brands inmedium to high price ranges connote to better quality and cutting. This isconsistent with the literature that brand-named products can be served as aguarantor of reliability, as well as quality (Roman et al., 2005). In addition, oneof them pointed out that brands can help change her personal style, which iscoherent with the literature that brands are used to highlight personality underdifferent circumstances (Aaker, 1999; Fennis and Pruyn, 2006).“I do think most of the brands, like medium- to high-priced brands, do havebetter quality than cheaper brands, so I have more faith in those brands fortheir clothes. I think they mostly get better cutting and better quality.” Jovi, 24, Chinese, Female“Yes. For some T-shirts, I bought some big brands like designer labels. Butrecently, I changed my purchasing habits to some cheap stuff like Primark,H&M and Dorothy Perkins…It’s quick for me to dislike the clothes that I bought.So, if I buy too many big brands, it costs me too much; if I buy cheap ones, Ican use less money, and buy more clothes to change. It can be in consistentwith my changing look and just lower the cost.” Vanessa, 26, Chinese, FemaleBased on the above findings, it seems that brands are more likely to have animpact on Chinese than British interviewees. The UK respondents tend to buyclothes they like but not merely because of the brands.4.3.2 Brand awarenessAs mentioned in the literature, brand can make potential consumers aware ofthe products (Aaker, 1991). This issue was examined through asking thequestion ‘In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands?’ There aremainly four ways for the respondents to learn about the brands, including 43
  • advertisement, peers, internet and shops. The results are shown in Tables 4and 5. Table 4: Ways to learn about clothing brands (British respondents) Name Advert Peers Others Hannah Smith - - Mark From shops Morrison - + Neil From shops; Bowley + + Internet Narinda From shops Sandhu - - Michael From shops Kosciukiewicz - + Table 5: Ways to learn about clothing brands (Chinese respondents) Name Advert Peers Others Jovi Internet Chong - + Vivian Li + - Vanessa Internet Fang + + Alick Internet Wong - + Kevin From shops Fang + + Key +/- or words in black: Initial response without prompt; +/- or words in blue: Response with promptAdvertisement is a powerful tool for raising brand awareness (Mackenzie et al.,1986; Tsai et al., 2007). Some of the UK and Chinese respondents did regard itas one of the methods to know the brands, with the number of Chineserespondents outweighing British. Among these respondents, two of them 44
  • mentioned that they became more aware of the brands through the celebritiesin the advertisements, which confirms with the literature that celebrityendorsement can lead to product credibility (McGuire, 1978) and enhanceattractiveness (McCracken, 1989).“It (Advertising) is important because the brand image is built up so that youwill choose (to buy them).”“I used to play basketball and so I used to watch NBA games. During the gamebreak, they (basketball players) will show up. Like Coby Bryrant, he was therepresentative of adidas previously…” Vivian, 23, Chinese, Female“TV, advertisements in the shopping mall, on the street…they (advertisers) putposters in the public areas.” Kevin, 23, Chinese, Male“I guess it does (have an effect) on subliminal basis. Marketing people mayaffect me someway.”“The adidas ‘impossible is nothing’ advert with leading sportsmen like MichaelJordan, Lance Armstrong, David Beckham, Zidane (is verymemorable)…because I know them through their sports achievement, youknow, they are familiar faces, so they associate themselves with brands, andit’s easy to make connections.” Neil, 24, British, MaleAs far as peers influence on clothes purchasing is concerned, similar numberof Chinese and the UK respondents agreed that it does have impact on theirpurchasing decisions. 45
  • “Maybe they (my friends) buy very nice clothes, and from my mind, they arenice to put them on. So, when I go shopping next time, I will consider them.” Kevin, 23, Chinese, Male“If I am training and I see a friend wearing a new T-shirt or something, I will askthem what the brand is…my brother bought a Helly Hansen sportswear, that’scool.” Neil, 24, British, MaleOther sources for raising brand awareness like internet surfing and shopvisiting are also prevalent among Chinese and British respondents. 4 Britishinterviewees revealed that they became familiar with the brands through shopvisiting, while 4 Chinese interviewees got their brand information via internetsurfing.4.3.3 Perceived qualityThe issue of perceived quality was investigated through question 6, in whichinterviewees were asked, “How do you judge the quality of the clothes?” Theirattitudes towards country-of-origins of clothes were also solicited from thefollow-up questions. The findings are illustrated in Tables 6 and 7. 46
  • Table 6: Criteria for judging clothes quality (British respondents) Criteria Materials Style Colour Durability Country of OthersName originHannahSmith + + +MarkMorrison + -Neil PerformanceBowley + + + -Narinder PriceSandhu -MichaelKosciukiewicz + - Table 7: Criteria for judging clothes quality (Chinese respondents) Criteria Materials Style Colour Durability Country of OthersName originJoviChong + +VivianLi + + +VanessaFang + + + +AlickWong + -KevinFang + + + - Key +/- or words in black: Initial response without prompt; +/- or words in blue: Response with prompt As shown in Tables 6 and 7, nine out of ten respondents regard materials as one of the criteria for judging clothes quality, followed by style, colour, durability, price and performance, in which these criteria are important for consumers in judging product quality (Aaker, 1991). Most of them could mention these judging criteria at once. There are no significance differences between British 47
  • and Chinese respondents.Regarding country of origin, 3 Chinese respondents found that it would havean effect on the clothes perceived quality. Two Chinese interviewees pointedout that country of origin is correlated with quality. Contradictory to theliterature, country of origin seems not to have an impact to the UK respondentson perceived quality.“In some of the countries like Japan, France or Italy, they represent betterquality.” Jovi, 24, Chinese, Female“It should all be good quality if they have a brand name on it because it’s whatthe brand name stands for. For buying Puma shoes, I expect Puma qualitybasically, so the countries don’t really affect it.” Michael, 22, British, MaleWhen further question was asked about the issue ‘Which country’s clothes doyou think they’re of highest/ lowest quality?’ British and Chinese respondentsshowed divergent views. The results are listed in Tables 8 and 9. Table 8: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (British respondents) Countries Countries with Countries with Name highest quality lowest quality Hannah Smith Italy, France No comment Mark Morrison Italy, France No comment Neil Bowley No comment No comment Narinder Sandhu No comment No comment Michael Kosciukiewicz No comment No comment 48
  • Table 9: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (Chinese respondents) Countries Countries with Countries with Name highest quality lowest quality Jovi Chong Japan, France, Italy China, India, some South American countries Vivian Li UK, US, Italy China, Thailand, Malaysia, South Africa Vanessa Fang France, Italy Less developed countries Alick Wong No comment No comment Kevin Fang Korea, Denmark ChinaAs shown in Table 8, just a few British respondents try to provide the names ofspecific countries.“I don’t have some preconception about it. Because I know from every country,you can buy good or bad clothes.” Neil, 24, British, Male“They suppose to all be the same. If Puma gets its stuff from China, fromThailand, they show up the same quality standard in all countries, they shouldmeet the required quality.” Michael, 22, British, MaleFor those who can tell the names of specific countries, many of themmentioned that France and Italy can produce clothes in high quality. However,only Chinese respondents made comments on countries which make clothesin the lowest quality. 3 of the Chinese respondents could mention that someless developed countries, including China, produce poor quality clothes. Thesefindings can be explained by the literatures in that China does not haveinfluential brands with phenomenal quality (Delong et al., 2004). 49
  • “I think the UK and US have top brands, Italy as well. Lowest (quality) maybeChina, or some of the developing countries. Actually, China don’t have veryfamous brands, maybe it’s the reason.” Vivian, 23, Chinese, FemaleNevertheless, one Chinese interviewee specifically pointed out differentcountries should have their competitive advantage in either production ordesign. This is in line with what has mentioned in the literature that China isproficient in production and hence many foreign investors would like toproduce their already-designed products there (Cui, 1997).“China is good at manufacturing and Italy and France are good at design. If it’sabout big brands, I will prefer France or Italy ones; if I consider some basicones, I think those made-in-China are something good.” Vanessa, 26, Chinese, Female4.3.4 Brand loyaltyThe issue regarding brand loyalty was investigated through questions 7, 8 and12 in which the respondents were asked whether they buy the same brandsregularly and also if they recommend brands to the others. The results areillustrated in Tables 10 and 11. 50
  • Table 10: Clothes purchasing habit (British respondents) Name Regular buyer Recommend Club card owner brands Hannah Smith - - - Mark Morrison + - - Neil Bowley - + - Narinder Sandhu + - - Michael Kosciukiewicz - - - Table 11: Clothes purchasing habit (Chinese respondents) Name Regular buyer Recommend brands Club card owner Jovi Chong + - + Vivian Li + + + Vanessa Fang + + - Alick Wong - + + Kevin Fang + - +As observed from Tables 10 and 11, more Chinese respondents tend to buythe same brands, recommend brands to friends or relatives, and also hold theclub cards of their favourite stores than the UK interviewees. For those whobuy regularly from the same brands, they pointed out that they are quitesatisfied with the clothes they had purchased, whereas the others think theyneed to take other factors like price and style into consideration and hencethey do not buy the same brands regularly. The quotes of regular buyers areshown as follow: 51
  • “I do have a few brands that I prefer, so I will buy them more often. In the UK, Ilike Fred Perry. In Hong Kong, there are quite many, for examples, CEU andVertical Club. They have quite a lot of varieties of different design for me tochoose from. There are casual wears good for everyday dress and they are ofreasonable prices.” Jovi, 24, Chinese, Female“I reckon the design fits me and these brands have high quality which is whatI’m looking for.” Vivian, 23, Chinese, Female“I just like it...the certain shops that I sort of rely upon….” Mark, 23, British, Male“(I like buying from) Diesel for jeans, Topshop and All Saints. The Diesel jeansfit me well. Topshop’s price is affordable and also I like the style from AllSaints” Narinder, 27, British, FemaleAs far as brand recommendation is concerned, four respondents cited thatthey would recommend brands as long as they are good.“I will if I visit some shops and they have good stuff. I will tell my friends, say‘Go ahead! They are really good.’” Vanessa, 26, Chinese, Female“If it is excellent performance and if someone asks me, I will tell them.” Neil, 24, British, MaleSurprisingly, none of the UK respondents have any clothing club cards eventhough the shops take this chance to reward their loyalty in terms of discounts 52
  • as cited in the literature (Aaker, 1991). Some of them did mention thedrawbacks of applying these cards. The quotes for some non-club card ownersare shown below:“No, store cards try to get more money from me when I don’t have more. Storecards are dangerous.” Narinder, 27, British, Female“Because we have student cards and we can enjoy the offer, we need notapply for the loyalty cards. Sometimes, it takes time to apply for it and maybe Iwill not spend much money on the same shops…I tried to apply House ofFraser and M&S (loyalty cards), they always make them like credit cards and Idon’t want to have one more credit card. That’s why I don’t apply for it.” Vanessa, 26, Chinese, Female4.3.5 Brand associationRegarding brand association, it is examined through questions 9 and 10 inwhich interviewees were asked about their favourite brand images. Both theBritish and Chinese respondents managed to recall some positiveconnotations of their favourite brands. These findings confirm what hasmentioned in the literature that associated brand images can help enhance thevalue of brands (Yasin, 2007).“I like something that is simple and good for casual and everyday wear, not socomplicated design” Jovi, 24, Chinese, Female“I think it’s casual and good quality. The price is acceptable. It’s not stylish but itis well made. It fits my age and my occupation as students. Vivian, 23, Chinese, Female 53
  • “They do something stylish and good quality…sometimes good offer.” Vanessa, 26, Chinese, Female“’Simply Me’, khaki style…quality is good.” Alick, 27, Chinese, Male“Simple. For T-shirt, I prefer very colourful image. For shirts, I prefer somesimple image, like grid shirts. For jeans, I prefer blue jeans.” Kevin, 23, Chinese, Male“60s hippie, coloured fabrics…it’s a sort of a bit unusual, usually cotton…” Hannah, 24, British, Female“It’s just sort of reasonably well-priced and sort of good quality, fits my age.” Mark, 23, British, Male“They are practical, they work well, and they look good.” Neil, 24, British, Male“For Topshop, it’s a kind of like casual clothing. All Saints is a bit moreinnovative.” Narinder, 27, British, Female“Basically, alternative sports, not like football, crickets but skiing andsnowboarding and surfing…” Michael, 22, British, Male4.3.6 Consumer buying behaviourIt is found in the literature that internet shopping is gaining its popularity amongconsumers (Dholakia and Uusitalo, 2002). In order to investigate this issue, therespondents were asked if they had shopped online for clothes in question 11. 54
  • Surprisingly, nine out of ten interviewees expressed that they had not boughtclothes via the internet due to several reasons. One of them mentioned thepoor internet security while the others revealed that they could not try theclothes before paying for it.“For clothes, no. Because I can’t try the clothes to see if they are suitable ornot” Jovi, 24, Chinese, Female“Not really. I will consider maybe it is not safe to shopping online, not rightcolour, right size as well” Vivian, 23, Chinese, Female“I like fitting, try on to see if it is fit probably.” Narinder, 27, British, FemaleEven though some of the interviewees do not shop online for clothes, some ofthem can point out the positive aspects of internet shopping, including thevarieties of choices, lower prices and informative websites. These signify thefact that online shopping for clothes is not impossible but something need to bedone to improve it as far as the problems of fitting before purchasing andonline security are concerned.“No, but I know many people do. To be honest, I am a little bit fat and if I put onit, I can see how it looks like…so I never buy clothes online. The clothes onlineare cheap, just like the clothes from the markets. If you can’t find (suitableclothes) in the markets or in the shops, you can buy it online.” Kevin, 23, Chinese, Male“I don’t buy online. I’ll have a look and compare prices, but I don’t buy online.” Michael, 22, British, Male 55
  • “(Shop online) Sometimes, maybe one or twice a month. It is good. The onlything is that sometimes the delivery fee is not that cheap, almost everything isquite good, good quality and good prices. These are what internet offers.” Vanessa, 26, Chinese, Female4.4 ResultsIn the last question, respondents were asked to provide their comments onbrand. The quotes below show their perceptions towards what brand is in theirmind.“Brand is something that adds value to clothing but not a must” Jovi, 24, Chinese, Female“Brand is an important but not decisive indicator for my choice of shopping.” Vivian, 23, Chinese, Female“Brand is not a paper bag.” (It means brands are not easy to be broken up.) Vanessa, 26, Chinese, Female“Brand is something difficult to understand.” Alick, 27, Chinese, Male“Brand is just like the name of people. It may not be the spirit of clothes, but itrepresents the taste and quality of them.” Kevin, 23, Chinese, Male“Brand is a way for people to identify each other, a way for companies to keepconsumers back to spend their money, and I’m not fond of popular ones!” Hannah, 24, British, Female 56
  • “Brand is not something I would follow because of the name. My clothespurchased tend to be based on the individual garment, rather than thedesigner, manufacturer. I realized, however, that a brand can be a powerfuldraw for many shoppers.” Mark, 23, British, Male“Brand is not unimportant to my decision making when buying clothes.” Neil, 24, British, Male“Brand is the label a company use to market/ advertise them with.” Narinda, 27, British, Female“Brand is the identity of a product or service.” Michael, 22, British, Male4.5 SummaryThis chapter presented the findings from the interviews of both British andChinese respondents. Some of the responses from interviewees were quotedand analyzed so as to highlight the important findings for further brand imagedevelopment.At the beginning of the chapter, respondents’ backgrounds were introduced toprovide some thorough understandings on their clothes purchasing habits.Then it came to the analysis and discussion of interviews’ findings to look forany similarities and differences between British and Chinese respondents,mainly focusing on the four dimensions of brand equity. 57
  • Chapter 5 Conclusions5.1 IntroductionBased on the research findings in chapter 4, this chapter draws conclusions onwhat has been analyzed and discussed, providing insights for comprehendingconsumer purchasing behaviour and further investigations. The comparisonswere made between the British and Chinese respondents’ purchasingbehaviour throughout the last chapter. It was found that there are slightdifferences between the Chinese and British consumers in terms of theirattitudes towards brand equity.This chapter will provide an overview of the research findings, with theinclusions of similarities and differences between the British and Chineseconsumers. It is then followed by the research limitations andrecommendations for further research.5.2 ConclusionsThe findings in chapter 4 do have some implications for the development ofbrand image. They are presented under each sub-section as shown below.5.2.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisionsThe determining factors for clothes purchasing have been examined. Ourfindings suggested that all British and Chinese respondents regard quality,style and price as their most important criteria for choosing clothes. In addition,brand is one of their considerations. However, more Chinese than UKrespondents expressed that brand is important for them to choose particularclothes to buy. For those British respondents who did not look for brands whenpurchasing clothes, they cited that what they liked is more important. 58
  • As revealed from the above findings, brand can have a value-adding functionin that some respondents are fond of particular brands. Nevertheless,consumers think of the other criteria as well. That is to say, if brand-namedclothes can incorporate the other criteria the consumers are looking for, itcould enhance the chance for consumers to buy the clothes.5.2.2 Brand awarenessTo increase the publicity, the brands need to become more aware among theconsumers. From the findings, respondents tend to know the brands throughadvertisements, peers, internet and shops. More Chinese respondentsexpressed that they had been influenced by advertisements and internet thanBritish interviewees, whereas British respondents tended to know the brandsthrough on-the-spot purchase in the shops. In terms of advertisements, somerespondents from both nations cited that they had been affected by celebrityadvertising in which they could associate the brand image with the celebrities’images, for example, famous sportsmen can be attributable to goodsportswear performance.In general, these methods for spreading the brand image are commonlyemployed by both British and Chinese respondents.5.2.3 Perceived qualityThe findings suggested that most respondents tend to judge the clothes qualityby looking at the materials, followed by style, colour, durability, price andperformance. There are no significant differences between British and Chineserespondents regarding these issues. However, when it comes to the country oforigin of clothes, none of the UK respondents thought it would affect theirperception of clothes quality whereas some Chinese respondents had citedthat some countries connoted to better quality.In addition, many Chinese respondents had the preconception that China and 59
  • other developing countries produce clothes in poor quality, whereas they didthink that clothes from Italy and France normally confer to better quality.However, the British respondents did not have strong feelings about where theclothes come from. This brings out an important issue that Chinese brandsshould get rid of their poor image on perceived quality at least to the Chinesethemselves. China does not have influential global clothing brands (Delong etal., 2004), however, it is good at manufacturing (Cui, 1997). As brand canprovide guarantee of quality to consumers, by working on the branddevelopment, there would still be chances for China to produce well-perceivedquality clothes.5.2.4 Brand loyaltyThis aspect of brand equity is important for the development of customer baseand encouraging repeat purchase. From the findings, some respondents didreveal that they are frequent buyers of the same brands and also recommendbrands to their friends and relatives, regardless of the nations the respondentsbelong to. However, none of the UK respondents cited that they had had someloyalty cards from clothing shops, while most of the Chinese respondents had.Such discrepancies may be because the UK respondents tend to buy clothesfrom more independent stores which are less likely to offer loyalty cards.5.2.5 Brand associationThe association between brand and memory of respondents was investigated.All respondents could recall some positive aspects of their favourite brands atonce. Some characteristics of the brands in which they are fond of werementioned, including the product features, styles, prices, functions etc. Thiscoincides with the findings by Keller (1993) that consumers are attracted bythe signal when they consider buying particular product. Also, suchperceptions may be attributable to their loyalty towards the brands (Aaker,1991). 60
  • The establishment of such positive images can help enhance the brand valuesand there are no significant differences between the British and Chineserespondents in this regard.5.2.6 Consumer buying behaviourConsumers can shop for clothes via different channels, and whether onlineshopping for clothes is popular among the respondents from both nations wasexamined. Most of the interviewees expressed that they had not boughtclothes through the internet. One of the obstacles for online clothes purchasingis that the consumers can not try on the clothes to see if they are fit or not.Added to this, online security is also a matter of concern. However, somerespondents cited that online shopping is good for its informative websites,various choices and cheaper prices.Internet shopping is gaining its popularity (Dholakia and Uusitalo, 2002) but thefindings suggested that buying clothes online was not that common among therespondents. In order to make it more prevalent for clothes shopping,something should be done on the aforementioned drawbacks. In terms offitting, the details of the size and materials should be listed on the website toreduce the chances of buying wrong clothes. For online securities, the retailersshould be more vigilant in the design of verification system, whereas theshoppers need to be aware of the login procedures, not to divulge personalinformation to unknown third parties.5.3 LimitationsDuring the course of research, several limitations were found to hinder theoverall accuracy of the findings. There are three limitations regarding thesampling method, time and also interpreting skills.As far as sampling method is concerned, qualitative research can not providerepresentative samples from the target population even though they can detect 61
  • minor problems that are not obvious in a quantitative study (Proctor, 2000).Students were used as the subjects for investigation and they tend to be moresusceptible to the views, ideas and products of other cultures than olderpeople (Netemeyer et al., 1991), having a propensity of getting deviatedresults. In selecting the students, the combination of quota and conveniencesamples was used. Such discretion of choosing samples may introduce asource of bias since there is a possibility to omit some types of people,especially for those who are difficult to contact (Proctor, 2000).In terms of time, since in-depth interviews were chosen to be the method ofdata collection, the number of samples interviewed is limited. The dissertationwas confined to finish within the summer term which lasted for 3 months. Aslong as more time is allowed, more samples could be gathered so that it couldenhance the overall conclusiveness of the interviews.Finally, the responses from the in-depth interviews can be subjected toresearcher’s effects. During the interviews, the characteristics of theinterviewers, for instances accent, gender and age, will have an effect on theinterviewees’ willingness to participate and their nature of answers. In addition,interviewers’ questioning skill is also one of the determinants for answeraccuracy. Interviewers may ask leading questions that distort respondents’answers (Levy and Weitz, 1992) and data obtained are influenced by theinterviewers’ manner, including the skills of handling follow-up and probingquestions (Proctor, 2000). This is the author’s second time to do thedissertation and the aspects like nervousness and lack of experiences canalso be regarded as some of the limitations for this dissertation.5.4 ImplicationsThis dissertation attempts to find out the effect of brand image on consumerpurchasing behaviour. There are numerous brands around the world, however,whether the brand is influential or not depends on how it is perceived. 62
  • Therefore, the study of brand can provide an insight for further branddevelopment.Under the premise that brand is regarded as equity for marketers, four differentareas were investigated, namely brand awareness, perceived quality, brandloyalty and brand association. Through understanding how customers behavein these four aspects, marketers can think of relevant strategies. In terms ofbrand awareness, owing to the fact that consumers will buy clothes after theyhave known them well, marketers should make use good of the traditionalchannels like advertisements and word-of-mouth and devise new methods tocommunicate with customers. As far as perceived quality is concerned, havingmentioned that customers judge the quality mostly based on the factors likematerials, style, colour, durability, price and performance, manufacturerstogether with retailers need to join hands to produce better clothes for thecustomers to choose from. In addition, the investment in brand loyalty couldenhance the chance of repeat purchase and broaden the customer base. Toreward loyal customers, marketers can devise different reward methods indifferent forms such as discounts. As for brand association, it is of utmostimportance to keep the customers’ positive perceptions towards the brands sothat the chances for repeat purchase would be increased. Such positiveconnotations are achieved through working closely on brand awareness,perceived quality and brand loyalty.This dissertation highlights the comparisons between British and Chinese,aiming at finding out their similarities and differences in the consumerpurchasing behaviour on clothes. From the findings, some Chineserespondents have negative perceptions towards clothes quality produced fromChina and other developing countries whereas their British counterparts do nothave such strong feelings. This provides an important insight that Chinesecustomers should get rid of their negative perceptions towards the clothesquality. Chinese brand developers should put more efforts on quality control 63
  • with a view to establish some strong national clothing brands amongthemselves. This may change the buying attitude that Chinese are nowconfined to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets (HKTDC, 2002).It is hoped that Chinese can have some influential global clothing brands bydoing so.For the UK, since famous clothing brands are not uncommon in suchdeveloped country, it should be more aware of the marketing strategies toenhance the overall brand equity. For instances, it could think of making onlineclothes purchasing more popular and also introducing varieties of benefits toreward loyal customers. The use of club cards was found to be more commonamong Chinese than the UK respondents for buying clothes. Marketers couldconsider the feasibility of getting this idea widespread in the clothes retailingindustry as other retail sectors, like supermarkets, have done.5.5 Recommendations for further researchAlthough the findings from this research are interesting and useful as one maythink, there are several limitations as mentioned in the previous section. It isimportant to make improvement in the further research to provide more fruitfuland representative findings.More samples should be interviewed as long as time and money are notconstraints. More interviewers could be hired and trained to collect as muchdata as they can. This could provide much more conclusive results. Besides, inaddition to semi-structured interviews, other kinds of research methods suchas focus group and even some quantitative research methods could be usedso as to provide findings from different perspectives.Further research could also be done on comparisons between some othercountries’ consumers in which they are found to have significant impact onconsumer behaviour. Other sampling groups, for instance working class, could 64
  • also be investigated since they may provide entirely different results as whathave been obtained from the student samples.By taking the above recommendations, researchers could be able to get morerepresentative and deeper findings from different perspectives, exploring theresearch to a higher stratum as far as brand development is concerned. 65
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  • Appendix 1: The 100 Top Brands 2006 Rank Name Country Rank Name Country 1 Coca-Cola U.S. 51 Nintendo Japan 2 Microsoft U.S. 52 Gap U.S. 3 IBM U.S. 53 L’Oreal France 4 GE U.S. 54 Heinz U.S. 5 Intel U.S. 55 Yahoo! U.S. 6 Nokia Finland 56 Volkswagen Germany 7 Toyota Japan 57 Xerox U.S. 8 Disney U.S. 58 Colgate U.S. 9 McDonald U.S. 59 Wrigley U.S. 10 Mercedes-Benz Germany 60 KFC U.S. 11 Citi U.S. 61 Chanel France 12 Marlboro U.S. 62 Avon U.S. 13 Hewlett-Packard U.S. 63 Nestle Switzerland 14 American Express U.S. 64 Kleenex U.S. 15 BMW Germany 65 Amazon.com U.S. 16 Gillette U.S. 66 Pizza Hut U.S. 17 Louis Vuitton France 67 Danone France 18 Cisco U.S. 68 Caterpillar U.S. 19 Honda Japan 69 Motorola U.S. 20 Samsung S.Korea 70 Kodak U.S. 21 Merrill Lynch U.S. 71 adidas Germany 22 Pepsi U.S. 72 Rolex Switzerland 23 Nescafe Switzerland 73 Zara Spain 24 Google U.S. 74 Audi Germany 25 Dell U.S. 75 Hyundai S.Korea 26 Sony Japan 76 BP Britain 27 Budweiser U.S. 77 Panasonic Japan 28 HSBC Britain 78 Reuters Britain 29 Oracle U.S. 79 Kraft U.S. 30 Ford U.S. 80 Porsche Germany 31 Nike U.S. 81 Hermes France 32 UPS U.S. 82 Tiffany & Co. U.S. 33 JPMorgan U.S. 83 Hennessy France 34 SAP Germany 84 Duracell U.S. 35 Canon Japan 85 ING Netherlands 36 Morgan Stanley U.S. 86 Cartier France 37 Goldman Sachs U.S. 87 Moet & Chandon France 38 Pfizer U.S. 88 Johnson & Johnson U.S. 39 Apple U.S. 89 Shell Britain 40 Kellogg U.S. 90 Nissen Japan 41 Ikea Sweden 91 Starbucks U.S. 42 UBS Switzerland 92 Lexus Japan 43 Novartis Switzerland 93 Smirnoff Britain 44 Siemens Germany 94 LG S.Korea 45 Harley-Davidson U.S. 95 Bulgari Italy 46 Gucci Italy 96 Prada Italy 47 eBay U.S. 97 Armani Italy 48 Philips Netherlands 98 Burberry Britain 49 Accenture Bermuda 99 Nivea Germany 50 MTV U.S. 100 Levi U.S.(Data adopted from Business Week (2007)) 79
  • Appendix 2: Interview QuestionsName: Age:Course: Year of study:Nationality: Year of living in your home country:1. How often do you buy clothes?2. How much do you spend on clothing each month?3. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy?4. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them?5. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands?6. How do you judge the quality of the clothes?7. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes?8. Do you recommend brands?9. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand?10. Why do you like this brand?11. Do you shop online for clothes?12. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase?13. Can you comment on what brand is to you?(Note: Further probing questions would be asked after each of the abovequestion if necessary) 80
  • Appendix 3: Interview TranscriptionName: Kevin FangAge: 23Gender: MaleNationality: ChineseChris: Hi, Kevin. I would like to ask you about your purchasing behaviour onclothes. It would talk about 30 minutes. How often do you buy clothes?Kevin: In China, normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). InEngland, maybe 3 times a year, I will buy clothes if there are discounts.Chris: So you buy clothes less frequently in the UK.Kevin: Yes.Chris: Why?Kevin: Because in China, I had a girlfriend who likes shopping. I was thecompany.Chris: How much do you spend on clothing each month? In case of China andalso the UK?Kevin: In China, around 20 to 30 pounds each time. Summer clothes arecheaper than winter clothes, so in winter, it would be like 40 to 50 pounds. InEngland, since clothes are more expensive than those in China, so normally Ispent 30 pounds more or less each time when I went shopping.Chris: Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? I mean high-priced, 81
  • 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 sportsapparels 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 grandclothes…I like Jack and Jones, and Levi’s. For shoes, I like adidas andReeboks.Chris: You have mentioned something about price before, so do you thinkprice is one of your considerations?Kevin: Yes of course. My girlfriend likes to go to some markets where she canfind many cheap clothes. Some of them are on discount and some of them areout of season, she is pursuing that kind of clothes.Chris: What about you? 82
  • Kevin: I like buying shoes in a very good ground. I don’t like bargain with theprices. 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, youcan bargain with the shop assistants. But in some shopping malls, someclothes have ground, you cannot bargain with them. Because they are of fixedprices 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 becausesome are made in China, maybe the designers are from other countries. Mostof 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 thecountry of manufacture? 83
  • 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 upto 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 theone from Jack and Jones.Chris: What is the advertisement about? For Levi’s, why can it make you somemorable?Kevin: Because people who wear the clothes look very nice, look veryhandsome with the clothes.Chris: You mentioned some people appearing in this advertisement. Are thesepeople celebrities?Kevin: No, just models. Some of them are Chinese and some of them areforeigners. 84
  • Chris: If some advertisements feature the celebrities, would it have an impacton you to buy the clothes?Kevin: Yes, it will, but the prices for these kinds of clothes are high, I can’tafford it.Chris: In what way do you usually learn about clothing brands?Kevin: TV, advertisements in the shopping mall, on the streets, they putposters in the public areas.Chris: What about peer influence? Do you know some brands from yourfriends?Kevin: Yes, of course.Chris: Do you talk about buying clothes with your friends frequently?Kevin: No, not frequently.Chris: But you maybe affected by them. How can they affect you?Kevin: Maybe they buy very nice clothes, and from my mind, from myperspective, they are nice to put them on, so maybe next time I go shopping, Iwill consider them.Chris: How do you judge the quality of clothes?Kevin: It depends. For summer clothes, I only wear them for one to two year.For winter clothes, it may be longer. So it needs to keep the quality for thatperiod. 85
  • Chris: So if it’s durable, then it’s of high quality.Kevin: As long as it can, you know, keep the quality until out-of-date, I thinktheir 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 judge the quality in terms of durability, by the colour, by thefeeling of texture and whether it will fade or not. Would country of origin affectyour perceptions towards clothes quality?Kevin: As I said most of them are made in China, some brands have their ownmanufacturing (plants) in China, these clothes are from very good brands andthey quality is conceivable.Chris: Do you have some ideas that which countries’ clothes you think theyare of highest or lowest quality?Kevin: Korea (for E-land), and Demank (Jack and Jones).Chris: So you think these two countries produce the highest quality clothes?Kevin: I consider brands more than the countries. I never compare whichclothes come from which countries.Chris: What about lowest quality?Kevin: China…maybe. 86
  • Chris: Why do you have such feelings?Kevin: I think quality goes high as prices go high.Chris: You mean China usually sells cheap clothes?Kevin: Yea, maybe cheaper than from other countries.Chris: So you believe quality goes with prices?Kevin: Actually for young people, we may buy some sport apparels like LiNing,but for casual wear, we prefer clothes from other countries.Chris: So you mean maybe China has some famous brands in sport apparels,but it doesn’t have any brands in casual wear category.Kevin: No, not many.Chris: Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes?Kevin: Every time I go shopping, I will go to those places…not E-land, I onlybought E-land once… I also buy clothes from Kuhle, it just likes Jack andJones, famous among young people.Chris: So because of the quality and the appearance, you go to that shopagain to buy clothes?Kevin: Ah, I think quality is not a problem for these brands, the appearance ismore important…the quality, of course, it’s highChris: Do you recommend brands to your friends or someone else? 87
  • Kevin: No.Chris: Why not?Kevin: I think every one has their own place, if I recommend my preference tohim or her, maybe they will ignore it, maybe they will keep in mind, I don’tknow.Chris: Can you describe the image of your favorite brand?Kevin: I prefer very simple image. For T-shirt, I prefer very colorful image. Forshirts, I prefer some simple image, like grid shirts. For jeans, I prefer bluejeans.Chris: So you mentioned something about colour and simplicity, how doessuch image come from?Kevin: I think its appearance. After I put it on, if it is fit to me, I will buy it.Chris: Does such image come from advertising and packaging?Kevin: Yea, advertising is the first impression and packaging is on-the-spotinfluence.Chris: Do you shop online for clothes?Kevin: No, but I know many people do. To be honest, I am a little bit fat and if Iput on it, I can see how it looks like. I know many girls do that. Maybe girls canfind more suitable size than guys do. So, I never buy clothes online. Theclothes online are cheap, like the clothes from the markets. If you can’t find inthe market or in the shops, you can buy it online. 88
  • Chris: So, it maybe the advantage of buying clothes online.Kevin: Yea, that’s the main advantage. You can find some clothes which youcan’t buy in the shops or markets, maybe they are there.Chris: What are the bad things of buying clothes online?Kevin: As I said, the size may not fit and the quality as well…Chris: What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothesyou purchased?Kevin: If I am satisfied with the clothes I bought, I will wear it very regularly, atleast once a week. But if I’m not satisfied with it, of course I will wear it, but lessfrequently, maybe take it as my pajamas.Chris: If you are satisfied, would you go to the same shops to have a lookagain?Kevin: Maybe I will go there next season when I go shopping. As long as lfinish shopping, I will not go to the see any clothes within a short interval,maybe after one or two month, I will go there again to see some newclothes…new arrival…But I will not go to the same shops very frequently, justafter finish shopping.Chris: If the shops do offer you some loyalty cards, would you apply for it?Kevin: Yea, I have one from Kuhle and one from Jack and Jones. Normally, if Ibuy clothes more than 40 or 50 pounds once, they will give me a VIP card. Sonext time I go to these shops to buy clothes, they will give me 5 to 10 percentdiscount or some credits. I can get some gifts from the accumulated credits, 89
  • like some accessories, belts, glasses, sunglasses, wallet, something like that.Chris: That’s all for the interview. Thanks very much. I would like you to helpme finish a sentence starting with ‘Brand is’.Chris: So you said ‘Brand is just like the name of people. It may not the spiritof the clothes, but it represents the taste and quality of them. 90