Fashion Brand Image Marketing: Brand Image and Brand Personality T.S. Lee, C.S. Leung and Z.M. Zhang Institute of Textiles and Clothing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University ABSTRACT Driven by the competitive environment in fashion business, marketers have realized that creating a favorable brand image is a key to win larger market share in its market niche. An understanding of brand image can provide better foundation for developing a more effective marketing program. However, the brand image literature in consumer marketing can be characterized as fragmented. Even the definitions of brand image lack consensus. This paper critically reviews the meaning of brand image and its related concept, brand personality, and discusses marketing implication for fashion marketers. Keywords: Fashion Brand Image Marketing, Brand, Brand Image, Image Congruity, Brand Personality. 1. INTRODUCTION
Benefit seeking is one of the driving forces for consumers to begin their buying process with. They may seek a product that can offer at least functional, symbolic or even expressive benefits to them in order to satisfy their needs or wants. Therefore, you may say a successful marketing program is not so difficult to create. It simply satisfies the target consumers’ needs and wants. Meanwhile, to know the consumers’ needs or wants is actually the most difficult task for the marketers to handle. In order to succeed in today’s competitive environment, the fashion marketers must be able to formulate effective marketing strategies for their target markets. The success of a fashion brand depends upon how precise it is in understanding its target customers and their needs, so as to create wants. A purchase filled with meanings, especially a fashion purchase. It was because clothing in itself carries symbols and that’s why clothing has been called a “silent language”. When people talk about the clothes they buy and why they buy them, they show a variety of logics. An understanding of why customers select one brand over another and what factors generate such kind of want is crucially important to fashion marketers. When insiders talk about this issue, the concept of brand image would be mentioned and useful to explain the phenomenon. McEnally and Chernatony (1999) also stated that brand concept was developed by the management while the consumer received the message from the management and form brand image in the memory. In this sense, the management sees the brand in one way, which is a perceived concept, and the customers also see the brand in their own way, which is also a perceived image. When there is substantial difference on these two perceptions, it indicates that the brand image marketing problem is present. In the fashion industry, an inappropriate brand image strategy could make a brand fail in that increasingly competitive business environment. A designer label, a private label or even a little brand name, they are different on the level of the product exclusivity, perceived quality and reliability; but they are all talking about image marketing, and would like to use brand as a tool to seize larger market share in their market niche. RJTA Vol. 4 No. 2 60
Thus, “brand image” has been the focus of a large amount of important academic and field study in fashion industry. However, the terminology of brand image is quite confusing. To clarify the nature of the brand image, this article aims to discuss the different meanings of brand image (perceived by the consumer) from different sources. It is crucial for the fashion marketer to know the meaning behind the term, as it is the foundation of the brand image marketing. 2. 2.1 BACKGROUND OF BRAND IMAGE What is a brand?
‘Brand’ is derived from the old Norse word brand, “meaning burn, and it was by this method that early man marked his livestock” (Blackett, 1991). The traditional American AMA definition (American Marketing Association, 1960) of brand is, “a name, term, sign, symbol, or design,...
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