This study investigated the influence of brand incongruity on females’ perception of the properties of bi-national apparel products. A survey was conducted across Tshwane, a major urban area in South Africa, to provide empirical evidence of female consumers’ reliance on brands in the context of an emerging economy where global brands have become widely available and easily accessible in recent years. Data was collected by means of convenient sampling and through self completion of a structured questionnaire by 322 willing, working females. Data analysis involved descriptive statistics, factor analysis, ANOVAs and post hoc tests.
This study confirmed the significance of brand names as a cue of the functional performance related properties of female apparel and concluded that the relevance of brands for status related purposes is secondary to females’ use of brands to infer the functional and performance attributes or to deduce the eco friendliness of apparel. This was true for all the age, income, and education levels or population categories. Although extant research confirms the importance of brands to convey status and to boost consumers’ self image, i.e. serving as an extension of an individual’s self, this study revealed that females do not primarily use brands for status purposes. Brands are mostly trusted to provide good fit, durability, comfort and good quality. Consumers do not necessarily seem familiar with the majority of apparel brands that are widely advertised. However, the majority of consumers preferred the country of manufacture (COM) and the country of origin (COO) of brands to match. Overall, they preferred brands originating from Western countries as the COM, and were more approving of locally manufactured goods than apparel manufactured in Eastern countries. As a simplifying strategy, consumers’ ignorance about the COM of global brands is probably addressed by opting for brands associated with Western COM. Brand incongruence may therefore have noticeable consequences for brand equity in a highly competitive global market and this should be addressed through clever marketing initiatives to prevent dismay and brand switching.
Dissertation (MConsumer Science)--University of Pretoria, 2013.
Mkhize, Londiwe(University of Pretoria, 2011-05-20)
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