Introduction:When a consumer buys any brand it means not the product is purchased rather the intangible feel or the prestige associated with the brand are the things for which consumer pay. Product with no name is just like a product that its price is only important thing about it, so the winner in that category is one who has lowest price (Philip Kotler, 2006). If we look at the brand from customer’s perspective, a brand can be defined as the sum of all experiences. The important factor that affects choosing a brand is consumer needs (Dolatabadi et al, 2012). According to Park (1986) brand is often a combination of symbolic, functional and experimental benefits.It is clear that a person’s feel is associated with the usage of certain brand’s personality or the image of the brand. In fact the personification of the brand in terms of certain human characteristic like cheerful, masculine, juvenile etc. could be termed as the personality of brand.
This feel is actually communicated to the potential customers and they are provoked to buy to feel the same way. This personality or human feel is actually differentiating feature of a brand from others and being charged premium in the product category. Aakar (1997) has explained the brand personality through five dimensions; 1-Sincrity, 2- Competence, 3- Excitement, 4- Sophistication and 5-Ruggedness.The market of fashion in Pakistan is becoming more and more competitive with every coming day because of information coming in about the latest trends and themes. An important thing is becoming very much clear with the passage of time and through the exposure to media that fashion is much more than just wearing. Our surroundings make moods and then themes are derived from the blend both in turn.
Out fits reflect all, the theme of dressing2(color, cuts, and shapes), mood of wearer at that time and his/her gesture towards the surroundings. The brands which are charging premium and enjoying high brand equity are in fact working a lot on innovation and do a lot to keep on step ahead of the competitors as well as they invest creativity and intellect to sustain their brands personality. This is to be seen that what dimension(s) or component(s) of the brands personality out of the aforesaid five play vital role in the enhancement of brands equity.1.1.
Research Gap:Past studies were focused on topics such as establishing and measuring the various dimensions of brand personality (Aaker, 1997). A lot of literature exists related to brand personality and brand equity but these two topics are seldom linked with each other. Furthermore, there is currently a knowledge gap in the present literature when it comes to understanding how brand personality affects brand equity. No research has been conducted in Pakistan where brand personality is associated with brand equity in the context of fashion industry in particular.1.
2. Problem Statement:Brand personality is an important concept in branding. Consumers’ brand preference is influenced by the personality of brand. Consumers prefer those brands whose personality is congruent to their own personality.
The concepts of brand equity and brand personality are especially more important in the fashion industry. There are various factors that play a role in building brand equity. No research is conducted in Pakistan that relates the brand personality to the brand equity in the context of fashion industry.1.3.
Research Objectives:The purpose of this research is to investigate the impact of brand personality on brand equity in the context of fashion industry of Pakistan. The impact of various elements of brand personality on various dimensions of brand equity will be explored separately. Following are the specific objectives of the research:1.
To see the impact of brand personality on brand associations.2. To see the impact of brand personality on brand awareness.3. To see the impact of brand personality on brand loyalty.4. To see the impact of brand personality on perceived quality.
2. Literature review:The products are in fact more than just functional utility. The significance of products other than its actual function is its ability to communicate its meaning for the consumers (Hirschman, 2013; McCracken, 2014).
We would say that the products are symbols to covey others about the users or express3themselves to the people around (Holman, 2013; Solomon, 2012). The symbolism or the personality derived from the feel communicated through the brand isactually to influence the potential consumer’s choice.In the current era not the actual product rather it’s personality has become more important. Now the differentiating of products is difficult based on quality or function(Dumaine, 2014; Veryzer, 2013), because the quality control systems followed by all companies has changed the direction of differentiation at all and the art of differentiation has shifted well. The Symbolic meaning of product has become the real method to differentiate the product.
Now the products are there to express itself and the user opts for certain brand to experience the feeling and association of the personality of it.Personality of a brand is to personify the brand in some human characteristic (Aaker, 1997) and the user of the product is in fact provoked to feel the experience of that characteristic for example if some product claims to carry a masculinity feel associated to its use then it means the people of masculine personality are targeted.A product described in terms of human characteristic is called the product personality (Jordan, 2014). We may define product personality as the profile or some trait ofapersonality or celebrity or some human characteristics be used to describe a specific product variant or feature and obviously it’s to distinguish the product from others and it shows the personality features (Govers, 2004).The image created by the company of Mountain Dew is the adventurous and manly looking.
The target for the product is to make people feel energetic to do something different. Through the advertisement the brand has developed its personality as adventurous which is a human trait.According to Kotler et al (2009) brand equity means the added value endowed on goods or services. It may be reflected in the way consumers think, feel, and act with respect to brand, as well as in the price, market share, and profitability the brand command for the organization.
According to Pitta and Katsanis (1995) the importance of brand equity is that it enhances the probability of brand choice, leads to increase the brand loyalty, and insulates the brand from a measure of competitive threats. Other author like Rio et al( 2001) supportedthe idea of Pitta if brand equity is high then consumers react in three way (1) pay a premium price for the brand (competitive advantage related to current performance and profitability), (2) recommend it to othersand (3) accept brand extensions (competitive advantages related to growth potential).Hence the way(s) consumer react for the brand ultimately will add to the brands equity.Brand association: A brand association is anything linked in the memory of consumer to a brand (Aaker, 1991) makes 11 dimensions of the brand4association and these are product attributes, intangibles, consumers benefits,use/ application, price, life style, user, country of the origin, product class,competitors, and celebrity. while dramatically (Korchia, 1999) classified brandassociation into 15 categories and these are the company, other organization,communication, distribution, brand personality, typical user, typical usagesituation, product category, price, product related attribute, functionalbenefits, symbolic benefits, experiential benefits and attitude.
According to Keller (1993) classified association into three categories andthese are: attributes, benefits and brand attitude. The first types of brandassociations are brand attributes. Attributes are those descriptive qualitiesthat characterize a goods or service. Same author adds, attributes can beclassified into product-related and non-product-related attributes (Keller,1993,4).
Product-related attributes are defined as the components necessaryfor performing the basic goods or service function that are easily sought bycustomers. Product-related attributes examine the nature and level ofproduct performance (Keller 1998, 93–99)According to Keller (1993) non- product related attributes are defined asoutside aspects of the goods that relate to its buy or consumption. Nonproductrelated attributes may affect the buy or consumption processes butdo not directly impact on the product performance. There are 4 maincategories of non-product related attributes, those are price information, costthat paid by user, product appearance information (packaging), user imagery(Keller 1993, 4). The second type of brand associations is brand benefit.Benefits are the personal value and meaning that consumers attach to thegoods or service.
Benefits can be further distinguished into three categoriesaccording to the underlying motivations to which they relate: functionalbenefits (often linked with basic needs), experiential benefits (how it feelswhen product is used), and symbolic benefits (need for social or self-esteem).The third and most important kind of brand associations is brand attitude. Abrand attitude is defined in terms of consumers’ overall evaluations of abrand.Brand Awareness: It is discussed in previous researches that, Brand namescan also be associated with certain attributes based on the positioningstrategies utilized by the firm. (Lynch and Srull; 1982) propose thatknowledge of an established brand is demonstrated in the memory as a seriesof associations. Findings in cognitive psychology indicate that accessibility ofbrand association depend upon their strength in memory (Anderson 1983;Wyer&srull 1986).
(Chakravarti, Maclnnis and Nakamoto 1990) argues that evaluativejudgments regarding a brand extension are based on the associations that linkthe brand product and the extension. (Chakravarti et al. 1990) studied theinfluence of external cues on salient as well as non-salient similarities.5They use recognized brands such as Coca-Cola international, red bull to demonstrate that the presence of an explanation cue, which increases the influence of non- salient similarities and reduces the impact of salient difference on evaluations.Various authors have explained brand equity in terms of competence of brand knowledge. From all definitions of brand equity the most relevant treats it as the differential effect of brand knowledge of consumer response to the marketing of the brand (Keller, 1993).
Brand awareness represents a condition in which the consumer is familiar with the brand and recalls some favorable, strong, and unique brand associations. This definition focuses on the individual consumers and the consumer’s reactions to marketing of a particular product.(Keller, 1993) conceptualized brand equity by using an associative memory model focused on brand knowledge and involving two components, brands awareness and brand image, described as a set of brand association. Brand asset management in an area of increasing importance to marketers today, particularly organizations move toward attempt to communicate ever difficult and intangible messages as part of brand management strategies (Davis, 2000; Goodchild and Callow, 2001.)Brand Loyalty:The emerging literature proposes that customer brand loyalty is generally considered the final attractive marketing-based outcome form the strategic marketing activities (Chaduhuri, 1999; Gwinneret al.
, 1998 kumar, 1999; Mittal and Lassar, 1998; Reichfeld and schefter, 2000; Strauee and Friege, 1999).This assertion is largely based on the growing influence of the relationship marketing orientation on marketing theory and practice (Sheth and Paryitiyar, 2000).(Keller, 1998) acknowledges that brand loyalty has historically been measured via the repeat purchase behavior. However, he also acknowledged that customers’ loyalty can be viewed more broadly than reflected by merely purchase behaviors. (Baldinger and Rubinson, 1996) suggested in their previous researches that the use of loyalty definitions that includes both attitudinal and behavioral components will be superior in terms of their predictive ability to conceptualizations of loyalty that are purely behavior based. (Chaduhuri and Holbrook, 2001) recently proposed a model of brand loyalty that suggests the purchase loyalty tends to lead to greater market share, while attitudinal loyalty leads to higher relative brand pricing. (Morgan, 2000) similarly suggests that the term “loyalty” can be interpreted in different ways, ranging from affective loyalty to behavioral loyalty.
(Narayandas, 1998 and White, and Schneider, 2000) proposed laddering models that appears consistent with this emerging orientation.Satisfaction is unique for other closely related concepts such as quality, loyalty, and attitude that have been hypothesized in the literature to have a direct influence on customer loyalty (Mittal and Lassar, 1998; Oliver, 1997) and repurchase intension (Kuma, 2002; Mittal and Kamakura, 2001).6Loyal customers are beneficial for the organizations as the base of loyal customers reduce the marketing cost of doing business. In addition loyalty can be capitalized through strategies such as brand extension and market penetration. When there are large numbers of loyal customers they are an asset for that particular brand they are also identified as huge determinant of brand equity (Dekimpe et al., 1997). Most of the researches on loyalty have focused on frequent purchases made by consumers, the concept of loyalty is also as important in industrial goods as in consumer goods , known as vendor loyalty , services often referred as service loyalty in marketing literature (Dekimpe et al., 1997).
Most of the researchers define brand loyalty either on behavioral or attitudinal terms (Mellens et al, 1996). Loyalty itself is a difficult construct and many studies utilize the complex definition of brand loyalty that is originally proposed by (Jacoby, 1971)., As discussed previously, it is commonly acknowledged in the literature (jacoby and Chestnut, 1978: Baldinger and Rubinson, 1996, 1997; Mellens et al., 1996; Farr and Hollis, 1997) that the majority of loyalty measures can be categorized as either behavioral or attitudinal, which implies that loyalty is a dimensional concept. Now a days according to the need of time, companies must be customer orientation (Kotler, 1997). All the bases of marketing concepts identify that satisfaction of customer need leads towards improved customer retention.3.
Theoretical Framework:4. Hypothesis Development:H1: There is positive relationship between brand personality and brand association.Brand PersonalityPerceived QualityBrand AwarenessBrand LoyaltyBrand AssociationsBRANDEQUITY7H2: There is positive relationship between brand personality and brand loyalty.H3: There is positive relationship between brand personality and brand awareness.H4: There is positive relationship between brand personality and perceived quality.
5. Research Methodology:5.1. Population and Sampling technique:Methodology is most important element of any study. The scope of proposed study is to examine the impact of brand personality on brand equity. This study will be categorized as quantitative in nature and the population of this study will consist of all fashion brands consumers of Pakistan having ages between 20 to 50 years. .
Convenient sampling method, a type of nonprobability sampling, will be used to collect the data from 450 respondents.5.2. Data Collection tool:The primary data will be collected through self-administered questionnaire that will be comprised of close ended questions measuring the variables under study. Likert scale will be used for measuring the variable and ratings strongly agree to strongly disagree with five points will be used. Total of 450 questionnaires will be distributed in different cities of Pakistan to get the required information from the chosen members of the sample.
5.3. Analysis tool:To confirm and test the model fit of the current study SEM (Structural equation model) technique will be applied by using AMOS 16.0. To see the interrelationships between independent and dependent variables Pearson correlation technique will be used. Before distribution of final questionnaire, a pilot study will be conducted to see the reliability and validity of the questionnaire; in this regard 100 questionnaires will be distributed among young fashion consumers to see the validity of the questionnaire