Assessing college women's associations of American specialty apparel brands
Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to explore brand association dimensions important to consumers of US specialty apparel brands targeting young women and develop a valid and reliable brand association scale for assessing and monitoring consumers' associations about brands in this market. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This study uses mixed methods combining qualitative and quantitative approaches through surveys to explore and validate brand association dimensions and develop a quantitative brand association measurement. Findings ‐ In total, seven brand association themes were identified in the qualitative stage. Through a scale development and validation process, these themes were narrowed down to four brand association dimensions ‐ self-relevance, service, merchandise, and store environment ‐ represented in a brand association scale consisting of 14 items. Research limitations/implications ‐ The scale developed in this study is germane to a specific market. However, the scale development procedure proposed in this study can be easily replicated to create brand association measurements for other apparel categories. Future research adopting the suggested scale development procedure may produce findings that allow for comparisons between brand association dimensions that are important in different markets. Practical implications ‐ This study identifies four brand association dimensions important to US specialty apparel brands and proposes a reliable and valid procedure to develop a measurement that can be used for apparel companies to track their brand associations. Originality/value ‐ Brand association measures developed in general marketing contexts may not be transferrable to apparel brands. This study addresses the need for developing a brand tracking measure specifically designed for the apparel industry.
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