把虛擬的感情融入到時尚品牌的識別中: 在相互依賴的亞洲情況中理解品牌識別關係 Putting assumed emotion in fashion brand literacy: understanding brand-identity relationship in the interdependent Asian context
Interdependent self-construal, Chinese consumers, Brand literacy, Assumed emotion, Qualitative consumer research
在過去的幾十年裏，研究者對於理解消費者和品牌之間的象徵意義的研究非常感興趣，特別是有關身份階層的研究(Elliott and Wattanasuwan, 1998; Escalas and Bettman, 2005; Kirmani, 2009) 以及其對品牌管理的意義 (Arvidsson, 2005; Holt, 2002; 2004)，從文化心理的觀點來研究文化如何構造品牌識別關係，Eckhardt (2002)指出只有極少的研究關注相互依存文化中消費者的行為。相反大多數的研究都是基於西方的理論，認為消費者是獨立的，可以自我解釋的。
本研究道是為了填補這一不是，通過對中國年輕消費者的研究，整合他們的文化價值與虛擬的感情，從而發現他們對於時尚品牌認知和消費的獨特識別。我們遵從Bengtsson and Firat (2006)的有關品牌識別的概念，來拓展在相互依賴的亞洲情境下對於象徵品牌消費和品牌識別關係的理解。文獻評述部份討論了在建立品牌識別關係時的品牌形象化，以及社會心理學對於相互依存的自我解釋的理解。此外，還對中國消費者的文化特色對於象徵性消費的影響也進行了探討。
研究結果說明了當中國年輕人在識別品牌時虛擬感情存在不同的程度(Hu, 1949)。研究探討了針對於他們社會身份的文化關注(例如同學、子女、朋友、個人身份的期待等)可以顯著影響他們品牌和時尚價值，認知和消費。通過象徵消費，中國年輕人在購買品牌的同時也獲得了品牌的象徵意義，這就像一種區別不同的品牌認知。另外我們還發現在中國城市人口和農村人口間對於時尚和品牌的認知是存在巨大的差異的，這是因為他們之間的世界觀存在差異(Thompson and Tambyah, 1999)。
Over the past decade, consumer researchers have been interested in understanding symbolic relationship between consumers and brands, especially on identity construction (Elliott & Wattanasuwan, 1998; Escalas & Bettman, 2005; Kirmani, 2009) and its implications on brand management (Arvidsson, 2005; Holt, 2002; 2004). Following a cultural-psychological view to study how culture shapes brand-identity relationship, Eckhardt (2000) addresses that little attention have been paid to understand consumer behavior within interdependent cultures when compare with the prolific account of western literatures that reported the consumption behavior with an independent self-construal.
This paper strives to address this absence through researching how a group of Chinese youngsters internalize their cultural values with a sense of assumed emotion and developed local specific brand literacy towards fashion brands’ perception and consumption. Following Bengtsson and Firat (2006)’s concept of brand literacy, this interpretative research aims to extend our current understanding of symbolic brand consumption and brand-identity relationship in particular to the interdependent Asian context. The literature review discusses previous studies on brand symbolism in formulating brand-identity relationship and how social psychological understanding of interdependent construal of self can be applied to consumer researches. The cultural characteristics of Chinese consumers are also discussed with reference to previous indigenous consumer researches on symbolic brand consumption.
As part of a greater project on fashion and brand consumption experience among young Chinese in Guangzhou, 18 Chinese volunteers aged around 20 are recruited from local universities and colleges and become the main research informants. The fieldwork is conducted in Guangzhou. In-depth interviews and participant observations are the main data collection method. Triangulation analysis technique has been adopted to review and cross-check data collected.
Our findings and discussions demonstrate different dimensions of assumed emotion (Hu, 1949) among the Chinese youngsters in structuring their brand literacy. We discuss how cultural concern towards their social identities, including as students, sons/daughters, friends, and changing identities expected in the future, may significantly impact the youngsters’ fashion and brand value, perception and consumption. Through symbolic consumption, the Chinese youngsters depict a sense of culturally specific fashion and brand knowledge as demonstrated in their fashion choice, taste and consumption, in a way that is culturally appropriate in fitting themselves in a complex social network. Guided by this sense of assumed emotion, Chinese youngsters adopt the signs and meanings embedded in brand names and its associated symbols to engage in the different social situations within their cultural setting. This has resulted in a different construct of brand literacy within the interdependent cultural context. An emergent theme is also found as there is a major difference in fashion brands perceptions and choices between the urbanities (i.e. Guangzhou localities) and peripheries (i.e. outsiders) because of a cultural difference in constructing their cosmopolitan identities (Thompson & Tambyah, 1999).
To conclude, this study has contributed to our understanding of brand-identity relationship in the interdependent Asian context. Consumers in the eastern cultures tend to be subjected to integrate a larger socio-cultural context than maintaining individualistic pleasures as in western cultures. A greater concern of understanding the assumed emotion and how consumers asserted their social identities with symbolic fashion and brand consumption would be a key to understand the consumption cultures with interdependent self-construal.
Journal of Global Fashion Marketing: Bridging Fashion and Marketing
LAM, M. M.,Liu, W.,& To, C. K. (2011). 把虛擬的感情融入到時尚品牌的識別中: 在相互依賴的亞洲情況中理解品牌識別關係 Putting assumed emotion in fashion brand literacy: understanding brand-identity relationship in the interdependent Asian context. Journal of Global Fashion Marketing: Bridging Fashion and Marketing, 2 (3), 124-136. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/20932685.2011.10593090