Add Thesis

A Study of How Repeat Customers Can Affect Brand Image in the Fashion Industry

Written by I. Allard, L. Olsson

Paper category

Master Thesis


Business Administration>Communication & Media




Master Thesis: Brand image Brand image refers to the way a brand is expressed in people's minds. It includes how the target market interprets the attributes of the brand, the buyers and interests of the brand. Brand image also refers to how people feel or think when they mention the brand name. (Hawkins et al, 1998) The brand image should convey a unique message and convey the main advantages of the product (Kotler et al 2003). According to Oxenfeldt and Swann (1964), a clearly communicated image can protect it from competition and establish a brand's position in the market. However, the image cannot be created overnight, it must be supported by everything the company says and does (Kotler et al 2003). Since company performance depends on image, management image is extremely important (Park et al. 1986). Maio (2003) discussed the importance of brand management to the company's long-term strategic planning. In her discussion of corporate sustainability, Maio (2003) also pointed out that “brand management practices and disciplines themselves must be more closely linked to the company’s long-term strategic plan and the changing preferences of its stakeholders.” (No. 237 pages). The function of brand management must be a long-term goal, because it is an asset that can drive part of the company's market value. Short-term goals are not feasible for long-term sustainability. (Maio, 2003) 2.1.3 Customers There are different definitions of who a customer is and when a customer is really a customer. According to Swift (2001), the term customer includes four types and customer groups; consumer, business-to-business, channel/distributor/franchise, and internal customers. Swift defines a consumer as a “retail customer who purchases a final product or service, usually an individual or a family” (2001 p. 4). This is the definition we will use in our research. According to transaction theory, customers are customers only when they purchase goods. However, when looking at the customer from a relationship perspective, when the relationship is established, the customer is always the customer. In addition, from a relationship point of view, customers should always be treated as customers, even if they did not make a purchase at a specific time. (Grönroos, 2002) 2.1.4 Customer retention As mentioned earlier, company performance will be affected by retained customers. Recently, a lot of research has been conducted on the importance of loyal customers because they are significant to the company's dollar sign. For example, some people say that the cost of loyal customers to develop marketing strategies for new customers is 5-6 times lower (Rosenburg and Czepial, 1984 and Pfeifer, 2005). Defining what a loyal customer is is not easy; there are almost as many definitions as there are researchers. In Robert Gee's article (2008), the author examined customer loyalty and tried to combine different definitions. The lack of a clear definition makes it difficult to see what drives customer loyalty, how to measure it, and how it differs from customer retention. Some definitions of customer loyalty focus on the attitude of the customer. (Gee 2008) Using Attitude Focus, Oliver (1997) describes customer loyalty as a firm commitment to continue returning and purchasing products regardless of the situation and the marketing plan of competitors. Other researchers use previous buying patterns to define customer loyalty. Uncles et al. gave an example of this type of customer loyalty, that is, "the continuing tendency to buy a brand, usually as one of several brands" (2003). Brand repurchase tendency means that consumers do not necessarily need to repurchase a certain amount of brands within a certain period of time, but continue to patronize a brand and establish a long-term relationship with the company. This article will use definitions when discussing customer retention, or discuss returning customers from the customer's perspective. It is important to consider whether value is always captured by long-term relationships, and secondly, who may get the most value from such long-term relationships. (Szmigin, 1998) The relationship can and should be mutually beneficial to both buyers and sellers. (Grönroos 1996) However, this is not always the case. Not all customers want or benefit from long-term relationships, and not all relationships may be mutually beneficial (Szmigin, 1998). The previous research was about whether it is really worth spending more money on customer retention instead of acquiring new customers (Pfeifer 2005). Other researchers have also questioned the same types of things, such as whether returning customers will become ideal customers? (Wang et al 2004, Reinartz, W. and Kumar, V, 2002 and Petrick, 2004) These studies come from different perspectives because they are studying different types of companies in different industries. Petrick (2004) studied the cruise industry travel and found whether repeat customers are more profitable than new customers. His result is that although repeat customers are less risky and are marketers who pass word of mouth, new customers are more likely to spend more on travel, so there is still the question of which is the better customer (2004). Read Less