Branding is an important constituent of marketing that impacts customer behavior and decision-making. In their article “The Fashion Engagement Grid: Understanding Men’s Responses To Fashion Advertising,” Ben Barry and Barbara Phillips have observed the way branding impacts men’s customer choices in connection to fashion goods purchasing. They have also addressed other factors that influence men’s consumer choices.
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The following paper will review this article from the point of view of current marketing theories explaining consumer behavior that is described in the scholarly and industry sources to derive the new knowledge on men’s consumer behavior in the men’s clothes sales segment.
Analysis of information found in current marketing, sales, and branding resources and juxtaposing it with the marketing campaign recommendations provided in the article of central interest of this research has suggested a conclusion that customer behavior in the segment of men cognizant of fashion trends depends on a row of factors including fashion and style implications, economic issues, and personal considerations of comfort and social status.
Research of Men’s Responses to Fashion Advertizing
The study conducted by Barry and Phillips has researched how men make their customer choices under the impact of their ideas of fashion and the information contained in fashion advertisements. The initial hypothesis of the study assumed that fashion was traditionally the women’s terrain and mostly impacted female consumer choices in the clothing sales customer segment. However, the authors assumed that there was a probability that those conventional beliefs were no longer true to reality due to the combined effects of social trends of changing gender roles, media and retailer businesses efforts, and new cultural norms creation (Barry and Phillips 1).
To collect the information for this study, the scholars conducted interviews with adult men who have the habit of reading fashion magazines, are generally interested in fashion trends, and strive to support their social status with the fashion clothing acquisition (see App. 1). According to Barry and Phillips, “men process fashion advertisements through the same five modes as women” (1). Another finding made by the authors is that “men’s responses to fashion advertisements can be categorized through the Fashion Engagement Grid which examines men’s characterizations of and motivations for fashion behavior” (Barry and Phillips 1).
One more curious finding was that examination of sales indicators for the past five years has demonstrated that the growth of the male fashion clothes market has exceeded the growth of the female one. The study has also made clear the consumer behavior differences between males and females when the representatives of these two customer populations make their choices in terms of obtaining fashion goods.
Links from the Findings Made by Researchers and Industry Professionals
They Are shaping the Core Customer Value of a Men’s Fashion Goods Industry Product
Evaluating the information narrated in the article under consideration from the point of other scholarly articles as well as the industry articles, it is necessary to point out that the current theoretic framework for marketing and branding products for the targeted audience types fully supports the findings made by Barry and Phillips. The core customer value of a men’s fashion goods industry product is produced by the combination of the brand name, quality of a product or service, packages, labeling, and positioning (Haluk Koksal 430).
At that, the focus of customer attention is how the purchased item will add to the creation of his image as a man of style and glamorous looks having an awareness of the latest fashion trends (Hall 16). In addition, a customer in the category of men cognizant of fashion trends will want to make sure that the goods he purchases demonstrate his membership in the social group he associates himself with or desires others to associate him with (McNeill and Moore 212).
Brand Awareness Motivates Customer Behavior
The information from the reading under consideration fully connects to the current business situation and marketing issues. Today, customers have developed high brand awareness, which motivates their consumer behavior (Kavaratzis and Hatch 70). People’s decisions are connected to their social and economic background; likewise, people aim to emphasize their status and position in society by loyalty to certain brands (Kavaratzis and Hatch 70).
Therefore, it is clear that targeted branding should be a primary strategy for an enterprise operating the men’s cloth selling segment in today’s business situation. Overall, examining different sources on changing customer behavior reveals the importance of implementing new branding strategies to establish a new level of customer loyalty (Dodic and Seigyoung 259; Kavaratzis and Hatch 70). To find the optimal balance between the novice in the marketing and branding approaches and the traditional appeal to the values of fashion, style, and design, marketers need to be sensitive to the slightest variations in customer opinion (Craik 56).
To meet the challenge of the ever-changing business climate, McNeill and Moore recommend setting the scales between the fashion and luxury implications and the pricing policy (213). These authors explain that in the last three years, the buyers in America and Europe have experienced a considerable economic recession, and as a result, they have changed their customer behavior by limiting their purchasing volumes. The marketers responded by the production of less costly items with fewer implications for luxury. The outcome was a noticeable increase in sales (McNeill and Moore 219).
A similar trend was noted by Grandys and Grandys, who made their observations in the eastern European country of Poland (17). These scholars have found that despite the rising demand in the luxury fashion segment in the years from 2005 to 2007 and from 2010 to 2014, the sudden economic recession in 2014 made buyers change their standard purchasing behavior by shifting to the practice of economizing (Grandys and Grandys 20).
Other authors that share the opinion expressed by McNeill and Moore are Rosenbaum, Russell-Bennett, and Drennan. In their article “Commercial Friendships between Gay Sales Associates and Straight Female Customers in Luxury Settings: A Proposed Theoretical Framework,” these authors have stated that the observations made in the customer category of gay males suggested that fashion luxury implications are the main triggers of their customer choices (Rosenbaum, Russell-Bennett, and Drennan 185). However, the latest economic shift to the politics of spending cuttings has influenced customers in the category mentioned above by making their choices more modest (Rosenbaum, Russell-Bennett, and Drennan 183).
Male Customers Integrate Their Awareness of a Brand with Everything They Read or Hear About it in the Media
Further, in their article “The Role of Brand Trust in Male Customers’ Relationship to Luxury Brands,” Hur, Kim, and Kim have explained that male customers integrate their awareness of a brand with everything they read or hear about it in the media and especially in the fashion media, their buying experience, quality certification, observing, and consumer impressions (610). The authors clarify that although brands are tangible, which means that the essence of a brand exists only in people’s minds, companies are able to create the face of a brand by means of using distinctive marketing strategies relying on fashion concepts, logos, and other visual representations (Hur, Kim, and Kim 623).
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Another finding by Hur, Kim, and Kim is that brand awareness based on its fashion concept implications is the key variable affecting the marketing success of a product at the segment of male buyers with a high rate of fashion significance awareness (624). Similar conclusions are made by Grégoire, Salle, and Tripp, who have found that there is a growing tendency by the male buyers to base their customer choices on the information they find in the fashion advertisements (173).
An interesting angle these researchers have chosen is their endeavor to find associations between customer choices and the web content that buyers meet on the Internet in social media networks. Evaluating connections between the content seen by male buyers on their account in social networks and buying choices they make, these authors have come up to the perception that the fashion advertizing content has considerable impact on the customer purchasing choices. Another curious finding made by Grégoire, Salle, and Tripp is that the impact of fashion advertizing content in the social media is so powerful that it may affect how customers percept the pricing policy shaping (179).
Brotailers Are Redefining How Guys Buy Clothes
An interesting perspective on the subject under investigation can be gained from the industry article entitled “Brotailers Are Redefining How Guys Buy Clothes” published by Bloomberg last week. This article states that for a long time, the marketers have no problem with selling clothing to the male consumers with the high rate of fashion awareness but this category of customers is not as broad among the overall male population as it is among the female population (Grobart par. 3).
The burning issue for the contemporary marketers is how to approach another category of male customers, which they identify as “id-driven, post-collegiate twentysomething bros” according to the article (Grobart par. 4). The peculiarity of these buyers is well explained by the author in the following quotation, “the recipe for this guy is pretty straightforward: take two measures bottom-of-your-prep-school class, add one measure earnest goofball, stir, and garnish with a lacrosse stick “ (Grobart par. 4).
Identifying this quite broad and surprisingly growing category of customers, the author of the article suggests the answer for the marketing problem in this segment. He mentions the companies entitled “brotailers”. “Brotailers” are the businesses aiming to build environments where “dudes can be dudes” (Grobart par. 12). This task is achieved by offering clothing emphasizing the atmosphere of relaxation, which is sometimes childish, sometimes retro, and sometimes it totally unmatches the perceived reality of man’s fashion world.
The piece of information from this reading that is of special interest in connection with the topic discussed in the scholarly article under consideration is that the group of male customers who undergo psychological changes in terms of their perception of fashion importance is growing. This fact means that it is highly probable that soon the majority of marketers will need to change their traditional perspective on men’s choices of clothing.
Therefore, implementing the facts found in Bloomberg’s article to the main subject of this report, which is selling men’s clothes to the male buyers cognizant of fashion, it is important to point out that Grobart supports that maintaining high sales rates in men affected by fashion beliefs is easy and it refers to supporting their thirst for style and design. Still, the marketer may soon face challenge because customers in the male category are now subjected to the new influential trends that may affect their perception of fashion.
As for my opinion of whether I believe that the information from the article under consideration provides data for an effective marketing campaign, it is positively ‘yes’. The rationale for this conclusion is the abundance of information offered by the researchers explaining how to facilitate the sales of men’s clothing. This data can be well implemented for constructing branding and marketing strategy with the implications to fashion concepts and how purchasing clothing of particular fashion makes an emphasis on the man’s status (Barry and Phillips 10).
The article suggested that the men’s clothing marketing campaign should focus on branding to meet customers’ expectations in terms of fashion and status emphasis by choosing certain fashions, and how to affect customers’ experience to create their positive awareness of a brand they consume.
Another important point I have marked in the article is that fashion labeling is the category of top priority as well, and it is crucial to invest enough time and efforts to the development of attractive retail shops design, pricing information, product description, and packaging if it is relevant to the product type, whether it is an item of clothing or an accessory. Juxtaposing the information from the scholarly article with the latest industry experience, I am convinced once again that market is the ever-changing environment affected by the ever-developing social, political, and economic trends because the latest report demonstrates the shift in the consumer opinion from traditional fashion-related concepts of clothing branding to the concepts offered by the new and very ambitious players entitled “brotailers”.
The initial marketing goals addressed in the article were to increase sales in the customer segment of men cognizant of fashion trends. To achieve this goal, measures were taken to observe the trends in the customer segment of interest and utilize the gained knowledge in practice. The market research has found that the North American men have changed their view of fashion importance paying more attention to the latest concepts in the world of fashion because they began to view style as a socially acceptable interest helping them in achieving the goal of demonstrating their social position and interests (Barry and Phillips 11).
Researchers have also found that the growth of interest to fashion and style in the men’s audience has outgrown than one in the women’s one (Barry and Phillips 2). Evaluating the situation from the perspective of expected profitability in the men’s segment, the researchers have come up with the conclusion that it is very important to continue to implement fashion advertizing in the targeted customer segment because it has excellent response in the volume of sales (Barry and Phillips 10).
Moreover, the investigators have doubled their assurance in the effectiveness and profitability of the idea of fashion outreach in the men’s audience reflecting on the fact that men remain the most economically advantaged group of buyers since their income remains steadily higher than in the women’s group, elderly people group, and the sums spent by families to purchase clothing to their children. Overall, current evaluation suggests a conclusion that marketers made the right prognosis, supported it with the appropriate decisions, and as a result, their achievement is remarkable.
In conclusion, branding and marketing strategies in the segment of men’s clothing sales continue to be shaped under the influence of contemporary social and economic indicators. This paper has examined the study conducted by Barry and Phillips to explore the process of making customer choices in men’s cloths sales segment.
The researchers have found that considerable percentage of consumers of male gender make their consumer decisions under the impact of their ideas of fashion and the information contained in fashion advertisements. This finding has demonstrated that men are also subjected to the influence of fashion trends the same as women; however, female buyers have the stronger dedication to the fashion concepts.
In addition, this report has focused on how the information from other marketing and branding journals along with the industry trends attested in the industry journals supports or refutes the findings made by the authors of the article under consideration. Finally, the paper has provided my personal reflections on the value of the new knowledge gained in the process of articles review and the lessons I have derived to implement in my professional activity.
Barry, Ben, and Barbara Phillips. “The Fashion Engagement Grid: Understanding Men’s Responses To Fashion Advertising.” International Journal of Advertising (2015): 1-27. Print.
Craik, Jennifer. “Challenges for Australian fashion.” Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management 19.1 (2015): 56-68. Print.
Dodic, Jelena, and Seigyoung Auh. “The Effect of Top Management Teams on Branding Capability: The Moderating Role of Formalization.” Marketing, Technology and Customer Commitment in the New Economy (2015): 258-258. Print.
Grandys, Ewa, and Andrzej Grandys. “Clothing Trade in Poland in the Years 2009-2013 and Prospects for its Growth.” Fibres & Textiles in Eastern Europe 23.5 (2015): 13-17. Print.
Grégoire, Yany, Audrey Salle, and Thomas M. Tripp. “Managing Social Media Crises with Your Customers: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.” Business Horizons 58.2 (2015): 173-182. Print.
Grobart, Sam. Brotailers Are Redefining How Guys Buy Clothes. 2016. Web.
Hall, Matthew. “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Trends in Men’s Image-Conscious Practices.” Metrosexual Masculinities (2015): 16-21. Print.
Haluk Koksal, Mehmet. “Psychological and Behavioural Drivers of Male Fashion Leadership.” Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics 26.3 (2014): 430-449. Print.
Hur, Won-Moo, Minsung Kim, and Hanna Kim. “The Role of Brand Trust in Male Customers’ Relationship To Luxury Brands.” Psychological reports 114.2 (2014): 609-624. Print.
Kavaratzis, Mihalis, and Mary Jo Hatch. “The Dynamics Of Place Brands An Identity-Based Approach To Place Branding Theory.” Marketing theory 13.1 (2013): 69-86. Print.
McNeill, Lisa, and Rebecca Moore. “Sustainable Fashion Consumption and The Fast Fashion Conundrum: Fashionable Consumers And Attitudes To Sustainability In Clothing Choice.” International Journal of Consumer Studies 39.3 (2015): 212-222. Print.
Rosenbaum, Mark S., Rebekah Russell-Bennett, and Judy Drennan. “Commercial Friendships between Gay Sales Associates and Straight Female Customers in Luxury Settings: A Proposed Theoretical Framework.” Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services 27 (2015): 179-186. Print.