Drivers, Constraints, and Consequences of Consumer-Brand Engagement in the Luxury Fashion Sector

Drivers, Constraints, and Consequences of Consumer-Brand Engagement in the Luxury Fashion Sector

Kate Armstrong (Regent's University London, UK), Charlotte Rutter (UCA, UK), Eva Helberger (London College of Fashion, UK) and Ambre Tormey (London College of Fashion, UK)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2697-1.ch015
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Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to conceptually explore the drivers and constraints of the Consumer Brand Engagement (CBE) concept in the context of the luxury fashion retail sector, along with identifying the resulting consumer behavioural outcomes for this specific industry genre. Using the theoretical lens of the CBE Scale, a consumer viewpoint is taken in order to gauge an in-depth understanding of engagement during or related to focal brand interactions, through the dimensions of Cognitive Processing, Affection and Activation. The CBE concept is gaining traction in branding academia due to its predictive qualities in determining consumer behavioural outcomes, such as loyalty, and so is considered insightful for luxury fashion management. Little research has been conducted in this discipline utilising the lens of CBE as a conceptual framework.
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Introduction

The purpose of this chapter is to conceptually explore the drivers and constraints of the Consumer Brand Engagement (CBE) concept in the context of the luxury fashion retail sector, along with identifying the resulting consumer behavioural outcomes for this specific industry genre. Using the theoretical lens of the CBE Scale, a consumer viewpoint is taken in order to gauge an in-depth understanding of engagement during or related to focal brand interactions, through the dimensions of Cognitive Processing, Affection and Activation. The CBE concept is gaining traction in branding academia due to its predictive qualities in determining consumer behavioural outcomes, such as loyalty, and so is considered insightful for luxury fashion management. Little research has been conducted in this discipline utilising the lens of CBE as a conceptual framework. As a result of the extensive review of the literature, the authors propose that the drivers and constraints identified by luxury fashion consumers play a large role in mediating the consequential consumer behavioural outcomes being brand loyalty and customer value, which in turn affects attainment of optimum CBE levels being reached.

Defining Luxury

By definition, the term luxury originates from the Latin word luxus, which translates to “extravagant living, luxuriousness and opulence”, (Oxford Latin Dictionary, 1992, p. 599). Nueno and Quelch (1998, p. 62) consider luxus as the “indulgence of the senses, regardless of cost”. While Kapferer (2015, p. 717) argues that luxury does not in fact descend from the Latin lux, meaning light and enlightenment, but rather derives from the word luxatio that translates to “a disruption or an excess of”. Luxury brands are recurrently defined from a product centric point of view in terms of their excellent quality, exclusivity, high transaction value, craftsmanship and distinctiveness (Fionda and Moore, 2009). Yet to date, there is still a lack of clarity amongst authors as to defining the more generic term of luxury and in turn what parameters constitute brands as being luxurious. However, there are a variety of characteristics that the literature does conclude as worthy that this chapter will go on to explore.

Jackson (2004) purports that there are four principal categories of luxury goods made up of fashion (couture, ready-to-wear and accessories), perfumes and cosmetics, wines and spirits, and watches and jewelry. This study’s primary focus is on luxury fashion goods, which are composed of apparel, accessories, shoes, handbags, jewelry, watches and perfumes (Vigneron and Johnson, 2004). Luxury as an industry has witnessed steady growth since 1985, so it is therefore not surprising that the sector has expanded its reach into further categories such as luxury automobiles, tourism, home furnishings, hotels, airlines and private banking (Chevalier and Mazzalovo, 2008).

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The Luxury Marketplace

The luxury market has been an increasing source of interest for both academia and marketing industry professionals in recent years. This is largely due to the witnessed steady growth of an industry that overall, including luxury extension segments of automobiles and hospitality, exceeded a staggering €850 billion in 2014, with a healthy global growth of 7% (Bain & Company, 2014). Within this gigantic figure are personal luxury goods, known in this study as luxury fashion goods, which mostly comprise of apparel, accessories, shoes, handbags, jewelry, watches and perfumes. Over the past two decades, this segment has more than tripled, going from €73 billion in 1994 to €223 in 2014, (Bain & Company, 2014). With projections of the personal luxury goods segment expected to reach between €250-€265 billion by 2017 (Bain & Company, 2014), it comes as no surprise that attention is being drawn to identifying who these luxury consumers are and what is motivating them to spend.

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