With the emergence of the Web 2.0 the traditional media world has changed and new media have become available to brands. Fashion blogs are a relatively new marketing tool, enabling fashion brands and their consumers to interact in a two-way dialogue. Today, consumers turn to other consumers to gather information, inspiration, and advice about brands, and fashion blogs have become a mean to this goal. The aim of this thesis was therefore to explore how fashion blogs can affect brand equity and what role online fashion blogs play in consumers’ creation of the extended self and the formation of consumers’ perception of fashion brands. The theoretical foundation for this thesis was primarily based on Keller’s customer-based brand equity (2001), in combination with theories concerning symbolic consumption, extension of self, electronic word-of-mouth, as well as the S-O-R learning theory. Through different methods of qualitative (i.e. interviews, focus groups and netnography) and quantitative (i.e. web survey) research, it was explored how fashion blog readers understand the fashion blog concept and how fashion blogs contribute to brands’ customer-based brand equity. Findings implied fashion blog readers perceive both fashion brands and fashion blogs to have enduring importance, and their motivations for reading these fashion blogs is related to inspiration, entertainment, learn about new things, stay updated, accessibility, research, and habit. Further, it was established some of these motivational factors, along with level of consumption, involvement in fashion brands, extension of self, and trust, influence blog readers’ involvement in fashion blogs. Moreover, it was found that fashion blogs play a role in consumers’ creation of the extended self. However, it appeared fashion blog readers only utilise fashion blogs to learn what they should wear in order to express something about themselves, and not to associate with other people or groups, which was somewhat surprising. Lastly, fashion blogs are excellent at creating brand awareness and image, thus establish identity and meaning for brands, resulting in favourable responses from consumers. This image is also a contributing reason as to why fashion blogs can influence consumers’ perception of brands. The responses typically occurring as a result of utilising fashion brands as a marketing tool is consideration and credibility, as well as the brand feelings security, social approval, and self-respect. Despite the positive responses fashion blogs can lead to, fashion brands should secure there exist a fit between their brand and the fashion blog, and that the fashion blogs are trustworthy as this is an important aspect influencing whether or not brands can build and increase their customer-based brand equity through fashion blogs.
|Educations||MSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||273|