Title: The influence of social self-congruity on Japanese consumers' luxury and non-luxury apparel brand attitudes

Authors: Ken Kumagai; Shin'ya Nagasawa

Addresses: Graduate School of Commerce, Waseda University, 1-6-1 Nishi-waseda, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 169-8050, Japan ' Graduate School of Commerce, Waseda University, 1-6-1 Nishi-waseda, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 169-8050, Japan

Abstract: Brand user imagery and social psychological influences are important to apparel brand managers because these factors influence consumers from the brand surrounding information, which lies outside a company's brand communication. This study assesses the effects of these factors on consumer brand attitudes based on brands' luxuriousness levels and the characteristics of consumers' purchase involvement. Consumer research on ten leading luxury and non-luxury apparel brands was conducted in Japan and brand user imagery and social psychological factors' influences were analysed using self-congruity theory. The structural equation results suggest that ideal social self-congruity affects luxury brand attitudes more strongly than non-luxury ones. Consumers are relatively more concerned about their social ideal impressions when they form luxury brand attitudes. The congruity between brand user imagery and actual self-concept negatively impacted on luxury brand attitudes, suggesting that one of the functions of luxury brands is to lead consumers to forget their actual lifestyles.

Keywords: luxury brands; non-luxury brands; brand attitudes; social self-congruity; brand image; user imagery; social psychology; structural equation modelling; SEM; brand core information; brand surrounding information; Japan; customer involvement; brand position; apparel brands; apparel industry; clothing industry; garment industry; brand management; consumer attitudes.

DOI: 10.1504/LRJ.2016.078130

Luxury Research Journal, 2016 Vol.1 No.2, pp.128 - 149

Received: 03 Aug 2015
Accepted: 10 Mar 2016

Published online: 01 Aug 2016 *

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