Prasana Rosaline Fernandez
This study focuses on the impact of branding on Gen Y’s choice of clothing as it is hypothesised that they are brand conscious. This research looks specifically at college students aged between 18-24 years old located in the Klang Valley. This study aims to determine if this group of Gen Y are brand conscious in their choice of clothing. Survey questionnaires were developed to obtain quantitative data from one hundred respondents for statistical analysis and personal interviews were conducted on eight interviewees for qualitative implications. The findings suggest that Gen Y are brand conscious as the right choice of clothing helps them create an image and identity for themselves. Peer influence plays a crucial role in their choice of brands as it aids in their socialisation process. In addition, advertising is an important variable in conferring brand values and establishing an image for the brand. Celebrity endorsements have a huge impact on branded clothing too as they promote certain attributes like image, quality and status. The results of this study are, however, limited as it was conducted within a single segment. In addition, the research does not follow the individuals over time to see how brand choices change. The researcher recommends that to retain Gen Y’s loyalty, brand managers need to build an emotional attachment to make the brand special and bring lasting competitive advantage. Additionally, advertising should be used to not only create awareness but influence brand image and preference. A buzz should be created through celebrity endorsement to reach out to this segment. Gen Y establishes their brand preferences between the ages of 15 and 25 and therefore targeting this consumer group is rewarding because with careful promotions marketers can create a pool of brand loyal customers for the future. However, young people do not like being manipulated by marketers, have short attention spans and are media-savvy in choosing what messages they wish to receive. Therefore, marketers of branded clothing need to act ethically as brands should hold up a window, not a mirror, and let youth understand the brand and decide for themselves.
Keywords: Advertising, brand, celebrity endorsement, clothing, Gen Y, peer influence