St. Petersburg University
Graduate School of Management
Master in Management Program
APPLICATION OF CUSTOMER-BASED BRAND EQUITY MODEL FOR
STRENGTHENING THE COMPETITIVE POSITION OF UNIQLO BRAND ON
THE RUSSIAN MARKET
Master’s Thesis by the 2nd year student
Concentration — Management
Associate Professor, Sergey A. Starov
ЗАЯВЛЕНИЕ О САМОСТОЯТЕЛЬНОМ ХАРАКТЕРЕ ВЫПОЛНЕНИЯ
ВЫПУСКНОЙ КВАЛИФИКАЦИОННОЙ РАБОТЫ
Я, Томилова Александра Ринатовна, студент второго курса магистратуры
направления «Менеджмент», заявляю, что в моей магистерской диссертации на тему
«Применение модели пользовательского капитала бренда для укрепления конкурентной
позиции бренда UNIQLO на российском рынке», представленной в службу обеспечения
программ магистратуры для последующей передачи в государственную аттестационную
комиссию для публичной защиты, не содержится элементов плагиата.
Все прямые заимствования из печатных и электронных источников, а также из
защищенных ранее выпускных квалификационных работ, кандидатских и докторских
диссертаций имеют соответствующие ссылки.
Мне известно содержание п. 9.7.1 Правил обучения по основным образовательным
программам высшего и среднего профессионального образования в СПбГУ о том, что
«ВКР выполняется индивидуально каждым студентом под руководством назначенного ему
научного руководителя», и п. 51 Устава федерального государственного бюджетного
образовательного учреждения высшего образования «Санкт-Петербургский
государственный университет» о том, что «студент подлежит отчислению из СанктПетербургского университета за представление курсовой или выпускной
квалификационной работы, выполненной другим лицом (лицами)».
26.05. 2016 (Дата)
STATEMENT ABOUT THE INDEPENDENT CHARACTER OF
THE MASTER THESIS
I, Тomilova Aleksandra, (second) year master student, program «Management», state
that my master thesis on the topic «Application of customer-based brand equity model for
strengthening the competitive position of UNIQLO brand on the Russian market», which is
presented to the Master Office to be submitted to the Official Defense Committee for the public
defense, does not contain any elements of plagiarism.
All direct borrowings from printed and electronic sources, as well as from master theses,
PhD and doctorate theses which were defended earlier, have appropriate references.
I am aware that according to paragraph 9.7.1. of Guidelines for instruction in major
curriculum programs of higher and secondary professional education at St.Petersburg University
«A master thesis must be completed by each of the degree candidates individually under the
supervision of his or her advisor», and according to paragraph 51 of Charter of the Federal State
Institution of Higher Education Saint-Petersburg State University «a student can be expelled
from St.Petersburg University for submitting of the course or graduation qualification work
developed by other person (persons)».
26.05. 2016 (Date)
Название магистерской диссертации
Применение модели пользовательского
капитала бренда для укрепления
конкурентной позиции бренда UNIQLO на
Высшая школа менеджмента
Доктор экономич. наук, Старов С. А.
Описание цели, задач и основных
Целью исследования являлась
п ол ь з о в ат е л ь с ко го кап и т а л а б р е н д а
роз н и ч н ой с е т и и е го и зме ре н и е в
отношении бренда одежды U N I Q L O на
российском рынке. В исследовании был
задействован количественный метод с
применением онлайн анкетирования в
качестве способа сбора эмпирических
д а н н ы х . Р е з ул ь т а т ы и с с л е д о в а н и я
свидетельствуют о том, что осведомленность
о бренде, его воспринимаемая ценность и
имидж оказывают значительное влияние на
пользовательский капитал исследуемого
бренда. Была выявлена проблема
воспринимаемой ценности предложения
U N I Q L O н а р о с с и й с ко м р ы н ке и
предложены рекомендации и потенциальные
пути решения данной проблемы на основе
Брендинг, пользовательский капитал бренда,
российский рынок одежды, UNIQLO
Master Student's Name
Master Thesis Title
Application of customer-based brand equity
model for strengthening the competitive
position of UNIQLO brand on the Russian
Graduate School of Management
Main field of study
Academic Advisor's Name
Associate Professor, Sergey A. Starov
Description of the goal, tasks and main results The study aimed to to provide an understanding
of customer-based retail brand equity construct
and to measure customer-based retail brand
equity of apparel brand UNIQLO on the
Russian market. The study adopted quantitative
research approach with the on-line
questionnaire as a data gathering method.
Results of the study suggest that retail brand
equity dimensionality in case of UNIQLO goes
in parallel with the previous research and retail
brand awareness, retail brand image and
perceived value of retail brand are all
significantly positively related to customerbased retail brand equity. The issue of value
proposition communication was identified and
recommendations are given based on the
Branding, customer-based brand equity, Russian
apparel market, UNIQLO
Table of contents.
1. Theoretical background................................................................................................9
1.1 Defining brand equity.....................................................................................9
1.2.Conceptual framework for customer-based brand equity..............................11
1.3 Retail brand equity: contemporary understanding …....................................22
2.UNIQLO brand overview……………………………………………...………….….27
2.1 Company background……………………………………...…..…….……..27
2.2 Situational analysis and competitive positioning………..
3. CBBE model application for strengthening competitive position of UNIQLO on the Russian
market: empirical analysis..............................................................................................33
3.1 Research design………………………………………….……………...…33
3.2 Theoretical model…………………………………………….…………....34
3.3 Results of empirical study…………………………………..………......…38
Appendix 1. Questionnaire…………….………………………………….…..………55
In the recent decades the definition of brands, branding and brand equity have become
increasingly important. Brands are perceived as an intangible and competitive assset due to their
longevity, ability to create various advantages and premiums and easy transferability among
different products. The rapidly growing importance of brands is directly related to the fact that
most of the consumers nowadays gradually become more aware of the products they are
purchasing and also have a possibility to compare the prices and share their opinions on them via
digital platforms. Nowadays they are checking out products and service information mostly
through the internet and particularly through social media sites. Ultimately, the company with an
established brand image will have a much bigger chance to success.
A brand is either a recognizable symbol, name, design pattern or the mix of all those
features combined with an ultimate aim of making one seller or manufacturer identifiable from
his other competitors. The owner is usually granted an exclusive right to the use of the brand
under the trademark law in case it is legitimately registered according to the laws in force.
Moreover, it is granted in perpetuity, thus making brand different in this aspect from copyrights
or patents. However, even though in historical retrospective brands indeed were used primarily
in order to efficiently differentiate between various sellers and manufacturers, nowadays it
posesses more symbolic significance than simply in terms of differentiation. Thus today brand
has a value of its own, effectively representing consistency in quality, status, enhanced image, or
some defined features that a product offered supposedly has. The decision-making process for
consumers is subsequently simplified and the perception of a brand may either encourage or
discourage them to purchase the product. The brand image also may potentially lead to brand
loyalty or even enable the owners to set higher prices on the products.
One of the most important concepts in both the business practices in general and in brand
management, as well as in the academic research is brand equity. Brand equity has an ability to
increase the company's cash flows and subsequently lead to various competitive advantages.
Brand equity may be perceived as an added value, which contributes positively to the business in
a variety of ways and it is primarily revealed in how customers feel or act towards this particular
brand, also in the profitability that the brand itself commands to the company. Therefore, it is
incredibly important to properly manage the brand equity, as it is considered to be one of the
most notable intangible assets a firm can possess.
The first chapter provides a comprehensive overview and comparative analysis on the
main extant studies within the research territory, while the second chapter provides company
background, situational analysis and competitive positioning. The third chapter contains
empirical analysis, including outlining research desing and theoretical model, hypotheses testing,
results discussion and implications formulation, limitations and conclusion.
Having analyzed the conceptual framework for the topic of brand equity and some of the
empirical studies conducted in this area during the recent years, as well as the most significant
models proposed for evaluating the customer-based brand equity, I have identified the existing
research gap, which is related to deeper understanding and conceptualization improvement for
customer-based brand equity of retail brands. While the CBBE concept has been addressed in
particular industries, such as the hotel industry, the concept of retail brand equity has been
previously touched upon only in a limited number of studies (such as Gil Saura et al., 2002;
Calvo-Porral et al., 2013). However currently there is no common agreement regarding the
dimensions of retail brand equity. Moreover, there is a lack of conducted studies on customerbased retail brand equity directly focusing on the topic of CBBE modeling specifically for large
retail brands operating on the Russian market, while this field has not been addressed enough
It also should be mentioned that the models previously established for evaluating the
customer-based brand equity were primarily applied in the developed markets, thus there is
visible lack of research on the similar models tested in transition economies in general or
specifically in Russia.
The objective of this study is twofold:
1. to provide understanding and conceptualization of customer-based retail brand equity
2. to measure and examine the significance of the customer-based retail brand equity
dimensions in relation to apparel retail brand UNIQLO on the Russian market.
Therefore, the main research question is: How can the customer-based brand equity
model be applied in order to strengthen the competitive position of UNIQLO on the Russian
Moreover, the sub research question is formulated as the following:
How does UNIQLO generate value to its customers in Russia?
The purpose of the study is to provide managerial suggestions on improving the
customer-based brand equity of UNIQLO on the Russian market. The study also contributes to
the understanding of the customer-based retail brand equity and defining its applicability
specifically within the Russian market.
1. Theoretical background
1.1 Defining brand equity
Brand equity is nowadays widely acknowledged as one of the most important concepts in
brand management. This fact is further recognized in an academic research, while a significant
number of studies related to the topic of brand equity had been written in the last decade. The
issue of creating and effectively managing brand equity has been a center of attention for various
firms due to the fact that it’s proper management may potentially lead to the increased cash flows
and lastly form competitive advantages. Thus, brand equity is considered to be one of the most
notable intangible assets a firm can possess.
The concept of brand equity has gained recognition since 1980s. A number of definitions
for brand equity have been presented in academic research in the last years, but one of the most
fundamental works related to the topic belongs to David A. Aaker (1991), who initially defined
brand equity as «A set of brand assets and liabilities linked to a brand, its name and symbol, that
adds to or subtract from the value provided by a product or service to a firm and to the firm’s
customers»1. It should be noted that in general the advancement of brand equity as a concept
primarily emerged following the publications by the already mentioned Aaker (1991) and Keller
(1993). According to Keller (1993), brand equity is first and foremost a differential effect of
knowledge on response of consumers to the brand marketing. Keller stated that the key elements
of brand knowledge are brand's favorability and awareness, as well as overall uniqueness of the
brand associations in the consumers' perceptions.
In Blackston's view (1995) brand equity equals brand meaning, whereas it involves such
components as brand personality, associations and brand value as the following result of brand
meaning's managing. Shocker and Srivastava (1991) defined brand equity as a two-component
system, combining brand value and brand strength. In their view brand strength is primarily
based on consumer level measurements, while brand value defines financial benefits following
the brand strength. In definition provided in the study by Farquhar (1990), brand equity may be
defined as simply an additional value to both to consumer and the firm. Sullivan and Simon
(1993) define brand equity is the sum of future cash flows which are expected to be accrued from
the branded products over the sales of unbranded ones.
1 Aaker David A (1991), Managing Brand Equity, Free Press, New York. P. 15
It is necessary to distinguish between the definitions of brand equity as the one expressed
in financial terms and also the consumer-based brand equity. According to Moisescu (2007), the
measurement models of brand equity in general may be differentiated into 3 groups. In the first
one the emphasis is on psychological elements of consumer behavior (the models of the
previously mentioned Aaker (1991) and Keller (1993) both fall into this category), economicbased models (represented by Sullivan and Simon (1993) and other mixed and complex models
of the brand equity.
Some of the studies on brand equity suggest that the term itself has various different
meanings (Feldwick, 1996) depending on the context of the term's usage. Feldwick (1996) points
out that brand equity may be used either to refer to the description of the brand (of the various
consumers' associations related to the brand name), the value of the brand (this category is used
when it is necesary to define the price for the brand when there is a need to sell it) and lastly, the
strength of the brand, referring to consumer's relative demand to the brand. Feldwick (1996)
further provides arguments in support of ambiguity of the concept, stating that the term brand
equity lacks applications and opportunities to measure it in the business setting. The author then
suggests that in reality brand equity can not be used as a holistic and precise measure for
defining which features the firm should implement in order to strengthen the its future
performance. Thus, according to Feldwick (1996), brand equity may create an illusion of the
existing correlation between strength of the brand, the value of the brand and brand description
which in practice does not seem to be operating. The author states that this emerging issue
related to the term definition is not unanticipated due to the fact that two of the categories: the
strength of the brand and brand description are often used in a very broad sense, whereas the
term brand value os considered to be first and foremost an accounting-related issue.
Thus, an alternative point of view on precision of the term brand equity exists,
represented by Feldwick (1996). Nevertheless, Kotler (1996) supports the previously described
ideas of Aaker and Farquhar and gives the following definition for the term brand equity: “The
value of a brand, based on the extent to which it has high brand loyalty, name awareness,
perceived quality, strong brand associations, and other assets such as patents, trademarks, and
channel relationships.”2 As the problem of measuring the brand equity has further developed,
various studies have contributed to the validity of the topic, the articles by Agarwal et al. (1996)
are among the notable examples of conducted research in this area.
2 Kotler. Philip H. (1996). Principles of Marketing, 7th ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall
According to Winters (1991) the term brand equity refers to the added value, stating that
it consists of the value added to the product by associations of consumers and their various
perceptions for the brand name. However, the statements referring to the value added remain
unclear, while it is not completely understandable how exactly the mentioned added value is
used and created. Another definition for brand equity is proposed by Leuthesser (1988), who
referred to the term as a complex of different associations and the behaviour of the particular
brand's customers and distribution channel members, which altogether provides an opportunity
for this brand to earn more than it would without the brand name. In some of the later conducted
studies researches suggest that the brand equity itself leads to brand loyalty, overall increases the
probability that the particular brand will be chosen and, lastly, isolates the brand from the
possible incressing threats of competitors.
1.2 Conceptual framework for customer-based brand equity
As follows from the previous subchapter, brand equity is a complex construct and has
various conceptualizations in academic literature (Farquhar, 1990; Sullivan and Simon,1993;
Shocker and Srivastava, 1991, Zeithaml, 1988). Even though in general the lack of agreement
regarding the concept exists, the overall consensus is that brand equity defines the value, which
is added to the product through the brand. As it was previously noted, it is necessary to
distinguish between the definitions of brand equity as the one expressed in financial terms and
also the consumer-based brand equity. The financial view of brand equity basically denotes the
asset value of the brand on the market (Simon and Sullivan, 1990). However, when it comes to
customer-based brand equity, it stresses on customer's perception of the brand. This research is
based on the customer-based brand equity approach, while one of the research questions defines
the necessity to find out how does the particular brand (UNIQLO) generate value to its
customers on the Russian market.
Customer-based brand equity as a concept is mainly based on cognitive psychology
(Christodoulides and de Chernatony, 2009). In accordance with this view, customers' brand
awareness of the brand leads to perceptions' formation and influences purchasing behavior.
Having reviewed the current academic literature devoted to the field, customer-based brand
equity has been provided various definitions, as can be seen in the table below.
Behaviour and associations expressed by the
brand's customers, as well as parent
corporation and channel members, which
allows the brand to earn bigger margins than it
could do without the brand name
Kamakura and Russel (1993)
Implied utility or value assigned to the brand
by consumers. The attempt to measure a brand
in the research was conducted on the actual
purchase behaviour, under regular market
conditions. Two major sources of brand equity
Customer-based brand equity is defined as the
differential effect of brand knowledge on
consumer response to the marketing of the
Lassar et al. (1995)
Customer-based brand equity as the
enhancement in the perceived utility and
desirability a brand name transfers on a
Yoo and Donthu (2001)
Consumer-based brand equity as a
measurement of cognitive and behavioral
brand equity at the individual consumer level
(measured through a consumer survey).
Multidimensional scale was proposed.
Vázquez et al. (2002)
Consumer-based brand equity as the overall
utility that the consumer associates to the use
of the brand; containing associations
expressing both symbolic and functional
Clow and Baack (2005)
Particular set of features and characteristics
that make the brand unique on the market.
Consumer-based brand equity as a construct,
derived from associations, related to a brand in
which their effect is concentrated.
During the past few decades, brand equity has become one of the major areas of attention
to managers and marketing researchers owing to its key role as a significant intangible firm
asset. However, the researchers point out the lack of definite dimensionality and measurement
scale for measuring brand equity (Gil-Saura et al., 2009). This fact can be explained by the
relative novelty of the concept and related areas in research agenda.
The earlier definitions and conceptualization attempts for brand equity (Leuthesser,1988;
Aaker, 1991) suggest the similar approach regarding brand equity dimensions to the studies
conducted later. Brand equity is considered as a multidimensional concept and a complex
phenomenon (Tong and Hawley, 2009). Various studies (Hartman and Spiro, 2005; Arnett, 2003;
Kim et al., 2008; Washburn and Plank, 2002; Tolba and Hassan, 2009) suggest that the nature of
brand equity can be considered as multidimensional, consisting of several components whereas
each component affecting brand equity also typically has its own subdimensions. The common
denominator for brand equity concept appears to be application of the following constructs:
brand awareness, brand associations, brand loyalty and perceived quality.
It is important to mention that even though currently there is no universal view on brand
equity and its measurement, the two main models, developed by D. Aaker (1991, 1996) and K.
Keller (1993) are extensively used, with the former one being the most generally accepted and
The brand equity model developed by an American consultant and professor David Aaker
(1991) is considered to be the most widely acknowledged in both academic and business circles.
Along with another model presented by K. Keller (1993), it made a great contribution to
conceptualization of brand equity and also popularized the research area. Following the
publishment of his book «Managing Brand Equity» in 1991, a number of researches have
appeared, which have further tried to expand and develop the already introduced model.
According to the model presented by D. Aaaker, brand equity is created by five intangible
assets: brand name awareness, brand associations, perceived brand quality, brand loyalty and
other proprietary brand assets. The model implies that even though the brand equity is
necessarily based on various assets and liabilities and their proportion would differ in each
particular case, generally they still may be grouped into those five categories, defining how each
of them generates value either for the firm or the customer in different ways.
Aaker's Brand Equity Model (1991)3
Brand awareness. Aaker (1991) states that brand awareness can contribute with a sense of
familiarity and commitment. Brand awareness is crucial, while at the recall level it affects the
potential customer’s brand consideration, which then leads to the choice on whether to buy the
3 Aaker David A (1991), Managing Brand Equity, Free Press, New York.
product or not. Brand awareness at the recognition level is important, because the linkage exists
between recognizing the brand and perception of reliability and quality.
Brand loyalty. This dimension relies upon the notion of loyal customer base, while loyal
customers expect the products of the brand to be of higher quality and also often further advice
other potential customers to buy them (Aaker, 1991). Attracting new customers is always much
costly than trying to retain already existing ones, so this factor necessarily plays a big role in
defining the brand equity. With the stable and loyal customer base the competitor brands also
have various difficulties related to communication and attracting those customers to another
brand, while the loyal customers are less likely to be interested in any alternatives available in
the market. Therefore competitor brands are often discouraged by this factor, while it takes great
efforts and resources to attract the already loyal and satisfied customer base of another brand
Perceived quality. This dimension is measured by the perception of quality, which lies in
the mind of the customer or a potential customer. Perceived quality is very important, while it
basically provides the reason to buy a particular product. Aaker (1991) points out that in order to
build a strong brand it is important to sustain at least a minimal perceived quality for low market
competitor niche or manage to achieve an above average perceived quality for the others.
Brand associations. This dimension of the brand equity model proposed by D. Aaker
means the context of use for particular product. Aaker (1991) states that the two similar products
may create an absolutely different effect just because the brand associations for their
representative brands significantly vary. This dimension also plays a big part in the process of
positioning and differentiation, thus generating the initiative to buy the product for those
potential customers who may become emotionally or physically attached to particular products.
The strong and stable brand association may become a competitive advantage for the brand
because it may serve as a basis for further brand extension.
Other proprietary brands assets. The last grouping factor for the model of brand equity
proposed by Aaker (1991) is other proprietary brand assets, which are either trademarks, patents
or some relationships which can also potentially create competitive advantages for the brand.
In «Managing Brand Equity Across Products and Markets» (1996), D. Aaker introduces the
so-called paradigm «the brand equity ten», which combines five categories with ten sets of
various measures, among them:
loyalty measures, perceived quality/leadership measures,
associations/differentiation measures, awareness measures and finally market behaviour
measures. Aaker defines loyalty measure as a key dimension of the brand equity, since a loyal
customer base represents timeliness in responsing to innovations of competitors, advantage in
setting prices and in price competition overall and a barrier to entry. Another central feature of
brand equity according to Aaker (1996) is perceived quality and leadership measures. The latter
is defined by various scales, among them market size, innovation and popularity, thus providing
a complex brand equity measurement dimension. Another defined concept is
associations/differentiation measures, which are mostly based upon three main components:
brand personality, value (the-brand-as-product) and organizational associations.
Aaker (1991,1996) also defines the several ways by which the brand assets previously
described can build the value for the customer. In his point of view, they may affect the
confidence of the customer related to the purchase decision, while the customer is usually more
willing to purchase the products that was either familiar or considered ot be of a high quality.
Another point mentioned by Aaker (1991) is that brand equity may serve as helping tool in the
process of customer’s processing and interpretation of information directly of indirectly related
to the brand. Lastly, it was suggested that the brand equity dimensions together together create
value to the customer by increasing the level of customer’s satisfaction (Aaker, 1996).
In the addition to the proposed by Aaker (1991) ways by which the brand assets can create
the value to the customer, the author also defines several ways in which they manage to create
the value to the firm as well. Thus perceived quality, brand awareness and brand associations are
able to increase brand loyalty by boosting customer satisfaction's level and also by providing the
reasons to purchase the product. Moreover, brand equity may serve as a platform for the brand
extensions, diminish the level of uncertainty when dealing with distribution channel members
and introduce various barriers for competitors that eventually prevent the the loyal customer base
of the brand to switch to one of the competitors. Lastly, brand equity directly affects the
effectiveness of marketing strategies and programs, while they most likely will be more efficient
in case when the brand name is already recognized.
A strong contribution to the conceptualization of the customer-based brand equity and
branding theory in general was made by K. Keller (1993; 2001; 2003). According to Keller
(2001), creating and managing a strong brand has become a key priority for firms and
organizations due to now already acknowledged fact that it brings various financial and other
Keller (2001) proposes the model of the customer-based brand equity consisting of four
different steps: creating the depth of the proper brand identity and awareness, following with
shaping the brand meaning through uniqueness and creativity of brand associations, then evoking
the brand responses and finally establishing the brand relationship with the customers which
would be based on intensity of the customer loyalty. As a consequent and logical result of those
four steps' implementation the six brand-building blocks are created – brand imagery, brand
judgements, brand resonance, brand salience, brand feelings and, lastly, brand performance.
Keller (2001) states that the most significant block in brand-building is brand resonance,
which establishes itself when all the other blocks are stable. In his point of view this brandbuilding block holds the most significant part, while with the stable brand resonance the loyal
customer base of the particular brand effectively and rapidly increases, which subsequently leads
to their intentions of sharing their favorable experiences with the other porential customers and
increasing the level of interactions with the brand. As a result, those firms that can achieve high
degree of brand resonance may potentially benefit from it in a variety of ways, including an
ability to set price premiums and also more efficiency from the conducted marketing programs
and strategies. Keller (2001) points out that the customer-based brand equity model is a
significant construct, which can be either used for assessing the efficiency of the brand-building
tactics of the company in general or also to serve as the guide for research in the field of
marketing. Another very effective application of the customer-based brand equity is brand
staretegies' analysis, interpretation and forecasting, which necessarily created a platform for
choosing the right strategic direction for the firm and also in help in decision-making process
both for the firm on the whole and in terms of brand-related issues.
Following the description of the brand-building «4 steps», Keller (2001) once again
emphasizes the significance of the brand-building blocks, used for easier understanding of the
whole model. Keller (2001) points out that in the brand pyramid presented, the brand-building
blocks must be in place in order to create stable and significant brand equity. The described
model of the customer-based brand equity pyramid is presented in the figure below:
Keller’s Brand Equity Model (2001)4
4 Keller, K.L. (2001). Building Customer-based brand equity: a blueprint for creating strong brands. Cambridge,
MA: Marketing Science Institute. P. 7
According to Keller (2001), the first step of creating the strong customer-based brand
equity is brand identity, which relies on brand salience, related to awareness of the customers for
the brand in question. Keller (2001) states that in a broad sense the brand awareness would mean
customer’s abilities for the brand recognition and recalling. Nevertheless, at the same time the
brand awareness would not only be based on pure fact that the customers have previously come
across the brand name before and probably have seen it in various circumstances. The most
important point here is that the brand awareness also implies directly linking the brand symbol or
name to some of the customer’s associations with it and the linkage in memory with the other
products under the same brand should also exist. Keller (2001) also defines the key criteria used
for the brand identity. He states that the brand awareness itself may be perceived in terms of two
various structures, which are depth and breadth, where the latter refers to purchasing situations
when the particular brand comes to mind of the customer and the depth generally means is the
brand easily recognizable buy the customers or not, and to which extent.
The model of brand equity introduced by K. Keller (2001) subsequently became one of the
most recognizable and widely acknowledged in the field. K. Keller provided an essential
conceptual framework in managing and creating the customer-based brand equity, however,
some limitations of this model still exist. For instance, there have been no proof for the model
effectiveness within the industrial brand area (Kuhn, Alpert, 2004).
A number of various empirical studies have been conducted on the topic of the customerbased brand equity in the recent decades. In the most of the cases the two main models for
managing and measuring the CBBE were applied, either presented by Aaker (1991) or Keller
One of the scales to measure the customer-based brand equity was developed by Lassar et
al. (1995). The measurement scale was based on the four previously conducted studies, after
which the original number of measurement indicators (83) was narrowed to only 17. Lassar et al.
(1995) used the following variables in the empirical model of the conducted research: social
image, attachment, trustworthiness, values and performance. The study combined 17 brands,
three of which were TV monitor brands and three of the watches segment. Lassar et al. (1995)
concluded that the product's price indicated the equity that was directly associated with the
Yoo and Donthu (2001) have developed a multidimensional consumer-based brand equity
scale, which was based upon the previously proposed conceptualization of customer-based brand
equity in Aaker's and Keller's models. The authors aimed at developing the customer-based
brand equity scale, which could be used in a cross-cultural context. The study was conducted
among American, Korean-American and Korean respondents, which were suggested to evaluate
the selected brands across several product categories. The reliability and validity of the proposed
brand equity scale was proven as a result and the authors have provided both the theoretical and
practical implications. Yoo and Donthu (2001) suggested, that brand associations and perceived
quality influence brand equity by first affecting the brand loyalty. The aforementioned
assumption was based on a witnessed stronger relation between the brand equity and brand
loyalty in comparison with the similar relations between brand equity and brand associations and
brand equity with perceived quality.
Pappu et al. (2005) aimed to improve the existing measurement scales of customer-based
brand equity through empirical research. Moreover, the authors mentioned the limitations of the
extant studies on customer-based brand equity measurement, including primary usage of student
samples in the previous research. Pappu et al. (2005) have conducted the study through using the
sample of real Australian consumers instead of the commonly used student samples. The authors
have provided the evidence for the customer-based brand equity model multidimensionality in
accordance with the previous research (supporting Keller's and Aaker's conceptualizations).
Moreover, the cross-cultural scope of customer-based brand equity research has been widened to
Australian consumers, while the already existing studies targeted American respondents. Pappu
et al. (2005) have also suggested, that the customer-based brand equity dimensions themselves
Regarding the practical implications and limitations of the study, the
authors have concluded that the practitioners (such as marketers and branding professionals) tend
to take into account and efficiently measure perceived quality, brand associations and brand
awareness, but the brand loyalty is often perceived as troublesome to identify and measure. In
order to mitigate the newly identified issue, Pappu et al. (2005) have suggested using items
(questions), directly related to brand loyalty dimension. Lastly, Pappu et al. (2005) have given
the general recommendations for marketing and branding professionals, such as efficient action
planning in terms of sales promotions and pricing strategies.
Another relatively recent empirical study conducted by Tong and Hawley (2009) aimed
at defining the applicability of the consumer-based brand equity model in the market for Chinese
sport clothing. Within the conducted study the original framework for brand equity from Aaker
was used. The conclusions of the study show that brand equity is directly influenced by brand
loyalty and brand associations. Nevertheless, the relation between such indicators as perceived
quality and brand awareness with
brand equity was not identified within the area of the
The adoption of Aaker's model for brand equity and it's consequent usage within the
research framework for evaluation of the customer-based brand equity for the particular brand
(Hero Honda) in India was once again presented by David et al. (2012). The research study
concluded the already described the grouping indicators for brand equity – perceived quality,
brand loyalty, brand name awareness and brand association. David et al. (2012) concluded that
the two most significant assets, directly and positively affecting the customer-based brand equity
for the brand in question (Hero Honda) were brand awareness and brand association.
The new paradigm in measuring and forecasting the brand equity within the area of
durable product market was proposed by Srinivasan et al. (2005). The results of the conducted
research show that among the assets for the brand equity the most influential is brand awareness,
affecting and contributing the most to the customer-based brand equity in comparison with the
other three components analyzed in the study. Another significant conclusion of the conducted
study presented the substantial impact of the brand equity on the particular brand's market share
and overall contribution.
The findings of the reported empirical studies (Lassar et al, 1995; Tong and Hawley,
2009; David et al, 2012; Srinivasan et al. 2005) generally suggest that the major components,
directly affecting the customer-based brand equity are brand loyalty, brand image and preference
for the brand.
Anselmsson et al. (2007) sought to create a framework in order to understand what
exactly drives CBBE and price premium for grocery products. They conducted a study
combining qualitative and explorative approaches within the field of Swedish retail market.
Having performed more than 150 personal interviews with randomly chosen respondents, they
managed to get the picture of consumer characteristics of all kinds, combining demographical,
geographical, psychological and other differences. As a result of performed interviews,
Anselmsson et al. (2007) have concluded that all the consumers (absolutely regardless of the
characteristics described above) generally used similar approaches to evaluation of the brand
equity in terms of the price premium. Those approaches (brand equity dimensions) mentioned in
the study were the four key categories previously presented by Aaker (1991, 1996), namely
perceived quality, loyalty, associations and awareness. Anselmsson et al. (2007) also added
another dimension in their model for assessing the customer-based brand equity – uniqueness
(presented in a figure «A model of brand equity used for understanding the price premium for
grocery products» on the next page).
Anselmsson et al. (2007) provided the following
explanation for the use of the additional component as opposed to the original structure of
Aaker’s (1991, 1996) models of brand equity: «It relates to the performance of the other four
dimensions relative competing brands and indicates that customer-based brand equity is the
result of the fact that customers compare the brand to other brands within the same category.
Uniqueness is proposed as a single dimension of brand equity, in contrast to Aaker’s (1996)
uniqueness is one of several brand associations. Our results indicate that
uniqueness is just as likely to be related to performance on quality aspects as awareness,
associations or loyalty. A brand’s degree of uniqueness appears to be the most important
dimension in order to achieve price premium – why would customers be willing to pay the
highest price (a unique price within the category) for a certain brand if it not is unique in some
A model of brand equity used for understanding the price premium for grocery products
(Anselmsson et al., 2007)6
5 Anselmsson, J., Johansson, U., & Persson, N. (2007). Understanding price premium for grocery products: A
conceptual model of customer based equity. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 16(6), P. 404-405
6 Ibid., p. 405
Anselmsson et al. (2007) pointed out that when they were asking the randomly chosen
respondents in the conducted study why they would pay the larger amount for some particular
brands (the price premium), the majority of the answers turned out to be not related to the quality
of the products. Thus Anselmsson et al. (2007) concluded that brand equity was a more complex
and comprehensive alternative to the quality of the product, explaining the various discussions
on the topic of competition in related to packaging and visual aspects of the products.
Anselmsson et al. (2007) also have found some limitations in respect of the previous
proposed models for the customer-based brand equity. One of the central questions, which
Anselmsson et al. (2007) proposed as an implication for further research, was finding out
whether the brand equity should be considered as consisting of five defining it components
(brand associations, loyalty, perceived quality, awareness and, lastly, uniqueness) or the
previously considered four-determinant model.
To conclude, the examined studies suggested that the limitations of both the two main
models for assessing the brand equity (Aaker, 1991; Keller, 1993, 2001) exist. The limitations
have been identified in some particular cases,
therefore justifying the position of some
researchers (e.g. Fedwick, 1996), providing arguments in support of ambiguity of the concept,
stating that the term brand equity lacks applications and opportunities to measure it in the
1.3 Retail brand equity: contemporary understanding
In the previous part of the paper the existing conceptualization and theoretical discussion
regarding brand equity and customer-based equity has been provided. However, the concept of
retailer equity is treated as a separate construct as a result of overall increase of importance of
retail brands in the recent decades. Retail store has been defined by American Marketing
Association as «a place of business (establishment) open to and frequented by the general public,
and in which sales are made primarily to ultimate consumers, usually in small quantities, from
merchandise inventories stored and displayed on the premises ».7 Retailers have been
experiencing the steady growth in the last years, and the apparel industry is long considered to be
one of the most active and lucrative. UNIQLO currently holds a position of the 4th largest
apparel retailer worldwide and is actively expanding in Russia.
As a consequence of retailers rapidly growing market share worldwide, the concept of
retailer brand equity has been generating interest in academic literature. Nevertheless, currently
there is still a visible lack of relevant studies aimed at conceptualizing the newly established
concept. The common view on retailer equity suggests that it is in many ways similar to the
concept of brand equity (Yoo and Donthu, 2001).
One of the earlier attempts to conceptualize the construct of brand equity in retail was
taken by Hartman and Spiro (2005), which defined store equity based on the previous customerbased model proposed by Keller as the differential effect of store knowledge on customer
response to the marketing of the store. The authors made a linkage between the brand image and
store image as one of the components of store knowledge. According to Hartman and Spiro
(2005), store knowledge consists of store awareness and store image and both of them are
perceived to play a major role in buying behaviour and making a purchase.
Store location and the distance that a potential consumer has to travel to reach the
particular retail brand store is defined as one of the factors, influencing store equity by some of
the researchers, such as Keller and Ailawadi (2004). Although distance, which is needed to reach
the store, is generally not considered to be a separate store equity dimension, the issue of
purchasing behaviour and store location has attracted quite a lot attention in the research agenda
previously (Donthu and Rust 1989; Bloemer et al., 2002). Moreover, it has been suggested that
7 American Marketing Association (2016). [online] Available at:
https://www.ama.org/resources/Pages/Dictionary.aspx?dLetter=R [Accessed 10 Mar. 2016].
when it comes to brand image of a retail brand, store associations of consumers play a major role
(Burt, 2000; Burt and Sparks, 2002; Fullerton, 2005).
In the last decade some constructs for measuring retailer equity have been developed,
including retailer equity indexes (Arnett et al., 2003). The retail equity indexes, based on the
previously introduced customer-based brand equity items, derived from measurement scales by
Yoo and Donthu (2001), are established by the authors as a tool for benchmarking, evaluation
construct for measuring attractiveness on the market and, lastly, as a means of assessing
marketing initiatives. Moreover, Arnett et al. (2003) define retail equity as “a set of brand assets
and liabilities linked to a store brand (e.g., Wal-Mart), its name and symbol, that add to or
subtract from the perceived value of the store brand by its customers (or potential customers)”. 8
Londono et al. (2016) emphasized the limitations in the extant retail equity literature,
related to the current lack of brand-retailer-channel interconnections and the relevant framework
for measuring the proposed dimensions. Therefore, the concept of consumer-based brandretailer-channel equity was introduced. Paralleling the Aaker's brand equity model (1991), the
authors proposed the following dimensions in order to measure the established costruct: brandretailer-channel
perceived quality, brand-retailer-channel consumer loyalty, brand-retailer-
channel consumer awareness and brand-retailer-channel associations.
Regarding retail brand equity measurement, it has been also previously linked to the
service component. Jara and Cliquet (2009) defined retail brand equity as having similar
dimensions as a manufacturer brand, but with an additional constructs attached - such as
corporate dimension, service component and retailer personality. The study conducted by Jara
and Cliquet (2009) aimed to examine how exactly the retail brand value is created and are the
main components of retail brand equity constructs. The authors have concluded that retail brand
equity is composed of two dimensions - retail brand image and retail brand awareness, whereas
the former also consists of five subpoints (price image, store service, personalities of the retailer,
brand service and perceived quality). Following the validation of formulated hypotheses, Jara
and Cliquet (2009) found out that the two proposed retail brand equity dimensions largely
influence performance of retail brand on the market.
8 Arnett, D., Laverie, D. and Meiers, A. (2003). Developing parsimonious retailer equity indexes using partial least
squares analysis: a method and applications. Journal of Retailing, 79(3), P.161-170.
It was suggested that retailer equity can be visualized as a multi-dimensional construct,
comprised of four dimensions, the nature of which is similar to the Aaker's (1996) brand equity
model (Pappu and Quest, 2006). Therefore, the following components were defined: retailer
awareness, retailer perceived quality, retailer associations and retailer loyalty.
Takahashi (2014) conducted a study within the area of Japanese retail industry with an
emphasis on grocery stores, aiming to examine retail brand equity and the related components
and to give managerial recommendations regarding marketing strategy specifically in the
aforementioned area (Japanese retail brands). The author has concluded that store image
dimension significantly influenced retail brand equity and contributed to store loyalty formation
of the customers (Takahashi, 2014). Moreover, it was found that the overall strengthening of the
store experience very favourably affected customers' purchasing behaviour, resulting in increased
experience value (Takahashi, 2014). Lastly, it was concluded that increase of emotional loyalty
of the customers towards the store eventually led to the increased overall number of purchased
goods from this store (Takahashi, 2014).
Comprehensive model of retail brand equity has been developed by Gil-Saura et al.
(2009). The study aimed to deepen the understanding of retail brand equity construct and to
examine the relationships between dimensions of retail brand equity. The importance of
conducted research was linked to overall rapid growth of retailers in commercial structure
worlwide as well as lack of validated retail brand equity model in the academic literature. The
authors have proposed retail brand equity model, which is comprised of the following elements:
store image, perceived value, trust, store awareness, store equity, consumer satisfaction and
loyalty towards the store (Gil-Saura et al., 2009).
Store image is closely related to the consumers' overall perception of the retailer brand,
while the formation of the store image is achieved through consumers impressions. It is generally
assumed that the store image is one of the retailer equity dimensions, directly influencing it
within the proposed model (Gil-Saura et al., 2009; Hartman and Spiro, 2005). Based on the
preceding aforementioned studies, as well as making a parallel to the brand equity models
proposed by Aaker (1996) and Keller (1993), retail brand image is hypothesized in this study as
one of retail brand equity dimensions, assumed to have a significant positive relationship on
retail brand equity.
Perceived value it is measured by the perception of quality, which lies in the mind of the
customer or a potential customer. Perceived value or perceived quality are generally considered
to be dimensions of brand equity and retail brand equity in most of the extant studies, directly
influencing the brand equity (Arnett et al., 2003; Hartman and Spiro, 2005; Yoo and Donthu,
2001). In accordance with the previous research, in this study perceived value of retail brand is
introduced as one of the dimensions of retail brand equity and is hypothesized to have an effect
on the retail brand equity.
Store awareness has been traditionally linked to the concept of brand awareness,
examined previosly in a number of studies (Yoo and Donthu, 2001; Hartman and Spiro, 2005;
Gil-Saura et al., 2009). Store awareness is linked to the generall strength of consumer recall and
recognition (Gil-Saura, 2009). Brand awareness is crucial, while at the recall level it affects the
potential customer’s brand consideration, which then leads to the choice on whether to buy the
product or not. In accordance with the extant research, in this study retail brand awareness
dimension is hypothesized to affect retail brand equity as one of its dimensions.
Retail brand equity model (Gil-Saura et al., 2009)
In accordance with the retail brand equity model developed by Gil-Saura (2009), the
consumer satisfaction - loyalty chain is introduced. Within the framework of this research, retail
brand loyalty is proposed as the consequence of retail brand equity and not as the retail brand
dimension. This view regarding brand loyalty has been present within the extant more recent
studies on brand equity (Decarlo et al., 2007; Swoboda et al., 2007). Similarly, overall retail
brand equity change (either increase or decrease) is hypothesized to affect the satisfaction loyalty chain of effects, where the strengthening of retail brand equity leads to increased
consumer satisfaction. Equivalently, consumer satisfaction is hypothesized to affect retail brand
2. UNIQLO brand overview
2.1 Company background
UNIQLO is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd., Japanese retail
holding company. It was founded in 1949 in Ube, Yamaguchi, Japan and is currently
headquartered in Tokyo. Currently UNIQLO holds a firm position of Japan’s biggest clothing
company and 4th largest international apparel specialty retailer and also is 3 rd company among the
largest apparel retailers in terms of market capitalization. 9
When it comes to market segment, UNIQLO is devoted to lower mass market positioning
with a focus on affordable clothes with high quality. UNIQLO is also first company in Japan to
establish SPA model, combining all stages of the business - from design to final sale.
The mission and vision of the company are based on striving to provide basic, quality
casual clothes at the lowest price on the market. UNIQLO is also devoted to make the clothing
suitable for anyone and anywhere and providing cutomers the highest quality service by meeting
their demand and exceeding expectations. UNIQLO is focused on providing the best customer
9 Fastretailing.com. (2015). Industry Ranking | FAST RETAILING CO., LTD.. [online] Available at:
https://www.fastretailing.com/eng/ir/direction/position.html [Accessed 26 Feb. 2016].
service and in-store experience possible by implementing various corporate trainings and
strengthening corporate culture.
Fast Retailing Group is well known for incorporating the special corporate philosophy
within the organization, named Fast Retailing Way. The overall mission of the organization is to
create truly great clothing with new and unique value and to enable people all over the world to
experience the joy, happiness and satisfaction from wearing great clothing 10. The main values of
Fast Retailing are based upon the following pillars:
- Approaching issues from perspective of company customers;
- Embracing challenges and innovation;
- Respecting and supporting individuals to increase both corporate and personal
- Commit to ethical business standards. 11
Worldwide Apparel Specialty Stores: Ranked by Market Capitalization (2015)
10 Fastretailing.com. (2015). CSR Vision | FAST RETAILING CO., LTD.. [online] Available at:
http://www.fastretailing.com/eng/csr/vision/stakeholder.html [Accessed 26 Feb. 2016].
11 FR Group Corporate Philosophy. (2015). Available at:
https://www.fastretailing.com/eng/about/frway/pdf/FRWAY_English.pdf [Accessed 26 Feb. 2016].
Nowadays the company has a strong global ambition: to become the world’s largest
fashion company by 2020. Fast Retailing Group has set a new target of achieving of ¥5 trillion
by 2020 and becoming the largest apparel company in the world on January 1, 2011. The
company is devoted to attracting customers by opening stores in prime urban locations and
building global personnel framework. UNIQLO is also considering M&As as a platform for
future company's development
2.2 Situational analysis and competitive positioning
The situation analysis of apparel industry worldwide is largely affected by
macroenvironmental factors. Moreover, apparel retailing industry in general has been undergoing
various changes in the last decades.
When it comes to political factors, changing environmental regulations as well as tax
policy, trade and tariff restrictions play the major role in defining the agenda. As for the existing
social factors, shaping the general apparel industry situation is of now, it is mainly characterized
by huge differences in apparel spending between the developed nations and developing ones.
However, it also should be noted that apparel spending per capita is forecasted to increase in
some of the developing regions.
PESTEL: worlwide apparel retailing industry
stability, tax policy,
trade and tariff
EU is the largest
consumer market for
apparel, China is the
Shifting the export of
raw materials from
China, South Korea
and Taiwan to other
Huge differences in
of apparel spending
labour cost made it
attractive for clothing
production of input
China is established
as largest machinery
focus on automation
UNIQLO is primarily affected by the general trend of rising labour costs in China. Most
of production facilities of UNIQLO are located in China and the company begins to seek options
for factory relocations to other emerging Asian economies. UNIQLO views their 70 contract
manufacturing companies as business partners. Moreover, UNIQLO also uses a special team of
experts (Takumi Team), which offers consistent and positive technical support in the factories.
The Takumi Team consists of engineers with over 30 years experience in the Japanese textile
industry. Those teams transfer expertise to the factories on overall factory management including
spinning, knitting, weaving, dying, sewing, finishing and shipping.
To understand the intensity of existing rivalry in apparel industry for UNIQLO the
analysis has been provided. Porter's five forces framework was used in order to examine the
current level of rivalry for UNIQLO globally and to identify the major points, which should be
taken into consideration regarding UNIQLO's general business strategy and competitive
positioning on the worldwide apparel retail arena.
Threat of new
More than 70
are generally low
A number of
strong brands on
a world market
The level of competition in apparel industry can be described as intensive, with the
particular strong brands dominating the low-to-medium apparel niche (H&M, Inditex (Zara),
Gap). Several factors play an especially big role in defining the competitive situation for
UNIQLO. Firstly, it is a high availability of substitutes. Competitors typically provide similar
items at comparable prices and secondly, it is high power of customers. Low brand loyalty in the
mass market apparel segment and high price sensitivity defines high level of competition.
On the Russian market UNIQLO is represented with 11 stores in total, while 9 of them
are located in Moscow and two have recently opened in Saint Petersburg.12 The company is
currently planning rapid expansion on the Russian market and has long considered Russian
apparel market to be attractive.
The table below represents the comparison between the main competing apparel retail
chains, overlooking target audience, primary place of presence, business model and the number
of stores presented:
N u m b e r o f Target audience
low to medium
12 Uniqlo.com. (2015). UNIQLO Russia. [online] Available at: http://www.uniqlo.com/ru/shop/ [Accessed 7 Mar.
Currently UNIQLO as a provider of basic and affordable clothing effectively using the
SPA model is one of the main strengths of Fast Retailing Group's performance. Having low-cost
G.U. clothing brand across the portfolio opens the opportunities for boosting the revenues.
UNIQLO is also recognized for a number of products being outstanding in some particular way.
One of the them is HEATTECH – clothing which can generate heat by absorbing body moisture.
It has sold over tens of millions of items in various countries.
However, UNIQLO suffers from lack of brand recognition in some areas in comparison
to major rivals (such as Old Navy and Gap in the U.S.) and is overly dependant on domestic
As of 2016, most of UNIQLO International stores were located in Asia. The performance
of Fast Retailing Group in Asia (excluding Japan) has been consistently stable since the very first
attempts in entering neighboring markets. The highly successful Seoul, Taipei and Shanghai
UNIQLO flagship stores strengthened the brand recognition among regional customers and
opened a number of opportunities for further growth. 13 Currently the business strategy of
UNIQLO is based on the following perspectives:
- Opportunity to catch the momentum in attracting customers in developing markets
- Already existing brand name awareness in various regions
- G.U. low-cost clothing brand expansion potential
The situational analysis can be summarized in a SWOT matrix. The following framework
enables us to identify significant internal and external factors most affecting the company's
13 Fastretailing.com. (2015). UNIQLO International | FAST RETAILING CO., LTD.. [online] Available at:
http://www.fastretailing.com/eng/about/photolibrary/uniqlointernational.html [Accessed 15 Mar. 2016].
Economy of scale and price advantage
Effective use of SPA model and high level of
control over operations
Variety of hit products, such as
Overdependance on domestic market (Japan)
for majority of revenues
Struggling to compete with global rivals,
offering similar products at comparable prices
Lack of brand name awareness
compared with the main rivals
Expansion of UNIQLO business
Rising labour costs in primary supplier factory
Consumer demand challenges
Growth of apparel spending per capita in
Rising stiff competition from global retailers
Low-cost brand opportunities (G.U.)
As can be seen from the conducted analysis regarding UNIQLO's overall business
strategy and current stance in the worldwide apparel industry, the company is largely affected by
changing conditions within the industry. However, the opportunities for further growth exist and
are mostly based upon expansion into new markets. UNIQLO perceives the Russian market to be
one of the attractive ones, at it is less saturated in mature in comparison with domestic market
(no potential revenue growth) and U.S. market (oversaturated, extreme competition).
3. CBBE model application for strengthening competitive position of UNIQLO on
the Russian market: empirical analysis
The primary goal of this research is to measure and examine the significance of the
customer-based retail brand equity dimensions in relation to apparel retail brand UNIQLO on the
Russian market and to define how can the customer-based brand equity model be applied in
order to strengthen the competitive position of UNIQLO on the Russian market. The
aforementioned steps subsequently serve as a basis for recommendations concerning the efficient
consumer-based brand building strategy model for the company.
3.1 Research design
Research design is generally defined as a framework for conducting a particular research
project (Malhotra, Birks, 2007). Research design is further classified into two approaches,
exploratory and conclusive. Exploratory research is primarily used for a situation, when there is
little known about the problem area in order to identify and explore new concepts, patterns and
subsequently formulate hypotheses for further investigation (Malhotra, Birks, 2007). Therefore,
exploratory research is meaningful whenever the research process is flexible and the information
is unstructured. On the other hand, conclusive research is used to examine already existing
relationships and testing hypotheses, based on the structured and formal information and the data
obtained is usually subjected to quantitative analysis (Malhotra, Birks, 2007).
Conclusive research was considered as a general approach for conducting this study in
accordance with research questions. The objective of conclusive research is to measure particular
phenomena based on the already existing data as opposed to exploratory research design, which
is used to get an initial idea of some new phenomena and explore new concepts in the area where
there is little background information provided.
Conclusive research design was chosen for several reasons. Firstly, it is the most widely
used method for describing the characteristics of relevant groups, such as consumers or market
areas, for determining the degree to which marketing variables are associated and for counting
the frequency of events in the consumer behaviour (Malhotra, Birks, 2007). The data in this
study is analyzed through quantitative method by applying questionnaire survey technique,
which is typically adopted in conclusive research design as well.
3.2 Theoretical model
The study partly adopted already existing models and scales for consumer-based brand
equity measurement. While the conceptualization of customer-based brand equity in this research
is based in accordance with the models of Aaker (1991) and Keller (2001), the model is adopted
from Gil-Saura et al. (2013) and the metrics (items) are adopted primarily from Gil-Saura et al.
(2013), Yoo and Donthu (2001).
The initial retail brand equity model was taken from Gil Saura et al. (2013). The
aforementioned study and the related model were found to be the most appropriate for model
modification for this research. The study proposed the comprehensive and integrative retail
brand equity model, based on the identified dimensions and effects. The model comprised three
dimensions, which were assumed to affect customer-based retail brand equity: retail brand
image, perceived value of retail brand and retail brand awareness.
Retail brand image. The concept of retail brand image is closely related to the proposed
by Aaker (1991) brand associations dimension, which generally means the context of use for
particular product. Aaker (1991) states that the two similar products may create an absolutely
different effect just because the brand associations for their representative brands significantly
vary. This dimension also plays a big part in the process of positioning and differentiation, thus
generating the initiative to buy the product for those potential customers who may become
emotionally or physically attached to particular products. The strong and stable brand association
may become a competitive advantage for the brand because it may serve as a basis for further
Perceived value of retail brand. When it comes to the dimension of perceived quality
presented by Aaker (1991), it is measured by the perception of quality, which lies in the mind of
the customer or a potential customer. Perceived quality is very important, while it basically
provides the reason to buy a particular product. Aaker (1991) points out that in order to build a
strong brand it is important to sustain at least a minimal perceived quality for low market
competitor niche or manage to achieve an above average perceived quality for the others.
However, the chosen dimension for customer-based retail brand equity model is “perceived value
of retail brand”, which in comparison with the perceived quality comprises not only functional,
but also includes related emotional and social aspects, attached to the product. For example, one
of the aspects is social value, which is brought to the consumer by the sense of belonging and
associating himself with particular group.
Retail brand awareness construct is based on Aaker's (1991) brand awareness dimension.
Aaker (1991) states that brand awareness can contribute with a sense of familiarity and
commitment. Brand awareness is crucial, while at the recall level it affects the potential
customer’s brand consideration, which then leads to the choice on whether to buy the product or
not. Brand awareness at the recognition level is important, because the linkage exists between
recognizing the brand and perception of reliability and quality.
The chain type «satisfaction-loyalty», comprised of 2 dimensions – retail brand loyalty
and customer satisfaction is proposed for the model implementation.
Consumer satisfaction. This concept has been widely recongnized in marketing research,
and various definitions currently exist in the academic literature, which in a broad sense can be
divided into two approaches: affective and cognitive. While the former (Giese and Cote, 2000;
Westbrook and Reilly, 1983) stresses on the emotional aspects of the notion (consumers' feelings
and perceptions), the latter (Oliver, 1980) implies cognitive evaluation process. In the proposed
theoretical model this dimension belongs to the satisfaction-loyalty chain and refers to consumer
satisfaction on a twofold level, taking into account both approaches (cognitive and affective).
Retail brand loyalty. This dimension relies upon the notion of loyal customer base, while
loyal customers expect the products of the brand to be of higher quality and also often further
advice other potential customers to buy them. Attracting new customers is always much costly
than trying to retain already existing ones, so this factor necessarily plays a big role in defining
the brand equity. With the stable and loyal customer base the competitor brands also have
various difficulties related to communication and attracting those customers to another brand,
while the loyal customers are less likely to be interested in any alternatives available in the
market. Therefore competitor brands are often discouraged by this factor, while it takes great
efforts and resources to attract the already loyal and satisfied customer base of another brand.
The following hypotheses were formulated based on the proposed and modified
H1: Retail brand image has significant positive effect on UNIQLO customer-based brand
H2: Perceived value of retail brand has significant positive effect on UNIQLO customerbased brand equity.
H3: Retail brand awareness has significant positive effect on UNIQLO customer-based
H4: Customer-based retail brand equity has significant positive effect on UNIQLO
H5: Consumer satisfaction has significant positive effect on UNIQLO brand loyalty.
Proposed theoretical model (customer-based retail brand equity model). Modified based
on the model presented in Gil-Saura et al., 2013.
After related literature review and consideration a pool of items capturing the customer
based retail brand equity has been created (Yoo; Mittal; Sharma, 2000; Gil-Saura, 2013; Yoo;
Donthu; Lee, 2000; Sweeney et al., 2001). Among the items five were chosen to capture retail
brand awareness, another five items were designed to measure perceived value of retail brand,
five for measuring retail brand image, two for overall customer-based retail brand equity, two for
customer satisfaction and finally three for retail brand loyalty. The metrics were further used for
questionnaire development, in which the items were umeasured using the Likert scale from 1
(strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).
1.1 Retail brand awareness block
1.2 Perceived value of retail brand block
I am aware of X.
The products of brand X have a high quality
I can recognize X among other competing
Some characteristics of X come to my mind
I can quickly recall the symbol or logo of X.
I have difficulty in imagining X in my mind.
The products of this brand would be
The people I know would like this store.
The products of this store offer value for
I would like buying in this store.
1.3 Retail brand image block
1.4 Customer-based retail brand equity
Stores of this brand have an extensive
Even if another store has same features as store
X, I would like prefer to go to buy in store X.
Stores of this brand can easily be reached.
It makes sense to go to store X instead of any
Stores of this brand have a nice atmosphere.
other store, even if they are the same.
This retail brand provides an excellent
This retail brand is popular and many of my
friends know about it.
1.5 Customer satisfaction
1.6 Retail brand loyalty
How satisfied are you with this brand's I consider myself a loyal consumer to the store
brand X products
I will continue buying products of store brand
Consider store X my first choice to buy the
The study adopts quantitative research approach with the on-line questionnaire as a data
gathering method. The primary goal for conducting an online consumer questionnaire is to gather
information related to customer-based retail brand equity dimensions and effects (retail brand
awareness, perceived value of retail brand, retail brand image, overall customer-based retail
brand equity, consumer satisfaction and retail brand loyalty) of UNIQLO and to subsequently
test the formulated hypotheses. A questionnaire is created in order to gather information
regarding consumer's perceptions for variables mentioned above (appendix).
Non-probability sampling is adopted for conducting the research, while one of the
significant aspects of using this sampling technique is that it gives flexibility as opposed to
probability sampling and it also allowed to obtain a more representative sample.
3.3 Results of empirical study
The general part of the questionnaire contained questions regarding respondents' age
(younger than 18 years old, 18-25, 26-34, older than 35), gender, apparel buying behaviour
(frequency) and preferred clothing style. When it comes to apparel purchasing behaviour, the
respondents were given frequency of apparel buying choices (once a month, once per several
months, once per 6 months, less often than once per 6 months. The preferred clothing style
quesiton included four option choices – casual, formal, street weat and other.
Younger than 18
Older than 35
A p p a r e l b u y i n g Once a month
O n c e p e r s e v e r a l 52
Once per 6 months
Less often than once 23
per 6 months
Preferred clothing style
Sample distribution and demographics characteristics summary
The data is analyzed with Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) using the
factor analysis and multiple regression analysis. Factor analysis enables to reduce the number of
variables and to identify relationships among the sets of interrelated variables and to present
them in a form of a few underlying factors (Malhotra, Birks, 2007). Besides, factor analysis is
widely used to determine the brand features, which affect the customer choice, and is compatible
with any type of a Likert scale. The reliability and validity of measures are assessed through
factor analysis. Multiple regression analysis was further conducted in order to test the formulated
Factor analysis was conducted in order to examine the quality and relevance of the
chosen measures. Fifteen items from five theoretical model-based blocks (retail brand image,
perceived value of retail brand, retail brand awareness, customer satisfaction and retail brand
loyalty) were analyzed. Retail brand awareness block included 2 items (named BA), retail brand
image – 4 items (BI), perceived value of retail brand – 4 items (PV), while customer satisfaction
contained 2 (CS) and, finally, brand loyalty included 2 items (BL).
Measures of sampling adequacy (Bartlett's test of sphericity and Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin
(KMO) were performed. As a result, KMO test showed significant values for all the presented
constructs (retail brand awareness, retail brand image, perceived value of retail brand, customer
satisfaction, brand loyalty) with figures ranging from 0.747 (BI) to 0.878 (PV). However, one of
the items resulted with a low value (retail brand image block (RI3) – UNIQLO stores
atmosphere) 0.417, which is considered unacceptable in accordance with the performed measure
of sampling adequacy. Therefore, the item was eliminated and the items were consequently
Regarding Bartlett's sphericity test, all of the factors presented values of 0.000
(significant), confirming the applicability of data.
In order to check the reliability of constructs Cronbach's Alpha scores were obtained. All
of the values presented reliability coefficients of more than 0.70, thus confirming the reliability
of factors with the highest coefficient being perceived value of retail brand (PV).
Following the confirmation of the proposed model validity, multiple regression analysis
was performed in order to test the proposed hypotheses.
Std. Error of
a. Predictors: (Constant), BA1, BA2, PV1, PV2, PV3, PV4, BI1, BI2,
Multiple regression analysis was performed with the independent variables being retail
brand awareness items (BA1, BA2), perceived value of retail brand (PV1, PV2, PV3, PV4) and
retail brand image (BI1, BI2, BI3, BI4). The dependent variable is overall customer-based brand
Given the acquired output, the independent variables coefficient of determination (R
Square) is .867, which means a big proportion of variance is explained by the independent
a. Dependent variable: BE1
As follows from the previously formulated hypotheses, retail brand awareness, perceived
value of retail brand and retail brand image assumed to have a significant positive effect on the
customer-based retail brand equity. As can be seen from the coefficients table, all the 3
dimensions are significant at p-value <0.05, and thus the three hypotheses regarding the effect of
the aforementioned dimensions on customer-based retail equity is supported.
In order to test the last two hypotheses (H4: Customer-based retail brand equity has
significant positive effect on UNIQLO consumer satisfaction and H 5: Consumer satisfaction has
significant positive effect on UNIQLO brand loyalty) simple regression is applied. This analysis
method is chosen, because in both cases there is only one dependent variable and one
a. Dependent variable: BL
To conclude, customer-based retail brand equity is found to have a significant positive
effect on UNIQLO consumer satisfaction at p-value of 0. However, the 5th hypothesis (H 5
Consumer satisfaction has significant positive effect on UNIQLO brand loyalty) is not supported
following regression analysis. This can be interpreted as the absence of assumed satisfactionloyalty chain in case of UNIQLO brand.
As follows from the performed analysis, the chosen retail brand equity dimensions (retail
brand awareness, retail brand image and perceived value of retail brand) are all significantly
positively related to customer-based retail brand equity. This outcome coincides with the
previous evidence from academic research (Gil-Saura 2013; Calvo-Porral, Levy Mangin, 2014).
Moreover, a positive relationship is found between the overall customer-based brand retail equity
and customer satisfaction. However, the hypothesis on significant positive effect of customer
satisfaction on brand loyalty is not supported in case of UNIQLO.
Regarding retail brand awareness, the positive relationship was found to exist between
the customer-based brand equity of UNIQLO and the aforementioned dimension. Brand
awareness has been linked to the customer's ability to recall the brand name and the brand's logo.
Two items were retained in brand awareness block and both of them were retained and found to
support the hypothesized influence on overall customer-based brand equity. Moreover, one of the
items also served as a question-filter, which was created in order to separate the respondents,
who already had the initial perception of UNIQLO from those respondents who did not. The
large part of respondents could recall the UNIQLO brand, however, have never purchased
anything in UNIQLO stores. Moreover, the percentage of respondents who have been making
purchases in UNIQLO on the regular basis was small in comparison with other given options
(have never heard of the brand, have heard of the brand but have never purchased anything from
their stores, make purchases from time to time). In addition, the respondents had higher chance
of recalling UNIQLO brand logo the more contact they had with the store. In general, the level
of consumer recognition was proved to be high, while most of the respondents had the initial
perception of the brand in question and also could recall the brand's logo.
Significant positive relationship between perceived value of the brand dimension and
customer-based retail brand equity was found. Perceived value of the brand was traditionally
only based on the more functional aspects of the products presented by the brand, including
product features, tangible characteristics and quality perception. However, as follows from the
previously reviewed theory, currently the notion of perceived value of the brand also includes
emotional and social characteristics. In general perceived value is often regarded as one of the
core dimensions of customer-based brand equity. The item, suggesting that UNIQLO products
are value for money (give good price-quality relation) was strongly supported, which indicates
good alignment between current consumer response (positive) and one of the main aspects of
UNIQLO's branding strategy. UNIQLO positions itself as an apparel retailer chain, providing
high quality, functional and basic casual clothing. Despite having mass-market positioning,
UNIQLO strives to maintain high quality of clothes, which are up-to-date, but at the same time
not trendy. This idea is further acknowledged within the respondents' base. Moreover, the item
measuring the overall functionality and practicality of UNIQLO apparel was acknowledged. This
proves that the positioning image of UNIQLO's apparel is well expressed to the consumers, and
the consumers are generally aware of the niche taken by the brand. However, the item measuring
purchasing intention of the customers (I would like to make a purchase in a UNIQLO store)
presented smaller figures, revealing overall lack of expressed interest to buying UNIQLO's
Retail brand image dimension was found to have a significant positive effect of customerbased brand retail equity of UNIQLO. Following the conceptualization of brand image given in
the theoretical part of the study, brand image is often generally regarded as consumers'
perceptions about the brand and their associated imagery and feelings towards it. The item
measuring UNIQLO's assortment of products in the eyes of the customers (BI11) got generally
neutral marks closer to the mid-range of the scale. This aspect may be explained by the fact that,
following the analysis of items from the perceived value of retail brand block, customers hold
the strong perception of UNIQLO as the basic and practical clothing apparel store. Accordingly,
the imagery of basic and functional clothing typically does not involve the «wide assortment»
characteristic. The social impression of the consumers was measured by the item (BI12), which
called for choosing an option regarding popularity of UNIQLO among particular respondent's
social circle. The item revealed overall modest level of recognition of the brand among
respondents' friends and acquantainces. When it comes to the store atmosphere aspect,
previously this item resulted with a low value during measure of sampling adequacy test (retail
brand image block (RI3) – UNIQLO stores atmosphere), which was considered unacceptable in
and therefore it was eliminated. Generally store service is regarded as one of the significant
influencing components of brand image dimension and the assumption was proven to be true.
Most of the respondents were satisfied with the provided store service.
Significant positive relationship was found between customer-based retail brand equity
and customer satisfaction. Therefore, the assumption of customer satisfaction being the
consequence of customer-based retail brand equity was confirmed.
Even though customer satisfaction and brand loyalty have been generally linked together,
the hypothesis of customer satisfaction having a strong positive influence on retail brand loyalty
is not supported in this case. From the analysis provided in the theoretical part of the study, brand
loyalty was regarded to as construct which relies upon the notion of loyal customer base, as loyal
customers expect the products of the brand to be of higher quality and also often further advice
other potential customers to buy them. Additionally, retail brand loyalty can be defined as biased
response of the customer towards particular retail brand, when he consistently prefers this brand
(brand commitment). Brand loyalty was regarded to as a consequence of customer satisfaction.
Hypothesis testing process revealed that the initially formulated hypothesis of customer
satisfaction having significant positive influence on retail brand loyalty was not supported for
UNIQLO. The absence of strong positive relationship between the aforementioned dimensions
shows that even though UNIQLO customers are overall satisfied with the products, they do not
develop brand loyalty. Brand loyalty was measured by several items, including purchasing
intention (whether the consumer considers to continue buying UNIQLO products) and first
choice item (whether the consumer considers UNIQLO to be his or her first choice, when it
comes to some particular product).
Given that the initially formulated hypothesis of customer satisfaction having a
significant positive influence on retail brand loyalty of UNIQLO is not supported, a couple of
points should be considered. First of all, it should be taken into account that UNIQLO can still be
regarded as relatively new on the Russian market. The first UNIQLO store in Russia (Moscow)
opened in 2010 and as of now 9 stores are presented on the Russian market (Saint Petersburg and
Moscow). Particularly in Saint Petersburg the first UNIQLO store opened in 2015, thus it is
possible that the customers may have had a chance to visit the store, make a purchase and highly
evaluate obtained product and store service, resulting in overall customer satisfaction. However,
potentially those customers may not yet have developed strong perception of UNIQLO as the
brand of the first choice when it comes to some particular product (as one of the items from retail
brand loyalty block suggests) due to limited contact time. Therefore, the upcoming consumer
experiences may be developed into brand loyalty.
Moreover, UNIQLO positioning as basic casual wear apparel stores may also influence
the relationship between customer satisfaction and retail brand loyalty in this case. Following the
data from sample distribution and demographics characteristics, it should be noted that most
respondents do not choose the option of casual wear when asked about their preferred clothing
style. Instead, street wear was revealed to be the most common option.
Managerial implications are formulated on the basis of the conducted analysis. First of
all, the UNIQLO is positioned as an apparel brand, providing affordable and functional casual
wear is affected by consumer prejudices and perceptions regarding the products' quality. While
the hypothesis of customer-based retail brand equity having a significant positive effect on
customer satisfaction is supported, no similar effect was found regarding customer satisfaction
and brand loyalty. Even though the consumers are overall satisfied with the brand, this does not
lead to the brand loyalty in case of UNIQLO. This may be linked to an existing perception of
affordable clothing having lower quality than the brands from different price niches. As follows
from the analysis, consumers believe that UNIQLO products are good value for money, but
another item measuring the general quality of UNIQLO clothing revealed lower satisfaction of
Therefore, on the Russian market UNIQLO should stress on having the best quality
possible for similar products in their price range. Currently UNIQLO holds the position of 4th
largest apparel retailer worldwide, and in the area of their primary activities (Asia), UNIQLO is
famous for having unbeatable quality in their price category. But when it comes to the Russian
market, the perception of affordability is well communicated to consumers, however, the high
quality aspect is not. It is important to create the balance between consumer expectations
regarding both the price and the quality. The brand loyalty may be developed through
strengthening high quality perception in the eyes of the customers. It may be done mostly
through advertising, by emphasizing on the high quality through slogans and other means.
Moreover, the customer service was highly acknowledged among the Russian consumers.
UNIQLO traditionally has been placing a big emphasis on the customer service in its stores, and
all the employees are trained according to the long established corporate culture. Therefore, this
component of UNIQLO overall strategy is working for stronger brand creation and is highly
regarded among the Russian customers.
Another implication for customer-based brand equity of UNIQLO is the lack of social
aspect efficiency. UNIQLO was found to be not popular among the social circles (acquaitances
and friends) of the customers. However, this finding does not correlate with the branding strategy
of UNIQLO, which puts the strong emphasis to friends', acquiantances and family
In conclusion, the value proposition of UNIQLO, which consists of the same components
in all the countries where the company's stores are presented, is not efficiently communicated on
the Russian market. While the perceived value of retail brand is found to have a significant
positive effect onto customer-based brand equity of UNIQLO, the quality of UNIQLO clothing
is not regarded by the Russian customers as high. In order to get rid of the low quality perception
in the eyes or the Russian customers, more emphasis should be put on advertising, which should
effectively communicate the main idea behind UNIQLO's value proposition – casual wear for
affordable price, but with a good quality.
When considering the results and proposed implications of this research, it is important to
take into account some limitations. In general, in this study limitations can be attributed to the
following factors: dimensionality of theoretical model and chosen questionnaire items and
Firstly, as it was mentioned in the methodology part, non-probability sampling was used
in this study. On the one hand, the choice for non-probability sampling was justified as it was
important to obtain greater flexibility in conducting the survey and non-probability methods are
considered to be appropriate for specific cases, such as market surveys and case study research
(Malhotra, Birks; 2009). Moreover, within the questionnaire structure filter-questions are used in
order to divide the respondents, who already has the perception of UNIQLO brand from those
respondents who did not. The chosen sampling method is also justified as it correlates with the
formulated research questions. However, non-probability sampling is sometimes considered to
be inferior to probability sampling.
Another limitation is related to the lack of common view regarding dimensionality of
customer-based brand equity. In the proposed theoretical model the following dimensions of
retail brand equity were considered: retail brand image, perceived value of retail brand and retail
brand awareness. The aforementioned dimensions were hypothesized to affect retail brand
equity, while retail brand loyalty was hypothesized to be the consequence of retail brand equity
rather than its dimension. However, there is currently lack of consensus regarding the exact
dimensionality of retail brand equity and retail brand loyalty was previously considered to be an
antecedent of retail brand equity rather than its consequence.
Lastly, in accordance with one of the formulated research questions, the study aimed to
provide understanding and conceptualization of customer-based retail brand equity construct.
However, the study was not conducted on the basis of several brands and across various product
categories, but rather focused on one rapidly expanding on the Russian market apparel brand.
This fact contributes to the study limitation, while theoretical implications regarding retail brand
equity are formulated on the basis of one particular brand
Brand equity has been regarded as one of the most important concepts in marketing
research. The growing significance of brands is directly related to the fact that most of the
consumers nowadays gradually become more aware of the products they are purchasing and also
have a possibility to compare the prices and share their opinions on them via digital platforms.
Ultimately, the company with an established brand image will have a much bigger chance to
success. Managing brand equity provides an opportunity to differentiate the company from the
competitors and to gain a competitive advantage on the market.
The concept of retailer equity is treated as a separate construct following the general
rapidly rising significance of retail brands in the recent years, attracting attention in both the
professional and academic literature. Nevertheless, currently there is still a visible lack of
relevant studies aimed at conceptualizing the newly established concept. The study was
conducted on the basis of one rapidly expanding on the Russian market Japanese apparel chain
UNIQLO. The brand choice was justified by the following: even though the company was
established in 1949 and currently ranks third in terms of market capitalization among worldwide
apparel brands behind INDITEX and Hennes & Mauritz taking first and second positions
respectively, it entered the Russian market only in 2010 with opening the first store in Moscow.
Therefore, the company entered the Russian market much later than the main competitor chains
and the issue of brand recognition within the target customer base has emerged. Measuring the
customer-based brand equity allowed to test the formulated hypotheses regarding the assumed
relations between the dimensions based on the proposed theoretical model. Moreover, set of
recommendations concerning the efficient consumer-based brand building strategy model for the
company was provided.
The study aimed to to provide an understanding and conceptualization of customer-based
retail brand equity construct and to measure and examine the significance of the customer-based
retail brand equity dimensions in relation to apparel retail brand UNIQLO on the Russian
market. Regarding the former objective, the analysis of extant academic literature was
conducted. Deductive approach was chosen, starting from the defining the more general concepts
(brand equity) to understanding the customer-based brand equity and, lastly, providing the
contemporary understanding of retail brand equity construct. As for the second objective, the
overview of the company was given, including the current competitive positioning and
situational analysis of UNIQLO both on the Russian market and worldwide. UNIQLO situational
analysis was conducted through several business strategy tools and frameworks, such as SWOT,
PESTEL and Porter's Five Forces. The empirical part of the study consisted of outlining the
research design, theoretical model and hypotheses formulation, data collection, hypotheses
testing and results discussion. Additionally, some managerial implications were proposed as a
part of the discussion block.
The results of the study suggest that retail brand equity dimensionality in case of the
сompany in question goes in parallel with the previous research. Thus, the chosen retail brand
equity dimensions, namely retail brand awareness, retail brand image and perceived value of
retail brand are all significantly positively related to customer-based retail brand equity.
Additionally, significant positive relationship was found between customer-based retail brand
equity and customer satisfaction in case of UNIQLO. When it comes to satisfaction-loyalty chain
of effects, however, the hypothesis of customer satisfaction having a strong positive influence on
retail brand loyalty was not supported and the related possible interpretations were given based
on the company's situational analysis and extant academic literature.
The issue of value proposition communication was identified as a part of conducted
analysis. UNIQLO's value proposition for the potential consumers is universal across all the
locations where the company's stores are currently presented, however, the consumer perceptions
may differ. Regarding the Russian market, while the perceived value of retail brand was found to
have a significant positive effect on customer-based retail brand equity of UNIQLO, the quality
of UNIQLO clothing is not regarded by the Russian consumers as high. Russian consumers are
well aware of the brand's positioning and affordable price niche, however, the high quality aspect
of UNIQLO clothing is not recognized. It is important to create the balance between consumer
expectations regarding both the price and the quality. The company may consider adjusting its
current marketing initiatives, namely advertising should better communicate UNIQLO's devotion
to making high quality products. Emphasizing on high quality through slogans and other means
would allow the company properly express the value proposition and balance out consumers'
perceptions regarding UNIQLO products' affordability and quality. The advertising should
effectively communicate the main idea behind UNIQLO's value proposition – casual wear for
affordable price, but with a good quality.
While the study was conducted on the basis of one rapidly expanding on the Russian
market apparel brand, the future research may consider the bigger sample of retailer brands.
Moreover, as currently there is lack of consensus regarding the exact dimensionality of retail
brand equity, the future research in this area could potentially include metrics and constructs,
which are proposed in the extant academic literature but not included in the theoretical model
developed in this study.
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Appendix 1. Questionnaire
Thank you for taking part in this survey, aimed at examining customer-based brand equity of
UNIQLO. Please answer the questions below. Filling out the form will not take more than 3
minutes of your time.
1. Please select your gender
☐ male ☐ female
2. Please select your age
3. How often do you buy clothes?
☐ Once a month
☐ Once per several months
☐ Once per 6 months
☐ Once per year and less
4. Which clothing style do you prefer?
☐ Street wear
5. Are you familiar with UNIQLO brand?
☐ I have never heard about it
☐ I have heard about it, but have never used their services
☐ Sometimes I buy clothes in this brand’s stores
☐ I regularly buy clothes in this brand’s stores
6. I am aware of how UNIQLO brand logo looks like
(1 -Strongly disagree, 2 - Disagree, 3 - Don’t know, 4 – Agree, 5 – Strongly agree
7. UNIQLO products are value for money
8. I would like to make a purchase in UNIQLO store
9. UNIQLO clothing is practical and functional
10. UNIQLO provides good quality clothing
11. UNIQLO stores have a wide assortment of products
12. UNIQLO is popular within my friends and acquaintances circle
13. I like the atmosphere in UNIQLO stores
14. I am satisfied with the customer service, provided in UNIQLO
15. Even if another brand has the same features as UNIQLO, I would prefer to buy
products in UNIQLO
16. I am satisfied with UNIQLO products
17. I will continue buying clothes in UNIQLO
18. UNIQLO is my first choice when it comes to buying some specific item