Another issue to examine,besides the advantages and disadvantages of on-line shopping verses high street shopping is the issue of branding.This is a necessary issue to examine because branding might also influence if a person shops on-line or shops in the stores…
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Branding might cause a person to shop on-line because that person is looking for specific brands that might not be available in stores. On the other hand, branding might work to encourage people to shop high street shops, because these shops do a more effective job of branding then do on-line stores. Therefore, it is necessary to examine what branding is. Branding began with the modern age. Modern consumption is also driven by the choices that were being offered in modern society, choices that were not offered in earlier societies, before mass production of goods became the norm. This mass production had a side effect as well, one that would influence the post-modern individual’s obsession with labels and designers – branding became essential, as there were so many goods flooding the market, that companies needed to distinguish their goods from the multitude of other goods that were coming into existence. According to Naomi Klein, this led to competitive branding and, ultimately, to the rise of designer labels, such as Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. Because brands are essentially the same – Coke is not really that much different from Pepsi, Reebok is not much different than Nike, Apples are not appreciably different from PCs – companies must find a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Goldman & Papson argue that this has led to a rather cluttered landscape for the world of advertising, as each brand tries to get a leg up on their competitors by branding themselves as somehow different from the rest. One way is by attacking and counterattacking – such as when MCI named AT&T in their advertisements for friends and family, thereby gaining market share away from AT&T, AT&T went on the defensive, deriding MCI's friends and family program as a “manipulator of personal relations” because the program involved giving MCI a person's information without that person's knowledge. Another way is by showing what a product is not – such as when Pringle's potato chips transposed an image of their light chip with that of a guy eating greasy chips that dripped on his shirt (Goldman & Pappas, 1996). Because brands have a hard time saying that their product is better than the other guys, they instead seek to raise their symbolic image value – LL Bean's flannel shirts may be the same in quality as Wal-Mart's, but the image of wearing an LL Bean's shirt makes the value more than Wal-Mart. It is all about the image that has been carefully cultivated in the advertisements for these brands, where the product and the image coming together is known as a “commodity sign”. This is what is meant when somebody says that one is “paying for the name” (Goldman & Pappas, 1996). Identity became a construct of consumption, in that people, both men and women, started using consumption not as a way to express one's identity, but to construct it - “brands are how we figure out who we are.”(Kacen, 2000). This reflects the fluidity of an individual's identity, and reflects that gender identity is also a fluid concept, as opposed to a fixed attribute (Kacen, 2000). Part of this was made possible by the Nikes and Tommy Hilfigers of the world who are not just selling products, but the image that their brand connotes. Therefore, mere manufacturing has been replaced by marketing (Klein, 2000). Price discounting may to differentiate one’s brand from other brands because of the problem of brand similarity. There is some indication that price discounting may actually hurt a store’s image and the brand image, and that it might not build sales (Grewal et al., 1998). Therefore, whether or not it actually works depends on other factors. One factor is known as the perceived discount. According
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8 Pages(2000 words)Dissertation
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