Uncovering the links between brand choice and personal values among young consumers in Spain and the UK
This PhD thesis presents an exploratory study examining how successfully the meansend chain model can be applied to 11-12 year old British and Spanish girls, and whether a clear association exists between their personal values and the snacks and clothing brands they choose. This study draws on the subjective-interpretive epistemology, and takes a qualitative, depth interview approach. The author uses the laddering technique to build a mental map ofbenefits offered by different brands, and the personal values that these brands in some way satisfy The author's study makes a methodological contribution to knowledge. Her findings reveal that the means-end chain model can be successfully applied to the 11-12 year old respondents, and that there is a clear association between their personal values and the snacks and clothing brands they select. This study also makes a theoretical contribution to knowledge, revealing the types of personal values satisfied by snacks and clothing brands for these young consumers. All the personal values elicited are inner-directed or outer/other-directed. A trusted brand name, while not always important, often generates reassurance, can increase self-esteem and lead to a deepened sense ofbelonging among the peer group. High levels ofinvolvement can be demonstrated for both sets ofrespondents in both product categories; clothing, in particular, helps the girls define their identities. The author's findings are relevant to both marketing managers and to public policymakers interested in children's health and welfare: respondents feel tremendous pressure to fit in with their peer group, fear social exclusion, and use snacks and clothing products to help them achieve a sense ofbe1onging. The author recommends additional research should be carried out with boys, with different age groups, with different nationalities and with different product categories to further enrich the body ofknowledge relating to children's personal values.