Colin was awarded his MBA with an emphasis on international marketing from the University of Liverpool (Liverpool, England). At the time he was traveling frequently to Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai, as well as into neighboring Vietnam, Japan, and the Philippines.
Though this was the late 2,000′s, not so long ago, it marked a historic rise in Chinese economic power and domestic affluence. Colin’s dissertation, titled “The Luxury Brand and Its Growing Demand in China” presented an “investigation into brands and branding in relation to China’s trend toward more individualistic consumer behavior with an increased affinity for luxury products.”
As he will readily admit, the appeal of the topic and exploration was not due to a personal affinity for the Chanel’s and LV’s of the world (though he’ll also admit his affinity for several Rolex vintages). Rather, it was the psychological drivers and wholesale cultural shifts leading to some incredibly conspicuous consumption he found fascinating.
A favorite quote, from Chadha & Husband:
“Everyone waits with bated breath and towering expectations as China takes its first wobbly steps in Manolo Blahniks.”
An excerpt from the abstract:
A key success factor for almost any brand, particularly an international luxury brand, is to quickly and effectively determine the optimal mix of branded communications (e.g., advertising, direct marketing, retail promotion, product design, online marketing, word of mouth, etc.) that maintain the core tenets of the brand – its brand identity – while ensuring that consumer perceptions, psychological needs, and cultural differences are not only appropriately and accurately assessed as potential challenges, but also leveraged as strategic opportunities for the brand. After China’s many years of communism and market socialism that resulted in the majority of its citizens living in poverty, the country now boasts a new elite that is showing off its recently acquired wealth (Chandler 2004). As a result, Western luxury brands are rushing into an increasingly hot Chinese market, and include products from LVMH, Prada, Gucci, Dior, YSL, Armani, Zegna and Cartier (Chandler 2004).
A complete copy of the published dissertation is available to read or download:
J. Colin Mangham 28MARCH09x