Free Association

We asked our interviewees:  “What comes to your mind when you think of Coach? Why?”

 Strength: The first and therefore strongestassociations that were mentioned among them were “wristlet” (female in her 20s), “handbags and branded” (female in her 30s), “luxury” (female in her 40s), “very distinctive carriage in the logo (male)”. Other associations included “cheap bags” (female in her 20s), “people in Singapore usually get Coach bags from US outlets” (female in her 20s), “not a pricey branded good” (female in her 30s), “counterfeit products” (female in her 40s), “feel good’’ (female in her 40s), and “mum” (male – he bought Coach products for his mum).

In addition, to better understand the favorability and uniqueness of the associations, we asked our interviewees the following follow-up questions:

  1. What do you like best about Coach? What are its positive aspects?
  2. What do you dislike about Coach? What are its disadvantages?
  3. What do you find unique about Coach? How is it different from other brands? In what ways are they the same?

Favorability: Our interviewees like the affordability, versatility, design, uniqueness (easily recognized), and colours (“right” shade of brown leather used) of Coach and its products.

On the other hand, our female interviewees did not like that Coach bags “sometimes look very cheap” and   are associated with “aunties” (female in her 20s), are “ common/too common and nothing quite unique”  (females in their 30s and 40s), and that “middle-aged people use it and not really the tai-tais”  (female in her 40s). These negative associations suggest that Coach is perceived to be a brand for the more mature population who are not “upper-class” and classy/elegant enough. Our male interviewee was neutral about the brand.

 Uniqueness: Our female interviewees felt that Coach’s “monogram pattern”, “workmanship (quality and durability) and guarantee”, “much cheaper pricing”, and “bigger range of sling bags” are unique points of the brand. One point worth mentioning over here is that the female interviewee in her 20s indicated that the younger looking designs of the monogram bags/wristlets are” not very nice” because they are “not classic anymore”.  Interesting though, on the other hand, the male interviewee felt that there was “nothing particularly unique about Coach, even the monogram looks like Gucci’s”. In addition, he felt that “products for males are pretty standard.” These findings suggest that in general, as compared to female consumers, the male consumers are less discerning of brand performance and imagery aspects.




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