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‘Pink is for girls, blue is for boys’ exploring brand gender identity in children’s clothing, a post‐evaluation of British retailer John Lewis.

Nash, J. and Sidhu, C., 2023. ‘Pink is for girls, blue is for boys’ exploring brand gender identity in children’s clothing, a post‐evaluation of British retailer John Lewis. Journal of Brand Management.

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Pink is for Girls, Blue is for Boys .pdf - Accepted Version
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DOI: 10.1057/s41262-023-00310-3


“I think if my girl knew it was gender-neutral, she wouldn’t want it, because she would say ‘well that’s for boys Mum’ and she wants girls’ stuff, just girls’ stuff like all the other little girls”. Brand gender identity has been widely explored within academia and is integral to the way brands engage with their respective gendered target audiences. A brand can be seen to adopt a masculine or feminine personality through a myriad of symbolic and functional representations which play a crucial role in conveying a brand gender identity. Prior research suggests that brands with a strong gender identity (either masculine or feminine) will encourage formidable consumer-based brand equity (CBBE). But what if those gender identities are transforming and those typical personality traits are no longer clear? We are in the midst of a gender revolution, a shifting landscape of gender identity which is equally challenging existing brand gender theory and brand management practice. Since the societal shifts in definitions of gender identities, there has been a rapid rise in the adoption of gender-neutral brands in the apparel industry. Despite this rise in popularity, this field has been relatively un-explored in academia and even-less so within the category of children’s clothing. The existing literature has expressed concerns over the impinging factors that impact gender-neutral brands, specifically marketing complexity and confusing con- sumer proposition. Furthermore, it is not clear within the existing literature how gender-neutral brands combine the masculine and feminine functional attributes in the formation of brand gender identity, or how gender identity and gender stereotypes impact parents' perceptions of gender-neutral childrenswear in the retail environment. Therefore, this explorative research is exceptionally beneficial to practitioners and brand academics based on the growing rise of gender-neutral brands being adopted by the industry. In this paper, we explore brand gender identity in children’s clothing, specifically parent consumer perceptions of gender-neutral brands with the adoption of a specific single study on British retailer John Lewis. This paper is significant because it is valuable to clothing brand strategists planning to adopt gender-neutral approaches, equally this is essential reading for brand management academics as the paper proposes to develop academic thinking on brand gender identity. Qualitative research methods were deployed and the findings support the impact of the cognitive antecedents in the top-down processing of the participants’ formation of perceptions. Moreover, the findings revealed the existing themes of social acceptance, including perceived homosexuality and social in/out-group culture and the role of parents on gender- neutrality for their children which found to have a direct impact on the formation of the negative perceptions. The study proposes a conceptual framework based on the findings which incorporate the negative perceptions of gender-neutral brands, specifically correlating with the existing research on brand gender conformity and non-conformity in symbolic consumption.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:gender identity;branding;child gender identity;fashion
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:38245
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:07 Mar 2023 14:38
Last Modified:13 Feb 2024 01:08


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