Pham Hai Chung: Brand consumption, urban youth and emerging markets

Researcher: Pham Hai Chung

My research area focuses on youth identity definition created through local consumption preferences by exploring the complexity and dynamics in the process of negotiation and re-negotiation of brand associations within a cultural context; and investigating the role of media, especially advertising, in inspiring consumer’s brand choices. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam are chosen as case studies in my research.

Vietnamese youth in cities present a powerful new consumer force, actively embracing the themes of modernity and globalisation when the country adopts the policy of free markets and the new landscape of media. They are inspired to inform their identity through consumption. While the urban youth appeared to readily accept these changes and constantly adjust to the values in materialism, the State are more hesitant and nostalgic for traditional values, concerning a loss of true Vietnamese cultural tradition and the socialist past.

The State has effectively sought to ensure its political survival, through the economic and social upheaval of market reform. Vietnamese urban youth negotiate themselves to integrate new practices with established traditions in the adaptability of new consumer culture.

This project will investigate the meanings of brands asserted in Vietnamese urban youth’s identity with projective techniques applied in questionnaire and in-depth interviews aiming to explicitly understand the way they construct their identity through brand consumption and the influence of media.

The research contributes to explore the phenomena, in contemporary Vietnam, of young urban middle-class consumers, who themselves desire to creatively build their social identity through brand consumption, and to expand existing knowledge of the transnational urban middle-class youth as a transnational culture influenced by globalisation.

phamhaichung at 5th Annual PGR conference, Bournemouth University

Pham Hai Chung presenting her research at BU’s 5th Annual Post-graduate Research Conference.