* This research studies reference groups as a source of brand associations, linked to peoples’ mental representation of self needs. This is conceptualized at an aggregate level in terms of self-brand connections. Reference Groups: Social groups that are important to a consumer and against which he/she compares himself/herself. * Member group: a reference group to which an individual belongs * Aspiration Group: A reference group to which an individual wishes to belong * Consumers use others as a source of information to shape and evaluate their beliefs about the world. * Types of reference groups (Park & Lessig, 1977):
* Value expressive
* The attempt to demonstrate brand use by reference groups is a source of brand associations linked to consumers’ mental representation of self. * Consumers actively construct themselves by selecting brands with associations relevant to an aspect of their current self concept or possible self. * When consumers need to meet their self-related needs they adopt the brand images of brands used by their reference group. The sets of associations consumers have about a brand is an important component of brand equity: These associations are:
* User imagery (associations about the typical brand user - demographic, psychographic) * Psychological benefits (social approval, personal expression, outer directed self-esteem) * People engage in consumption behavior to construct their self-concepts and create their personal identity (Ball & Tasaki, 1992; Kleine, Kleine, & Kernan, 1993; Richins, 1994) * Consumers value psychological brand benefits because they can help them construct their own identity and present themselves to others. * Brands can satisfy psychological needs and reflect social ties. * Consumers construct their identities and their image reflected to others through the brands that they choose based on the...
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