How Does `Lifestyle’ Branding and Marketing Add Value to Products and Services from the Perspective of Consumers?

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Essay Marketing: How does `lifestyle’ branding and marketing add value to products and services from the perspective of consumers? In order to see how lifestyle branding and marketing adds value to products and services from the consumers perspective we need to start by explaining that the core of the consumer society is not the product or service offered but the consumer itself. Holbrook & Hirshman 1982 “characterize consumption as a flow of fantasies, feelings & fun, and focuses upon the symbolic, hedonic and aesthatic nature of consumption” thus we can argue that consumption is a psychological process through which people demonstrate social status, happiness and a self-identity. Engel, Blackwell & Miniard 1995 defines lifestyle as “patterns in which people live and spend time and money, lifestyle reflects a persons activities, interests and opinions.” O’shaughnessy 1987 re-formulates this concept slightly to fit it closer with the economic activity of consumption. He states that “consumer buying follows an overall consumption system or lifestyle; that an aspiration for the good life generates goals, some of which result in demand for specific products that contribute to the desired lifestyle.” Thus we can say that lifestyle brands attempt to embody the values and aspirations of a certain group or social culture through differentiating their products based on subjective things such as design. To start the essay I will talk about how possesions – products - contribute and add value to the concept of the extented self, and therefore how consumers identify themselves with and through possesions. As Belk 1987 explains “ we cannot hope to understand consumer behaviour without first gaining some understanding of the meaning that consumers attach to possesions.” Thus, first I will discuss how different types of reference groups can have an impact on consumers purchasing/lifestyle choices. Next, I will talk about the concepts of lifestyle branding and marketing and how brands implement and interact these effectively in the market and society. I will adress the VALS & AIO framework and forming a personal view and opinion on found research and how this adds value/affects consumers & society in a broader cultural and societal context.. Moreover i will broadly talk about Belk’s 1987 concept of self and more detailed about the processes of self extension and maintaining multiple levels of self. I will then conclude on how the lifestyle retail brands and marketing have had a positive influence on consumers. Tuan 1980 explains to us that the most basic and powerful fact of consumer behaviour is that “we regard our possesions as part of ourselves, our fragile sense of self needs support, and this we get by having and possesing things because, to a large degree, we are what we have and possess.” But this doesnt explain how we choose through which actions and possesions we establish our self-identity and more so our social identities. During the decision process of purchasing products and services consumers are influenced not only by psychological factors concering the concept of self but also by the people and social groups surrounding them. There are different types of reference groups. The first are primary and secondary reference groups. The primary reference group is the one relevant to influencing consumer behaviour as it consists of people (e.g. family, collegues, friends) with whom the consumer interacts on a regular basis and whose opinion is of importance to his identity. Also important in influencing consumer behaviour is the aspirational reference group as this consists of people against whom the individual would like to compare him/herself (e.g. Athletes, politicians, celebrities.) They represent a more ideal view of the consumers self, in contrast to the dissociative reference group which individuals use to measure what they don’t want to be like. Moreover, there are formal (e.g. unions, social clubs)...
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