A Review and a Conceptual Framework of Prestige-Seeking Consumer Behavior

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Vigneron and Johnson / A Review and a Conceptual Framework of Prestige A Review and a Conceptual Framework of Prestige-Seeking Consumer Behavior Franck Vigneron The University of Sydney California State University Northridge Lester W. Johnson Monash University

Franck Vigneron is assistant professor of Marketing, College of Business & Economics, California State University Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge CA 91330-8376, USA, franck.vigneron@csun.edu. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Professor Lester W. Johnson, Monash Mt. Eliza Business School, Monash University, PO Box 2224, Caulfield Jct., Victoria 3161, Australia. The authors thank the editor Morris B. Holbrook for his helpful suggestions, as well as three anonymous JCMR reviewers for their useful comments, on earlier versions of the manuscript. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This paper discusses the existing consumer knowledge dealing with aspects of prestige, and based on this literature, develops a conceptual framework useful for the analysis of prestige-seeking consumer behavior (PSCB). The purpose of this paper is to combine the concepts of existing research on prestige consumers (rather limited) and studies which examined entirely different aspects of consumer behavior, but coincidentally produce valuable information. By examining all the sources of prestige consumption in a broad and integrated way, we shall provide a new perspective that draws from, rather than substitutes for, previous research. The objectives of this literature review can be summarized as follows: • Contribute to the emerging literature on prestige consumption in examining and defining the key perceived values which form the concept of prestige. • Interpret and expand existing consumer behavior models in order to develop a specific prestige-seeking consumer behavior framework. • Generate a framework to help marketers build and monitor the prestige of brands. • Stimulate further research on prestige-seeking consumer behavior. Defining Prestige

The distinction between prestige brands and non-prestige brands has been operationally defined in this paper as the distinction between brands exhibiting five perceived values, contingent on a particular socioeconomic framework. 1. The consumption of prestige brands is viewed as a signal of status and wealth, and whose price, expensive by normal standards, enhances the value of such a signal (perceived conspicuous value). 2. If virtually everyone owns a particular brand it is by definition not prestigious (perceived unique value). 3. The role-playing aspects and the social value of prestige brands can be instrumental in the decision to buy (perceived social value). 4. For a brand which satisfies an emotional desire such as a prestige brand, a product's subjective intangible benefits such as aesthetic appeal is clearly determining the brand selection (perceived hedonic value). 5. Prestige is derived partly from the technical superiority and the extreme care that takes place during the production process. For instance, a Rolex Sea-dweller works 1,220 meters underwater and is hand-crafted (perceived quality value). This interpretation recognizes that the definition of prestige may vary for different people, depending on their socioeconomic background. Translated into marketing terms, consumers develop prestige meanings for brands based upon interactions with people (e.g., aspired and/or peer reference group), object properties (e.g., best quality), and hedonic values (e.g., sensory beauty). Such interactions occur at personal and societal levels. Thus, a brand's prestige is created Academy of Marketing Science Review

Volume 1999 No. 1 Available: http://www.amsreview.org/articles/vigneron01-1999.pdf Copyright © 1999Academy of Marketing Science.
Vigneron and Johnson / A Review and a Conceptual Framework of Prestige from a multitude of interactions between the consumer and elements within the environment. Prestige-seeking...
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