Chapter 16 Symbolic Consumer Behavior
Learning Objectives~ Ch. 16 • Discuss how products, special possessions, and consumption activities gain symbolic meaning and how this meaning is conveyed from one consumer to another. • Identify how marketers can influence or make use of the symbolic meaning that consumption may have for consumers. • Distinguish between sacred and profane entities, and show why this distinction is important for marketing strategy. • Understand the process of gift giving and describe how marketers can use knowledge of this process to market more effectively.
Symbolic Meaning • Derived from culture • Categories • Principles • Derived from consumer • Symbols used to say something • Consumer as a member of group or unique individual
Emblematic Function • Geographic • Ethnic • Social class • Gender • Reference group
Establishing Emblematic Function • Development • Communication • Reinforcement • Removal
Role Acquisition Function • Phases • Separation • Transition • Incorporation • Symbols/rituals: Reflexive evaluation • Marital • Cultural • Social status
Other Symbolic Functions • Connectedness • Expressiveness • Multiple functions • Symbols & self-concept: Identity schemas • Actual • Ideal • The extended self
Marketing/Development of Consumer Self-Concepts • Product fit with self-concept • Product fit with multiple self-concepts • Advertising fit with self-concepts • Event fit with self-concepts (This event is me!) • Sponsor fit with self-concepts
Types of Special Possessions • Brands • Pets • Memory-laden objects • Achievement symbols • Collections What are your special possessions and why are they special to you?
Why Some Products Are Special • Symbolic value • Mood-altering properties • Instrumental importance • Consumer characteristics • Social class • Gender • Age
Rituals & CB • Possession (e.g., blinging your phone or car) • Grooming (e.g., shower) • Divestment (e.g., deleting all files off computer prior to donating) • Disposing (e.g., training wheels) • Other rituals: Practice rituals (e.g., the prom), rites of passage rituals (e.g., confirmation)
Sacred Meaning • Sacred entities: great respect (e.g., The Pope, The Alamo, The Great Wall of China, Princess Di) • Profane things: ordinary/mundane • People, objects, & places • Characteristics • Involve mystery/myth • Strong approach/avoidance; feeling of power • Scarcity/exclusivity • How profaned • Treated with disrespect • Commercialized (Elvis, Michael Jackson)
Gift-Giving • Promote products/services as gifts • Cause-related marketing for frivolous products • Technology & gift shopping • Ethnicity & holiday shopping • Alternatives to traditional gifts (e.g., anti-gift certificates) • Apparent in holidays like Valentine’s Day, which have elements of market resistance