Lifestyle Brands
eBook - ePub

Lifestyle Brands

A Guide to Aspirational Marketing

S. Saviolo, A. Marazza

Share book
  1. English
  2. ePUB (mobile friendly)
  3. Available on iOS & Android
eBook - ePub

Lifestyle Brands

A Guide to Aspirational Marketing

S. Saviolo, A. Marazza

Book details
Book preview
Table of contents
Citations

About This Book

What do brands like Apple, Diesel, Abercrombie & Fitch and Virgin have in common and what differentiates them from other brands? These brands are able to maintain a relationship with their clients that goes beyond brand loyalty. This gives a complete analysis of Lifestyle Brands, that inspire, guide and motivate beyond product benefits alone.

Frequently asked questions

How do I cancel my subscription?
Simply head over to the account section in settings and click on “Cancel Subscription” - it’s as simple as that. After you cancel, your membership will stay active for the remainder of the time you’ve paid for. Learn more here.
Can/how do I download books?
At the moment all of our mobile-responsive ePub books are available to download via the app. Most of our PDFs are also available to download and we're working on making the final remaining ones downloadable now. Learn more here.
What is the difference between the pricing plans?
Both plans give you full access to the library and all of Perlego’s features. The only differences are the price and subscription period: With the annual plan you’ll save around 30% compared to 12 months on the monthly plan.
What is Perlego?
We are an online textbook subscription service, where you can get access to an entire online library for less than the price of a single book per month. With over 1 million books across 1000+ topics, we’ve got you covered! Learn more here.
Do you support text-to-speech?
Look out for the read-aloud symbol on your next book to see if you can listen to it. The read-aloud tool reads text aloud for you, highlighting the text as it is being read. You can pause it, speed it up and slow it down. Learn more here.
Is Lifestyle Brands an online PDF/ePUB?
Yes, you can access Lifestyle Brands by S. Saviolo, A. Marazza in PDF and/or ePUB format, as well as other popular books in Business & Business internazionale. We have over one million books available in our catalogue for you to explore.

Information

Year
2012
ISBN
9781137285935

1

BRANDS AND SOCIAL IDENTITIES: AN INCREASINGLY STRONG CONNECTION
The growing importance of symbol intensive brands within many consumer goods sectors stems from two interacting phenomena: the evolution of social identities, with its effects on consumer behaviour, and the brand changing role in a user-generated world.
1.1 THE SOCIAL IDENTITIES TODAY: A MOVING TARGET
Social identity is based on people’s dynamic concepts of themselves as either individuals or as members of groups. Many researchers have explained how we build our social identity. This literature1 has investigated through time the way in which the independent ‘self’ (self-directed, personal) and the interdependent ‘self’ (hetero-directed, relational and collective) are built in relation to the social context to which they belong. According to these social psychologists, the independent ‘self’ prevails in those people who search for true autonomy and uniqueness with respect to others, while the interdependent ‘self’ prevails in those who look for consent and approval from those reference groups they repute to be important. In this case others (family, colleagues, friends) will contribute to the definition of the social identity of an individual in a relevant manner.
Consumption patterns are often a mode of expression of people’s social identities. In fact, consumer sociologists have in turn explained that individuals do not make purchasing choices using a rational logic of economic convenience (as the first economic theories sustained): men and women, as social beings, share values, symbols and a common language that ratify their belonging to a group, by which they are influenced.
None of us is an island, we are all members of communities, be they large or small. In this context, consumption is a social phenomenon in which goods are the instruments that promote self-recognition and the ties with those who share the same values and the same points of view. In the field of sociology, classics such as The Distinction by Pierre Bourdieu and The World of Goods by Mary Douglas and Baron Isherwood have shed light on the fact that consumers buy and use products following distinctive and demonstrative logics; products are symbols of status, signalling and possibly helping to improve an individual’s social status.
To a great extent in response to the studies by Bourdieu and Douglas, a sociology of consumerism subsequently developed that recognises and gives to the act of purchase a plurality of logics, not only distinctive and not always univocal and coherent: relational logics (distinction, expression of the self), normative (signalling what is of good taste or correct) or hedonistic (personal pleasure and self-gratification). It was also observed how times, places and situations of consumption, as well as typologies of consumers and their lifestyles can help to explain consumer behaviour in their selection process. Finally, sociologists highlight the influence and the role of mediation from various ‘experts’ (from journalists to architects, from chefs to ecologists) who try to guide our choices in directions socially recognisable or relevant.
If therefore, culture, the system of relationships and the context in which we live are fundamental in driving consumption, it’s worth observing how the social context today is much more chaotic and fluid, when compared to the past. Kotler speaks of an ‘era of turbulence’ where chaos, risk and uncertainty are the more normal condition of industries, markets and companies. In the past, social identity was defined to a large extent with respect to a traditional clustering by social class, religion, ethnicity, gender, political view. Today, societies are defined as ‘liquid’, religions are under discussion, ethnicities are mixed, even national football teams seem to be an old-fashioned concept.
In contrast to traditional societies oriented towards stability where social identity and conformity were used to be a priority, individuality and self-expression are among the fundamental principles of modernity, together with risk, and flexibility and orientation towards the short term.2 In this sense, the debate among social psychologists has taken on new themes, such as the coexistence within the same person of the independent and interdependent self depending on occasions, or on the chaotic movement of consumers within market segments. Rifkin3 defines a consumer as a creative interpreter who moves with ease between plots, reciting the various scripts staged by the cultural market.
Brands must understand
the chaotic context in which
people live and
use their product.
All of this is accelerated by the use of new digital media by blogs and social networks that allow people to express themselves on a plurality of different stages. In this uncertain and complex context, the need for an individual to define his/her own identity has remained unchanged. What has also remained unchanged, or has perhaps have become even stronger, is the research and use of codes and signs to express our beliefs, preferences and attitudes. We need signalling systems that will allow us to project our own personal values and objectives. All of this makes consumption in a postmodern era an activity ever and increasingly charged with significance.
As reported by Rifkin,4 the top one-fifth of the world’s population now spends as much income accessing cultural experiences as buying manufactured goods and basic services.
In our contemporary society
brands spur affinity
or discrimination, helping
define both individual and collective identities.
If identity represents a contemporary obsession, brands are an extraordinarily effective way to express it.5 As the anthropologist Ted Polhemus or the scholar Bernard Cova suggest,6 brands, being signalling systems with a great communicative and symbolic power, allow an individual who adopts them to share a belief, to communicate a point of view in respect to society and to experiment multiple personalities, hiding or overcoming his/her original one, interpreting new ones, finally making an identity something with which the individual can play.
In this game, from time to time, the individual could prefer brands that, depending on the context and his/her contingent needs, respond to a need of self-representation, rather than brands that, by communicating aspirations, desires, needs or a vision of the world, address the need of making a statement within social groups with whom the individual interacts. Therefore, as Fournier suggests,7 if on one hand the relationship between brands and individuals is functional to the definition of their identity, on the other it is ever changing in function to the evolution of the social context and the individuals themselves. If the brand is increasingly becoming an extension of the self, this self is a moving target.
1.2 THE BRAND TODAY: AN OPEN PLATFORM
Although there have been examples even in ancient times, the identification of a manufacturer with a name or a symbol to recall functional attributes such as quality, reliability and so on has become a mass phenomenon of the last century. Brands like Campbell, General Electric and Coca-Cola were among the first examples of modern branding. With the explosion in consumption and manufacturing, from post-WWII and up to the 1960s, marketing has started to give more added value to brands beyond the tangible and functional characteristics of the product. Levi’s Jeans established themselves as work-wear at the beginning of the last century, in the West of the United States, but became a symbol of freedom and transgression for generations after they were worn by James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, or by Marlon Brando in The Wild One and On the Waterfront.
In Western countries, at the time of the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, the search for individual expression started to establish itself and consequently, so did the adoption of certain brands and products as symbols of belonging and as vehicles for the affirmation of the self. This tendency became stronger in the 1980s with the emergence of brands characterised by a proposition of articulated and aspirational added value, such as Absolut, Diesel, Nike and Ralph Lauren. In the world of consumer goods, where there has been a veritable saturation in terms of offers, products and messages, the brand takes on a social role, helping consumers to orient themselves and guide their choices especially within poorly differentiated product categories, such as detergents and food products.
Wolff Olins8 states that in a world dominated by competitiveness and where rational choices have become hard to make, brands represent reassurance, status, affiliation, helping individuals to define their identity and make better choices. The book No Logo by Naomi Klein9 opens the new millennium with a strong critique of the historical and social role of brands, inspired by the supporters of anti-globalisation and anti-Americanism. It argues that brands do exist only to sell fake promises at a higher price and through unfair manufacturing practices. Accepting this challenge, brands have responded in recent years by reinforcing the ethical dimension and dialogue with the customer through a reversal of information flow logic – from push to pull – and a new focus on customer relationship management systems.
At the same time emerging markets produce tens of millions of new consumers who quickly discover the universe of brands as a means of self-celebration.
After the initial shock, the global financial crisis starting in 2008 has gradually brought a demand for greater sobriety and understated simplicity – not intended as a demonisation of the brands, but as less waste and a need for greater selectivity. Polarisation of consumption took place between those brands considered as ‘value for money’ and brands really affecting the quality of life of the individual, for which he/she finds it legitimate to pay a higher price.
Man, as Maslow states, ‘is a perpetually wanting animal’, an animal that wants things, which will never cease to follow its desire for gratification and expression through brands. But the context has changed, and the knowledge of the social and cultural system in which the customer now lives within an increasingly globalised world becomes crucial for companies. New issues of universal interest are here to stay, such as sustainability and environmental ethics. Environmental Reports, Social Reports and in general Corporate Social Responsibility are no longer relegated to corporate communication, a means used by companies to prove to be socially acceptable and respectable, but have become a way of doing business successfully through the creation of a value shared by the company, employees, suppliers, local communities and other stakeholder categories.10
The phase of establishing a dialogue between the brand and its customer is evolving as well. The generic ‘talk with your customer’ is not enough if the dialogue is not aimed at a result. In a society that demands authenticity and value through innovation, the brand must have its own vision of the future and set out to achieve a positive impact on the lives of its customers. For Nestlé, research is a means to explore new foods that can improve people’s lives. The IKEA vision is ‘To create a better everyday life for everyone’. Lego aims to inspire and nurture those who will build tomorrow. The promise conveyed by the brand is no longer aimed at pleasing the audience but is becoming a binding link with every single customer. As Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO and founder, says: ‘Your brand is formed primarily, not by what your company says about itself, but what the company does.’
Just as a perfect filter between
how we are and how we want
to appear, brands reveal
our point of view on the world.
The integrity of a brand is not so much a concept to ‘flaunt’ as a generic moral value, but rather is the very tangible and measurable ability to do what it has promised in any customer interaction. Today the brand is a producer of content, as well as products and services. It has become a generous contributor towards a certain lifestyle rather than an exploiter of the lifestyle itself. By doing so it moves from the search for visibility at all costs towards the creation of culture and compelling experiences – with the brand as subject – in which people want to voluntarily participate, developing and enriching them. In their recent book Wikibrands, Sean Moffitt and Mike Dover said: ‘
Winning companies and brands are succeeding by learning to engage and co-create branding efforts with their most loyal and engaged customers […]. Instead of controlling the brand, marketers are opening it up to exciting new possibilities. In short, these brands are becoming ‘wiki’. The Wikibranding movement is reshaping the way in which companies build brand value. Traditional notions of stag...

Table of contents