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It’s Not What You Sell: It’s Whom You Sell it To: How the Customer’s Character Shapes Brands and What Companies Do About it
Göteborgs universitet. Handelshögskolan. Företagsekonomiska institutionen.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0419-8654
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this dissertation I investigate the effects of user and usage imagery on brands and how businesses employ user imagery to build brands. Over four articles I present results that suggest that user imagery affects brand personality and that companies under certain conditions adapt their behavior to optimize this effect. Although both mass market fashion and nightclubs are susceptible to the influence of user imagery, out of the two only nightclubs actively reject customers to improve its effect on brand perception. I relate these practices to the practical and financial feasibility of rejecting customers, the character of nightclubs’ brands, and to their inability to differentiate their brands through any other brand personality influencer besides user imagery. In this dissertation, I also discuss the ethical ramifications of user imagery optimization through customer rejection. In one study, the role of conspicuous usage imagery on socially desirable consumer behavior is investigated. It is concluded that conspicuousness increases consumers' propensity to choose environmentally friendly products, and that this tendency is especially pronounced for individuals that are high in attention to social comparison information. The conclusion is that consumers use green products to self-enhance for the purpose of fitting in with the group rather than to stand out from it.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Förlag Göteborgs Universitet, 2015. , p. 120
Keywords [en]
brands, self-image congruity, brand personality, user imagery, fashion, nightclubs, green consumer behavior, self-monitoring ability, attention to social comparison information, ATSCI
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-54563ISBN: 978-91-7246-341-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-54563DiVA, id: diva2:1591566
Available from: 2021-09-07 Created: 2021-09-07 Last updated: 2021-09-07Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The influence of real women in advertising on mass market fashion brand perception
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The influence of real women in advertising on mass market fashion brand perception
2011 (English)In: Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, ISSN 1361-2026, E-ISSN 1758-7433, Vol. 15, no 4, p. 486-502Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the weight of ideal users affects the perception of mass market fashion brands. Design/methodology/approach: An experiment was carried out in which 640 university students replied to a web survey, rating the brand personality of jeans and shirts according to Aaker's Big Five construct. The garments were worn by thin, overweight, and obese models. Findings: The findings show that consumers' impressions of mass market fashion brands are significantly affected by the weight of ideal users. Slender models lead to the most positive brand perception followed by obese models. Overweight user imagery is for pure fashion brand building the least attractive kind. Research limitations/implications: A limitation of this study is the use of convenient student samples. Consequently, the generalization of the results beyond this convenience sample may be limited. It is further possible, even probable, that high fashion would suffer more from the negative imagery of overweight and obese users than mass market fashion. It would therefore be interesting to replicate this experiment using clothes of higher fashion grade and price. Practical implications: The demonstrated effects of user imagery support the industry practice of slim ideal female imagery. Social implications: The results inform the debate over skinny models vs real women in advertising. Originality/value: Previous research regarding the effectiveness of real women in advertising has been inconclusive. This paper demonstrates not only that model weight affects consumers' brand perception, but also how.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2011
Keywords
Brand personality, Clothing, Fashion, Individual psychology, User imagery, Women
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-54548 (URN)10.1108/13612021111169960 (DOI)2-s2.0-80053065624 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2013-05-23 Created: 2021-09-06 Last updated: 2021-09-07Bibliographically approved
2. To sell or not to sell: Overweight users’ effect on fashion assortments
Open this publication in new window or tab >>To sell or not to sell: Overweight users’ effect on fashion assortments
2010 (English)In: Journal of Brand Management, ISSN 1350-231X, E-ISSN 1479-1803, Vol. 18, no 1, p. 66-78Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Overweight people claim to be mistreated by the fashion industry. Fashion companies disagree. Despite the controversy, actual research has been scarce. This study compares the sizes of clothes that the four leading mass-marketing fashion retailers in Sweden offer to the body sizes of the population. Although branding theory would support the idea of rejecting fat consumers to improve user imagery for fashion brands, such practices were not evident. The main contribution of this article is that it provides the first quantified empirical evidence on the theory of typical user imagery. In the discussion, it is posited that, although mass-market fashion brands should be susceptible to negative user imagery related to overweight and obese users, the companies avoid such problems by making garments that are not directly attributable to a specific brand, thus mitigating the negative effect of overweight and obese user imagery.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010
Keywords
assortments, brands, fashion, product and brand management
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-54549 (URN)10.1057/bm.2010.23 (DOI)2-s2.0-77956455294 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2011-01-26 Created: 2021-09-06 Last updated: 2021-09-07Bibliographically approved
3. Green consumer behavior: being good or seeming good?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Green consumer behavior: being good or seeming good?
2016 (English)In: Journal of Product & Brand Management, ISSN 1061-0421, Vol. 25, no 3, p. 274-284, article id 115980330Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: This paper aims to expand the emerging field of symbolic green consumer behavior (GCB) by investigating the impact of anticipated conspicuousness of the consumption situation on consumers’ choice of organic products. In addition, the paper also explores whether self-monitoring ability and attention to social comparison information (ATSCI) influence GCB in situations of anticipated high conspicuousness.

Design/methodology/approach: Two experiments test the study’s hypotheses.

Findings: The results of both experiments show that the anticipation of conspicuousness has a significant effect on GCB. Moreover, in Experiment 2, this effect is moderated by consumers’ level of ATSCI but not by their self-monitoring ability.

Research limitations/implications: Because ATSCI significantly interacts with green consumption because of the anticipation of a conspicuous setting, although self-monitoring ability does not, we conclude that social identification is an important determinant of green consumption.

Practical implications: Marketers who focus on building green brands could consider designing conspicuous consumption situations to increase GCB.

Social implications: Policymakers could enact change by making the environmental unfriendliness of non-eco-friendly products visible to the public and thus increase the potential for GCB.

Originality/value: The results validate the emerging understanding that green products are consumed for self-enhancement, but also expand the literature by highlighting that a key motivating factor of GCB is the desire to fit in.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2016
Keywords
Green consumer behavior, Self-enhancement, Branding, ATSCI, Attention to social comparison information, Self-monitoring ability
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-54551 (URN)10.1108/JPBM-06-2015-0903 (DOI)000379340200006 ()2-s2.0-84977584445 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2016-06-29 Created: 2021-09-06 Last updated: 2021-09-07Bibliographically approved
4. Misery as Corporate Mission: User Imagery at the Nightclub The Spy Bar
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Misery as Corporate Mission: User Imagery at the Nightclub The Spy Bar
2008 (English)In: Journal of Current Issues in Finance, Business and Economics, ISSN 1935-3553, Vol. 2, no 1, p. 55-68Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Despite extensive corporate responsibility research into both what products firm produce and how they produce them, research is lacking in one product category in which the what and how linkage create questionable corporate practice – luxury products. Luxury is in some cases created by companies controlling the so-called user imagery of their customers, i.e., by companies encouraging ‘desirable’ individuals to consume their products and obstructing ‘undesirable’ individuals from consumption. This chapter critically analyses the implications of this corporate practice based on a study of Sweden’s most luxurious nightclub. The study’s results show that the nightclub has organised its activities to allow categorisations of individuals into ‘desirable’ and ‘undesirable’ customers. Furthermore, the study shows that a creation of ‘misery’ for the vast majority of individuals (the ‘undesirable’) is essential for creating ‘enjoyment’ for the selected few (the ‘desirable’). The chapter concludes by discussing implications for practitioners interesting in altering this situation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2008
Keywords
marketing, ethics
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-54557 (URN)2082/3360 (Local ID)2082/3360 (Archive number)2082/3360 (OAI)
Note

Reprinted in L.A. Parrish (ed.) (2007) Business Ethics in Focus. Nova Publishers; 275-288, and M. W. Vilcox and T. O. Mohan (eds.) (2007) Contemporary Issues in Business Ethics. Nova Publishers; 163-176.

Available from: 2009-09-14 Created: 2021-09-06 Last updated: 2021-09-07Bibliographically approved

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