How do contemporary promotional cultures construct a relationship with consumers through brands and how active are consumers in this relationship? Illustrate your answer with examples.
This paper provides a framework for the relationship formed between brands and consumers; It will attempt to discover what this relationship looks like from an annalist point of view, additionally it will be touching upon brand management, this will be applied in relation to appropriate examples such as the US clothing brand, Abricombie & Fitch (A&F). Moreover, It will be analyzing the concept of “active consumers”, whilst attempting to understand how active are consumers in this relationship.
“Brands are product names that have meaning attached to them through naming, packaging, advertising and marketing.”(Marita Sturken, 2004) Branding originates in the late nineteenth century, companies had realized the advantage of associating and marketing their product with “meanings that distinguished the qualities of a company and its products from other similar products”. Although the “origins of branding in the rise of consumer society can show us how products were turned into brands, the extent of branding culture and the complexity of consumers' relationship to brands today have changed dramatically since that time” (Sturken. M).
The relationships between consumers and brands has been investigated thoroughly in the past by various different researchers, many of which suggest that this relationship is of equal and mutual input, suggesting that the consumer acquires a large input in order to create a lasting relationship. Giep Franzen describes the relationship between the customer and the brand as being a mutual relationship [..] comprising an interaction component and an attitude component, he goes on to discuss that the former is the number and content of the interactions between a person and a brand. The latter is ones attitude towards a brand and the brand's attitude towards the person, as he or she experiences it. (Franzen, 1999). Susan Fournier (1998) suggests that the relationship between brands and consumers are similar to those between people. She discusses in her article Consumers and their brands: Developing relationship theory in consumer research (1998) that consumers show no difficulty in consistently assigning personality qualities to inanimate brand objects, in thinking about brands as if they were human characters (p. 344). Franzen (1999) states that a relationship is usually characterized by a uniting interest. It may be a sociological interest concerning the influencing of the self-image or the pursuit of terminal values. To further discuss the relationship between brands and consumers the brand Abercrombie & Fitch will be used as an example throughout.
Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) was first established in Manhattan, US in 1892 (BBC Three - Secrets of the Superbrands) their garments are at an average quality, whilst contain minimal design with...