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Brand magnification: when brands help people reconstruct their lives

Gregorio Fuschillo (Kedge Business School, Marseille, France)
Julien Cayla (Nanyang Business School, Singapore)
Bernard Cova (Kedge Business School, Marseille, France)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 27 January 2022

Issue publication date: 6 April 2022




This paper aims to detail how consumers can harness the power of brands to reconstruct their lives.


The authors followed five brand devotees over several years, using various data collection methods (long interviews, observations, videos, photographs and secondary data) to study how they reconstructed their lives with a brand.


Consumers transform their existence through a distinctive form of brand appropriation that the authors call brand magnification, which unfolds: materially, narratively and socially. First, brand devotees scatter brand incarnations around themselves to remain in touch with the brand because the brand has become an especially positive dimension of their lives. Second, brand devotees mobilize the brand to craft a completely new life story. Finally, they build a branded clan of family and friends that socially validates their reconstructed identity.

Research limitations/implications

The research extends more muted depictions of brands as soothing balms calming consumer anxieties; the authors document the mechanism through which consumers remake their lives with a brand.

Practical implications

The research helps rehabilitate the role of brands in contemporary consumer culture. Organizations can use the findings to help stimulate and engage employees by unveiling the brand’s life-transforming potential for consumers.


The authors characterize a distinctive, extreme and unique form of brand appropriation that positively transforms consumer lives.



Fuschillo, G., Cayla, J. and Cova, B. (2022), "Brand magnification: when brands help people reconstruct their lives", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 56 No. 3, pp. 768-798.



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