The purpose of this paper is to intend to understand how children organize their representational heritage of brands and what influences they may have had to build it.
The authors carried out a research divided into two parts, one with a questionnaire in which the authors characterized children and identify their behaviours when they are watching TV and surfing the net with an open question which asked them to list which brands they knew. Another qualitative research in which two focus groups were followed with the parents on the consumption habits of their children. The sample includes 602 children between eight and 11 years old. Regarding the parents, 19 participated in the two focus groups, a first in a middle-class area and a second in a lower-class area.
Children spend many hours during the week and the weekend watching TV and on the internet. As for the representation of consumption, the data were processed by gathering the brands per product categories with specific software that showed the authors, through a lexicographical analysis, a mental representation that anchors on two cores. One regards food and gathers in a star a wide range of product categories and other regarding clothing, more cognitively complex, forming stars and circles.
It was not possible to isolate two samples of children in middle class and lower class as was done with the parents, which did not allow checking this symbolic dimension of brands between these two groups. Parents’ occupations did not allow the authors to clearly identify social classes and in the attempts the authors made that were not reliable by combining the occupation of the father and of the mother.
Children are an important group to be studied, since their attitudes towards products and brands are still in a formative stage and their current experiences will affect their preferences for brands and their behaviours on the market as suggest the authors. This study may contribute to the development of marketing strategies for children by identifying the meanings of food and clothing brands that they own.
This research offers the authors clues so that in the future it can be confirmed that lower-classes children are more attentive to the symbolic dimension of brands as a way of self-expression.
A new research method using mental maps which allows for a sharper, more specific analysis, where the distinction between genders and age groups can be detected very clearly.
Carlos Estrela, R., Costa Pereira, F. and Bruno Ventura, J. (2014), "Children's socialization in consumption: the role of marketing", EuroMed Journal of Business, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 222-251. https://doi.org/10.1108/EMJB-10-2013-0051Download as .RIS
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