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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Joonas Rokka and Robin Canniford

Digital technologies are changing the ways in which the meanings and identity of both consumers and brands are constructed. This research aims to extend knowledge of how…

5593

Abstract

Purpose

Digital technologies are changing the ways in which the meanings and identity of both consumers and brands are constructed. This research aims to extend knowledge of how consumer-made “selfie” images shared in social media might contribute to the destabilization of brands as assemblages.

Design/methodology/approach

Insights are drawn from a critical visual content analysis of three popular champagne brand accounts and consumer-made selfies featuring these brands in Instagram.

Findings

This study shows how brands and branded selves intersect through “heterotopian selfie practices”. Accentuated by the rise of attention economy and “consumer microcelebrity”, the authors argue that these proliferating selfie images can destabilize spatial, temporal, symbolic and material properties of brand assemblages.

Practical implications

The implications include a consideration of how selfie practices engender new challenges for brand design and brand management.

Originality/value

This study illustrates how a brand assemblage approach can guide investigations of brands at multiple scales of analysis. In particular, this paper extends knowledge of visual brand-related user-generated content in terms of how consumers express, visualize and share selfies and how the heterotopian quality of this sharing consequently shapes brand assemblages.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 50 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 10 April 2019

Stefan Schwarzkopf

Purpose: This chapter investigates how researchers assemble market research test towns as hybrid sociotechnical arrangements. Researchers use various strategies in order

Abstract

Purpose: This chapter investigates how researchers assemble market research test towns as hybrid sociotechnical arrangements. Researchers use various strategies in order to purify such hybrids into simplified representations of a fetishized imaginary, namely the average consumer.

Methodology/approach: The chapter is based on an analysis of secondary sources such as company documents. Theoretically, it draws on the concept of consumption assemblages and on anthropological theories of fetish.

Findings: Fetishization is a powerful way for both researchers and their clients to purify the hybrid assemblages they are part of into easily digestible categories such as “the real” and “the average.” In that process, the test town and its consumers emerge as a fetish that allows corporate clients to alleviate decision-making anxiety. Because of the nature of fetish, purification as a process remains incomplete.

Research Implications: These findings call for more social studies of market research as a set of practices that shape the identities of those who do the testing and forecasting. This chapter thus opens up test marketing and so-called test towns in particular as a field for consumer culture theory research.

Originality/value: This chapter provides insights into how market research creates test sites to simulate purchase behavior and pre-test consumer products. This chapter maps how different groups of actors and different technologies are enrolled in order to enact an ideal-type consumer averageness on an ongoing basis in a particular test town.

Details

Consumer Culture Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-285-3

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 7 November 2011

Robin Canniford

Purpose – This conceptual chapter clarifies concepts of marketplace community.Methodology/Approach – Through a review of selected CCT studies, the chapter explores and…

Abstract

Purpose – This conceptual chapter clarifies concepts of marketplace community.

Methodology/Approach – Through a review of selected CCT studies, the chapter explores and reviews theories of subcultures of consumption, brand communities and consumer tribes.

Findings – Subcultures of consumption, brand communities and consumer tribes exhibit divergent qualities that are summarised in a typology of communities.

Research implications – The perspectives offered by tribal studies present powerful tools that compliment subcultural and brand community approaches to understanding the construction of marketplace cultures.

Practical implications – Theory that improves the understanding of different features of marketplace communities can help marketing practitioners to determine more appropriate communal marketing strategies.

Originality/Value of paper – This chapter recommends a consistent and commonly shared set of descriptive and theoretical terms for different kinds of marketplace community.

Details

Research in Consumer Behavior
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-116-9

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 June 2005

Robin Canniford

Traditional notions of culture have become unicorns: assumed creatures of the past, whose authenticity seems increasingly doubtful. It is required of us to rethink the…

3106

Abstract

Purpose

Traditional notions of culture have become unicorns: assumed creatures of the past, whose authenticity seems increasingly doubtful. It is required of us to rethink the boundaries of culture and social science; to develop our understanding of interdependency and instability in cultural life. In order to incorporate possible discourses, the practice of research must also change. This paper discusses some problems associated with ethnography in global cultures.

Design/methodology/approach

I begin by presenting a brief history of ethnography as a method for investigating unconceptualised groups. Following this, through reference to my own research, I argue that the foundations of this methodology can be developed to include the broad networks of influences extant in contemporary cultures. To this end, I consider a solution that poses the researcher as a locus of investigation from which the relationships that construct a culture may be collated and interpretations built.

Findings

The research account I have presented tackles this issue, synthesising introspection, thick inscription, and thick transcription, and moving the researcher through a multi‐vocal, iterative, non‐linear process. Historical, technological and ideological influences come into play to negotiate between possible realities. Ethnography may place these realities into their broader political, social and personal contexts and continue yielding data for the theorisation of contemporary cultures.

Originality/value

The paper reassesses the experience of global culture with reference to the global surfing scene. It provides a practical solution to research in such cultures, and highlights the importance of a networked approach in the construction of adequate theory.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 July 2015

Michal J Carrington, Ben Neville and Robin Canniford

This study aims to explore: consumer experiences of intense moral dilemma arising from identity multiplicity conflict, expressed in the marketplace, which demand stark…

1432

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore: consumer experiences of intense moral dilemma arising from identity multiplicity conflict, expressed in the marketplace, which demand stark moral choices and consumer response to intensely felt moral tension where their sense of coherent moral self is at stake.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors gathered ethnographic data from amongst ethical consumers, and theorised the data through theory of life projects and life themes to explain how multiplicity can become an unmanageable problem in the midst of moral dilemma.

Findings

The authors reveal that in contrast to notions of liberating or manageable multiplicity conflict, some consumers experience intense moral anxiety that is unmanageable. The authors find that this unmanageable moral tension can provoke consumers to transform self and consumption choices to construct a coherent moral self. The authors identify this transformation as the meta life project.

Research limitations/implications

This work contributes to knowledge of multiplicity, consumer life themes and life projects, moral dilemma and ethical consumption by showing that some experiences of moral anxiety arising from multiplicity conflict are unmanageable, and these consumers seek moral self re-unification through the meta life project.

Practical implications

This study provides practical guidance to companies, marketers, public organisations and activist groups seeking to understand and harness consumers’ moral codes to promote ethical consumption practices.

Originality/value

The authors extend current theory of multiplicity into the moral domain to illustrate limitations of framing consumer experiences of multiplicity conflict as being either liberating or manageable when consumers’ sense of moral self is at stake. This article is of interest to academic, marketing practitioner and public policy audiences.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 49 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 20 September 2013

Gergely Nyilasy, Robin Canniford and Peggy J. Kreshel

– The purpose of this paper is to map advertising agency practitioners' mental models of creativity.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to map advertising agency practitioners' mental models of creativity.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 30 in-depth interviews among top-level advertising agency executives (creative, account and planning directors) were conducted. Design and data analysis followed the grounded theory paradigm of qualitative research.

Findings

Complementing earlier studies in advertising creativity, a multi-dimensional system of practitioner mental models was discovered. Substantive models depict agency professionals' core understanding of advertising creativity and its dialectical structure. Developmental models conceptualise the intrapersonal acquisition of creative skill as well as the social context in which advertising creativity is generated. Effectiveness models introduce native explanations for the market effectiveness of creativity. Interrelationships between the identified models are presented in detail.

Research limitations/implications

Understanding the mental models of advertising executives enriches the literature on the production side of marketing culture.

Practical implications

Shared understandings of mental models between advertising agencies and client brand management teams have the promise of reducing agency-client conflict.

Originality/value

The study's contribution is threefold: it provides an integrated view on advertising practitioners' multifaceted mental models about creativity (an area that has received little prior research attention); it models these mental models in their dynamic interaction, going beyond previous accounts that looked at topical areas in creativity in relative isolation; it redresses an imbalance in marketing theory between the production and consumption contexts of marketplace culture formation.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 47 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 24 May 2013

Christina Goulding, Avi Shankar and Robin Canniford

Studies of marketplace cultures emphasize the benefits of communal consumption and explain the ways that brand managers can leverage subcultures and brand communities. The…

9621

Abstract

Purpose

Studies of marketplace cultures emphasize the benefits of communal consumption and explain the ways that brand managers can leverage subcultures and brand communities. The ephemeral and often non‐commercial nature of consumer tribes means that they are more difficult to manage. This paper, aims to suggest that a necessary pre‐requisite for understanding how to engage with consumer tribes is to identify how consumers become members of tribes.

Design/methodology/approach

Data are drawn from a five‐year ethnographic study of the archetypical club culture tribe that utilized a variety of data collection methods including participant observation and in‐depth interviewing.

Findings

The paper identifies “learning to be tribal” as a communal practice that occurs through three interconnected processes of engagement, imagination and alignment.

Originality/value

This paper makes three contributions: it clearly distinguishes between the three main forms of communal consumption found in the marketing literature; it identifies how consumer tribes are formed; and it questions received wisdom and shows how tribal theory can guide managers to offer products and services as learning resources that facilitate tribal practices.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 47 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 September 2006

Avi Shankar, Hélène Cherrier and Robin Canniford

The purpose of this paper is to question the taken for granted assumptions that underpin a liberal or lay view of consumer empowerment implicit to this special edition. In…

8156

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to question the taken for granted assumptions that underpin a liberal or lay view of consumer empowerment implicit to this special edition. In particular, the idea that it benefits consumers to have more choice is questioned.

Design/methodology/approach

The key constructs of Michel Foucault – disciplinary power, governmentality and technologies of self – are used to argue that people can never escape from the operation of power. Rather it is shown how power operates to produce consumers.

Findings

The liberal view of the empowerment of consumers through choice is questioned. Rather we suggest the opposite; that choice is a disciplinary power and that more and more choice can lead to choice paralysis. The contemporary phenomenon known as blogging is described as a Foucauldian technology of self. Managerial implications are discussed.

Originality/value

The value of a Foucauldian inspired theory of empowerment is that it represents a more sophisticated understanding of the fluidity of power relationships between producers and consumers than can be captured by a liberal view of power and empowerment.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 40 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 September 2006

Len Tiu Wright

2040

Abstract

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 40 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 June 2005

Richard Elliott and Avi Shankar

409

Abstract

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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