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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…

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

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Book part
Publication date: 11 August 2014

Anna Fyrberg-Yngfalk, Bernard Cova, Stefano Pace and Per Skålén

Confessions are said to be important for members’ tribal experiences and they are usually ascribed religious meanings in existing research on consumer tribes. This…

Abstract

Purpose

Confessions are said to be important for members’ tribal experiences and they are usually ascribed religious meanings in existing research on consumer tribes. This suggests that confessions have a regulative role for tribal life. By employing the Foucauldian notion of pastoral power, the present study explores confession practices and examines how control is manifested.

Methodology

The study is based on a netnographic study and analysis of tribal members’ confessions across three online consumer tribes devoted to opera (Loggionisti, who are opera aficionados of the La Scala theatre in Milan, Italy), sports (football and hockey fans of Djurgården, Sweden), and cars (Alfa Romeo owners).

Findings

We demonstrate how confessions align consumers with the common tribe ethos and how this constitutes members into various subject positions, which are fundamental social processes for reinforcing the tribe. More specifically, it demonstrates four types of subject positions: the ‘pastor’, ‘regular sheep’, ‘good sheep’ and ‘black sheep’, and how these subject positions regulate the actions of tribe members.

Research implications

The present study theorizes how control is manifested and facilitated in consumer tribes. The study also explicates the confession and its role as a religious regulating practice fundamental for the life of a consumer tribe.

Practical implications

Community managers can recognize the different subject positions that emerge within a community and help facilitate the interactions among community members.

Originality/value of chapter

Previous studies are silent about how confessions reproduce control in consumer tribes. The present study highlights confession practices and the constitution of subject positions, which regulate as well as reinforce consumer tribes.

Details

Consumer Culture Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-811-2

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Article
Publication date: 7 March 2020

Carlos A. Diaz Ruiz, Lisa Penaloza and Jonas Holmqvist

This paper aims to investigate the dynamics of ephemerality within consumer tribes by conceptualizing how tribes constitute, disperse and reconstitute. Building upon…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the dynamics of ephemerality within consumer tribes by conceptualizing how tribes constitute, disperse and reconstitute. Building upon assemblage thinking, a philosophical approach that redistributes agency from the subject to a web of interconnected human–material actants, this paper shows that tribes manifest via hybrid assemblages of people, things and ideas.

Design/methodology/approach

Insights are drawn from a three-year assemblage-oriented ethnographic study of a salsa-dancing tribe, specifically their ephemeral gatherings across multiple sites without hierarchical organization. Methods include observations as a consumer–participant, producer–participant and in-depth interviewing.

Findings

Introduces a framework documenting how tribes disperse temporarily and reconstitute via a dual process of ascription and distribution. Tribes reconstitute when consumers reproduce an assemblage that effectively overcomes a meshwork of practical challenges. Consumers ascribe to the standards of the tribe while, alternatively, tribes distribute the assemblage beyond the immediate group.

Research limitations/implications

Conceptualizes the socio-technical dynamics that tribes mobilize to disassemble and reassemble through ephemeral gatherings. Proposes a framework on hybrid interdependencies, including not only participants but also techniques, devices and sites.

Practical implications

While previous research shows that tribes can collapse, the authors propose that marketers can intervene to foster long-term resilience. As tribes disperse, consumer and marketing efforts operate at different temporal sequences to enable tribal reconstitutions.

Originality/value

Contributes to the literature on consumer tribes by theorizing ephemerality per ascription and distribution mechanisms.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 54 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article
Publication date: 11 January 2011

Cleo Mitchell and Brian C. Imrie

The purpose of this paper is to extend the emergent consumer tribe literature to facilitate a more complete understanding of the antecedents and roles implicit within…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to extend the emergent consumer tribe literature to facilitate a more complete understanding of the antecedents and roles implicit within consumer tribal membership. Principally a conceptual paper, this study focuses upon how a more complete understanding of consumer roles can be leveraged to create sustainable loyalty.

Design/methodology/approach

This study comprised an examination of the tribe's social behaviour, membership roles and influence on individual consumption. The research was approached interpretively with a case study design investigating a tribe of vinyl record collectors in a New Zealand context.

Findings

Key findings include the confirmation of Kozinets' antecedents of tribal membership and the four roles of tribal members previously conceptualised by Cova and Cova. The tribe was found to have a core set of values that moderated any individual differences. A hierarchy, managed through the distribution of “cultural capital”, was found to exist amongst the group. In an extension of Cova's modelling a fifth role of “Chief” was identified, whereby the Chief was found to act as an opinion leader and organiser amongst the group.

Research limitations/implications

Owing to constraints of both time and research funding, only one tribe was examined in this case study, hence the results are very specific to the group studied. Future research should apply the managerial implications from this study to other case contexts to test and expand understanding of consumer tribe dynamics and the creation of consumer loyalty.

Originality/value

This paper creates a link between extant consumer behaviour, loyalty and consumer culture theory. The presented results have implications for the marketing manager through advancement towards creation of a model of tools a firm can use to connect with and build sustainable loyalty with consumer tribes.

Details

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, vol. 23 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-5855

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Article
Publication date: 20 July 2015

Lorna Ruane and Elaine Wallace

This study aims to examine the relationship between social influence and consumers’ self-expression through brands. It considers susceptibility to interpersonal influence…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the relationship between social influence and consumers’ self-expression through brands. It considers susceptibility to interpersonal influence and social network influence on self-expressive brands and brand tribalism. The study examines whether self-expressive brands and brand tribalism influence brand loyalty and word of mouth (WOM).

Design/methodology/approach

A cross-sectional online survey was carried out with members of Generation Y in Ireland. Data from 675 complete responses were analysed using SPSS 20 and AMOS 20. A structural model tested nine hypothesised relationships.

Findings

Findings indicate that both online social network influence and susceptibility to interpersonal influence are antecedents of tribalism and self-expressive brands. Consumers of self-expressive brands are loyal and offer positive WOM. By contrast, those who seek tribal membership have less brand loyalty and offer less WOM than other consumers. Findings suggest that consumers may be loyal to tribes, rather than to brands. This informs our understanding of the role of tribes for consumers and brand outcomes.

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited to Generation Y consumers within Ireland.

Originality/value

This is the first study to explore the effect of consumers’ perceptions about online social network influence on brand tribalism. In addition, their views about the influence of the social network on self-expressive brand consumption, and brand outcomes, are identified. This paper highlights consumers’ susceptibility to interpersonal influence on their brand choices and brand tribalism. In addition, it is shown that brand loyalty and WOM are not always a consequence of tribal membership. By contrast, self-expressive brand consumption enhances brand WOM and brand loyalty.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

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Article
Publication date: 14 March 2016

May Aung and Ou Sha

A number of postmodern consumer scholars have their attention on the consumption behaviour of neo-tribes. Changing gender roles and households’ consumption practices have…

Abstract

Purpose

A number of postmodern consumer scholars have their attention on the consumption behaviour of neo-tribes. Changing gender roles and households’ consumption practices have also shaped new sets of cultural manifestations for the clothing consumption milieu. The purpose of this paper is to explore the clothing consumption culture of a neo-tribe, gay professionals within the subculture of gay consumers.

Design/methodology/approach

An extended conceptual framework built upon Ajzen and Fishbein’s (1980) theory of “reasoned action” served as the conceptual guideline for this study. Specifically, the attitude-behaviour framework is proposed and employed to better understand the clothing consumption behaviour of a neo-tribe consisting of gay professionals. Personal in-depth interviews were conducted in a metropolitan city as well as two small towns in Canada.

Findings

Stereotypical as well as non-stereotypical understandings are offered. The findings from this study portrayed the gay professions of this neo-tribe as rational and practical. Personal psychological factors, social factors and marketplace factors relevant to a neo-tribe of gay professionals are documented and deeper insights are presented.

Research limitations/implications

Findings challenge the existing understanding of fashion manifestation for this consumers group. However, this study may be of limited scope. Future studies should further examine the clothing consumption cultural manifestations of other neo-tribes within the gay community.

Practical implications

The interviewees consistently demonstrated their positive attitudes towards quality, stylish and conservative clothing. For marketers it is crucial to perceive the gay community as a non-homogeneous market segment. There is a need to understand different consumption practices within this community and to tailor marketing mix elements accordingly.

Originality/value

This study has extended the understanding of the neo-tribes of gay consumers. In addition, this study offers the clothing consumption reality of a neo-tribe encompassing gay professionals. This study illuminates their rational and practical clothing consumption cultural manifestations and clothing consumption behaviour. These insights further enrich the general understandings that exist in the area of consumer research.

Details

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1361-2026

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Book part
Publication date: 5 February 2018

Silvia Biraghi, Rossella C. Gambetti and Stefano Pace

Purpose: This study explores how the interplay between a passionate consumer and his embeddedness in the lively network of a consumer tribe represents a fertile…

Abstract

Purpose: This study explores how the interplay between a passionate consumer and his embeddedness in the lively network of a consumer tribe represents a fertile environment for the emergence of an entrepreneurial venture that is able to combine micro- and macro-level concerns bridging tribe and marketplace needs.

Design/methodology/approach: The research, set within the context of an exemplar consumer’s entrepreneurial project, was conducted following a netnographic methodological approach.

Findings: By fluidly moving from within to outside the tribe in the wider marketplace, the entrepreneur crafts his own new space in the market through a cultural mediation work that effectively combines the affective, immaterial labor characterizing the social glue of the tribe collective ethos with entrepreneurial spirit and sharp marketing and consumer insight abilities. The entrepreneur acts as a resource integrator of traditional firm-driven and emerging consumer-driven marketplace without opposing existing market structures, but rather valorizing them through his intermediation work.

Research limitations: This is a single-case study that, although exemplar, needs to be expanded and consolidated with further empirical evidence.

Originality/value: The study contributes to extant literature on consumer-driven market emergence and new market system dynamics by uncovering the role of consumer entrepreneur as a reconfigurator of the existing market resources.

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Book part
Publication date: 14 June 2018

Jacek Pogorzelski

Abstract

Details

Managing Brands in 4D
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-102-1

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Article
Publication date: 11 March 2014

Harry A. Taute and Jeremy Sierra

Companies should move beyond product attribute positioning to fostering affective-laden relationships with customers, as customers often want to feel engaged with the…

Abstract

Purpose

Companies should move beyond product attribute positioning to fostering affective-laden relationships with customers, as customers often want to feel engaged with the brand they purchase. These brand tribal members share something emotively more than mere brand ownership. As measures of brand engagement continue to evolve, proven instruments measuring brand tribalism and studies investigating its explanatory power are limited. The purpose of this paper is to help fill this research fissure by offering a three-study approach, leaning on Sahlin's anthropological theory of segmented lineage.

Design/methodology/approach

In Study 1, the authors develop and evaluate the measurement properties of a brand tribalism scale. Using survey data in Study 2 and Study 3, the applicability of brand tribalism on brand-response variables across two technological contexts is examined.

Findings

Data drawn from ordinary brand users confirm scale validity while questioning the efficacy of communal social structures to affect brand attitude and repurchase intentions.

Research limitations/implications

Moving consumers from occasional brand users to members of their brand tribe should be one of many company objectives. The studies here offer acumen as to why such objectives should be pursued and how they can be met.

Originality/value

The data from the three studies lend insight to the importance of brand tribalism, its measurement properties, and raise issues regarding its effect on key brand-related outcomes.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 23 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2002

Bernard Cova and Véronique Cova

This paper presents an alternative, “Latin” vision of our societies. Here the urgent societal issue is not to celebrate freedom from social constraints, but to…

Abstract

This paper presents an alternative, “Latin” vision of our societies. Here the urgent societal issue is not to celebrate freedom from social constraints, but to re‐establish communal embeddedness. The citizen of 2002 is less interested in the objects of consumption than in the social links and identities that come with them. This Latin view holds that people like to gather together in tribes and that such social, proximate communities are more affective and influential on people’s behaviour than either marketing institutions or other “formal” cultural authorities. There is also an element of resistance and re‐appropriation in the acts of being, gathering and experiencing together. This view of the shared experience of tribes sets it apart from both Northern notions of segmented markets and one‐to‐one relationships. In this Latin view, the effective marketing of 2002 and beyond is not to accept and exploit consumers in their contemporary individualisation, as Northern approaches might. Rather the future of marketing is in offering and supporting a renewed sense of community. Marketing becomes tribal marketing. In a marketing profession challenged by the Internet phenomenon, tribal marketing is by no means just another passing fad but a Trojan horse to induce companies to take on board the re‐emergence of the quest for community.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 36 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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