Symbolic Consumption
It is the process through which consumers—on the basis of symbols—buy, consume, and dispose of products and services.
Consumers buy and use goods and services for both their utility and the things that they represent.
Are consumers attracted by certain logos?
Are certain logos appropriate for some products but not by others
Levis Tailored classics case

It refers to the study of signs and their meanings
How consumers use symbols to interpret the world
How symbols are chosen and given meaning
How they provide insights into the lives of consumers
What are the logos for Penn State? For Temple? What are the logos for Rutgers?
Why were they chosen?

Logos and their creation
Factual meaning – what’s shown on the logo is related to something factual regarding the product – e.g. Rutgers 1766
What’s on the FedEx logo?
Learned meaning  - what’s shown in the logo is created and learned by the consumer – there is no factual relationship – e.g. Nike “swoosh”
Signs and Their Influence
Icons—visual representations of objects, persons, or events
Clear, unambiguous
Indexes—easily recognizable property(ies) of the idea that they represent
E.g., the “click” of a well-struck golf shot
Symbols—learned associations between a signifier and a signified that are used to communicate ideas – e.g Golden Arches

Self-Image: Forms of Self-Image
Self-image is the configuration of beliefs related to the self
The relationships between consumers and the products that they buy
Own a sports car ? attractive and outgoing
Actual self-image (or private self): it involves those images that one has of oneself about which one feels protective—how consumers see themselves
The self-consistency motive: doing things that are consistent with one’s own self-image

Forms of Self-Image (continued)
Ideal self-image: how consumer would like to be
By acquiring products consistent with their ideal self-image, consumers may boost their self-esteem
Social self-image: how we believe people think of us, and how we like people to think of us
The social consistency motive
Use of products to try to create a self image that is appropriate for a given social situation

Self-Image Congruence
See diagram on page 139
Self-image congruity: when a consumer’s self-image matches brand-user image
Actual self-congruity: brand user image is  matching with the consumer’s actual self-image
Ideal self-congruity: brand user image is  matching the consumer’s ideal self-image
Social self-congruity: brand user image is matching the consumer’s social self-mage
Ideal social self-congruity: brand user image is matching the consumer’s ideal social self-image

Gender Roles and Self-Image
Men’s vs. women’s products
Gender typed products may be matched with consumers’ gender-role orientation:
Masculinity—independence, toughness, aggressiveness, competitiveness, achievement, rebelliousness
Femininity—tenderness, sensitivity, dependence, compliance, cooperation
Androgyny—both masculine and feminine characteristics

Body Image
It refers to how people view their bodies, physical selves, and appearance
It is central to personal identity
Actual body image  vs. ideal body image
Consider the growth in cosmetic surgery  - is our view of body image changing?
Breast enhancements, tummy tucks, botox, chin lifts, eye lifts, lip enhancers, ..
People are often very satisfied with specific parts of their body – e.g. they really like their hair

It refers to an individual’s consistent response tendencies across situations and over time – general trends
State approach to personality—understanding the individual in the context of the whole
It allows us to predict what a person will do in a particular situation
Trait approach to personality—understanding personality traits (consistent tendencies to respond to a given situation in certain ways)
General traits vs. consumption-specific personality traits

Do General Personality Traits Influence Consumer Behavior
It is measured using 12 adjectives*: impulsive, careless, self-controlled (RC**), extravagant, farsighted (RC), responsible (RC), restrained (RC), easily tempted, rational (RC), methodical (RC), enjoy spending, and planner (RC).

Specific Personality Traits and Consumer Behavior
The market maven consumer—the kind of consumer who has information about many kinds of products, places to shop, and other aspects of the marketplace.
Has early awareness of new products
Exhibits high levels of specific information provision to others
Demonstrates a high level of general market information
Demonstrates a high level of market interest
Tends to read much of direct mail advertising
Implications for the marketing of new products

Consumer Innovativeness
It refers to the tendency on the part of consumers to be among the first to purchase new products within specific categories
Diffusion of innovations
Implications for the marketing of new products

Opinion Leadership
An opinion leader is a person who is well versed in a product category because perhaps his or her job is related to the product
Being motivated to “spread the word” (positive or negative)
Market maven versus opinion leader
Implications for the marketing technological innovations

Other Consumption-Specific Personality Traits
Coupon proneness—the tendency to redeem coupons by purchasing the advertised product or service
Value consciousness—the amount of concern the consumer has for need-satisfying properties of the product or service in relation to the price of that product or service
Deal proneness—the tendency to look for “deals