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CONSUMER
BEHAVIOR, 10e
Michael R. Solomon
Chapter Objectives
When you finish this chapter, you should understand why:
1. A culture is a society’s personality; it shapes our
identities as individuals.
3. Many of our consumption activities including holiday
observances, grooming, and gift giving are rituals.
4. We describe products as either sacred or profane, and
it’s not unusual for some products to move back and
forth between the two categories.
Chapter Objectives
5.
6.
8.
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10.
Styles act as a mirror to reflect underlying cultural
conditions.
Many modern marketers are reality engineers.
New products, services, and ideas spread through a
population. Different types of people are more or
less likely to adopt them.
Many people and organizations play a role in the
fashion system that creates and communicates
symbolic meaning to consumers.
Fashions follow cycles.
Learning Objective 1: What is Culture
0 A culture is a society’s personality; it
shapes our identities as individuals.
0 Includes values, ethics, and the material
objects its members produce
0 Culture is the accumulation of shared
meanings, rituals, norms, and traditions
0 A consumer’s culture determines the
overall priorities he or she attaches to
different activities and products.
Understanding Culture
0 Products can reflect underlying cultural processes of a
particular period:
0 The TV dinner for the United States
0 Cosmetics made of natural materials without animal
testing
0 Driving a hybrid car to preserve the earth
0 Texting and driving
Learning Objective 3
0 Many of our consumption activities including holiday
observances, grooming, and gift giving are rituals.
0 Common rituals: Grooming, gift giving, holiday, rites of passage
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Mother’s Day
Father’s Day
Birthday
Anniversary
Christmas/Hanukkah
Graduation
Valentines Day
Easter
Chinese New Years
Wedding
Engagement
Baby Shower
Rituals
0 Rituals are sets of multiple, symbolic behaviors that occur
in a fixed sequence and that tend to be repeated
periodically
0 Many consumer activities are ritualistic
0 Trips to Starbucks
0 Sunday brunch
0 Haircut every 6 weeks
0 Virtually all consumers practice private grooming rituals,
or ceremonies that help us transition from our private self
to our public self or back again.
0 Marketers try to get their products to become part of your
weekly, daily rituals
Gift Giving Ritual
0 We buy (or make) the perfect object, remove the price tag,
wrap and deliver the object.
0 There is a gift-giving norm of reciprocity.
0 Gift giving is a form of economic exchange in which the giver
transfers and item of value to a recipient, who must reciprocate.
0 Gift giving also involves a symbolic exchange.
0 Gift giving ritual proceeds in three distinct stages:
0 Gestation – giver procures an item to mark an event (structural/
prescribed by culture or emergent/personal and idiosyncratic).
0 Presentation – process of gift exchange, recipient response and
donor evaluation of the response.
0 Reformulation – giver and receiver redefine the bond between
them to reflect their new relationship after the exchange. This
may trigger a negative evaluation if the gift is inadequate due to a
violation of the reciprocity norm, which obliges people to return
the gesture of a gift with one of equal value.
New gift giving rituals
thought up by marketers
0 A push present is a present a father gives to the
mother to mark the occasion of her giving birth to
their child. In practice the present may be given
before or after the birth, or even in the delivery room.
The giving of push presents has supposedly grown in
the United States in recent years.
0 Kindergarten graduation
Holidays are filled with rituals
0 Christmas
0 Halloween
0 Valentine’s Day
0 Thanksgiving
0 Easter
0 Passover
0 New Years
For Reflection
0 Explain some of your own family holiday traditions.
How do they affect your behavior as consumers?
Learning Objective 4
0 We describe products as either sacred or profane, and
it’s not unusual for some products to move back and
forth between the two categories.
Sacred and Profane
Consumption
0 Sacred consumption: involves objects
and events that are set apart from
normal activities that are treated with
respect or awe
0 Wedding dress
0 Profane consumption: involves
consumer objects and events that are
ordinary and not special
0 Dress to work
Sacralization
0 Sacralization occurs when ordinary
objects, events, and even people take
on sacred meaning
0 Contamination means that the objects
we associate with sacred events
become sacred in their own right.
0 For instance, we use ornaments and
lights to celebrate the sacred event of
Christmas and these ornaments may
become sacred.
0 Collecting is the systematic acquisition
of a particular object or set of objects
Domains of Sacred Consumption
0 A society “sets apart” sacred places because they have
religious or mystical significance
0 Sacred places: religious/mystical and country heritage,
such as Stonehenge, Mecca, Ground Zero in New York
City
0 Sacred people: celebrities, royalty
0 Sacred events: athletic events, religious ceremonies
Sacred Souvenir Icons
0 Local products (e.g., regional wine)
0 Pictorial images (e.g., postcards, photos)
0 ‘Piece of the rock’ (e.g., seashells)
0 Literal representations (e.g., mini icons)
0 Markers (e.g., logo-oriented t-shirts)
Desacralization
0 Desacralization: when a sacred item/symbol is
removed from its special place or is duplicated in
mass quantities (becomes profane)
0 Religion has somewhat become desacralized
0 Christmas and Ramadan as secular, materialistic
occasions
For Reflection
0 Give examples of items that were once sacred but are
now materialized and marketed. What are the
implications in the shift in reverence to the items in
question?
Objective 5: Pop Culture
0 Commercial culture based on
popular taste.
0 Pop culture, short for popular
culture, describes the lifestyle and
tastes of the majority of mostly
younger people.
0 Music by people like Britney Spears
and Hillary Duff are examples of pop
culture, as is emo and prep.
0 Pop culture changes with the youth
of the world.
Popular Culture
0 Styles act as a mirror to reflect underlying cultural
conditions.
0 Urban fashion is very popular even though inner-city
teens represent only 8% of all people in that age group
and have incomes significantly lower than their white
suburban counterparts.
0 It is common for mainstream culture to modify
symbols from subcultures for a larger audience to
consume.
Fashion and Pop Culture
0 Characteristics of fashion and popular culture include:
0 Styles reflect more fundamental societal trends (politics and
social conditions)
0 A style begins as a unique statement by a small group and
spreads
0 Styles originate as interplay between deliberate inventions
from designers and businesspeople and spontaneous
actions by consumers.
0 Cultural products travel widely.
0 Influential people in the media play a significant role in
deciding which will succeed.
0 Most styles wear out and people look for new ways to express
themselves.
0 When a style becomes obsolete, others replace it.
Retro Nerd Glasses
What's behind the sagging pants trend
Culture Production System
0 A culture production system is the set of individuals and
organizations that create and market a cultural product
0 It has three major subsystems
0 Creative subsystem—responsible for generating new
symbols and/or products.
0 Managerial subsystem—responsible for selecting, making
tangible, mass producing, and managing the distribution of
new symbols and/or products.
0 Communications subsystem—responsible for giving
meaning to the new product and providing it with a symbolic
set of attributes that are communicated to consumers.
Product Placement
and Branded Entertainment
0 Insertion of specific products and use of brand names in
movie/TV scripts.
0 Directors incorporate branded props for realism.
0 Is product placement a positive or negative when it comes
to consumer decision-making?
Advergaming
0 Advergaming refers to online games merged with
interactive advertisements
0 Advertisers gain many benefits with advergames
0 Plinking is the act of embedding a product in a video
Learning Objective 8
0 New products, services, and ideas spread through a
population. Different types of people are more or less
likely to adopt them.
Prerequisites for Successful Adoption
Compatibility
Innovation should be compatible with
consumers’ lifestyles
Trialability
People are more likely to adopt an innovation if
they can experiment with it prior to purchase
Complexity
A product that is easy to understand will be
chosen over competitors
Observability
Innovations that are easily observable are more
likely to spread
Relative
Advantage
Product should offer relative advantage over
other alternatives
End
Learning Objective 9
0 Many people and organizations play a role in the
fashion system that creates and communicates
symbolic meaning to consumers.
The Fashion System
0 The fashion system includes all those people and
organizations involved in creating symbolic meanings
and transferring these meanings to cultural goods
0 Fashion is code
0 Fashion is context-dependent
0 Fashion is undercoded
Behavioral Science
Perspectives
0 Psychological
and
Models
of
Fashion
0 Economic
0 Sociological
0 Medical
Motives and
Psychological Models of Fashion
0 Conformity
0 Desire for variety seeking
0 Need to express personal creativity
0 Sexual attraction
Learning Objective 10
0 Fashions follow cycles.
Fashion Life Cycle Example
0 Introduction stage: small number of music innovators
hear a song
0 Acceptance stage: song enjoys increased visibility
0 Regression stage: song reaches stage of social
saturation as it becomes overplayed
For Reflection
0 What is and what should be the role of fashion in our
society? How important is it for people to be in style?
What are the pros and cons of keeping up with the
latest fashions?
Chapter Summary
0 A culture is a society’s personality.
0 Myths are stories that express a culture’s values.
0 Many of our consumption activities include rituals
associated with holidays, grooming, rites of passage,
and other events.
Chapter Summary
0 Products may be sacred or profane and some may
shift between the two categories.
0 Styles are like a mirror that reflect culture.
0 We can distinguish between high and low forms of
culture.
0 Marketers are also reality engineers.
Chapter Summary
0 New products spread through the population. Certain
characteristics make it more likely that they will be
adopted.
0 The fashion system creates and communicates
symbolic meaning for consumers.
0 Fashion follows cycles.
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