The prominence of Products and the Gross Theory of Consumption
Marketing is used as a tool by many business entities to sell their products to people. The process involves the use of various channels to convey messages to the target market. There are different types of products in the global market. The marketing strategies adopted by a given organization vary depending on the nature of the product and the audience targeted (Hirschman & Holbrook 1982, pp. 97). Online branding is a form of digital marketing that is used by many companies today. In light of this, the article by Han, Nunes, and Dreze (2010) highlights the role of brand prominence. On their part, Sheth, Newman, and Gross (1991) explain the gross theory of consumption. The two articles have a thing in common. For example, scholars agree that the prominence of a product determines its level of gross consumption (Nelissen & Meijers 2011, pp. 349). The article by Scott Brinker talks about content marketing. According to Brinker (2015), this form of marketing is significantly affected by technological revolutions. The assertion conflicts with those made by Han et al. (2010) and Sheth et al. (1991). According to Han et al. (2010), the prominence of a given product rests with global consumers. Consequently, gross consumption is determined by the dominance of the product in the market.
Online branding is widely used by organizations to promote their goods and services on different online platforms. Social media has played a significant role in promoting branding (Rucker & Galinsky 2009, pp. 354). The use of the internet is taken seriously by many organizations because of its effectiveness in matters to do with marketing (Homburg, Droll & Totzek 2008). In their article ‘Luxury commodities going mass’, Wan and Anna (2014) state that the internet is one of the platforms widely used by marketers all over the world. The modern global market has significantly changed due to technological advancements (Wan & Anna 2014). As a result, many people can now access the internet easily.
The internet brings the global market together and makes it easier for individuals to communicate with each other. The content of the internet continues to improve with time due to the advancements in the infrastructure. The prominence of different goods and services can be attributed to this platform. In addition, the gross theory of consumption states that most individuals get information about target products from websites and blogs (Rucker, Galinsky & Dubois 2012, p. 354).
Indeed, people can now access the internet from different places. To this end, the presence of laptops, mobile phones, and tablets makes it easy to access services from this platform. It is one of the reasons why most people can use the internet daily (Rucker et al., 2012, p. 355). Not everyone can afford a television set, however, many people can afford such simple gadgets as a mobile phone. When it comes to television, this is not possible to have access to information from different locations due to immobility (Han et al. 2010).
In their article, Kohli, Suri, and Kapoor (2015) concur with Rucker and Galinsky (2009) by stating that conspicuous and utilitarian consumption cannot be ‘killed’ by social media. Social media is one of the platforms used currently by many marketers in the world. Despite its apparent popularity, this form of a medium cannot eliminate online branding. According to Kohli et al. (2015) and Rucker and Galinsky (2009), a product has higher chances of selling in the market when stationed on social media than on other platforms (Kohli et al, 2015, p. 37).
Factors Affecting Online Branding
Online branding and marketing target specific people in society. Age is one of the factors affecting this form of marketing. Research by Wiedmann, Hennigs and Siebels (2009) touches on the theory of consumption. According to this theory, some goods and services are mostly consumed by people within a certain age bracket (Wiedmann et al. 2009, p. 649). The youth and the aged rely on different platforms to get information on various goods and services. Most of the young persons are more technologically savvy than the old. Consequently, it is easier for them to use technological gadgets compared to older persons. It is also noted that the prominence of some of the products sold online depends on prevailing conditions in the target market. Some of the prevailing conditions include the availability of the goods and the number of suppliers.
Few suppliers and few goods in the market can negatively affect the prominence of a product. The element highlights one of the strengths in the article by Brinker (2015). The reason is that most of the aged people depend more on conventional media than on the internet to access information about their preferred products. Individuals rely on television, radio, and newspaper to get this information (Lusch, Vargo & Wessels 2008). However, the question of the number and type of consumers can tell where most of the information about products is gotten from. Consequently, one can conclude that online branding and marketing is the best tool when it comes to selling out a product to the masses. The article on the role of brand prominence makes it clear that online branding is cheap, convenient, and effective to all institutions, especially international entities.
The article by Wan and Anna (‘Luxury goods go mass’) elaborates why it is difficult for some entities to succeed in their online campaigns. As stated in the research by Brinker, some content in television is more sophisticated than what is found in various blogs and websites. According to Brinker (2015), rich media content and better graphics help in accessing consumers in different places. Most luxurious products are properly branded. Branding does not only involve the creation of a new logo or name for a product as many people view it (Bearden, Netemeyer & Teel 1989, p. 475). Changing the logo and the name only changes the appearance of the product and which in this case is not complete branding. The article on the theory of consumption puts it clearly by stating that the information and the graphics on online platforms determine the prominence of a given product. The management of these platforms also determines whether a product sells out or not. The article on brand prominence clearly states what it takes to remain on top in online branding. Branding requires, among others, originality. It also calls for uniqueness and a clear purpose.
In their article, Brinker (2015) clearly explains what consumers need to experience. It is stated that consumer experience needs to be created (Keinan & Kivetz 2008, p. 682). It is up to the marketers of a given product to determine how to create the best consumer experience. Customers require interactive and responsive services. Effective administration of online branding campaigns is required to ensure that the participation of customers is enhanced. The four articles expound on the different internal and external factors affecting online branding. The elements can be effectively dealt with at the management level.
Luxury Products and Services. Measuring Perceptions Concerning Brand Luxury
Luxury goods and services are similar to superior products. All have a high-income elasticity of demand. The demand for such products increases with a rise in the level of income. It is different from necessity products. Luxury, as a concept, is attractive and fashionable. In their study, Vigneron and Johnson (2004) talk about measuring perceptions towards brand luxury. The article by Vigneron and Johnson concurs with the arguments made by Kapferer and Bastien (2009). The study by Kapferer and Bastien (2009) provides more information on luxury management. Both articles state that luxury is formed from prestige. Many people prefer purchasing a product that adds value to them. The two articles also concur with the arguments made by Hauck and Stanforth (2007) on cohort perceptions of luxury goods and services. All three studies agree on the fact that many people buy goods and services that they do not necessarily need (Sheth et al. 1991, p. 160). However, the explanation provided in the article by Hauck and Stanforth (2007) about the prices of luxury goods and services is not entirely factual (Kapferer & Bastien 2009, p. 315). Most of the luxurious products are indeed consumed by rich people. However, this does not mean that all the products are expensive (Yang & Mattila 2014, p. 530). Cohort perceptions are evident in modern society. As stipulated in the four articles, rich people from the same class tend to consume more to maintain their position and social status (Samaha, Beck & Palmatier 2014, pp. 79). Most of the purchases are done for prestige (Hauck & Stanforth 2007, p. 177). Some of these individuals also acquire luxurious commodities to compete with their colleagues in the same group (Kuksov & Xie 2012, p. 609).
According to the findings made in the study conducted by Kapferer and Bastien (2009) on management, a new luxury product is not launched to serve a niche. On the contrary, it is created for itself. However, it is not entirely true that the products are created to perfection. The argument contradicts what Hauck and Stanforth (2007) and Vigneron and Johnson (2004) stipulate in their articles. Even though luxurious goods and services are expensive, it does not mean that all of them are of high quality. However, most of them are made to perfection. The products are unique and stand out in the market (Vigneron & Johnson 2004, pp. 537). When advertising these products, marketers emphasize their high qualities to capture the attention of the consumers. Hauck and Stanforth (2007) make it evident that consumers are overly cautious of the luxurious product they purchase. Many of them check for quality before purchase. Due to competition, most companies ensure that they conform to the required standards to ensure they do not lose their customers. If the arguments by Kapferer and Bastien (2009) are true, then even poor or substandard products can be manipulated to appeal to consumers.
The study of Consumers Behaviour helps in the process of identifying how organizations and individuals behave towards certain products. The study helps in understanding the use to select, secure, and dispose of products and services that satisfy the needs of the consumers (Han, Nunes & Dreze 2010, p. 15). The behavior of individuals may be influenced by different factors. Marketing, friends, and the quality of the goods are some of the factors. Other common motivators of consumer behavior include political, social, and economic factors surrounding the consumers. Beliefs, needs, and desires also affect consumer behavior. Social status mostly affects consumer behavior towards luxury goods (Vickers & Renand 2003, p. 460). Some consumers place themselves in a certain social status. Social status determines the products and services they have to use. A good example is the rich who always opt to remain on a high social status regardless of the costs involved.
Social status is common in wealthy people. The consumer behavior elaborates more about four types of consumers. All these consumers can be categorized among wealthy people.
Patricians are the first type of wealthy consumer. The people in this category are considered financially fit and stable. The consumption of these people is high. Most of the people in the category do not like associating themselves with low-life people. The individuals associate themselves with other Patricians (Han, Nunes & Dreze 2010, p. 16). Patricians pay a lot. They have to cater for an understatement. The mode of communication is also unique. Only other patricians can be able to understand and interpret their signs.
Parvenus are the second type of wealthy consumers who are characterized by their desire to associate themselves with other wealthy people in society. Individuals are affluent people who crave status in society (Han, Nunes & Dreze 2010, pp. 16). The type of consumers has similar characteristics with the patricians.
It is the third group. They engage in consumption to support their social status. The group of people does not readily have the ready finances to buy luxury goods but they want to associate themselves with the rich. The group of people is known to like counterfeit goods because of affordability (Han, Nunes & Dreze 2010, p. 18). Poseurs do not like associating themselves with affluent people.
The proletarians are the last type of less affluent consumers. People in this category do not mind much about their social status. Consumption of the people is therefore not driven just for the sake of status. The group of people does not seek to associate themselves with the upper crust people (Han, Nunes & Dreze 2010, pp. 19). The people also do not disassociate themselves from the poor. Proletarians tend to avoid the consumption of luxury goods and services.
Theory of Leisure
The theory of leisure elaborates more on the consumption of individuals. The article by Han, Nunes, and Dreze (2010) elaborates on the effect of social classes on consumerism. In the article by Han, Nunes, and Dreze (2010), Veblen identifies leisure with the rich. He argues that the upper class of the rich people does not engage themselves in industrious activities. Engaging in productive labor markets marks one as less wealthy and less worthy. Accumulation of wealth does not give someone the status required. The evidence of wealth and high wastefulness confers one the status. Leisure thus serves as a mark of competition and not to denote idleness in an individual (Han, Nunes & Dreze 2010, p. 20). The consumption of luxury items according to the theory is highly associated with leisure. It is the main reason why many wealthy people live luxurious lives. Marketers take that as an advantage to have prices increased on luxury goods.
Social power and personal power
Social power and personal power have different characteristics that identify them with the consumers. The two can determine who and what the consumers value most in their lives. Social power involves having control of other peoples’ choices. Personal power revolves around controlling ones’ outcomes whereby the consumer behavior can be extracted from the people both rich and the poor as people with high power value themselves (Han, Nunes & Dreze 2010, p. 22). A good example is the rich people who have social power over many issues. The power in them shapes how they value their belongings in terms of price. Low power people do not have much value on their belongings (Chandler & Lusch 2014, p. 13). A boss may have great value to the business than that of the employees. It is a classic example of how power takes effect on different things.
In status-oriented products, the low power individuals may end up spending more on themselves and the spending of others does not matter to them. Social power influences the high-power individuals to spend more on themselves (Kastanakis & Balabanis 2012, pp. 1401). The spending of others matters to them to maintain their social status. In non-status goods, the powers do not affect the spending of the individual.
Counterfeit Products. Impacts of Counterfeits on Genuine Products
According to Keinan and Kivetz (2008), counterfeit products impact negatively the economy. Most of them are substandard. For example, they do not conform to the laid down safety standards. Counterfeiting indeed makes the manufacturers of genuine products incur losses. According to Penz and Stottinger (2012) and Veloutsou and Bian (2008), it is risky to consume counterfeit goods. However, a critical analysis of the situation reveals that the arguments made by Geiger-Oneto et al. (2013) to the effect that counterfeit luxury goods provide psychological and social benefits to consumers are true. On their part, Perez, Castano, and Quintanilla (2010) agree with Rucker and Galinsky (2009) that the experience of buying and consuming luxury counterfeits is rewarding and pleasant. However, the products have varying effects on the individual at the end of the consumption period (Marcoux, Filiatrault & Cheron 1997, p. 17). Most of the people who consume these goods and services find it hard to stop. They fail to identify the impacts early enough.
According to Commuri (2009), counterfeiting affects the brand relationship. The information in the article concurs with that in the study by Wilcox, Kim, and Sen (2009). Many people want cheap goods and services. As such, they are forced to buy counterfeit products (Commuri 2009, p. 87). The original products are affected because the laws put in place have failed to deal with the issue of counterfeits. The police and other agencies put in place to handle the problem of the products lack the necessary tools to do their work (Turunen & Laaksonen 2011, p. 270). Two parties in this case end up suffering. They include the manufacturers and the consumers. Penz and Stottinger (2012) agree with the arguments made in the two articles and compare the emotional and motivational aspects associated with the purchase of luxury goods and services. The article compares this with counterfeits. The marketing of counterfeits is not transparent. The reason behind this is because the products are not genuine (Veloutsou & Bian 2008, pp. 19). Branding the counterfeits is done systematically. The process of branding has to involve the consumer and assure them of the quality of the products. It involves capturing the emotions of the consumer as well as the attention. The promotion of the feedback from the consumers wraps up the branding of the counterfeit products.
Factors Affecting Purchase and Consumption of Counterfeits
The study by Wilcox et al. (2009) on consumer counterfeit purchase behavior highlights the different factors affecting the purchase of counterfeit products. However, the ideas outlined in the articles by Geiger-Oneto et al. (2013) and Chaudhry and Stumpf (2011) depict something different. The arguments in these reports do not make sense and therefore cannot be relied upon completely in this case (Tang, Tian & Zaichkowsky 2014, pp. 18). The weaknesses are seen where the authors disagree on the aspect of utility with regards to counterfeit products (Chaudhry & Stumpf 2011, pp. 140). Utility refers to the state of being useful. According to Wilcox et al. (2009), this is one of the factors that affect the purchase of counterfeit products. The other two articles argue that utility has no impact.
Wilcox et al. (2009) agree with Geiger-Oneto et al. (2013) and Chaudhry and Stumpf (2011) that social norm is another factor that impacts the consumption of counterfeits. The lifestyle of the individual determines the products that they prefer to consume. Just like in the case of luxurious products, not everyone enjoys the sovereignty of these items. Consumption is not necessarily driven by demand for the product. On the contrary, it is determined by preferences for the goods and services.
According to Penz and Stottinger (2012) and Veloutsou and Bian (2008), the desire to explore has a positive impact on decisions to purchase counterfeit products. Most consumers want to buy high-quality products. However, their pursuit of new experiences may make them purchase goods and services that may not be up to these standards. The aspirations affect the status of the genuine products in the market (Penz & Stottinger 2012, p. 589). It also impacts the branding of the originals. In many cases, it is difficult for the consumers to differentiate between genuine and counterfeit products (Wang, Sun & Song 2010, p. 178). The faults in the counterfeits are transferred to genuine products. Consumers may fail to purchase the products altogether due to these confusions. Consequently, manufacturers are forced to change brand names or other features of the product (Heine 2009, p. 166).
Price is also stated as another factor affecting the purchase of counterfeit products. The articles by Rucker and Galinsky (2009), Perez et al. (2010), and Turunen and Laaksonen (2011) are in agreement that consumer behavior is influenced by the cost of goods and services. The element has two major impacts on consumption (Penz & Stottinger 2012). Consumers view counterfeits as inferior products in terms of quality and performance compared to the original items. However, according to them, the price advantage associated with the counterfeits compensates for any shortcomings that may be present (Wilcox et al. 2009, p. 250). The other way element stated in the articles concerning price is smart shopping. Consumers consider themselves smart shoppers. As a result, the quality and performance of counterfeits are viewed to be comparable to those of genuine products (Perez et al. pp. 220). Positive and negative emotions towards the cost structure of replicas also affect the decisions made by the consumers (Geiger-Oneto et al. 2013, p. 358). Marketers of counterfeit items are aware of this factor. As a result, they lower the prices of their products. Consequently, consumers enjoy purchasing counterfeits. However, there are no emotional attachments in the case of luxury goods.
Emotions also affect counterfeit purchases either positively or negatively. Luxury products have high emotional attachment, but the counterfeit create only a sense of joy and fun and no attachment. Counterfeits are usually cheap and those purchasing them only have to enjoy them for a while. Counterfeits are not long-lasting and therefore there are no emotional attachments (Alonso & Marchetti 2008, p. 24). Luxury products are expensive, and this creates an attachment to the owner. Losing them is painful to the owner because of the expense incurred when purchasing them. When originals are sourced from the same origin as the counterfeits, the state confuses the purchasers (Yoo & Lee 2012, p. 1510). Emotional attachments created by a state of confusion force them to purchase the counterfeits.
Alonso, L & Marchetti, R 2008, ‘Segmentation and consumption of luxury fragrances: a means-end chain analysis’, Latin America Association for Consumer Research Conference (LAACR), vol. 2 no. 3, pp. 23-90.
Bearden, W, Netemeyer, R & Teel, J 1989, ‘Measurement of consumer susceptibility to interpersonal influence’, Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 17 no. 3, pp. 473-481.
Brinker, S 2015, Marketing technology landscape supergraphic, Web.
Chandler, J & Lusch, R 2014, ‘Service systems a broadened framework and research agenda on value propositions, engagement, and service experience’, Journal of Service Research, vol. 18 no. 1, pp. 6-22.
Chaudhry, P & Stumpf, S 2011, ‘Consumer complicity with counterfeit products’, Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 28 no. 2, pp.139-151.
Commuri, S 2009, ‘The impact of counterfeiting on genuine-item consumers’ brand relationships’, Journal of Marketing, vol. 73 no. 3, pp. 86-98.
Geiger-Oneto, S, Gelb, B, Walker, D & Hess, J 2013, ‘“Buying status” by choosing or rejecting luxury brands and their counterfeits’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, vol. 41 no. 3, pp. 357-372.
Han, Y, Nunes, J, & Dreze, X 2010, ‘Signalling status with luxury goods: the role of brand prominence’, Journal of Marketing, vol. 74 no. 4, pp. 15-30.
Hauck, W & Stanforth, N 2007, ‘Cohort perception of luxury goods and services’, Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 175-188.
Heine, K 2009, ‘Using personal and online repertory grid methods for the development of a luxury brand personality’, Proceedings of the 8th European Conference on Research Methodology for Business and Management Studies, vol. 3 no. 2, pp. 160-170.
Hirschman, E & Holbrook, M 1982, ‘Hedonic consumption: emerging concepts, methods and propositions’, The Journal of Marketing, vol. 5 no. 6, pp. 92-101.
Homburg, C, Droll, M & Totzek, D 2008, ‘Customer prioritisation: does it pay off, and how should it be implemented?’, Journal of Marketing, vol. 72 no. 5, pp. 110-130.
Kapferer, J & Bastien, V 2009, ‘The specificity of luxury management: turning marketing upside down’, Journal of Brand Management, vol. 16 no. 5, pp. 311-322.
Kastanakis, M & Balabanis, G 2012, ‘Between the mass and the class: antecedents of the “bandwagon” luxury consumption behavior’, Journal of Business Research, vol. 65 no. 10, pp. 1399-1407.
Keinan, A & Kivetz, R 2008, ‘Remedying hyperopia: the effects of self-control regret on consumer behavior’, Journal of Marketing Research, vol. 45 no. 6, pp. 676-689.
Kohli, C, Suri, R & Kapoor, A 2015, ‘Will social media kill branding?’, Business Horizons, vol. 58 no. 1, pp. 35-44.
Kuksov, D & Xie, Y 2012, ‘Competition in a status goods market’, Journal of Marketing Research, vol. 49 no. 5, pp. 609-623.
Lusch, R, Vargo, S & Wessels, G 2008, ‘Toward a conceptual foundation for service science: contributions from service-dominant logic’, IBM Systems Journal, vol. 47 no. 1, pp. 5-14.
Marcoux, J, Filiatrault, P & Cheron, E 1997, ‘The attitudes underlying preferences of young urban educated Polish consumers towards products made in western countries’, Journal of International Consumer Marketing, vol. 9 no. 4, pp. 5-29.
Nelissen, R & Meijers, M 2011, ‘Social benefits of luxury brands as costly signals of wealth and status’, Evolution and Human Behavior, vol. 32 no. 5, pp. 343-355.
Penz, E & Stottinger, B 2012, ‘A comparison of the emotional and motivational aspects in the purchase of luxury products versus counterfeits’, Journal of Brand Management, vol. 19 no. 7, pp. 581-594.
Perez, M, Castano, R & Quintanilla, C 2010, ‘Constructing identity through the consumption of counterfeit luxury goods’, Qualitative Market Research, vol. 13 no. 3, pp. 219-235.
Rucker, D & Galinsky, 2009, ‘Conspicuous consumption versus utilitarian ideals: how different levels of power shape consumer behavior’, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, vol. 45 no. 3, pp. 549-555.
Rucker, D, Galinsky, A & Dubois, D 2012, ‘Power and consumer behavior: how power shapes who and what consumer’s value’, Journal of Consumer Psychology, vol. 22 no. 3, pp. 352-368.
Samaha, S, Beck, J & Palmatier, R 2014, ‘The role of culture in international relationship marketing’, Journal of Marketing, vol. 78 no. 5, pp. 78-98.
Sheth, J, Newman, B & Gross, B 1991, ‘Why we buy what we buy: a theory of consumption values’, Journal of Business Research, vol. 22 no. 2, pp. 159-170.
Tang, F, Tian, V & Zaichkowsky, J 2014, ‘Understanding counterfeit consumption’, Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, vol. 26 no. 1, pp. 4-20.
Turunen, L & Laaksonen, P 2011, ‘Diffusing the boundaries between luxury and counterfeits’, Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 20 no. 6, pp. 468-474.
Veloutsou, C & Bian, X 2008, ‘A cross‐national examination of consumer perceived risk in the context of non‐deceptive counterfeit brands’, Journal of Consumer Behaviour, vol. 7 no. 1, pp. 3-20.
Vickers, J & Renand, F 2003, ‘The marketing of luxury goods: an exploratory study-three conceptual dimensions’, The Marketing Review, vol. 3 no. 4, pp. 459-478.
Vigneron, F & Johnson, L 2004, ‘Measuring perceptions of brand luxury’, The Journal of Brand Management, vol. 11 no. 6, pp. 484-506.
Wan, Y & Anna, S 2014, ‘Do affluent customers care when luxury brands go mass?’, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 26 no. 4, pp. 526-543.
Wang, Y, Sun, S & Song, Y 2010, ‘Motivation for luxury consumption: evidence from a metropolitan city in China’, Research in Consumer Behavior, vol. 12 no. 1, pp. 161-181.
Wiedmann, K, Hennigs, N & Siebels, 2009, ‘Value‐based segmentation of luxury consumption behavior’, Psychology & Marketing, vol. 26 no. 7, pp. 625-651.
Wilcox, K, Kim, H & Sen, 2009, ‘Why do consumers buy counterfeit luxury brands?’, Journal of Marketing Research, vol. 46 no. 2, pp. 247-259.
Yang, W & Mattila, 2014, ‘Do affluent customers care when luxury brands go mass?: the role of product type and status seeking on luxury brand attitude’, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 26 no. 4, pp. 526-543.
Yoo, B & Lee, S 2012, ‘Asymmetrical effects of past experiences with genuine fashion luxury brands and their counterfeits on purchase intention of each’, Journal of Business Research, vol. 65 no. 10, pp. 1507-1515.