Research for my final year dissertation into branding and the dependence of teenagers on branding practices of large corporations – monopolies, in particular – has led me to uncover some interesting findings. In particular, consumerism and buyer behaviour are key concepts within the proposed framework that seem to be influenced or affected by not just the power of advertising as a medium within contemporary society – one almost dependent upon brand images and regular informative branding activities – but by popular culture, anthropology, economics, psychology and marketing.
First and foremost, I have discovered that brands are not just symbolic and offer a functional value to the buyer, but are almost carriers of meaning in which teenagers construct their social identity, either as a result of peer pressure or the desire to be ‘him’ or ‘her’ – aspirational tools, are brands, or merely products of consumption?
Secondly, the implications of branding on consumers is paramount – my research has discovered young people would rather save and invest more in a brand known for success, popularity and potential satisfaction than a cheaper brand. This signifies that, in my example, Apple is at the forefront of product sales with a large monopoly and share of the market. However, Apple is well known for its brand position and as such people respond to the brand name based on mediated representations of quality and ‘stance-signifier’ – in other words, if you own an Apple product you become part of that brand.
Thirdly, consumer behaviour is dictated by the interwoven psychology and economics with consumerism – a cheaper brand often signifies poorer quality, despite the fact such brands may offer similar or identical functionality. Does this mean that people purchase a brand name rather than actual product based on their desire and need for brand name, logo, design or ‘peer pressure destabliser’?
More on my findings soon.