The article comprehensively talks about brand choice; consumer attitudes, brand image; consumer preferences; self evaluation; the psychology behind group identity, identification, and symbolism and social aspects including reference groups. The article suggests that consumers usually buy brands so that they can conveniently create and satisfy their self-concepts, this then brings about self-brand affiliations. It purports that reference groups establish the brand meaning. Consumer research in the article on the reference groups shows congruency in the particular brand usage and group membership and strategically defines social influence. The studies in the article elaborate on the influences from reference groups and the value expressed, typified by the significant need for a psychological linkage with a distinct group resembling or liking the group. Brands are seen to act as integral tools for effective social integration and connecting with the past. Other significances associated with it in the article include providing self esteem, symbols of individual accomplishment, and allows expression of individuality. Majorly, the article defines how self-construction aims diverge depending on the consumer’s own self-construal.
The ideas were tested through a visual and basic program where it starts by formations of in-groups (the groups they belonged) and then later on tried out an out-group (group they do not belong). Then they would take note on a consistent brand in both groups and one which was not common to both groups. They then revealed their ability to fit in the groups and their self-brand linkages. The procedure took approximately an hour or so. The groups passed through a manipulation check, and dependable variable in measuring self-brand connections.
Results from both of the studies reveal that brands having images dependable with an effective in-group, augment self-brand good connections for the consumers, while brands having images which are steady with a select out-group are seen to have a more negative impact on interdependent versus independent consumers. The study suggests that this particular differential impact is because of more self-differing aims for the consumers in the market, with extra independent self-ideas (Escalas et.al, 2014). It also seeks greater impacts for much more symbolic brands instead of the less symbolic ones. The results also conclude that brands in some way are symbols and their meaning used to define and establish consumer’s distinguished self-concept.
The possible effects and implications of those findings, according to the article in regard to marketing practitioners and consumers, show that in general, consumers experience higher or advanced self-brand linkages for brands having images which are unswerving with the likely image from an in-group as compared to the brands that have images which are not consistent with that of the in-group. These particular findings support the findings on the brand congruence of the previous research on consumer’s on particularly social influences on value, whereby consumers consume brands whose their images equivalent the reference groups they fit in to create a valid psychological association in order to link those groups. In addition, it ascertains that the connections of self-brand are relatively low for those brands having images which are unswerving with an out-group image as compared to the brands having images inconsistent with out-groups. The finding that shows that consumers refuse the social significance of brands arising from the out-group use of brands leaves the market practitioners in the condition of evaluating the best strategy in order to remain relevant and ensure brand dominance.
ESCALAS, JENNIFER EDSON, and JAMES R. BETTMAN. "Self-Construal, Reference Groups, And Brand Meaning." Journal Of Consumer Research 32.3 (2005): 378-389. Business Source Premier. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.