Free Essay About Consumer Judgements’ Of Authenticiity
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Consumer Judgments’ Of Authenticity
Credibility and authenticity are amongst the top five characteristics to look for in brands for billions of people all over the world. Every consumer wants open and clear communication from brands about how products are produced and created, however, only a few consumers feel that brands are accomplished in this area. The need for directness and authenticity from brands can be put side by side alongside other research, finding that people’s confidence in huge corporations is decreasing, and advertising agencies ail from declined honesty ratings. Due to such occurrences, the lack of confidence consumers tends to major mostly on technology. Studies have indicated that a consumer would buy from a corporation and even make suggestions to family and friends above other major competitors. Ninety-one percent of consumers expect companies to talk truthfully about their products and services while eighty-seven percent approved that corporations should constantly behave in a manner of honesty (Rose & Wood, 2005, 290)
Beverland and Farrelly’s Framework for Understanding Consumer Judgements of Authenticity
Most consumers tend to misunderstand authentic, as it is at times not sufficiently specified. The term authentic refers to something original and genuine, however; consumers confuse authentic and genetically modified products especially in the case of pharmaceutical products (Ewing, Allen & Ewing, 2012, 385). There is a prevalent accord that authenticity is a publicly formulated elucidation of the significance obtained from observation rather than the characteristics of an object. For this reason, the authenticity of an object is aligned with an individual’s personal goals of who they would like to be (Beverland, 2005, 1015). For instance, consumer who are interested in sports will be determined by obtaining shoes that a famous sports person was seen wearing in public.
Figure 1: Authenticity Framework (Beverland & Farrelly, 2010, 844)
Often, counterfeit products are cheaper and easily obtainable, however, it’s through personal effort and goals that one chooses to work hard and get what they eventually want. The socially constructed context comprises of three self-authentication goals control, connection and virtue. Consumers dynamically look out for authenticity as a means to finding meaning in their lives and associate them with personal goals. Therefore, the framework that underlies authenticity relies on consumer goals (Thompson, Aric & Zeynep, 2006, 55). Modern market characteristics have highly advanced over the years due to deterritorialization, globalization and exaggerated reality. These have caused consumers to be alert and proficient in choosing suitable authenticity. The need for authenticity is believed to be in response to consistency and equivalence in the marketplace. Arnould and Price (2000) established two methods of appropriating authenticity to realize self-authentication (150). Firstly, the consumer co-creates the value of products or consumption experience as part of self-authentication. The second one is the authentication performance that is a cultural display it refers to festivals, protests actions or rituals that consumer consider as an important aspect of life. Connection is drawn from a consumer’s successful personal application with an object this goes a long way in making informed consumption choices (Kolar & Zabkar, 2010, 658).
The importance of what one observed could symbolize whom one wants to be like consistent with goal-driven mannerisms. In addition, an individual vantage point, understanding and prospects inclusive of the individual’s desire to weigh in the object with their idea of their belief systems and typecast (Quester, Pascale, Beverland &Farrelly, 2006). The relationship between goals and authenticity is as well apparent transversely in the literature on subcultures of consumption and brand societies with consideration to the customer’s focused efforts to take part and acquire status. Authenticity is defined based on a person’s framework and goal (Grayson & Martinec, 2004, 305).
There have currently been two celebratory days National High Five Day and the Earth Day. It is surprising how corporate brands have embarked on employing these days despite obscure they might be they engage consumers across their social and advertorial points. From the observation, I made there were two types of actions that occur in these instances authentic and inauthentic.
There have been many doubts about whether corporations in fact and honestly are concerned about the origin of a holiday. The obvious intent is to make the consumer feel good regarding the procurement, association or involvement in a brand eventually leading to engagement. Thus, establishing an upbeat brand association. However, when a brand exhibits prop up for a holiday, and its major values are contrary to the spirit of the holiday, the inauthenticity will be visible which will lead to negative criticism.
For instance, in April 2013 on National High Five Day (NH5D) the NH5D project raised money for many cancer research institutions. During the Boston Marathon, the project gave out their first scholarship as well as raised money to support victims of trauma. Overall, the organization has a constructive purpose and objective, and their brand displays an outstanding and good quality. However, many corporations took to social media missing the important details of the campaign such as NH5D was the assembling point for a cause. This therefore led to the negative association as the brands seized the opportunity to seem eccentric and illustrate that they can be significant to enhance their reputation and profit making ventures. Although the other corporations that were misinformed fuelled a lot of negative association, scheming worked perfectly.
Figure 2: National High Five Project (Hall, 2014)
Contrary to the corporations that copied the NH5D, earth day took a completely different toll as it illustrated the manner in which authentic participation can reverberate at a substantial level. A day prior the Earth Day, Apple revealed a new sustainable products and accountability segment to their website describing the company’s environmental and ethically driven initiatives. This included a new manufacturing center powered mainly by natural resources, accounts for every product delineating the creation-to-retailing chain of production and a statute of workers’ rights and responsibilities.
Furthermore, they publicized their new initiatives in magazine ads globally therefore instilling the new brand identity. They released a hard line PR movement on various channels illustrating how broad the undergoing project was. Despite critics such as Forbes looking at the event as another “greenwashing” movement for profit making. It was genuinely an act of honesty and truthfulness just like the NH5D Project.
Figure 3: A Screenshot of Apple’s Website (Hall, 2014)
Feeling in Charge
Users always have the need to accomplish controls over their surroundings thus, the desire for consumers to feel in charge. According to Hochschild (1983), studies carried out amongst cabin crew workers established that they were looking for control in as a means of reiterating their personalities as professionally skilled individuals. For this reason, such efforts were prompted by a need to reiterate work responsibility authenticity. For example, considering consumer B’s definition of what is real may include purchasing products and brands that he/she can associate with self-advancement and self-dependence through individual success and detailed decisions. Consumer B’s accomplishment is skateboarding which demands continuous endeavor and commitment. Considering that, the skill is self-taught and required no coaching or guidance that equals self-determination. Therefore, consumer B’s ability to stand on a skateboard and apply similar efforts successfully to business decisions and consumption choices qualifies as authentic. Consumer B is ignorant of peer pressure such as fashion, and he prefers to pick out the brand that aid him in accomplishing control. Furthermore, the consumer identifies with authenticity during the use of qualities exclusive to the individual (Beverland, 2009, 24).
Users feel a connection to a brand that they can relate to culture, geographical area, community and the importance to others. For this reason, consumers have a dissimilar fondness for brands that correspond to a means to experience connection. For example, consumer A is in a foreign country and his aspiration is to be individually enhanced by connecting to the location. In an attempt to do so consumer A ensures that, he is consistently at close proximity to the local tour guide so that he can impart the nature of the place. This involves having the knowledge of what it means to be part of that community or nationality this in turn establishes the connection to that place for consumer A. Connection is promoted by the consumer’s desire to be part of other like-minded individuals this aids in fitting in with a place or society (Arnould. Price & Malshe, 2006, 325).
The show of importance for a location or society is replicated in consumption behavior. Users will have the desire to buy something just because it is a recollection of a place they visited. However, some of the consumers feel the link between acceptance by the masses and authenticity may not necessarily lead to consumption or acceptance of a brand.
In certain occurrences a product, place or action may be judged as inauthentic due to undefined moral grounds. A consumer might prefer to visit a certain destination because they feel it goes hand in hand with their religious belief of self-nourishment (Beverland, Lindgreen & Vink, 2008, 10). Majority of Muslims decide to visit Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage rather than stay in other countries because they feel active in living their values. The same can be said for brands that have gone through bad publicity such as Nike and McDonald’s. Nike has been accused of ill-treating workers through making them work for long hours with very little pay. McDonald’s was exposed by a book that signs off their products as bad for public consumption. The outcomes for both brands was declined sales despite each of the company’s efforts to redeem themselves through corporate social responsibility campaigns the public viewed both corporations as inauthentic. However, some consumers feel that the fact a corporation like McDonald is delivering the same product the same way and in the same environment every time it makes it authentic.
The most significant aspect that marketers should be aware of is winning over the brand’s network. Marketers should understand that a corporation brand is based on what the reception of the target audience and not what the brand represents on its own. Consumers want to feel a connection with a brand and have control of the experiences they have. The main objective of marketing, a brand should be obtaining control of the consumer’s experience with the brand in a constructive manner. Marketing should not focus on the preexisting brand consumers, but the new users as well who are potential matches with the brand (Gilmore & Pine, 2007, 167).
Corporations should ensure that they maintain a constant communication process where the brand’s network and brand owners can keep in touch. This can be done through sharing content and brand items that are in tandem with their daily activities. In addition, the corporation can involve their brand consumers in outreach programs and surveys that allow them to provide input. Companies should identify methods in which they keep in touch with their brand users daily such as daily emails, updates on various social networks, etc. Through taking into account goals, standards and processes the creativity of consumers in seeking authenticity is brought to light in the postmodern world (Leigh, Peters & Shelton, 2006, 487).
Arnould, E. J., Price, L. L., & Malshe, A. (2006). Toward a cultural resource-based theory of the customer. The service-dominant logic of marketing: Dialog, debate and directions, 320-333
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