Sociology Of Consumption Essay Examples

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Brand, Business, Customers, Advertising, Advertisement, Consumption, Products, Society

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2020/12/15

As the society advances, so must the theories whose fundamental ideologies base on the social change. The sociology of consumption came to light in the 1980’s, and the significant emphasis being laid on mass production, culture and material especially in the western societies. The proponent of the sociology consumption theory believes that this theory provides a platform for further studies on the urban, modern aspects of the society especially on the political and inequality alignments. These proponents believe that the corporation has been influenced by the issues of alienation, division of labor, social class, and other classical theory aspects. These questions lay emphasis on production as a source of instilling the basic social order or social meaning (Marshall 1998, P.112)
It is widely understood that consumption is required by billions of individuals around the globe in order to fulfill their basic needs for survival. According to Carl, the pre-capitalistic society involved the production of use values that directly targeted the consumers especially by the immediate producers or other individuals or small communities in the society (Ritzier 2005, 139). The development of commodities and markets in the society, led firms is producing products for a return in terms of profits that they would further invest in production of goods, as well as consumption.
Consumption has always been a fundamental aspect of the human society, in most ways it is different in terms of time, and location. (Clarke 2003).The consumption point represents not only the tastes, purchase habits, and preferences but also the fundamental dimensions of the modern world. As the world progresses, consumption seems to have changed the world’s view of products, basic needs of consumption, space, time, state, individual and the society, in general. Thereby leading to the misconception of the value being derived from the use of a product or a service. Consumption has a vital role to the individual’s meaningful practices and greatly influences on the kind of life a person or organization leads in today’s world.
The concept of branding and advertisement has introduced an entirely new different dimension of how consumers consume their product or lead their way of life. In other words, advertising and branding have changed the view of consumption in the society’s eye. Advertisement and branding have transformed the concept of use by employing it as a tool to not only create and sustain an individual way of life but also as a means to control the consumer's mind. This means that today’s consumers not only make consumption for the basic needs but also for the symbolic importance or meaning that the manufacturers want them to believe.
The ability of the organizations or individuals to advertize their products and service and create an identity in their brands in which consumers attach symbolic meaning to their goods or service greatly contributes to what is known as consumer enslavement. Consumer enslavement is brought about by the deceptive rules of advertisement and branding in the world of consumption. The art of advertisement is meant to locate different potential customers in the marketing with allusive market practices that try to influence the consumer’s ideas, beliefs that actually describe them for whom they are as well as their identity. The fact that branding and advertisement seeks to influence the mind of a consumer greatly into purchasing an individual product is unethical and harmful in its own way, as it does not give the customer a chance to choose what suits perfectly.
In the advertising and marketing field, ethics can be said to include values such as honesty, loyalty, openness, fair-mindedness, respect, integrity and forthright communication with the consumers. Current research support that there is a history of the improvement in ethics in the marketing sector. Little is heard of the association of the advertisement and branding being associated with the lying, espionage and spin doctoring of various elements. Most individuals however believe that the field of advertisement and branding cannot be ethical at all since the field itself is involved in manipulation of the consumers as earlier mentioned, and propulsion of various agenda and propaganda’s in the market.
Ethical issues in advertising and branding arise in many spheres of the market environment. Puffery and hype is one of the central unethical issues that this profession has been identified with. Most advertising agencies and company exaggerated the performance of their products that end up disappointing the consumers if they fail to meet their objectives. Also importantly, advertising has been accused of stereotyping along the lines of gender, race, ethnicity, age, lifestyle, handicaps and religion that is unethical. Moreover, the advertisement of controversial products such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling and another X-rated material to children is unethical in its view.
The gratuitous sexual content that exhibit sexual imagery, nudity, sex appeal explicitly or by innuendo for the sole purpose of attracting attention to the mass public is unethical. Over and above that, advertising and branding have been associated with the relaying of negative content to the public such as fear appeals, threats and guilt appeals that in its way is unethical. The are of stealth advertising whereby promotional messages to the public are embedded in a particular well-known story line rather than on the product its self is unethical since individuals will be greatly influenced by the story rather than the content of the product.
Advertising and branding is one of the most expensive ways to retain and attract customers. High amounts of advertising budgets do not necessarily translate to growth of business in terms of increased customers. What most business owners should concentrate on is to ensure that they provide exceptional services to their current and existing customers. Excellent service will ensure that consumers are loyal to the business and in addition to that, satisfied customers will always refer other customers to your business. Also importantly, the business owners should ensure that his staff morale is high, and the energy levels at the workstation are high as well. The business owner can achieve this by ensuring that his staffs understand the business dynamics that a satisfied customer will translate to more clients and with more customers, the business will grow and with growth, the staff gets a pay rise. Therefore, most business should stop throwing money into advertisement and start concentrating on improving the business operations into efficient levels that will attract and retain customers.
In my view the concept that with more advertisement comes more income is wrongly misplaced and therefore business owners should be worry of their advertisement budget because in the long run they have an adverse effect on the business because of what Naomi Klein terms as cheapening of brands.
Naomi Klein’s book on branding is categorically divided into four parts namely, No space, NO Choice, No Jobs and No logo. The book pays special attentions to misdeeds and deeds of various brands in the current world. She evaluates major brands in the world such as Nike, McDonald, Shell and others in many dimensions such as their culture , corporate censorship and how all these dimensions classified in the above categories generally affect the brand oriented business or activities negatively .
Naomi Klein's take on branding and advertising and how it cheapens the values brands attach to themselves is logical and relevant in today’s market world. However, I do not agree with Klein’s view that branding and advertising do cheapen the value of the brand. For instance corporate advertising and branding positions a corporation, its values and characters in a position where individuals in the society would think highly of it and embrace it. The branding aspects ensures that consumers and other business stakeholders have a sense of loyalty and identity towards the business. In fact, the firm’s top management and all other stakeholders will emulate the values that the company stands for.
The more you spend, the more your company is worth is a concept that led to the considerable increase in advertising and branding. Moreover it puffed the market with what increased the brand identities in the market, it involved investment in huge billboards, TV spots, branding almost everything on the streets e.g. bins, cans, stations , buses, trains , toilets etc. This frenzy of branding and advertising, increases the brand equity in the market however it contributes to the cheapening of the brand value in accordance with Naomi Klein sentiments.
However with the onset of the brand mania revolution, a breed of new branding agencies has come up, one which informs the consumers of a certain brand of a way of life, a set of values and making the product really look good might cheapen the values of a brand if there is variance in terms of the elements being communicated to the customers and the content and quality of the products .
In conclusion branding and advertisement, play a prominent role in the development and success of the business. However, the business owners should realize that huge advertising and branding budgets do not translate to enormous profits and brand equity. They should focus on satisfying the consumer through provision of quality goods and operation efficiency. Also importantly, branding and advertisement should play in the sphere of ethical practices to ensure that consumers get value for their money.

Works Cited

Fizel, John, and Rodney D Fort. Economics Of College Sports. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004. Print.
Ritzer, George. Explorations In The Sociology Of Consumption. London: SAGE, 2001. Print.

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