Thursday, November 16th 2017, Grenoble, France

Co-hosted by Grenoble IAE and CERAG

Co-chaired by Linda Price and Jean-Luc Giannelloni

Purpose of the workshop

Individual and collective identity projects have long been a vibrant topic for consumer theory and research. Much research has demonstrated that at every stage of life and across generations individual and collective identity is shaped by practices of consuming. The speakers gathered here today are respected for their innovative theory and research directed at understanding the dynamics of consumer identity.
As a research topic, consumer identity transformation has links to liquid modernity and global consumer culture. Liquid modernity is a contemporary social condition characterized by high levels of change, institutional flexibility, and individual mobility. The conditions of liquid modernity leave individuals in constant flux such that reflexive self-transformation becomes the norm. Further, global consumer culture fuels the belief that problems can be solved through consumption, and offers up consumption as a mechanism for continual self-reinvention. Consumption offers a profusion of opportunities to experiment with fluid and multiple selves amidst a cultural imperative to change and adapt. Freedom to self-help and self-create can have positive consequences and help consumers create more positive and fulfilling lives. However, these freedoms can also lead to separation from community and family and be experienced as economic and social precariousness.
The broad purpose of this workshop is to address aspects of consumer transformation in global modernity, with attention to forms, processes and consequences. We hope to advance knowledge about consumer transformation with a diverse program aimed at sharing new research and encouraging the evolution of new research ideas and themes.

Venue:

CERAG research department, 150 rue de la chimie, 38400 Saint Martin d’Hères
Room : « Rez de chaussée » (Ground floor room)

Conference program:

9h15 – 10h00: Welcome coffee
10h00 – 10h15: Conference opening

Jean-Luc Giannelloni, Professor of Marketing, Grenoble IAE, CERAG, Univ. Grenoble-Alpes, France

Linda L. Price, Philip H. Knight Chair and Professor of Marketing, Lundquist College of Business, University of Oregon, USA



10h15 – 11h15 : session 1

Fleura Bardhi, Professor of Marketing, Cass Business School, City University London, UK

As a consumer researcher, Fleura examines how socio-historical transformations of modernity shape our contemporary consumption. Her research has explored ideas of liquid consumption, access and sharing, global branding and mobilities, and life transitions. She approaches her research from a consumer culture theory (CCT) perspective. Fleura’s work has been published in Journal of Consumer Research, Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, International Marketing Review, Consumption, Markets & Culture, Psychology and Marketing, Journal of Consumer Behaviour, etc. Fleura is a member of the Editorial Review Board for Journal of Consumer Research, Consumption, Markets, & Culture journal, Mercati & Competitivita?. She has co?chaired twice the Consumer Culture Theory PhD Workshop (2011, 2013) and has been invited as a faculty mentor at several methodology and theory related PhD Workshops. Her work has received attention and was cited in the Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The Economist, The Guardian, Boston Globe, etc. She has also been a visiting professor at Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto, Canada; University of Sydney, Australia; and California State University, Long Beach, US.

Title: Liquid consumption

Abstract: This research introduces a new dimension of consumption as liquid or solid. Liquid consumption is defined as ephemeral, access based, and dematerialized, while solid consumption is defined as enduring, ownership based, and material. Liquid and solid consumption are conceptualized as existing on a spectrum, with four conditions leading to consumption being liquid, solid, or a combination of the two: relevance to the self, the nature of social relationships, accessibility to mobility networks, and type of precarity experienced. Liquid consumption is needed to explain behavior within digital contexts, in access-based consumption, and in conditions of global mobility. It highlights a consumption orientation around values of flexibility, adaptability, fluidity, lightness, detachment, and speed. Implications of liquid consumption are discussed for the domains of attachment and appropriation; the importance of use value; materialism; brand relationships and communities; identity; prosumption and the prosumer; and big data, quantification of the self, and surveillance. Lastly, managing the challenges of liquid consumption and its effect on consumer welfare are explored.

11h15-12h15 : session 2

Delphine Dion, Associate Professor of Marketing, ESSEC Business School, Cergy-Pontoise, France

She teaches luxury marketing. Her research focuses on branding and customer experience. In particular, she investigates the management of human brands and heritage brands, brand revitalization, service work, and the management of customer experience. Her research has been published in many books and leading academic journals including the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Retailing, Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of Business Research, Consumption Markets & Culture, and a few others. She has received several awards for her PhD dissertation, books and articles.

Title: Managing status: How luxury brands shape class subjectivities in the service encounter

Abstract: Although a large body of research investigates how consumers use goods to signal their status, little is known about how brands manage status. The very few studies that do look at this are grounded in the traditional conception of status and focus on the possession and display of status signals. The authors offer an alternative understanding of status management by investigating the role of interactions in the service encounter. Drawing from extensive ethnographic work in luxury stores, they investigate how brands (re)configure the status games that surface in the service encounter. They show that through the material and social cues of the servicescape, brands shape consumers’ class subjectivities, that is, they make consumers behave as class subjects who have a specific understanding of their position in the social hierarchy. Thus, managing status requires the active creation and management of consumers as class subjects. There is a shift from managing branded goods that signal status to managing customer experiences that make consumers enact status positions. This research enables the identification of new ways to manage status brands, especially luxury brands.



12h15-14h00 : Lunch


14h00 – 15h00 : Session 3

Bernard Cova, Professor of Marketing, Kedge Business School, Marseille, France

He is also a long time Visiting Professor at Bocconi University, Milan, Italy. A pioneer in Consumer Culture Theories since the early nineties, his work on this topic has been published in several leading journals including Journal of Consumer Research, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Business Ethics, Marketing Theory and Organization. He also authored or co-authored several books in this field. His latest book (2017) published in French is entitled La Vie Sociale des Marques – The Social Life of Brands (Caen: EMS).

Title: This brand saved my life

Abstract: How do brands manage to restore people’s lives? In a context where brands have been heavily criticized to symbolize capitalism’s worst excesses, can brands really rescue people’s lives and how? Whether it is through work on brand communities, brand devotion or brand fanaticism, past consumer research has demonstrated that, in the lives of some consumers, brands play a critical, all-encompassing role. Past research has already highlighted that brands can help individual consumers face difficult circumstances. In our research, we focus more specifically on this dimension of consumers’ relationships with brands. While we know that consumer passions and deep brand involvement can facilitate self-restoration, what are the different dimensions of this process, and, importantly, what do we learn about brands from studying this process in detail? We build from theoretical insights on salvation as the deliverance from various kinds of pain, to better understand how brand salvation unfolds. We go beyond treating salvic language as a metaphor, to better understand what it means phenomenologically to be saved by a brand. We draw from a two-year immersion in the lives of five brand fans, consumers who have devoted a large portion of their life to a single brand, in order to examine the different phases of their career with this brand. Consistent with career theory, our research moves between subjective accounts of a fan’s life and the way others come to see these fans, between the private and the public dimensions of their passion. Our work highlights the distinctive properties of brands as contemporary instruments of salvation.


15h00 – 16h00: session 4

Linda L. Price, Philip H. Knight Chair and Professor of Marketing, Lundquist College of Business, University of Oregon, USA

Linda’s theory and multi-method research is published in leading journals including Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing, and Organization Science. Her research examines consumer and collective identity, adaptation and innovation; social influence and network interactions. She has published over 100 books, chapters and articles that have garnered over 15,000 Google citations. Linda has received many honors and awards including the 2013 Academy of Marketing Science Cutco/Vector Distinguished Educator Award for Lifetime Contributions to Marketing Scholarship. She has served in several leadership roles including President of the Association for Consumer Research and President of the American Marketing Association Academic Council. She is an incoming editor of Journal of Consumer Research and regularly serves on several editorial boards for major marketing and consumer journals.

Title: The Fresh Start Mindset: Transforming Consumers’ Lives

Abstract: This research introduces the concept of the fresh start mindset, defined as a belief that people can make a new start, get a new beginning, and chart a new course in life, regardless of their past or present circumstances. With historical roots in American culture and neoliberalism, and with contemporary links to liquid modernity and global consumer culture, this mindset structures reasoning, experience, everyday language, and guides behavior across self- and other-transformative consumption domains. Our research program presents a multi-method, broad-based focus on the fresh start mindset. Individuals with a stronger (vs. weaker) fresh start mindset invest in transformative change through changing their circumstances including their own consumption choices (e.g., buy a new pair of sunglasses and get a new self); they also are more supportive of transformative programs to assist those who are challenged to get a fresh start (i.e., disadvantaged youth, at-risk teens, veterans, and tax-burdened adults). Our work significantly contributes to transformative consumer research with attention to self-activities and programs for vulnerable populations that enable new beginnings.


16h00 – 16h15: concluding remarks