The prop metaphor : how consumers and socially-visible brands connect
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Post-purchase consumer behavior is an area of consumer research that is underdeveloped. One new phenomenon that can be used to study post-purchase consumer behavior is the individual behavior related to “socially-visible brands.” A socially-visible brand (SVB) is a brand located on or near a person’s physical body while they are out in the public atmosphere. Understanding consumers’ use of their socially-visible brands sheds light onto this form of post-purchase behavior. From a theoretical standpoint, impression management theory from the field of social psychology and consumer culture theory from the field of consumer research were juxtaposed and applied to the topic of socially-visible brands. An organizing framework is presented which adapts the dramaturgical concepts from impression management theory to the field of consumer behavior. Two studies are then presented which look at consumer behavior through this organizing framework. Study one delves into the consumer culture surrounding consumer behavior associated with socially-visible brands. Study two shows how market segmentation factors predict consumer behaviors associated with socially-visible brands. The overall argument being made here that socially-visible brands are a “prop” or tool consumers use during their presentation of self to others.