Archive for the ‘Journal of Consumer Research’ Category

How Happiness Impacts Choice

December 16, 2011 Comments off

How Happiness Impacts Choice (PDF)
Source: Journal of Consumer Research (forthcoming)

Consumers want to be happy, and marketers are increasingly trying to appeal to consumers’ pursuit of happiness. However, the results of six studies reveal that what happiness means varies, and consumers’ choices reflect those differences. In some cases happiness is defined as feeling excited, and in other cases happiness is defined as feeling calm. The type of happiness pursued is determined by one’s temporal focus, such that individuals tend to choose more exciting options when focused on the future, and more calming options when focused on the present moment. These results suggest that the definition of happiness, and consumers’ resulting choices, are dynamic and malleable.

See also: The Shifting Meaning of Happiness (PDF; Social Psychological and Personality Science)

See: Are We Happy Yet? The Unexpected Links Between Happiness and Choice (Stanford Graduate School of Business)

Subtle Signals of Inconspicuous Consumption

June 16, 2011 Comments off

Subtle Signals of Inconspicuous Consumption (PDF)
Source: Journal of Consumer Research

While theories of signaling and conspicuous consumption suggest that more explicit markers facilitate communication, this article examines the utility of subtle signals. Four studies demonstrate that while less explicit branding increases the likelihood of misidentification (e.g., observers confusing a high-end purchase for a cheaper alternative), people with more cultural capital in a particular domain prefer subtle signals because they provide differentiation from the mainstream. Such insiders have the necessary connoisseurship to decode the meaning of subtle signals that facilitate communication with others “in the know.” Consistent with the notion that these effects are driven by outward communication, they are stronger in identityrelevant product domains and situations where consumption is more public. This work highlights the communication value of less explicit signals and discusses the implications for branding, signal persistence, and the communication of identity.


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