Nothing Matters More to People than People: Brand Meaning and Social Relationships [chapter]

Aaron C. Ahuvia
2015 Review of Marketing Research  
Purpose À This paper argues for the following sensitizing proposition. At its core, much of consumer behavior that involves brand meanings is an attempt to influence, or symbolically mark, interpersonal relationships. Methodology/approach À This paper presents a conceptual argument based on a literature review. Findings À First, I argue that our pervasive concern with other people is a basic genetic component of human beings, and discuss some possible evolutionary pressures that may have led to
more » ... this result. Then I discuss how this pervasive concern influences consumer behavior related to brand meanings. This discussion is structured around two aspects of social relationships: interpersonal closeness and social status. Relationship closeness is discussed with regard to brand communities, gifts, special possessions and brand love, and the often hidden ways that social Brand Meaning Management relationships permeate everyday consumer behavior. Social status is discussed with reference to materialism. Materialism is sometimes misunderstood as an obsession with physical object, or as occurring when people care more about products than they do about people. In contrast, I argue that materialism is better understood as a style of relating to people. Originality/value À This paper integrates a range of disparate findings in support of a broadly applicable generalization that nothing matters more to people than other people. This generalization can function as a sensitizing proposition that managers and researchers can bear in mind as they seek to interpret and understand how brand meaning influences consumer behavior.
doi:10.1108/s1548-643520150000012005 fatcat:xlwwxxjgrje65k7v7agmqht3la