Symbolic Consumption and Alternative Signals of Status

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Symbolic Consumption and Alternative Signals of Status

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Title: Symbolic Consumption and Alternative Signals of Status
Author: Bellezza, Silvia
Citation: Bellezza, Silvia. 2015. Symbolic Consumption and Alternative Signals of Status. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Business School.
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Abstract: My dissertation is composed of three papers on symbolic consumption–how consumers use products, brands, and time to express who they are and signal status. The first paper (Brand Tourists: How Non–Core Users Enhance the Brand Image by Eliciting Pride) demonstrates the positive impact of non-core users of a prestige brand perceived as “brand tourists” into the brand community. The second paper (The Red Sneakers Effect: Inferring Status and Competence from Signals of Nonconformity) investigates the conditions under which nonconforming behaviors, such as wearing red sneakers in a professional setting, can act as a particular form of conspicuous consumption and lead to positive inferences of status and competence in the eyes of others. The third paper (Conspicuous Consumption of Time: When Busyness and Lack of Leisure Time Become a Status Symbol) further extends this line of investigation on alternative signals of status by uncovering the role of long hours of work and lack of leisure time as a status symbol. I conclude with a discussion of current working papers and future research agenda on symbolic consumption and branding.
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