A Brand in Hand: Symbolic Props in Self-Presentation

Grant Packard, University of Michigan, USA
Andrew Gershoff, University of Michigan, USA
Prior research suggests that individuals use verbal and bodily expressions to manage the impression others have of their abilities and traits. We empirically test the proposition that brands in one’s possession may be tactically managed to the same end, applying a symbolic self-completion framework. Participants with low self-evaluations on a situationally salient and desirable personality trait displayed (obscured) a brand that possessed symbolic meaning congruent (incongruent) with that trait, consistent with an acquisitive or self-enhancing impression management strategy. A second study saw a reversal in this pattern towards protective self-presentation when the salient trait was perceived to be ‘riskier’ to impression manage.
[ to cite ]:
Grant Packard and Andrew Gershoff (2010) ,"A Brand in Hand: Symbolic Props in Self-Presentation", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 874-875 .