It’S Not What You Know, It’S Who You Know: Acquiring Consumer Capital Through Consumer Research

This case study of a major automotive manufacturer examines the identification and representation of the consumer in the course of product development. I find that because understanding the consumer and his or her desires is held as a prerequisite for exemplary product development, definition of the consumer becomes an internally codified asset I term “consumer capital.” The study enriches extant discourses on how consumers are interpreted, foregrounding the polyvocal, polysemic dynamism of the interpretive act and challenges rhetoric on consumer insight which assumes that organizational actors realize value in constructing a shared and uncontested interpretation of their consumers.


Sarah JS Wilner (2011) ,"It’S Not What You Know, It’S Who You Know: Acquiring Consumer Capital Through Consumer Research", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 9, eds. Alan Bradshaw, Chris Hackley, and Pauline Maclaran, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 71-72.


Sarah JS Wilner, York University, Canada


E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 9 | 2011

Share Proceeding

Featured papers

See More


The Unbearable Smallness of Being: How Feeling Physical Small Influences Decision Delegation

Eunyoung Camilla Song, University of Florida, USA
Yanping Tu, University of Florida, USA
Rima Touré-Tillery, Northwestern University, USA

Read More


Mining Consumer Minds: How Airbnb Hosts’ Motivations Affect Their Retention and Pricing Decision

Jaeyeon Chung, Columbia University, USA
Gita Venkataramani Johar, Columbia University, USA
Yanyan Li, Columbia University, USA
Oded Netzer, Columbia University, USA
Matthew Pearson, Former User Experience Researcher at Airbnb

Read More


Q12. Exploring Effects of Perceived Authenticity Of Instagram Models on Aad and Buying Intentions

Heather Shoenberger, University of Oregon, USA
Eunjin Kim, Southern Methodist University, USA

Read More

Engage with Us

Becoming an Association for Consumer Research member is simple. Membership in ACR is relatively inexpensive, but brings significant benefits to its members.