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The Cinderella Experience Exploring the Psychological Consequences of Temporary Aspirational Brand Access

Individuals are motivated to consume brands that allow them to express their self-concept and signal a unique identity to others. However, consumers may not always be able to purchase these brands. Aspirational brands are currently unaffordable “dream brands” that an individual desires to purchase at some point in the future after reaching a higher status or income level. Through aspirational access, an emerging form of access-based consumption, consumers can now temporarily experience their ideal lifestyle for a membership fee. Researchers have begun to explore access-based consumption as an alternative to traditional ownership since consumers are increasingly choosing to access products and benefit from the use, rather than buying and owning them. Most research focuses on utilitarian access-based consumption, such as car sharing. Yet more consumers are using access-based services to facilitate an idealized lifestyle. In the past, these consumers would have to wait to acquire aspirational brands after saving up to purchase, but aspirational access now provides the benefits of these brands in the present allowing aspirational access-based consumers to forego the patience and work of saving long-term for the brand. Four studies are conducted to holistically explore the psychological consequences of aspirational access. Specifically, the following research questions are addressed by employing a multi-method approach in a series of four studies —What do owners of aspirational brands think about aspirational access-based services? How does aspirational access participation influence an accessor’s self- and brand-related perceptions? How can the outcomes of aspirational access be enhanced for accessors through brand curation? Can accessors temporarily using aspirational brands obtain the same level as self- and brand-related outcomes as owners? By exploring these questions, this research aims to understand the nature of aspirational brand consumption and the psychological consequences of accessing versus owning aspirational brands.
Date10 August 2018
CreatorsStevens, Jennifer Lynn
PublisherScholars Junction
Source SetsMississippi State University
Detected LanguageEnglish
SourceTheses and Dissertations

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