Friday, April 29, 2011

Conceptual Consumption

An art-crime, a dusty Harley Davidson!

This is one gorgeous Harley-Davidson motorcycle! According to Harley-Davidson their vision is stated as follows:
"We fulfill dreams inspired by the many roads of the world by providing extraordinary motorcycles and customer experiences. We fuel the passion for freedom in our customers to express their own individuality."

So, it looks to me that riding an HD is all about freedom mixed with a blend of being rebellious. Yet some would go for a Harley not to satisfy the freedom need, but to have the image of a freedom-loving rider and its associated lifestyle. Even in some countries where owning a motorcycle needs an exclusive sort of license, someone might buy an HD to indicate he/she has the power of making it happen; this type of behavior is called conceptual consumption.

While physical consumption is related to the core benefit or quality of a product (example: food in a restaurant) conceptual consumption is related to the psychological attribute of consumption (example: the exclusivity of experiencing that restaurant). Interestingly, a consumer might sacrifice a physical consumption experience for a conceptual consumption experience in order to impress others and achieve a self-fulfilling prophecy. For instance, buying a a high-consuming car to be associated with the authority and power of that gigantic car.

Conceptual consumption was introduced by Dan Ariely and Michael Norton (Ariely and Norton 2009)* and one sure thing is that it can be utilized in business to sell something and drive the desired behavior of the consumer. My special thanks goes to Dr. Phil Jones for introducing me to this term.

* Ariely, Dan and Michael I. Norton (2009), “Conceptual Consumption,” Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 475-499


Najwan said...

a very interesting concept to think about in terms of customer purchasing behavior, I think it can be related to how the customer "perceives" a given product , if he/she perceives it as fullfilling of a psychological need that is important for them then this is why this product is selling , as they say "Perception is more important than Reality" !!

Nart Pshegubj said...

Thank you dear Najwan for your comment, I totally agree with you. We are surrounded by Conceptual Consumption examples; for instance, unique car numbers.

I suggest that you check the paper by Ariely and Norton as it contains some interesting resolutions.

Haitham هيثم Al-Sheeshany الشيشاني said...

thanks for this bro :)

u have "really" a neat ability to summarize it beautifully :)

Haitham هيثم Al-Sheeshany الشيشاني said...

I`m reentering this comment so as to subscribe to comments! Sorryyyyyyyyyyyyy :P

Nart Pshegubj said...

Thanks Noxchi Borz :) I am flattered by your comment

Abradj said...

Harley Davidson

Nart Pshegubj said...

Do you see the dust dear Abraj, that's an art crime!

Aman said...

so true !
but do you think being a conceptual consumer is the right attitude all the time and in all things ?

Nart Pshegubj said...

Hi Dear,
In my own opinion the answer would be No. Sometimes, I see conceptual consumption to be evil for it is not authentic.

Again, if you intend to sell something, CC is a great tool for personality type 'I' (please refer to the DISC Personality Test post). However, CC may also be utilized in a good way; for example promoting going green and using shopping bags by connecting this with the image of being modernized.

Aman said...

Yes I agree, because there is a limit beyond which conceptual consumption is considered a waste of money on unnecessary things. On the other hand it can be a really good thing and a motivation for doing useful stuff.
About DISC Personality Test, I guess I'll post my comment there :p

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