Managing Status: How Luxury Brands Shape Class Subjectivities in the Service Encounter

Journal of Marketing (2017)
Auteurs : Delphine Dion et Stéphane Borraz

Although a large body of research investigates how consumers use goods to signal their status, little is known about how brands manage status. The very few studies that do look at this are grounded in the traditional conception of status and focus on the possession and display of status signals. The authors offer an alternative understanding of status management by investigating the role of interactions in the service encounter. Drawing from extensive ethnographic work in luxury stores, they investigate how brands (re)configure the status games that surface in the service encounter. They show that through the material and social cues of the servicescape, brands shape consumers’ class subjectivities, that is, they make consumers behave as class subjects who have a specific understanding of their position in the social hierarchy. Thus, managing statusrequires the active creation and management of consumers as class subjects. There is a shift from managing branded goods that signal status to managing customer experiences that make consumers enact status positions. This research enables the identification of new ways to manage status brands, especially luxury brands.