Branded young


Children and adolescents incorporate brands into their self-concepts

From the car you drive to the shoes you wear to the sunglasses shielding you from the sun, personal identity is often revealed through the brands you choose. Though much research has been devoted to self-brand connections with adult consumers, very little has focused on younger ones until now. An article in the June 2005 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research reports on findings from a series of studies into the development of self-brand connections in children and young adults. The findings suggest that as one ages, particularly between middle school and adolescence, the number and sophistication of the self-brand connections increases.

"During middle childhood, children make a limited number of self-brand connections, which are based on concrete associations with the brand, such as owning or buying branded items. As children move into adolescence, self-brand connections increase as brands are viewed as being connected to one's self-concept because the brand has the same personality, user characteristics, or reference group affiliation," explain the authors of the study, Lan Nguyen (University of Illinois) and Deborah Roedder John (University of Minnesota)

Though much is known about adult consumers, how children are affected by the brands they choose has not been fully studied. "We know very little about the role of brands in defining, expressing, and communicating self-concepts in children," write the authors. "Our interest lies in understanding at what age children begin to incorporate brands into their self-concepts and how these self-brand connections change in qualitative ways as children move into adolescence."

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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