Branded gated communities : marketing and consumer perspectives
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Recent studies on brands, branding and brand communities reveal the processes of brand development, and the actors that take part in these processes. Research also looks at consumers’ individual and collective practices for the creation of brand value and the transformation of firm-based brand meanings. This study contributes to these literatures by exploring two key questions. First, how brands develop and who participates in these brand building processes? Second, how consumers experience and practice brands that become highly problematic? A two stage ethnographic study explores the multiple actors that shape the development of brands, and consumers’ lived experiences with problematic brands in the context of gated communities in Istanbul. Data were collected from developers, governmental and financial institutions, media representatives and consumers, using indepth interviews, observations, commercial media accounts, official documentary records and visual data. The findings reveal that brand-building processes begin much before their launch, and multiple actors play role in these dynamic processes. Rather than tension free, conflicts within and among brand stakeholder groups discipline brand construction performances. On the consumer side, homeowners execute individual and collective brand practices to contest brand rumors and stereotypes, and to negotiate appropriate brand performances. Tensions intensify with the move into the branded house, forming a rather non-democratic community. Overall, the branded house is a complex and multidimensional consumer object that embraces dynamic political, social, cultural, and economic tensions.
brand rumors and stereotypes
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