The term “symbolism” is related to different disciplines of studies such as semiology and symbolic consumption. The former sees the world a system of signs, permeating with signifiers and the signified behind, while the latter focuses on the relation among the signified, people’s identity and consumption.
Symbolic Meaning and Consumer
The image of self composes of the private self and the social self in four types, namely the past, the true, the normative and the ideal self (Higgins, in Urde, 1999; Rindell, 2007) in a timeline from past to future.
Figure 1. Dimensions of the Self (Rindell 2007)
A variety of literature stresses the importance of the symbolism in consumer consumption and identity construction. Levy stated: “people buy things not only for what they can do, but also for what they mean” (1959, p.118). As in a postmodern context, self is not a static and fixed identity that an individual can passively accept, but something the individual actively create on his/her own, partially by means of consumption (Elliot, et al. 1998). To construct ...
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...because adopting the right symbol meanings is an essential first step. According to McDonald (2001), the success of tribal marketing lies in inspiring the users, respecting them by understanding their values and then give them freedom to develop. In Airbnb’s case, it understands what its target customers want, it shows its symbolic meanings and brand identity to attract minds alike, and then leave the other work to customers. When Airbnb gives power and freedom to its users to be more involved, it sees more brand engagement and value added in brand equity. Berry (2000) stressed the importance of brand equity in service industry because the more powerful the brand is, the more trust customers have for the intangible purchase. Additionally, along with the growth of the brand, there will be an increase in comments and story sharing, which gives more trust to customers.
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