Research Summary

Creating and Consuming Brand Meaning

by Jill J. Avery


This vibrant stream explores how managers build meaning into their brands through narrative stories, and nurture, leverage, and maintain meaning over time.  It also explores how consumers use this meaning embedded in brands to construct their identities and live their social lives.  In several papers, I explore how consumers collectively make meaning for brands in online brand communities.  In others, I explore how men construct their masculinity through the use of brands and show how gender-bending brands, taking a brand that has historically been targeted to one gender and targeting it to the other, harms men's identity work, prompting a defensive response.  In other work, I explore how consumers use underdog brands to help them negotiate their own lives.  I also explore how brands can be agents of political, social, and/or cultural change by weaving brand narratives with social missions.