Associate Professor of Marketing
Social Status; Status Maintenance; Status Advancement; Luxury Goods; Political Ideology;
Journal Article | Journal of Marketing | 82 | November 2018
How Consumers' Political Ideology and the Status-Maintenance Goal Interact to Shape Their Desire for Luxury Goods
This research distinguishes between the goal of maintaining status and advancing status and investigates how consumers’ political ideology triggers sensitivity to a status-maintenance (vs. status-advancement) goal, subsequently altering luxury consumption.Because conservative political ideology increases the preference for social stability, the authors propose that conservatives (vs. liberals) are more sensitive to status maintenance (but not status advancement) and thus exhibit a greater desire for luxury goods when the status-maintenance goal is activated.Six studies assessing status maintenance using sociodemographic characteristics (Studies 1, 2, and 3a) and controlled manipulations, including ad framing (Study 3b) and semantic priming (Studies 4 and 5), provide support for this proposition. The studies show that the effect is specific to status maintenance and does not occur (1) in the absence of a status goal or (2) when the status-advancement goal (a focus on increasing status) is activated.Overall, the findings reveal that conservatives’ desire for luxury goods stems from the goal of maintaining status and offer insights into how luxury brands can effectively tailor their communications to audiences with a conservative ideology.