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Explain the significance of sub-cultures of consumption in modern marketing. In doing so, use two examples of specific sub-cultures of consumption. In what ways can brands interact with such communities?

Concept of sub-cultures of consumption

Consumer behaviour is one of the important factors that every company need to analyse. The factors that contribute to the buying behaviour of the customers affect the decisions made by an organisation. One such factor includes the culture of the people (Horner and Swarbrooke 2016). The culture followed by an individual defines the choices made by the individuals. The assignment analyses the concept of sub-cultures of consumption that define the behaviour of the consumers. Sub-cultures of consumption define the types of people that tend to be different from other people in the culture. These people do things differently in order to remain modern and remain with the trend followed in the society. Examples are provided with that highlight the concept in detail and provide a comprehensive analysis of the concept. The significance of the sub-cultures of consumption is defined in the assignment.  The interaction that brands make with the people of such communities is also highlighted in the assignment.

According to Solomon, Russell-Bennett and Previte (2013), culture can be defined as a sum total of the beliefs and values of a person that defines its personality and the consumption of products and services. It can be considered as an accumulation of shared beliefs and values that help in forming a society. It includes abstract ideas as well as creative ideas that define the beliefs of the individuals. However, it has been seen that many people within the cultural group differ from the traditional beliefs of the people. These people are considered as the sub-cultures that define a different set of beliefs and thoughts.

Sub-culture has been defined as the group of people forming their own culture that is different from the culture of the community in which they reside. It can be a minor group that possess the beliefs and values that are completely different from the larger unit (Solomon 2014). Thus, it can be said that values and norms of the sub-cultural people stand out from among those of the cultural group. In this regard, it can be said that at times, the sub-cultural group members develop itself into a major cultural group that can be distinguished from one another.

From the point of view of consumption of products and services, sub-cultures can be defined as a group of people that have unique tastes in the products sold by companies. As stated by Schütte and Ciarlante (2016) these sub-cultural people base their choices upon the uniqueness of the products that are sold by a company. The sub-cultures of consumption define the manner in which the people attribute one another in terms of the choices they make in the tastes and preferences of the products. For example, there can be a group of people that prefer the kind of bikes or similar kind of music.

East et al. (2016) are of the view that in order to identify the sub-cultures, managers of an organisation need to look for six signs that provide a clear indication of the tastes and preferences of an individual. These six signs include:

  • Individuals aiming to move out of the broader culture often form a negative attitude towards work. These people tend to remain idle or perform activities that are against cultural norms of the society such as helping out in social activities.
  • Individuals having an ambient relationship with the class of people of the society tend to form a sub-cultural group. This involves variance in terms of fondness, beliefs and values.
  • They tend to associate with territories rather than the community. This can be best evidenced by the fact that such people claim the neighbourhood of their hang out to be their own backyard and name them as "the hood" or "the club".
  • Individuals tend to remain outside of the house and spent more time in the neighbourhood.
  • The style statement of these people is different than that of other people in the community
  • These people also refuse to indulge an ordinary life and think about ways by which they can make their lives better from the major cultural group.

First example of sub-cultures of consumption

Thus, in order to be successful in business, organisations need to look for these signs and formulate their business strategies (Schiffman et al. 2013). In this regard, it can be said that examples can be provided to understand the concept along with the behaviour of the people.

In order to understand the concept in broader manner examples can be considered that highlights the concept of sub-cultures. One such example is the consumption of bikes. It is seen that in a culture where cars are the preferred mode of travelling, some people prefer bikes. These people are of the opinion that the bikes provide a convenient mode of transportation and can be taken to any part of the country. Moreover, they even consider riding a bike more masculine than a car. Hence, this can be considered as a perfect example in order to understand the factors that drive sub-cultures of consumption.

According to Gunter and Furnham (2014), the main market factors that drive sub-cultures of consumption includes the new product development that is initiated by the consumers, mass-marketing, brand identification and national and cultural boundaries. These factors help in the formation of symbiotic relationships between the sub-cultures and the institutions that deal with marketing research. Hence, it is important for every organisation to ensure that these factors are identified in order to gain a competitive advantage over the sub-cultures. The examples of the bikes can be broken into further sub-consumptions. It has been seen that sale of Harley-Davidson in the United States is more than any other bikes.

  It has been seen that the sales of Harley-Davidson in 2016 had increased by 22.7% in 2016 as compared to the sales in 2015. The increase in sales is mainly due to the fact that due to its basic features such as speed and weight of the bike, it is one of the most popular bikes used by certain cultures of people. Mainly it is seen that people with a street-thug attitude indulge in purchasing such bikes (Cohen, Prayag and Moital 2014). It has been seen that in the USA there exists ideology that leads to the consumption of Harley-Davidson. These people consider it to be the principle icon among bikes and the consumption of this leads to the formation of sub-cultures among the people.

It has been seen that the richness of Harley-Davidson is one of the heritage that is responsive to grass root innovation. One of the chief reasons for the increased sales of Harley-Davidson is the fact that it contributes to maintaining an intimate relationship with the customers. This is done by performing CSR activities that help in the development of a society. Apart from the bikes, merchandise related to the bikes is also sold that brings about interest among the customers. Hence, these contribute to the building of sub-cultures among the people. The fact that Harley-Davidson aims to create a band of people that follow the attitude required for riding the bike can be considered as another factor for building sub-consumption cultures.

Second example of sub-cultures of consumption

Thus, with this example, one can understand the manner in which sub-cultures of consumption are derived. Ronchi (2014) observed that the manners in which the sub-cultures are developed are mainly from the contributions made by the organisations. The organisations aim to create a group of customers that can be deemed as loyal to them. However, another example can be stated that highlights the fact that the people living in a society develop the sub-consumption culture.

The second example of sub-culture of consumption can be related to the personal tastes of music or types of movies that are liked by an individual. This is a different approach as compared to the approach made earlier with the example of Harley-Davidson. According to Gajjar (2013), in the case of Harley-Davidson the company plays a vital role in setting up sub-cultures. However, in the case of similar tastes in literature or music or art the tastes of the individuals can be defined based on the personality of the individuals.

A broad analysis of this can be done by providing examples in which people prefer hardcore music than light melodies. This is created due to the existence of certain bands such as Metallica and Nirvana. The fact that these popular bands along with many others have created sensational music over the years using only instruments has inspired people of the younger generation (Moriarity and Bateman 2013). Hence people fond of music develop good tastes in these bands that lead them to be different from the society. The fondness can also be attributed to the personality type of an individual and the manner in which the bands provide inspiration.

As observed by Young et al. (2010) this example shows that not only the organisations but also the individuals play a critical role in the development of sub-cultures of consumption. The group of people that are fond of metal rocks form a different culture in society. They tend to stay away from the people that are fond of classical or melodious music. It is not be confused that such discrimination may lead waste to a society, instead, it brings about an abundance of taste in the music of a society which can help in improving the knowledge based on this particular genre.

 Thus, the two examples provide an idea about the ways by which sub-cultures of consumption are developed. Organisations, as well as individuals, bring about such division among a cultural group that lead to the development of sub-cultures. However, Leigh, Peters and Shelton (2016) observed that even with the creation of sub-cultures these people tend to maintain their original cultural background in an unconscious manner. This is mainly due to the fact that people tend to fall back to the cultural roots in order to gain the benefits that can be enacted by the society. This includes the CSR activities of the organisations. Thus, in this regard, the significance of the sub-cultures of consumption can be analysed based on the examples provided and the manner in which it helps in the development of the society.

According to Schouten, Martin and McAlexander (2017), sub-culture of consumption help organisations to understand the tastes and needs of various people within the society. The manner in which these people tend to remain in an organisation can be understood by the analysis of the sub-cultures that are formed. In this regard, it can be said that certain factors need to be analysed in order to identify the significance of the sub-cultures of consumption. One such factor is the geographical inhabitation of the individuals. The culture of an individual is derived from the geographical location of the society from where the individual belongs. This gives rise to the cultural norms that an individual is expected to follow in every sphere of his life. However, with the emergence of sub-cultures, these cultural beliefs are abundant.

It can also be said that the sub-cultures are formed in order to remain updated with the rapid changes that take place in the environment. For example, people of the modern generation tend to use internet and mobile phones in order to communicate with one another. This is a part of the culture in which they live in. However, people of the older generation are not skilled in the use of modern technology and as a result, sub-culture gets created automatically. According to Schiele and Venkatesh (2016), this is one of the significance of sub-cultures as it helps in pushing people to adapt to the changes that take place in the environment. Cultures and society tend to develop with the existence of such people that believe in new ideas and innovation.

Another notable significance of sub-cultures of consumption is the fact that it helps in the formation of brands. Nicovich (2015) observed that sub-cultures within a society can be a target market for brands that are trying to get recognised. This is an important aspect for such brands as the target market can be narrowed down and based on the target, manufacturing of products can be done. The sub-cultures help in the promotion of these brands as long as it serves the purpose of the consumption of the people. Thus, it can be said that this significance can help in locating different brands and sub-cultures that exist within a society.

Sub-cultures also help to understand the personality of the people based on the tastes of literature or art chosen by the people. This is important in order to understand the manner in which people respond to various situations. As mentioned earlier, the manner in which the people select their lifestyle indicates the choices they can make in the professional life (Martin and Schouten 2013). Thus, it can be said that the significance of this can be attributed to the manner in which brands and organisations tend to interact with the sub-cultures. The sub-cultures of consumption provide for certain levels at which this interaction can take place.

According to Stokburger?Sauer and Wiertz (2015), every manager needs to ensure that interaction with the customers is maintained in order to gain a competitive advantage. This helps in understanding the needs of the customers and maintains the loyalty of the customers. The interaction can be done based on the application of certain strategies that help in gaining access to the information about the customers. Strategies such as conducting a survey and analyzing the results can help in identifying the type of customers with whom the business needs to be conducted. Hence, the interaction with the sub-cultures can also be done by following the same process.

At the first step, the managers need to analyse the sub-cultures and the people involved in the society. This can help in creating a perception about the manner in which the people of the community may respond to the products and services of the organisation. It can be said that this can help in the innovation of the products so that the target market can be reached. The interaction with the customers of these communities can be done by applying the methods that are used for interacting with the community as a whole. Identifying the target market can be done by conducting a survey about the people that belong to the sub-cultures. The mentality of the people needs to be analysed in order to help in the development of the product. Thus, this can be said that a systematic manner needs to be undertaken in order to interact with the people of this community.

  Sweeney, Soutar and Mazzarol (2014) stated that the systematic mode of interaction can help in analysing the external environment of the community as well. It is often seen that some of the reasons for forming a sub-culture are the low-income rate. This can be a factor that needs to be considered in order to ensure that the organisations develop a plan to address this issue. In order to interact with these people, brands can lower the prices by providing discounts and free gift coupons so that the price of the products remains within the limit of the budget of the people. Thus, such interaction can help in ensuring that the people of the sub-cultures get proper highlight so that they can fulfil their purchasing objectives.

On the other hand, in order to interact with people that are loyal to a particular brand such as Harley-Davidson, managers need to ensure that the people are not disappointed by the company (Hajli 2014). This includes maintaining a good relationship with the people and during a promotion of the new items, these customers can be provided with free samples of the items. This can help in keeping the customers loyal and ensuring that the brand they follow is promoted in the society. Hence, it can be said that interaction with the sub-culture customers is done in a systematic manner by analyzing the factors that are important for making strategic plans. The basic mode of interaction with the community can be from conducting a survey and maintaining communication on a regular basis via the internet. Thus, this can help in understanding the mentality of the people belonging to the community.

Conclusion

Thus, it can be concluded that sub-cultures within a community help in the development of target markets among the organisations. This is an important factor for organisations as more communities can bring about more exposure. Sub-cultures are formed due to the choice of the people based on the personality as well as the organisations that are involved in the society. The type of consumption of products helps in the formation of such communities in the society. Thus, it can be said that the sub-cultures of consumption need to be considered with as much importance as the broader cultures that exist in a community. It can also be said that the organisations need to ensure that these sub-cultures are taken into consideration during the planning of strategies. The sub-cultures prove as an effective mode of business as the sales of products increases. Due to the existence of sub-cultures, an organisation can produce diversified products that can help in attaining success. 

Reference

Cohen, S.A., Prayag, G. and Moital, M., 2014. Consumer behaviour: Concepts, influences and opportunities. Current Issues in Consumer Behaviour, 17(10), pp.872-909.

East, R., Singh, J., Wright, M. and Vanhuele, M., 2016. Consumer behaviour: applications in marketing. Sage.

Gajjar, D.N., 2013. Factors affecting consumer behavior. International Journal of Research in Humanities and Social Sciences, 1(2), pp.10-15.

Gunter, B. and Furnham, A., 2014. Consumer Profiles (RLE Consumer Behaviour): An Introduction to Psychographics(Vol. 5). Routledge.

Hajli, M.N., 2014. A study of the impact of social media on consumers. International Journal of Market Research, 56(3), pp.387-404.

Horner, S. and Swarbrooke, J., 2016. Consumer behaviour in tourism. Routledge.

Leigh, T.W., Peters, C. and Shelton, J., 2016. The consumer quest for authenticity: The multiplicity of meanings within the MG subculture of consumption. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 34(4), pp.481-493.

Martin, D.M. and Schouten, J.W., 2013. Consumption-driven market emergence. Journal of Consumer Research, 40(5), pp.855-870.

Moriarity, G. and Bateman, R.S., 2013. A review of impulse buying behavior. International Journal of Marketing Studies, 5(3), p.149.

Nicovich, S., 2015. An Examination of the Internet Newsgroups as a Subculture of Consumption: Implications for Marketers. In Proceedings of the 1997 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference (pp. 295-303). Springer, Cham.

Ronchi, P., 2014. Factors influencing consumer behaviour. International journal of current research and academic review, 2(9), pp.52-61.

Schiele, K. and Venkatesh, A., 2016. Regaining control through reclamation: how consumption subcultures preserve meaning and group identity after commodification. Consumption Markets & Culture, 19(5), pp.427-450.

Schiffman, L., O'Cass, A., Paladino, A. and Carlson, J., 2013. Consumer behaviour. Pearson Higher Education AU.

Schouten, J.W., Martin, D.M. and McAlexander, J.H., 2017. The evolution of a subculture of consumption. Consumer tribes, pp.67-75.

Schütte, H. and Ciarlante, D., 2016. Consumer behaviour in Asia. Springer.

Solomon, M.R., 2014. Consumer behavior: Buying, having, and being (Vol. 10). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Solomon, M.R., Russell-Bennett, R. and Previte, J., 2013. Consumer behaviour: Buying, having, being. Pearson Australia.

Stokburger?Sauer, N.E. and Wiertz, C., 2015. Online consumption communities: An introduction. Psychology & Marketing, 32(3), pp.235-239.

Sweeney, J., Soutar, G. and Mazzarol, T., 2014. Factors enhancing word-of-mouth influence: positive and negative service-related messages. European Journal of Marketing, 48(1/2), pp.336-359.

Young, W., Hwang, K., McDonald, S. and Oates, C.J., 2010. Sustainable consumption: green consumer behaviour when purchasing products. Sustainable development, 18(1), pp.20-31.

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