Brand Equity, Mass Prestige and Masstige Marketing: Advancing Theories, Methods and Constructs
Submission start: 15 Apr 2021
Deadline: 30 June 2021
Carolyn Strong (Cardiff Business School, UK & Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Strategic Marketing)
Minas Kastanakis (ESCP, London, England & Editor-in-Chief, European Management Journal)
Justin Paul (University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR, USA & Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Consumer Studies)
Shlomo Y. Tarba (University of Birmingham, UK & Deputy Editor-in-Chief, British
Journal of Management; Incoming Co-Editor-In-Chief, British Journal of Management)
Ajay Kumar (Central University of Haryana, India)
In the first decade of 20th century, a group of “irrational” economists acknowledged that non-price related factors can also influence demand (Leibenstein, 1950). Rooted in the existing tenets of ‘markets’, this approach has – decades later – led to the emergence of marketing as a separate discipline and marketing as a term/word emerged in dictionary for the first time. Since then, marketing has gone through many changes and challenges at all levels of marketing mix. Marketing theory has evolved through these times, and scholars have touched on varied sub-disciplines. One major breakthrough in marketing theory was brand equity (Keller, 1993; Yoo, Donthu & Lee, 2000; Yoo & Donthu, 2001; Pappu et al., 2005; Kumar & Paul, 2018). Not a surprise that brand equity became an important consideration for marketers across the globe. Brands could charge premium prices because of high levels of positive customer-based brand equity. The super extra premium prices which luxury brands charge can be explained through the tenets of brand equity and mass prestige (masstige).
Over the years, luxury/premium brands have been catering to a niche market and exclusivity, rarity has been its top most characteristics (Miller & Mills, 2012; Walley, Custance, Copley, & Perry, 2013; Zhan & He, 2012). With time, despite rarity as an characteristic, it was realized that brands have to grow fast to sustain in market and have to go where the market is (Kapferer, 2015). In addition, scholars have explored how the brand luxury generates positive consumer affect in social media (Mandler, Johnen, & Gräve, 2019; Bazi, Filieri, & Gorton, 2020).
Therefore, we have seen calls from scholars asking for scrutiny of rarity and luxury paradox (Dion & Borraz, 2017; Gurzki & Woisetschläger, 2017). There are studies in which the rarity principal was questioned and it has been argued that premium brands can grow with a bandwagon effect by creating mass prestige (Fain, Roy, & Ranchhod, 2015; Kapferer, Klippert, & Leproux, 2014; Kapferer & Valette-Florence, 2016; Phau & Prendergast, 2000; Kastankis & Balabanis, 2011, 2012 & 2014; Paul, 2019). Such thoughts continue to become robust with studies like that of Kastanakis and Balabanis (2011; 2012; 2014) where need for uniqueness or rarity was called as unimportant even for status consumption (which is basic tenet of luxury consumption). In contrast, consumers might look for a brand which is known by many and accepted as prestige brand (Kastanakis & Balabanis, 2011; 2012; 2014) to achieve the social ideal self and desired identity (Kastanakis & Balabanis, 2014). This was pointing towards an important facet that marketers can enjoy luxury image for brands at varied price points (Kapferer et al., 2014). This development is pointing towards a big segment in making since long. We have seen luxury brands extending their pricing spectrum downwards (Boisvert & Ashill, 2018) and yet retained their luxury image. For example, Louis Vuitton in Japan has successfully got strong hold in a larger market without losing the luxury tag (Paul, 2015). With these changes, the world is waking up to a new market - Masstige. This market would require a different strategy to handle and grow. The seminal article of Silverstein and Fiske (2003) published in Harvard Business Review was an important scholarly work towards theory of masstige (Kumar, Paul & Unnithan, 2020; Paul, 2019).
Silverstein and Fiske (2003) convinced scholars with many examples like Bath and Body works lotion, Starbucks coffee, Kendall Jackson wines, Victoria’s Street lingerie that masstige is already here and is being exercised by marketers profitably. Companies following a masstige marketing strategy keep prices relatively high and constant, while formulating marketing strategies which focus on product, promotion and place (Paul, 2018). Kumar et. al (2020) defined masstige marketing as a phenomenon in which Price = f (Product, Promotion & Place strategies).
Masstige is characterized by mass prestige consumption, with consumers trading up for better quality against a reasonable premium, with a careful downward extension of luxury brands to reap a larger market in waiting (Silverstein & Fiske, 2003; Kumar, Paul, & Unnithan, 2020). With increasing roles of brands as carriers of consumer’s ideal self and image, adoption of masstige strategy has been witnessed worldwide. Among all this, it is important to note that masstige is not only about reducing the prices of luxury brands. It is about product innovation, diligent promotional strategies coupled with supportive placement while keeping price relatively high (Kumar et al., 2020). We can look at masstige operationalization across the globe in two broad categories. One is a born masstige brand – for example Starbucks, Victoria’s Secret and Apple. Another one is through downward brand extension – for example Mercedes Benz, Tiffany and Burberry (Silverstein & Fiske, 2003). Both of these strategies have been successful. The idea is to reach to the middle class who are ready and able to pay premium prices if they can be convinced to do so (Paul, 2015). World leading brands like Louis Vuitton (Paul, 2015, 2019), Toyota, Honda (Paul, 2018), Apple (Kumar & Paul, 2018), Starbucks, Bath and Body Works, Kendell Jackson wines, Victoria’s Secret, Mercedes, Tiffany, Burberry (Silverstein & Fiske, 2003) have been following the masstige strategy. Top home and personal care companies have seen annual revenue growth of 6 percent even during recession of 2008 by adopting masstige strategy (Vacirca, Imporzano, Coleman, Gupta, & Jackson, 2013). Therefore, brands should also look at masstige as an effective marketing strategy to deal with recessionary times. In times, when the world is converging towards the emerging economies in general and in terms of luxury brands in particular (Hung & David, 2020; Sharma, Soni, Borah, & Saboo, 2020), and changing paradigms of world economic powers, masstige strategy becomes even more important as these emerging countries have huge mass market.
To look back at the scholarly contribution towards masstige theory, starting from the Masstige Marketing Model given by Silverstein and Fiske (2003), we have travelled through some benchmark efforts including theoretical models and measures such as
Brand Equity Measurement Scale (Yoo and Donthu, 2001)Bandwagon luxury consumption model(Kastanakis & Balabanis, 2011; 2012; 2014),Populence paradigm (Granot, Russell, & Brashear-Alejandro, 2013) andMasstige Model, Masstige Mean Score Scale and Masstige Mean Index (Paul, 2015, 2018, 2019).
To cover the journey of masstige evolution, Kumar et. al. (2020) have comprehensively reviewed the masstige marketing phenomenon and theory and also proposed agenda for future research with reference to theory, methods and constructs. Despite being a proven strategy, masstige research has largely been ignored by scholars with few exceptions (Kumar & Paul, 2018; Kumar et al., 2020; Paul, 2015, 2018). This is evident from the fact that to date there is only one measure of masstige available (Paul, 2019). The marketing world look at masstige as a formidable alternative to brand equity. For example, prior studies have estimated masstige value of competing brands comparing foreign versus domestic laptop and car brands (Kumar & Paul, 2018; Paul, 2019). We therefore, invite scholars to engage in masstige research dialogue and look forward to receiving theoretical and empirical manuscripts that further enhance our understanding of masstige theory; provide the extension of existing theories, measures; and escorts the managers globally with improved brand management decisions. In this context we list below the probable themes of submissions (this is not an exhaustive list, it is for illustrative purposes only). Author(s) may submit in any domain related to masstige:
Estimation and Comparison of masstige value of competing brands in a specific product category, in a country, across countries and product categoriesBrand equity and Mass prestige: Measures, Linkages, Interfaces and dispersionsMasstige theory buildingComputing and comparing Masstige value of foreign versus domestic brands in different product categories such as Smart Phones, Cars, Garments, WatchesRelationship of masstige with various other brand equity constructsMasstige and consumer-brand relationshipsMasstige and consumer psychology in the post-COVID 19 eraMasstige and positioning theory in the post-COVID 19 eraMasstige and consumer satisfactionRelationship between masstige and consumer happinessMasstige brands as a medium of attaining consumer’s desiresMasstige as a tool to handle brands in recessionary timesAttaining masstige for brands through promotions, product and place strategiesMasstige and product innovationMasstige and price strategiesMasstige and its impact on consumer behavior attributes like consumer attitude, self-concept and motivation etc.Born masstige brands vs masstige brands evolved through downward brand extensionsMasstige marketing measuresPerspectives, practices and methodological advances in masstige theoryBrand equity-Mass Prestige interface in the post-COVID era and Managing brands in the recessionary times
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Dion, D., & Borraz, S. (2017). Managing status: How luxury brands shape class subjectivities in the service encounter. Journal of Marketing, 81(5), 67-85. https://doi.org/10.1509/jm.15.0291
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Profile of Guest Editors
1. Carolyn Strong
Dr. Carolyn Strong is a Reader in Marketing at Cardiff Business School, where she teaches ethical and social issues in marketing. She is the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Strategic Marketing. She is BSc Business Management Programme Director and a Public Value Engagement Fellow. Dr Strong received her Ph.D from the University of Wales. She has published in Journal of Business Research, Marketing Letters, European Journal of Marketing and Journal of Advertising among others.
2. Minas Kastanakis
Minas N. Kastanakis is Professor of Marketing and Editor-in-Chief of the European Management Journal. His research has been published/is forthcoming in academic journals, including Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Business Research, European Journal of Operational Research etc., and has also received several Best Conference Paper Awards and frequent media attention (Financial Times, CNBC, BBC etc.). Currently, he serves as Editor-in-Chief for the European Management Journal and he has served as a Guest Editor for several Special Issues for the Journal of Business Research and the European Management Journal.
3. Justin Paul
Dr Justin Paul, currently serves as Editor-in-chief of International Journal of Consumer studies (IJCS), a 45 year old, global academic journal ranked as A grade by Australian Business Deans Council. A former faculty member with the University of Washington, he is a full professor of PhD & MBA programs, University of Puerto Rico, USA and a 'Distinguished Scholar' with IIM- K, India's premier business school. An author/co-author of books such as Business Environment (4th ed), International Marketing, Services Marketing, Export-Import Management (2nd edition) by McGraw-Hill & Oxford University Press respectively. Dr. Paul has experience as Managing Guest Editor with the International Business Review, Journal of Business research, Journal of Retailing & Consumer services, Small Business Economics and European Business Review. He serves as Associate Editor with European Management Journal, & Journal of Strategic Marketing. He was Senior/Associate editor for Services Industries Journal, International Journal of Emerging Markets and European Journal of International Management for 3 years. His articles have been downloaded over 550,000 times during last five years. He has published over 55 research papers in SSCI journals and 70 in Scopus including several papers in UK-ABS 4 & 3 level journals. His
web address is www.drjustinpaul.com
4. Shlomo Y. Tarba
Prof. Shlomo Y. Tarba is an Academician (Fellow) of British Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) and Chair (Full Professor) in Strategy & International Business, University of Birmingham. He is a Deputy Editor-In-Chief of British Journal of Management (ABS 4, Impact Factor 2.75) and an incoming Co-Editor-In-Chief of BJM. He is a member of the editorial boards of Journal of Management Studies, Journal of World Business, International Business Review, Long Range Planning, and Thunderbird International Business Review. He serves/has served as a guest-editor for the special issues at Journal of Organizational Behavior (US, Wiley), Human Resource Management (US, Wiley), British Journal of Management , Journal of World Business, California Management Review, Management International Review, International Business Review, Applied Psychology: An International Review, R&D Management, Journal of Business Research, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, and others.
5. Ajay Kumar
Dr Ajay Kumar is Assistant Professor with the Central University of Haryana, India. His research interest includes Branding, Brand Equity, Masstige Branding and Brand Personality. He has published on Masstige, Brand Equity and Brand Personality in premier journals including International Business Review, Journal of Business Research etc. He serves as reviewer to multiple leading journals listed in ABDC and UK-ABS. He is member of editorial review board of International Journal of Consumer Studies.