Management/ Consumption and Consumers� Behavior term paper 42118

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Abstract

This study examined the underlying explanation on the consumers� continued obsession to the creations of Chanel fashion line. In an attempt to do such, this study further tried to explore its historical context and to probe on the effort of the pioneers of the company particularly Gabriel �Coco� Chanel. Further, this tackled the societal class of Chanel customers and their preference to the particular brand. There are as well citations of theories and principles supporting the consumers� behavior and consumption of the products of Chanel House of Fashion.

Main Body

Prologue

Under the vocabulary of fashion, it is rather difficult to define the effects of Chanel to its consumers. Amazingly, the brand despite of its over-all simplicity, Chanel has become an icon of elegance. For decades, the company remains to be one of the most coveted brands of all times. As quoted by Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute ( www.LuxuryInstitute, 2007), "�Chanel remains timeless and enduring��. At the present, the company is one of the most eminent fashion leaders around the globe. As it is put by Farrer(2008) Ultimately, Chanel was, and always will be, one of the most established and glamorous fashion houses in the world, creating new and beautiful designs for us to lust after year after year.

History

Some may have already been acquainted with the humble inception of the company. From being an orphan, Gabriel Chanel had made great leap to becoming an unsurpassed fashion legend. Grateful to her aunts who fostered her in their province in France, she was taught to sew and other feminine skills. In this particular expertise, she unfolded her creativity in hat designs and eventually opened two shops in 1914. With all audacity, Coco launched the pants for women along with many other designs which are more inclined to modernism and practicality in contrast to the fashions in her time, mostly corsets and lacey gowns.

The marked shift of feminism during the World War 1 inspired Coco to contemplate on jersey suits appropriate for the women working in the coal factory. With the liberation of women following the war Chanel clothing became known for allowing freedom of movement in comfortable, fluid designs and practical sporty wear as ladies left their kitchens and began to enjoy more active lives [Farrer, 2008). Right then, her trend has continued to flourish in the fashion industry. Not long after, she ushered her first fragrance to the public, Chanel No. 5, which had became internationally famous. One could say perfume helped keep Chanel's pretty reputation throughout World War II. She responded to the war by shutting down her fashion business and hooking up with Hans Gunther von Dincklage, a Nazi officer whose favors included permission to reside in her beloved Ritz Hotel. Years later in the 1950�s, she had trouble making a comeback because her name still had "disgraced" attached to it (Fragrance Wholesale.com, 2004).

Coco ameliorated even more after her reopening of her shops during 1954, and garnered the title as the �the most influential designer of the century�. She heralded new designs and revolutionized the fashion industry by going �back to basics,� incorporating elegance, class, and originality. Under her tight reign from 1909-1971, Coco Chanel held the title as �Chief Designer� until her death on January 10, 1971. Amazingly, her death did not halt the revolution of splendid designs. The business was taken up by Karl Lagerfield who would become one of the most iconic designers of recent times. With his flashy sense of style combined with a strong vision of a new Chanel, Lagerfeld brought the couture house to new levels, and is still continuing to woo and awe the fashion world (Wikipedia, 2008).

In the present, Coco�s classical inspirations still pilot many professional and contemporary fashion designers.

Consumers

Most of the consumers of the products of Chanel are coming from the elite strata of the society. These people usually belong to upper classes of political, business, and showbiz personalities. It has been known that generally the customers of Chanel are populated with the rich and famous. The products of the Chanel House of Fashion are opined as status symbol in the classy world.

As evident in the advertisements, fashion-sensitive aristocrat adult women are the wonted targets of the Chanel industry, including those who wanted to be labeled as one of them. Struggling in establishing their identity, some females resort to purchase items which boost feminism greatly emphasized in the commercials. Chanel Fashion House introduced new eau de toilette for men in 1981, and offered products for the kids as well.

Consumption

Chanel still stands as one of the successful fashion couture in terms of net sales (Menkez, 1996). Such can be owed to the strategic advertisements and promotions of the management, where the behavior of the consumer is greatly influenced. Consumer behavior is defined as the process and activities people engage in when searching for, selecting, purchasing, using, evaluating, and disposing of products and services so as to satisfy their needs and desires( Belch and Belch, 2007). It studies characteristics of individual consumers such as demographics, psychographics, and behavioural variables in an attempt to understand people's wants. It also tries to assess influences on the consumer from groups such as family, friends, reference groups, and society in general. Further, they formulated the basic model of consumer decision making namely problem recognition, informative search, alternative evaluation, purchase decision, post purchase evaluation. Problem recognition results when there is a difference between one's desired state and one's actual state. Once the consumer has recognised a problem, they search for information on products and services that can solve that problem. This process which is informative search is parallel to the relevant internal psychological process which is the perception. In here, comes in the influence of promotional advertisements and endorsements. For Belch and Belch, one component of the perception is selective attention described as the junction wherein the consumers select which promotional messages they will pay attention to, followed by interpretation of these messages with their beliefs, attitudes, motives and experiences. Thirdly, consumers evaluate alternatives in terms of the functional and psychological benefits that they offer. The marketing organization needs to understand what benefits consumers are seeking and therefore which attributes are most important in terms of making a decision. As proposed by Belch and Belch, once the alternatives have been evaluated, the consumer is ready to make a purchase decision. Sometimes purchase intention does not result in an actual purchase. The marketing organization must facilitate the consumer to act on their purchase intention. The provision of credit or payment terms may encourage purchase, or a sales promotion such as the opportunity to receive a premium or enter a competition may provide an incentive to buy now .

Whenever consumer perceived that the products will soccur them in the expression of what they idealized themselves to be as what the models posed in the commercials. As inference for this, Chanel House of Fashion features well-known models and endorsers. For example was the sexy Marilyn Monroe with her famous line,� What do I wear in bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, of course,� which is rather inviting. Another one of them is Nicole Kidman, who is one of the most illustrious artists in Hollywood attributing to her sensuality and magnetism to men. Next in line is Kiera Knightley one of the highest paid actors in the present. Some writers believed that advertising affects people, because they compare themselves to the models and their lifestyles in the commercials. According to Lasch and Horney (1978, cited in Richins, 1991) idealized models in advertising can lead to unhappiness and anxiety, although as Richins points out that people understand that these images are unrealistic. However, he added that the advertisement says that men and women can be like them if they buy their products. This could be one of the puissant reasons of the Chanel Fashion to involve male and female models who are worldly celebrated in terms of suggestive and social visage. Example, one will be gratified by wearing a Chanel handbag simply because the woman who represented the product is the one she imagined herself to be. This is termed as the self-concept process that while one�s personality is often interpreted by those we interact with, the person has their own vision of their personality which may or may not be the same has how others view us (KnowThis.com, 2008).

According to Bocock, individual consumers can attain two different types of satisfaction through consumption. The first type is the consumption that directly satisfies consumers� immediate needs. The second type of satisfaction is attained from the �prolongation of consumption�, and this prolongation or "the consumption of time" is also the pleasure of consumption. For instance, consumers purchase �specialty products� not to satisfy their immediate needs but for the pleasure of possessing them (Bocock, 1993). Seth Godin (Google video, 2006) accentuated that Chanel costs 2500 dollars a gallon, you don�t need it, and you�re just buying the story. The formerly mentioned proponents looked at the patronage of Chanel products is practically unwise, and that the purchase of which is motivated by self-indulgence and not by fulfilling the personal needs. These corroborate the assumptions that oftentimes, the social and psychological exigencies lit by the images offered in the stupendous advertisements can often be stronger than economical reason. Speaking of such, advertising is seen as a subtle psychological manipulation as it creates desires and anxiety in the potential consumers (Papers4you.com, 2006). Social psychology is however focused not just on consumption and public attitudes on advertising, but also on group behaviour, general individual and collective attitudes towards various social issues including war, work, violence and quality of life ( Veneeva, 2006). As revealed in the KnowThis.com, factors affecting how customers make decisions are extremely complex. Buyer behavior is deeply rooted in psychology with dashes of sociology thrown in just to make things more interesting. Since every person in the world is different, it is impossible to have simple rules that explain how buying decisions are made. Chanel fashion house is rather exceptional in this field of business strategy. For many, possessed material things symbolized their lifestyle in life. As defined by KnowThis.com, Lifestyle is often determined by how we spend our time and money.� They further said that marketers have worked hard researching how consumers in their target markets live their lives since this information is key to developing products, suggesting promotional strategies and even determining how best to distribute products. This could be one of the hallmarks of operational market strategies of Chanel managers.

Another category proposed by KnowThis.com is the role represented by particu;ar group of consumers. Advertisers often show how the benefits of their products aid consumers as they perform certain roles. Typically the underlying message of this promotional approach is to suggest that using the advertiser�s product will help raise one�s status in the eyes of others. Therefore, Chanel impoverished any means of advertisement so as to show that their products will be tantamount to the expected role as members of alta sociedad of the consumers.

Chanel fashion House�s contribution to fashion and lifestyle is hugely remarkable, and has become an influential way of life for some. According to Coco herself, fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. Queries with regards to the people�s inclination to Chanel are inevitable. Digging into the advertising strategies of the Chanel will expose reasons for its marketing success. It has been found out that employing sexy and fabulous models and endorsers will make a great deal of influence to the consumers. Further, creation of idealized pictures of alluring men and women in the most fashionable context will invite consumers to contemplate on the products and will eventually lead to sales. Although there are many other principles and theories can explain the consumers remark to the creations of Chanel House of Fashion.

References

Books

Belch, GE & Belch MA 2007, Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communication Perspective, 7th edition, McGraw Hill/Irwin, New York.

RICHINS, M.L. (1991). Social Comparison and Idealized Images of Advertising. Journal of Consumer Research, 18, 71-83.

Bocock, Robert (1993) Consumption. London: Routledge.

Internet

September 2007. Luxury Institute Survey: High Net-Worth Consumers Rank Chanel, Estee Lauder and Ralph Lauren Top Women's Luxury Fragrance Brands Available: URL (http://www.luxuryinstitute.com/doclib/doclib_popup.cgi?file=35). [April2008].

Farrer, Jacqueline. January 2008 Behind the Name Part I: Chanel. Available: URL (http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/lifestyle-fashion/styletrends/chanel-4308.html) [April 2008]

2008. Some History and Background on Chanel. Available: URL (/fragrancewholesale.com/somhisandbac5.html)

Menkez, Suzy. July 6, 1996. International Herald Tribune. Available: URL (http://www.iht.com/articles/1996/07/06/fash.t_1.php). [April 2008]

Papers For You (2006). �Advertising: means of psychological manipulation", Available: URL http://www.coursework4you.co.uk/sprtpsy3.htm [April 2008]

Veneeva, Verena. 2006. Social Psychology: The Psychological Explanations of Social Phenomena. Available: URL http://self-help.smartads.info/psycology/article.php. [April 2008]

Google Videos. February 2006. All Marketers are Liars. [Video]. New York: Seth Godin.[April 2008]

April 2008. Chanel. Available: URL (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chanel). [April 2008]

Principles of Marketing: Consumer Buying Behavior. Available URL (http://www.knowthis.com/tutorials/principles-of-marketing/consumer-buying-behavior.htm). [April 2008]

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