LYFT - A Feminine Alternative for Snus : An Exploratory Study of Consumer Perceptions of Gendered Brands

Detta är en Magister-uppsats från Jönköping University/Internationella Handelshögskolan; Jönköping University/Internationella Handelshögskolan

Sammanfattning: Background:Brand gender is the set of human personality traits associated with masculinity and femininity applicable and relevant to brands. Brand gender perceptions can be affected through a range of different marketing techniques, to attract specific customers, and positively influence their consumer-brand relationships and their brand equity. Similar to past marketing techniques used by tobacco companies who targeted women with cigarettes using slogans such as “Torches of Freedom” and the message that smoking makes you slim, marketers are now trying to change consumer perceptions of snus, a tobacco product originating from Sweden, where a drastic increase in usage among women can be seen.  Problem: Previous literature on the topic of brand gender has mainly focused on products and product categories that are highly connected to consumers’ self-presentation. Current literature also expresses the need for future research to be done using specific brands and product categories. Researchers have also expressed the need for examination of brand gender in contexts of highly feminine cultures.  Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine if LYFT’s marketing portrays a clear brand gender positioning and to see how consumers perceive gendered branding. The aim is to expand existing knowledge on brand love, brand gender congruence and brand-gender positioning, using a product category that is less connected to consumers’ self-presentation. To fulfil the purpose of this research, a content analysis of LYFT’s Instagram was conducted, followed by an analysis of regular users of snus to identify their perceptions and relationships with LYFT. Method: This study has followed a mixed-method approach, where a quantitative content analysis of LYFT’s Instagram has been executed, followed by eight qualitative semi-structured interviews of regular users of snus in the age range of 22-28 years in Sweden who are highly familiar with LYFT. The interviews were analysed following interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA).  Results: The interview participants perceived LYFT’s typical customer, their communication, as well as their product attributes and benefits to be feminine, which was consistent with the results of the content analysis. Congruent with previous research, this study found that the typical user of the brand had the most significant effect on brand gender perceptions and that a strong brand gender positioning can enhance brand love. However, the study also found that female individuals were less likely to consume masculine products or product categories than what previous studies have claimed. This study is useful for marketing practitioners wanting to enhance their customer-brand relationships through clear brand gendering and shows the importance of utilizing marketing techniques such as social media to affect consumer perceptions of brand gender.

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