Emotional reactions to the consumption of prestige in events

Authors: Moital, M. and Bain, A.

Start date: 6 September 2015

According to Correia and Moital (2009), the study of prestige motivation can be approached from an antecedents and consequences perspective, whereby the antecedents reflect what makes a product prestigious and the consequences reflect how consumers react to the consumption of prestige. They classified reactions using the well-established cognitive-affective-cognitive attitude model, with this paper specifically examining the affective reactions to attending prestigious events. The exploratory study employed a means-end theory approach to data collection. A total of 10 participants were each asked to identify three prestigious events they had recently attended. For each of those events they had to explain why those events were prestigious. Once an attribute (of the prestigious event) was identified, the laddering technique was employed. This involved probing participants to explain each answer further until they can no longer answer or they just repeat themselves. Once each means-end chain had been exhausted, participants were asked for additional attributes of the event. The data was analysed by initially classifying answers according to whether they were antecedents or consequences. The consequences were further analysed based on whether they reflected the cognitive, affective or conative/behavioural domain.

The findings show that the consumption of prestigious events results in both positive emotions and negative emotions. Positive emotions included greater levels of excitement and enjoyment as well as feeling special, smug, privileged, spoilt, lucky, happy and proud. Negative emotions were present in the form of emotions that would be avoided by attending the prestigious event (performing a function akin to negative reinforcement), notably the fear of missing out and feelings of regret and embarrassment. Each of these emotions is interpreted and further elaborated upon as they relate to the context of prestigious event attendance. In a very competitive market, event organisers face the challenge of finding ways to add value to their events. This paper posits that prestige is one such way and therefore its findings will help event managers to understand the consumption of prestigious events in more detail. More specifically, the results of the study can help event managers understand what emotional outcomes consumers seek to achieve and avoid when attending (prestigious) events. This knowledge can then be used in the marketing of the event, such as in the design of the event (product) and its marketing communication (promotion). Theoretically the paper contributes to the body of knowledge on prestige consumption in the context of experiences, as well as to the emotional benefits of prestigious experiences which is an area that has been little studied in the past.

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