To explore the tangibility of brand meaning of local food brands.

Authors: Quest, J.

Start date: 7 July 2015

This paper introduces the author’s doctoral thesis which explores the tangibility of brand meaning of local food brands. The conceptual framework is derived from Hirschman’s layers of meaning (1980a, 1998) and the tangible (direct sensory and functional) and the intangible (idiosyncratic, subcultural and cultural) labels provide key units of analysis. The latter has received much scholarly attention exemplified by Brown et al., (2003) and Escalas and Bettman, (2005), so this focuses on the more neglected tangible layer, to understand its contribution to brand meaning.

Brand meaning resides in the minds of consumers (Batey 2008) so this research will be explored from their perspective. It adopts an interpretivist approach to uncover subjective meanings held by consumers and their connections with brands. Family households with older children aged 10-15 form the sample population (Mintel 2011). Qualitative approaches such as participant observation supported by in-depth interviews are adopted.

This makes an original contribution by giving insights into a more neglected area which explores the tangibility of brand meaning. The research context is local food as there has been a significant groundswell of interest in this category over the last few years around local sourcing, food miles, health and ethical concerns (Grobel 2013).

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