Research into social class enables marketers to build social class profiles, which then provides a general illustration of the values, attitudes and behaviour that separate the members of those social classes (Bednall et al., 2001: 361). This research can then be used when developing marketing strategies for a product or service.
Clothing, Fashion & Shopping.
A consumer's self-concept or self-image, as well as their perception of their own social class membership directly influence their decisions on the clothes that they purchase, and the way that they choose to shop (Bednall et al., 2001: 361). For instance, lower-middle-class consumers may prefer the more widely known or mainstream brands, such as Nike or Levis, as well as brands associated with well-known celebrities, whereas upper-class consumers are more inclined to purchase the more sophisticated, subtle and distinguished brands, such as imported clothing or Armani. Accordingly, these organisations will then develop a marketing strategy that best suits the main social class that their brand identifies with.
For example, a large part of the success of Macy's department store is credited to the company's strategy of designing and marketing each of its campaigns so as to appeal to specific consumer classes by developing the brand around consumer's demographic lifestyles (O'Laughlin, 2003: 16-17). Macy's have found that this is cost-effective and are continually developing and improving both the private label's brand and strategy.
Social class also plays a role in where consumers choose to shop. The mass-market stores, such as Coles, K-Mart and Best & Less, attract the lower-middle-class and middle-class consumers, while the more expensive specialty stores such as Grace Bros, David Jones and Jag tend to attract the upper-class consumers, who can afford the added expense (Bednall et al., 2001: 362). As well, a consumer is likely to avoid a store which they know...