While social evaluations have gained prominence in the field of marketing, few studies have investigated how brands strategically mobilize their social evaluations. This study aims to further explore the potential of social evaluations to shed light on brand management processes. Through a qualitative content analysis of 420 unique magazine ads of 36 fine watchmaking brands over a four-year period, we show how brands strategically draw from the distinct repertoires of status, reputation, and legitimacy to signal their social position and increase their appeal to consumers. We find that brands mobilize and combine cues from the three repertoires in different ways and that these variations stem from differences in the brands’ strategic intent and extent of market embeddedness. We discuss the contributions of these findings to the marketing literatures on social evaluations and on the role of advertising in brand building and conclude by outlining avenues for future research.
Source: Marketing Theory