Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Aspirational expects

Aspirational expects address another form of symbolism, one which is much more deeply rooted. They reflect the consumer’s fundamental aspirations: personal values, self-image, self-esteem, etc. Aspirational expects are amongst the most influential elements on consumption.

Cosmetics and perfumes offer excellent examples of products that appeal to the consumer’s aspirational expects; the image of femininity, very much apparent in Lancôme’s advertising for its Trésor fragrance, is a response to such an aspiration amongst some women; other perfumes may use the image of a very active professional woman to answer aspirations of a different group. Cosmetics pledge to fulfil the wishes of those aspiring to beauty, and to be a Fountain of Youth for those seeking eternal youth.

In the field of tourism, several products aim to answer aspirational expects. Religious tourism notably: all countries that feature several churches, basilicas, cathedrals, mosques, temples, attract thousands of visitors each year. Some seek spiritual inspiration, others a form of sacred art, others still cultural exoticism.

Various destinations propose a unique experience, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain for instance. Each year, pilgrims journey on foot, cycling or by car, the routes that lead to it, through Spain, France and at time from further still. In fact, it is so popular that associations exist to promote the routes and site: the Société française des amis de Saint Jacques de Compostelle, established in Paris in 1950, and the Confraternity of Saint James, founded in the United Kingdom in 1983. The motives that drive people to live this experience are complex: spiritual, religious, cultural, artistic, physical, etc.

Do you know what your deeply rooted aspirations are?

Do you think that they influence your consumption?

In retrospect, in the light of what precedes, what are the aspirational expects that have influenced your last important purchase?

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