"Symbolic consumption" refers to the way consumers buy into a lifestyle around a brand: When we purchase, we're not just buying into a single product, we're communicating the things that product stands for.

Depending on the type of product, that could be concepts such as "luxury," "liberalism," "health," and so on.

Beyond that, products and brands also have associations, history, and cultures surrounding them that we buy into when we purchase them. This relates to tastes, and the way we as consumers distinguish ourselves from others through the products and services we use.

In this, the fourth video of the Context Is Everything* series of interviews, Margaret Hogg, professor of consumer behavior and marketing at the University of Lancaster, discusses how our choices convey messages, and what brands can do to benefit from that fact.

Hogg explains that, as a brand, it's important to talk in a way that your target market understands. That means to take on a voice "register" or tone that customers identify with. Hogg also discusses the concept of "congruence": that is, how we ensure our messages fit in with their surroundings.

How can we marketers map our messages and voice to ensure our audiences are comfortable with both, and go on to create a neat fit between message, product, and the medium though which our message is communicated? Watch the video to find out.

*The Context is Everything series of videos presents highlights of discussions with neuroscientists, linguists, and behavioral psychologists about how people react to video messages in the digital environment. The series is a project of video intelligence platform vi, which connects publishers, content providers, and brands through video storytelling.

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Context Is Everything: Language and Voice in Marketing Messaging [Video]

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image of Luc Benyon

Luc Benyon is head of marketing at vi (Video Intelligence), a contextual video platform.

LinkedIn: Luc Benyon

Twitter: @HanburySt