Congrats to Fleura Bardhi, Giana Eckhardt, and Eric Arnold for their article, Liquid Relationship to Possessions — a 2020 JCR Best Paper Finalist! We asked Giana Eckhardt what made this topic so important now. Here’s what she shared:
Most of our knowledge in the field of consumer research is predicated on an assumption that consumers aspire toward ownership, and that there is a strong connection between consumer identity and brands. Yet, increasingly, consumers prefer to access rather than own, and prefer to have short term relationships with a variety of brands rather than enduring, identity relevant brand relationships. This paper offers a theoretical perspective to understand these shifts, that of liquid consumption. Liquid consumption is ephemeral, access based and dematerialized, and the value resides in being flexible, light and fast. In a doctoral consumer behavior seminar, this paper can be used to explore how constructs such as materialism, psychological ownership, brand relationships, and identity and consumption are changing, and what future research in these domains can look like given a liquid perspective. Liquid and solid consumption exist on a spectrum, and understanding when, why and how consumption will be liquid or solid or a combination of the two provides exciting opportunities for doctoral students in a variety of consumer behavior domains.