Inclusive identities: re-imaging the future of the retail brand?

Callum S. Boyd, Elaine L. Ritch, Christopher A. Dodd, Julie McColl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Purpose
to examine consumers' perceptions of retail brand representations of gender-oriented and/or sexuality-oriented identities. The authors explore the value of developing more progressive, inclusive brand values to support more effective retail brand communications and imagery.

Design/methodology/approach
Photo elicitation, utilising LGBTQIA+/sexuo-gendered imagery from retail brand marketing communications, facilitated discussion within focus groups representing various genders, age generations and sexualities.

Findings

Younger generations indicate a preference for fluid gender and sexuality and endorse retail brands that represent this progressive understanding. Gender and age moderate preferences for representative imagery, with older males more resistant to sexuo-gendered messages and females of all ages more accepting.

Research limitations/implications
The research is limited in generalisability, geography and demographics. The focussed approach did, however, enable collection of rich, insightful data to underpin evaluations of communicative brand values.

Practical implications
The inclusion of diverse and fluid sexuo-gendered identities within the brand values of retailers would enable effective targeting of consumers across a range of more traditional cohorts.

Social implications
The evolving ideology towards inclusiveness, identified within the generational cohorts, demonstrates social change through progressive acceptance of more fluid gendered and sexual identities.

Originality/value
The research adopts a novel approach to examining diverse, sexuo-gendered imagery within gendered and generational cohorts, offering qualitative examples of a progressive social ideology.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages33
JournalInternational Journal of Retail and Distribution Management
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • retail brands; gender; social identity; LGBTQIA+; gender/sexual fluidity; feminism

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