It is not always about brand: Design-driven consumers and their self-expression

Kyung Ah (Kay) Byun, Robert Paul Jones, Barbara Ross Wooldridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Consumers often utilize product design as one of the central means for expressing identity. However, few studies have investigated how consumers leverage product design for self-expression, and how a dominant design preference can influence consumers’ self-expression through brands. Drawing upon identity theory, this study examines how design-driven consumers express their personal and social identities. The results suggest that design-dominance among consumers leverages their need-for-uniqueness as a conduit for social identity expression. For consumers with a clear self-concept, expressing uniqueness through product design is weaker. The results also demonstrate that when design-dominance is strong, consumer exhibit a reduced reliance on brands to express their social identity, thus weakening brand loyalty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-303
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Retailing and Consumer Services
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • Brand loyalty
  • Design-dominance
  • Loyalty dilution
  • Need for uniqueness
  • Self-expression

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