Anglia Ruskin Research Online (ARRO)
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The influence of digital on the agentic child’s brand choices

posted on 2023-08-30, 19:25 authored by Cheryl E. Greyson
This doctoral research explores the changing behaviour of children in the digital world and the drivers for their brand preference online. It is interdisciplinary joining the academic conversations around brand relationships and preference in marketing with the evolving sociological view of the autonomous child and its arguably abridged childhood. The aim is to provide greater understanding of the factors that influence children to form brand choices online, the nature of those brand engagements, and how to explore children’s views on this topic. It contributes to a gap in knowledge around children and their behaviour towards brands in a digital environment, as indicated by analysis of coverage in top marketing journals and links to academic conversations in connected fields of literature around the changing nature of children and childhood. The methodology used a theoretical lens of ‘brand relationship quality’ theory in relation to young consumer-brand interactions and the work of Fournier (1998). It used an exploratory qualitative and observational approach with two-stage interviews with buddy pairs of children aged 4-11 in a school setting using arts and creative task-based participatory techniques. This doctorate study extends the marketing literature by exploring consumer behaviour and brand choices of child consumers in a business environment that is characterised by the increasing role of digitalisation and increased complexity. It finds that traditional consumer buying behaviour models do not adequately describe children’s current drivers of brand choice. It makes three contributions to knowledge: a framework offering a new way of examining the definitive role projected by the qualitative researcher in children’s research and its interpretation by children; an original reinterpretation of Fournier’s work on brand relationship quality applied to children and the digital environment; and a new conceptualisation of children’s agentic behaviour in the digital landscape contributing to the understanding of children’s digital brand relationship quality.



Anglia Ruskin University

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