Informations and abstract
Keywords: Consumer-Brand Relationships; Millennials; Digitalization; Liquid Consumption; Liquid Relations.
Recent research has pointed at Millennials as individuals who engage in consumption experiences based on access, dematerialization and discontinuity. That has the potential to dramatically affect the nature and the dynamics of their relationships with brands. This study aims to explore how the relationship between Millennials and their brands is changing in the digital environment and how the solid, hybrid, or digital nature of the brand is shaping this relationship. Drawing on the literature body focused on liquid modernity and liquid consumption, this qualitative study develops a narrative approach based on digital diary collection and interpretive analysis. Findings reveal how the spatial dimension seems to organize the different trajectories of the relationship between Millennials and their brands. While solid brands intertwine private and intimate spaces with foreign ones that Millennials traverse and conquer in their continuous relocations to affirm their life projects, hybrid brands emerge as enablers of assemblages that variously connect objects, products, people in places both real and fantastic. Digital brands, instead, emerge as stateless and spaceless in that their utility gets actualized always and everywhere, in total synchrony with the multiple facets of Millennials' performative ethos. This research offers a contribution to the theoretical domains of liquid consumption and digital object consumption and stimulates a critical reflection for brand decision-makers.