IT’S ALIVE: AN EXAMINATION OF BRAND HUMANIZATION ON LULULEMON’S INSTAGRAM
thesisposted on 24.05.2021, 14:51 by Laura Orlando
In an increasingly saturated market economy, creating a ‘human’ brand is imperative to the sustained salience of a company over time. Today and in prior years, successful brands are able to foster a relationship with consumers that resembles one between humans— at times influencing consumers’ anthropomorphized perception of brands. Online media have changed the way humans are perceived as being ‘present’ and ‘real’ in digital contexts, forcing brands to adapt their effort to create affective and humanized content. Through a case study of Lululemon Athletica, this Major Research Paper (MRP) examines how empirically tested strategies from brand humanization research apply to a previously under-examined domain— Instagram. The latter half of this study examines how user comments on Lululemon’s Instagram platform reflect a human-like brand-consumer relationship bond— that which may, in some ways, reflect an anthropomorphized perception of Lululemon. While the aim of this study is not to prove a humanized perception of Lululemon, the quality of engagement in posts’ comments frequently mirrors dialogue that would occur between humans, and further mirrors a human-like relational bond between the consumer and brand. Findings emphasize the value in brands depicting meaningful identity narratives that represent ‘deeper’ beliefs and values, engaging users in an interactive dialogue, and portraying relatable human experiences for users to identify with, internalize, and aspire.