University of Exeter
Visual images constitute much corporate communication about products, economic performance, and social responsibility, and also inform governmental efforts to create positive attitudes for citizens, consumers, and organizations. Brand image, corporate image, advertising images, and images of identity all depend upon compelling visual imagery. Variously referred to as the attention economy, the aesthetic economy, and the experience economy, this visual turn in marketing may call for new perspectives and research approaches. How do image communicate? What does the production and consumption of images mean for marketing and society? How does the handling of images in the allied fields of visual studies, art history, film theory, design management, and corporate identity shed light on the relationships between visual processes and consumption? This paper discusses methodological and theoretical issues of visual images as they pertain to consumer behaviour via interdisciplinary research examples and exemplars. Visual consumer research cuts across methodological and topical boundary lines – the possibilities and problems of visual approaches encompass experimental and interpretive realms, and include such varied topics as information processing, image interpretation, and research techniques.
Author's draft (2004) issued in series Discussion papers in management. Final version published in The Blackwell encyclopedia of sociology / edited by George Ritzer. Blackwell, 2007 ISBN 9781405124331. Available online at http://www.blackwellreference.com/public/