Cultural Branding in the Sharing Economy: How Røde Kors’ second-hand shops can attract young, female consumers

Amalie Ida Torp-Pedersen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Executive Summary: Røde Kors (RK) second hand shops are experiencing issues attracting young, female consumers, despite the rise of the sharing economy and a higher frequency of redistribution of goods such as clothes. This paper defines a set of strategic measures for RK to leverage on the consumption dynamics of the sharing economy, and hereby increase brand relevance and consumption motivations of RK. The theoretical framework is made up by 4 main chapters: 1) Defining the consumption patterns of the sharing economy. It is outlined how consumption is focused on consumer-to-consumer relationships, and more power of consumers to choose and access consumption. This results in a so-called sharing system, where the consuming mass can influence the cultural meaning of brands by their social interaction. 2) Defining the brand in the cultural perspective. The brand is a cultural symbol that is kept alive and developed by consumers, and that has the ability to influence cultural meaning. To optimize significance, brands should provide distinction in cultural clashes. 3) Defining consumption motivations in a social context. Consumption is evaluated based on individual motivations and social influences, and how the act affects the social life of the consumer by providing positioning in relation to tribes and building identity. 4) Defining how RK cultural meaning and consumption motivations are affected by the fact that the brand is a charity organization. A list of 19 propositions was defined from the theoretical framework that outlines the agenda of nethnographic observations and qualitative interviews of current RK consumers. Based on this, it is identified that RK should engage in the three following strategic exercises to increase amount of young female consumers: 1) Position the brand as an opinion leader in a cultural clash, such as labels vs. no-labels, mass-production vs. recycling, or social responsibility vs. indifference. 2) Differentiate the brand more from other second-hand shops, by putting emphasis on the relationships to volunteers or the indifference to labels. 3) Engage in initiatives that makes it more socially acceptable for consumers to speak about their RK consumption, without it being perceived as excessive self-promotion.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages142