A consumer behavioural study on the symbolic meaning of motorbiking in Denmark: A case study on Lauge Jensen

Denise Nordbeck & Ninna Wicki Stryhn

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

This thesis contains an investigation of the consumption behaviour of motorbikers in Denmarkand provides theoretical as well as practical implications on how a new-established Danishmotorbike brand, in this case Lauge Jensen A/S, can find a niche in the motorbike industry andgain a competitive advantage against established players.In order to have a profound understanding of the motorbikers’ feelings and core values ofmotorbiking and their relationship to their motorbikes, three areas of theory are applied andanalysed: the formation of subcultures of consumption within the motorbike culture, themotorbikers’ individual identities and extended selves, as well as the type of relationship to theirmotorbikes and particular brands.Methods of analysis include quantitative and qualitative research. An online survey is supposedto gain first insights into the Danish motorbike market and helps establishing contact to potentialparticipants for the qualitative approach. Eight in-depth interviews aim at creating a profoundbase of knowledge about the motorbikers and their core values of motorbiking.According to our chosen areas of theory, the analysis reveals three key findings. First of all, theculture of motorbikers can be divided into two subcultures: the Single Bikers and the GroupBikers. Both prioritise different core values of motorbiking and apply different mental models:the Single Bikers value mental relaxation and empowerment highest, whereas the Group Bikersappreciate affiliation and freedom most. However, all mental models are based on mentaltransformation, as the overall core value of motorbiking. Second, motorbikers integrate theirmotorbikes into different layers of their self, more or less close to their core selves. Furthermore,the desired self – a state desired to reach through mental transformation – and the feared self –the stereotype of motorbikers – play a major role in the motorbikers’ self-concept. Third, theinterviewed motorbikers have a close relationship to their motorbikes as such, which is varyingaccording to the layer of the extended self, but they do not stress the importance of certainbrands.Consequently, we conclude that motorbikers have closer relationships to their motorbikes as suchand, most importantly, their motorbike communities than to particular brands. We, therefore,suggest that brands are social and an equal partner in the triad including the brand, the individualconsumer, and the subculture of consumption, all on an equal level. Eventually, this key finding implies several recommendations for a course of action for a newbrand like Lauge Jensen. First, for a new brand entering a high-end market, it is crucial tounderstand not only the consumer as an individual but also the importance of cultural values andsubcultures of consumption in his daily life. Second, for Lauge Jensen to find an opening in themotorbike market, it is recommended to take the focus from the brand’s functional as well asemotional benefits to establish a bigger picture of the brand including the consumer and hissubculture of consumption – therefore, the brand needs to tell a cultural story, which is woven outof relevant mental models that enables the consumer to extract meaning, or cultural resources,from the product and into his self-concept.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2010
Number of pages123
SupervisorsTorsten Ringberg