Desire for fame scale can help advertisers

January 16, 2013

Dr John Gountas

A Murdoch University researcher has developed a scale to measure a person’s desire for fame which he hopes can be used by the marketing industry to tailor campaigns to a celebrity-obsessed audience.

Dr John Gountas from the School of Management and Governance developed the fame scale with his wife Dr Sandra Gountas from Curtin University. The fame scale asks six questions which capture a person’s motivation for and perceived benefits of fame.

Dr Gountas said the scale, which has been tested in two separate research studies, can be adapted for market research questionnaires to help marketing professionals to better understand their audiences. Marketing and media professionals can use the fame scale to identify discrete consumer groups and therefore develop targeted marketing campaigns to reach them.

“The desire for fame and the quest for its perceived benefits which relate to a materialistic lifestyle, present excellent marketing opportunities for many practitioners in various lifestyle industries,” said Dr Gountas, whose paper on the scale was published in the prestigious journal Psychology and Marketing.

“A better understanding for the contemporary desire for fame and its implications for different market segments would be a valuable marketing intelligence asset that could be used very effectively in both commercial and social marketing messages.”

Dr Gountas said that finding out more about peoples’ attitudes to fame would allow for more niche and targeted campaigns to be developed. This is especially relevant for all communications managers in the non profit and for profit organisations who are interested to reach these consumers.

“Brand identity and market positioning can be closely integrated with the appropriate usage of celebrity role models to make small and challenger type brands more appealing to new and existing market segments,” said Dr Gountas. “Market positioning of new and existing brands can be improved by considering the ‘need for fame’ motives of their customers.

“Celebrities in sponsorships and product advertising have proven to be successful marketing tools. The role model influence of celebrities and their associated fame is likely to continue being an influential method of persuading consumers to buy one brand and not another.”

The six questions used to assess a person’s desire for fame were developed through a literature review, exploratory interviews and two test studies on university students in Melbourne.

Dr Gountas first noticed a rising desire for fame among the young people he and his wife taught in Melbourne while working at La Trobe University. This observation was interesting because it mirrored their first hand experiences in London where they used to work.

“We realised that this was not just a blip on our radar, but actually a large social and cultural change among young people. With the rise of social media, more people than ever have access to self promotion,” Dr Gountas said.

“We hope this study will help marketing people, particularly those who want to influence young people in a positive way, to utilise this desire for fame into developing more effective marketing communications campaigns which will influence healthy and socially responsible lifestyles.”

Having conducted research in Australia, Dr Gountas is hoping to go on to look at the phenomena in China as part of the Asia Pacific Centre for Media Economics and Communications Management Research, which is based at both Murdoch University and the Communication University of China in Beijing.

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