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Financial credit and social discredit: the pawnbroking dilemma

Laura Edwards and Wendy Lomax ()
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Laura Edwards: Kingston Business School
Wendy Lomax: Kingston Business School

Journal of Financial Services Marketing, 2017, vol. 22, issue 2, 77-84

Abstract: Abstract Researching, and therefore marketing, ‘unmentionable’ products has always been challenging. Pawnbroking, the act of offering a loan secured by the pledge of an item of value, fits within this domain; its use is stigmatised, despite dating back centuries and enjoying high levels of user satisfaction. This study explores perceptions of pawnbroking and recommends marketing tactics to reframe it as a ‘mentionable’ credit option, allowing the sector to benefit from increased flow of information. This research uses qualitative methods to explore perceptions of pawnbroking, identifying beliefs, attitudes and barriers to use through depth interviews with non-users. The results reveal minimal understanding of the pawnbroking process, with latent stigma and stereotyping reinforced by media sources. Social pressures, emanating from the negative perception of users and perceptions of important social groups, are influential in participants’ decisions to disassociate themselves from even the possibility of pawnbroker usage. The managerial implications are that pawnbrokers should emphasise the advantages of financial credit and minimise those of social discredit. Social marketing campaigns should target current perceptions of pawnbroking and encourage informed trial amongst a broader section of society.

Keywords: Pawnbroking; Financial services; Marketing unmentionables; Stigmatised products (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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