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Disasters, hope and globalization: exploring self-identification with global consumer culture in Japan

Shintaro Okazaki (Business School, King’s College London, London, UK)
Charles R. Taylor (Department of Marketing, School of Business, Villanova University , Villanova, Pennsylvania, USA)
Patrick Vargas (Department of Advertising, University of Illinois , Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA)
Jörg Henseler (Faculty of Engineering Technology, University of Twente , Enschede, The Netherlands) (Nova Information Management School, Universidade Nova de Lisboa , Lisbon, Portugal)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 3 May 2019

Issue publication date: 15 August 2019

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Abstract

Purpose

An unconscious concern regarding one’s inevitable death, known as mortality salience, may affect consumers’ brand choices in the aftermath of disastrous events, such as earthquakes. The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of self-identification with global consumer culture (IDGCC) in global brand purchase intention in response to disasters that heighten mortality salience. The roles of materialism, consumer ethnocentrism, cosmopolitanism and hope in this this process are also explored.

Design/methodology/approach

An online experiment was conducted with a large sample of Japanese consumers. Japan was selected because it had recently suffered from a series of devastating earthquakes. Participants’ mortality salience was primed with an earthquake scenario. All measures were adapted from prior research. The authors used structural equation modeling to test the hypotheses and validate the model.

Findings

The results reveal that IDGCC is a direct predictor of global brand purchase intention when mortality salience is high. It appears that identifying with global consumer culture and buying global brands enhances self-esteem and reduces anxiety for those with high IDGCC. As predicted, materialism and cosmopolitanism positively influence IDGCC, whereas consumer ethnocentrism does not impede IDGCC. Hope directly and positively affects global brand purchase intention.

Research limitations/implications

Some consumers who experience traumatic events may resist mortality salience and experience a heightened sense of global citizenship. Meanwhile, those with lower IDGCC may revert to in-group favoritism, whereas those with higher IDGCC tend to purchase global brands. Using a scenario to simulate the mental state evoked by a disaster limits generalizability.

Practical implications

The findings illuminate how firms should modify their international marketing strategies in the face of traumatic global events when targeting consumers with high vs low IDGCC in terms of framing messages about global brands. Additionally, using global brands that emphasize an optimistic outlook may help global marketers capture attention from consumers high in IDGCC.

Originality/value

This study is one of the first to address traumatic events and hope, relating these concepts to IDGCC and global brand purchase intention in an international marketing context.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Corrigendum: It has come to the attention of the publisher that the article Shintaro Okazaki, Charles R. Taylor, Patrick Vargas, Jörg Henseler “Disasters, hope and globalization: exploring self-identification with global consumer culture in Japan“, published in International Marketing Review, Volume 36, Issue 5, contained an incorrect grant number. The correct funding information should read: Andalusian Government Research Grant No. PE2012 TEP12 2429 and has now been corrected in the online version. The publisher sincerely apologises for this error and for any inconvenience caused.

The authors acknowledge financial support from the Yoshida Hideo Memorial Foundation Research Grant 2017–2019, Japan, and the Andalusian Government Research Grant No. PE2012 TEP12 2429, Spain.

Citation

Okazaki, S., Taylor, C.R., Vargas, P. and Henseler, J. (2019), "Disasters, hope and globalization: exploring self-identification with global consumer culture in Japan", International Marketing Review, Vol. 36 No. 5, pp. 726-747. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMR-04-2018-0158

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited