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Article
Publication date: 14 February 2020

Carlos J. Torelli, Hyewon Oh and Jennifer L. Stoner

The purpose of this paper is to propose cultural equity as a construct to better understand the characteristics that define a culturally symbolic brand and the downstream…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose cultural equity as a construct to better understand the characteristics that define a culturally symbolic brand and the downstream consequences for consumer behavior and nation branding in the era of globalization.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is an empirical investigation of the knowledge and outcome aspects of cultural equity with a total of 1,771 consumers located in three different countries/continents, 77 different brands as stimuli, and using a variety of measures, surveys, lab experiments, procedures and consumer contexts.

Findings

Cultural equity is the facet of brand equity attributed to the brand's cultural symbolism or the favorable responses by consumers to the cultural symbolism of a brand. A brand has cultural equity if it has a distinctive cultural symbolism in consumers' minds (brand knowledge aspect of cultural equity: association with the central concept that defines the culture, embodiment of culturally relevant values and embeddedness in a cultural knowledge network), and such symbolism elicits a favorable consumer response to the marketing of the brand (outcome aspect of cultural equity: favorable evaluations and strong self-brand connections).

Practical implications

This paper offers a framework that allows marketers to develop cultural positioning strategies in hyper-competitive and globalized markets and identify ways for building and protecting their brands' cultural equity.

Originality/value

This paper advances our understanding of brands as cultural symbols by introducing cultural equity and integrates prior research on brand equity, cross-cultural differences in consumer behavior, country-of-origin effects and nation branding.

Details

International Marketing Review, vol. 38 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-1335

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Article
Publication date: 5 April 2019

Yufan Jian, Zhimin Zhou and Nan Zhou

This paper aims to improve knowledge regarding the complicated relationship among brand cultural symbolism, consumer cultural involvement, brand authenticity and consumer…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to improve knowledge regarding the complicated relationship among brand cultural symbolism, consumer cultural involvement, brand authenticity and consumer well-being. Although some literature has mentioned the relationship between the above concepts, these relationships have not been confirmed by empirical studies.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the self-determination theory and the authenticity theory, a causal model of brand cultural symbolism, consumers’ enduring cultural involvement, brand authenticity and consumer well-being is developed. The structural equation model and multiple regressions are used to test the hypothesis. The primary data are based on an online survey conducted in China (N = 533). A total of six brands from the USA, France and China were selected as study samples.

Findings

The data reveal that brand cultural symbolism has a positive relationship with brand authenticity and consumer well-being; brand authenticity partially mediates the relationship between brand cultural symbolism and consumer well-being; and find a weakening effect of consumers’ enduring cultural involvement on the relationship between brand cultural symbolism and brand authenticity.

Research limitations/implications

The weakening effect of consumers’ enduring cultural involvement on the relationship between brand cultural symbols and brand authenticity should be further verified through experiments and the model should be tested in different cultural backgrounds from a cross-cultural perspective.

Practical implications

The present study offers novel insights for brand managers by highlighting brand authenticity as the fundamental principle that explains the effect of cultural symbolism of brands, consumers’ enduring cultural involvement, as well as eudaimonic and hedonic well-being.

Originality/value

The findings suggest that cultural significance of a brand is closely related to brand authenticity and consumer well-being; however, on consumers with a highly enduring cultural involvement, the effect of brand culture symbolism and brand authenticity is weakened. This is an interesting finding because in this case, consumers may measure brand authenticity more based on the brand actual behavior (e.g. brand non-commercial tendency and brand social responsibility) rather than the symbolic image.

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Article
Publication date: 13 June 2016

Tatiana Anisimova

– The purpose of this paper is to test the effects of corporate brand symbolism on consumer satisfaction and loyalty on a sample of Australian automobile consumers.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to test the effects of corporate brand symbolism on consumer satisfaction and loyalty on a sample of Australian automobile consumers.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey research was employed to test the study hypotheses. The regression analysis was used to evaluate the relationships between an independent variable (corporate brand symbolism) and dependent variables (consumer satisfaction and loyalty).

Findings

Support was found for all hypotheses formulated in this study. Regression results reveal consistent favourable and significant effects of corporate brand symbolism on both consumer satisfaction and loyalty.

Research limitations/implications

Although this paper makes contributions in international marketing, the cross-sectional nature of the data collection method limits the information gained to the single point in time. This research studied the impact of corporate brand symbolism on consumers of one original equipment manufacturers (OEM). Having a larger number of participating car manufacturers/OEMs would have provided a wider insight. However, time and resources limitation did not allow to study a larger sample. In the future, practitioners are recommended to further understand the relationship between self and social aspects of brand symbolism in order to formulate more targeted communication strategies.

Practical implications

The findings of this study point to the strategic role of the brand in generating both satisfaction and loyalty. In the light of increasing advertising costs and decreasing consumer loyalty, strengthening corporate brand symbolism makes a lot of economic sense. The findings suggest that managers need to take into account consumer need for identity expression and consider this in their branding strategies.

Social implications

Humans are social beings by nature. However, international brand research has paid relatively little attention to how products are used by consumers in everyday life, including their social life. Consumer behaviours increasingly depend on social meanings they imbue brands with beyond products’ functional utility. It is argued the focus of symbolic consumption needs to be broadened and integrated more with social science concepts.

Originality/value

This study captures a construct of corporate brand symbolism by including self and social aspects of symbolism. The current study also comprehensively measures consumer loyalty, including cognitive, affective and behavioural types of loyalty.

Details

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-5855

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2015

Stacey M Baxter, Jasmina Ilicic, Alicia Kulczynski and Tina Lowrey

The purpose of this paper is to investigate children’s perception of a product’s physical attribute (size) when presented with brand elements (brand name and brand logo…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate children’s perception of a product’s physical attribute (size) when presented with brand elements (brand name and brand logo) manipulated using sound and shape symbolism principles (brand name sounds and brand logo shape), across children of different developmental ages.

Design/methodology/approach

The relationship between sounds and shapes was examined in a pilot study. A 2 × 2 experiment was then undertaken to examine the effect of brand name characteristics (front vowel sound versus back vowel sound) and brand logo design (angular versus curved) on children’s (from 5 to 12 years) product-related judgments.

Findings

Older children use non-semantic brand stimuli as a means to infer physical product attributes. Specifically, only older children are able to perceive a product to be smaller (larger) when the product is paired with a brand name containing a front (back) vowel sound or an angular (curved) brand logo (single symbolic cue). We illustrate that brand logo-related shape symbolism effects are weaker and appear later in age when compared with brand name-related sound symbolism effects. Further, younger children are able to infer product attribute meaning when exposed to two symbolic cues (that is, brand name and brand logo).

Practical implications

When selecting an inventive brand element, consideration should be given to the relationship between the vowel sounds contained in a brand’s name and product attributes, and also the shape of the brand’s logo and product attributes.

Originality/value

This is the first experiment undertaken to examine the combination of brand name- and brand logo-related symbolism effects in the context of children. We demonstrate that age-based bounds may be overcome through the provision of multiple symbolic cues.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 24 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 29 January 2021

Cher-Min Fong, Hsing-Hua Stella Chang, Pei-Chun Hsieh and Hui-Wen Wang

The present research responds to researchers’ calls for more research of consumer animosity on potential boundary conditions (e.g. product categories) and marketing…

Abstract

Purpose

The present research responds to researchers’ calls for more research of consumer animosity on potential boundary conditions (e.g. product categories) and marketing strategies that may mitigate such negative impacts on marketers’ product and/or brand performance, with a special focus on the soft service sector. This paper aims to address the unique characteristics of service internationalization, i.e. cultural embeddedness, hybridized country origins and high consumption visibility, by proposing a social identity signaling model to explain consumer animosity effects in the soft service sector.

Design/methodology/approach

Two surveys (Pretest with 240 participants and Study 1 with 351 participants) and one experiment (Study 2 with 731 participants) were conducted to empirically test our hypotheses in the Japanese-Chinese relationship context.

Findings

The stronger the national/cultural symbolism and social expressiveness, the stronger the consumer avoidance for the service category. Then the consumer culture positioning strategy that can mitigate an offending country’s cultural symbolism can reduce consumer avoidance.

Originality/value

This research introduces two factors that could affect the negative social identity signaling capacity of service categories in the animosity context: the national/cultural symbolism reflecting an offending country and the social expressiveness communicating social identity. In line with the social identity signaling perspective, the present research specifically uses consumer avoidance as the dependent variable to capture the notion that consumers avoid consuming services because they wish to avoid being associated with an offending country that may threaten their in-group social identities.

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Abstract

Details

Black Mixed-Race Men
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-531-9

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Article
Publication date: 15 September 2017

Leah Watkins, Robert Aitken, Maree Thyne, Kirsten Robertson and Dina Borzekowski

The purpose of this paper is to understand the factors influencing young children’s (aged three to five years) understanding of brand symbolism.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand the factors influencing young children’s (aged three to five years) understanding of brand symbolism.

Design/methodology/approach

Multiple hierarchical regression was used to analyse the relationships between age, gender and environmental factors, including family and the media, on the development of brand symbolism in pre-school children based on 56 children and parent dyad interviews.

Findings

Results confirmed the primary influence of age, television exposure and parental communication style on three to five-year-old children’s understanding of brand symbolism. The study demonstrates that the tendency to infer symbolic user attributes and non-product-related associations with brands starts as early as two years, and increases with age throughout the pre-school years. Children exposed to more television and less critical parental consumer socialisation strategies are more likely to prefer branded products, believe that brands are better quality and that they make people happy and popular.

Social implications

Identifying the factors that influence the development of symbolic brand associations in pre-school children provides an important contribution to public policy discussions on the impact of marketing to young children.

Originality/value

The paper extends existing research by considering, for the first time, the role of environmental factors in pre-schooler’s understanding of brand symbolism. The results provide a more informed basis for discussion about the impact of marketing messages on very young children and the environmental factors that may lead to a more critical engagement with brands.

Details

Marketing Intelligence & Planning, vol. 35 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-4503

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 February 2015

Amelie Guevremont and Bianca Grohmann

– This paper examines to what extent consonants in brand names influence consumers’ perceptions of feminine and masculine brand personality.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines to what extent consonants in brand names influence consumers’ perceptions of feminine and masculine brand personality.

Design/methodology/approach

Four experiments empirically test the influence of consonants on feminine and masculine brand personality. The experiments involve different sets of new brand names, variations regarding the consonants tested (the stops k and t, the fricatives f and s), as well as different locations of the focal consonant in the brand name.

Findings

Consonants influence consumers’ brand perceptions: brand masculinity is enhanced by stops (rather than fricatives), and brand femininity is enhanced by fricatives (rather than stops). Consonants specifically affect feminine and masculine brand personality, but not other brand personality dimensions. Consumers’ responses to brand names and resulting brand gender perceptions (i.e. likelihood to recommend) were moderated by salience of masculinity or femininity as a desirable brand attribute.

Practical implications

This research has implications for brand name selection: consonants are effective in creating a specifically masculine or a feminine brand personality.

Originality/value

This research is the first to specifically link consonants and feminine/masculine brand personality. By specifically examining consonants, this research extends the marketing literature on sound symbolism that is characterized by a focus on vowels effects. This research is also the first to address whether the position of the focal phoneme in the brand name matters.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 49 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 25 July 2008

Elżbieta Hałas

Social theory contains contributions related to the processes of semiosis. Between the subjective experience of intentional meanings and objectivized structure of meanings…

Abstract

Social theory contains contributions related to the processes of semiosis. Between the subjective experience of intentional meanings and objectivized structure of meanings there is a sphere of meaningful interactions and collective actions. Arguments are presented that it is possible to integrate symbolic interactionist orientation and Durkheimian tradition in the study of social symbolism in the perspective of collective action approach and pragmatism. That allows going beyond the cognitive limitations inherited from phenomenological view on symbolism as manifested in the concepts of P. Berger and T. Luckmann about the social construction of reality. A model for a multidimensional analysis of social symbolism and its functions is proposed.

Details

Studies in Symbolic Interaction
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84663-931-9

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 2011

Stacey Baxter and Tina M. Lowrey

Children are bombarded by branded communication every day. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role that particular linguistic devices play in communication…

Abstract

Purpose

Children are bombarded by branded communication every day. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role that particular linguistic devices play in communication, and whether this process differs between children and adults. One such device is phonetic symbolism, which has been shown to lead adults to prefer brand names whose phonetic attributes match product and/or brand features.

Design/methodology/approach

Three experiments were undertaken to examine children's (six to 12 years of age) preference for phonetically manipulated brand names. Experiment 1 replicates findings in previous research showing that preference for a particular brand name within a single product category is dependent on how the brand is described. Experiment 2 extends this research across product categories that are expected to lead to differential brand name preference (based on product features). Finally, experiment 3 investigates the interaction between pure phonetic symbolism and semantic information.

Findings

Children show similar patterns of brand name preference (with some age differences that could be attributable to developmental stages), and that they link particular sounds with specific brand/product attributes.

Practical implications

This research shows that when selecting an inventive and distinct brand name, consideration could be given to the relationship between vowel sounds and brand characteristics. The authors believe that the findings are of importance to marketers as they consider different approaches to the naming of new brands.

Originality/value

This is the first set of experiments to investigate the effects of phonetic symbolism on brand name preference utilising a children's sample.

Details

Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 28 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0736-3761

Keywords

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