Document Type

Journal Article

Department/Unit

Department of Marketing

Title

Redefining home: How cultural distinctiveness affects the malleability of in-group boundaries and brand preferences

Language

English

Abstract

In a world of increasing global mobility, we investigate how feelings of cultural distinctiveness—feelings of being different and separated from the surrounding cultural environment—influence consumers’ preferences for brands that symbolize a related cultural group (i.e., a group that is geographically proximal and/or shares sociohistorical and cultural roots with one’s own cultural group). Results from seven studies demonstrate that consumers experiencing cultural distinctiveness are likely to evaluate favorably and prefer brands associated with a related cultural group, in a choice set or consumption situation, even if they are not the favored option in the choice set. This pro-in-group bias for culturally related brands is driven by a heightened desire to connect with “home,” which prompts consumers to expand their in-group boundaries to include the related cultural group within a broadened definition of home. However, this pro-in-group bias is attenuated when the salience of intergroup rivalries is high, where experiencing cultural distinctiveness can backfire and result in less favorable evaluations of brands associated with a related cultural group. This research is the first to demonstrate that cultural consumption is a dynamic process, and that in-group boundaries can be malleable and expandable, depending upon the motivation of the consumer.

Keywords

culture, brand preferences, cultural symbolism, cultural distinctiveness, in-group bias

Publication Date

6-2017

Source Publication Title

Journal of Consumer Research

Volume

44

Issue

1

Start Page

44

End Page

61

Publisher

Oxford University Press

Peer Reviewed

1

Copyright

© 2017 Journal of Consumer Research Inc.

Funder

The authors gratefully acknowledge funding support from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (GRF 241011) awarded to Shirley Cheng.

DOI

10.1093/jcr/ucw072

Link to Publisher's Edition

http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jcr/ucw072

ISSN (print)

00935301

ISSN (electronic)

15375277

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