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Consumers react positively to brands matching cultural expectations

Washington, Sept 15 (ANI): A new study has claimed that consumers react more positively to brand extensions when the products match expectations about cultures.

Study authors, Carlos J. Torelli and Rohini Ahluwalia, looked at what happens when a culturally symbolic brand extends its product line by creating new products.

“Many well-known brands become symbols or icons of the cultures or countries with which they are associated,” they said.

Focussing on a part of consumer deliberation that is based on cultural congruity, they studied the correlation between the brand, its product and the knowledge it immediately brings back about a culture in the consumer.

“This process operates independently of consumers’ perceptions of fit between the brand associations and the product attributes, or their inferences about the brand’s manufacturing expertise due to its country-of-origin associations, and can influence extension evaluations independently of these factors,” they stated.

In short, consumers have an easier time processing and accepting a new product when a brand associated with a culture fits into personal understanding of the culture – Budweiser (American), Sony (Japanese), or Corona (Mexican).

The authors found that participants had positive feelings for culturally congruent extensions (like a Sony electric car), while they had less positive feelings about a Sony toaster oven; they found the idea of a Sony cappuccino-macchiato maker even less appealing.

“A brand’s cultural symbolism can be a liability or an asset, and to harness it profitably, a manager needs to understand the cultural symbolism of the potential extension categories under consideration,” the authors added.

The study has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research. (ANI)