How we view ourselves affects perception of products and brandsA forthcoming article in the March 2006 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research compares the attitudes of American and Singaporean subjects toward well-known brands in order to assess how a consumer's self-view influences perception of consumer goods. The researchers found that Westerners, who tend to have a personality-oriented independent self-view, focus on the general qualities of the brand. Easterners, who focus more interdependently on contextual factors and their relationships to others, instead associate a company with its products.
Sharon Ng and Michael Houston (University of Minnesota) collaborated on a study that compares the attitudes of college students from Singapore and the United States towards well-known brands (such as Nike, Sony, and Volkswagen). Participants from both countries were asked to free-associate about brands and to group together brands they thought were similar.
Consistent differences emerged between the Singaporeans and the Americans, "…provid[ing] convincing evidence that self-view affects the way one processes information," write the authors. "[Westerners and Easterners] use the same piece of information differently. Collectively, these studies provide new evidence of the impact of culture and self-view on consumers' mental representations of brands."
With a booming global market place, Ng and Houston stress the need for more research into the area of consumer behavior and response across diverse cultures. The current research seeks a better understanding of the effects of self-view on brand associations and brand evaluation. The authors suspect that these effects may even go beyond brand associations, "… suggest[ing] implications for the way one stores information in general."
Sokling "Sharon" Ng and Michael J. Houston. "Exemplars or Beliefs? The Impact of Self-View on the Nature and Relative Influence of Brand Association." Journal of Consumer Research. March 2006.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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