A critical analysis of how susceptibility to interpersonal influence, social comparison and ethnic identification influences consumers’ status consumption, desire for unique products and preference for prominent brand markings

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Natalie Jenee Baucum (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Byoungho Jin

Abstract: Brand prominence refers to the brand markings (e.g., company name, slogan, logo, sounds or colors) that visually identify a company, its products or services (Truex, 2016). A relatively new concept to consumer research, one of the goals of this dissertation was to establish a theoretical framework that examines the social-psychological and consumer behavior factors that influence consumers’ preference for prominent brand markings (CPPBM). Reference group theory and social comparison theory were used to create the theoretical framework. The other goal of this study was to examine if a person’s identification with his/her ethnic origin has any impact on their consumption behavior. To accomplish these research goals, first a CPPBM measurement was created and tested since no standing measurement existed. Results showed the CPPBM scale has three dimensions (i.e., high, low and no preference for prominent brand markings) and eight measurement items. The finalized CPPBM measurement was then combined into the full survey. The full survey was pre-tested and revised before being disseminated via an online survey URL created in Qualtrics using convenience sampling. The proposed theoretical framework was tested using surveys collected from 594 consumers of African descent (i.e., participants self-identified as African American, Black and Caribbean) living in the United States. Structural equation modeling (SEM) in AMOS 24 was used to test the framework. Results of the analyses showed the following factors had a direct and indirect influence on the brand markings consumers choose: normative consumer susceptibility to interpersonal influence (CSII), informational CSII, social comparison orientation, status consumption and desire for unique consumer products. Informational CSII had a positive effect on status consumption while normative CSII had a negative effect on the concept. Social comparison orientation had a positive effect on status consumption as well as desire for unique consumer products. In terms of which factors directly influenced CPPBM, findings showed normative CSII, status consumption, and desire for unique consumer products to impact CPPBM. Post-hoc analyses showed status consumption had the strongest influence on high preference for prominent brand markings while desire for unique consumer products had the strongest influence on low preference for prominent brand markings. The last results were related to how much does a person’s commitment to and exploration of their ethnic origin (i.e., ethnic identity) impact their consumption behavior. Findings showed ethnic identity to moderate the relationships between normative CSII (i.e., positive effect), informational CSII (i.e., negative effect) and status consumption confirming its effect on consumer behavior. Ethnic identity also had a direct, negative effect on status consumption. The academic understanding of brand prominence was extended in this study by empirically confirming a theoretical framework that explains why consumers prefer certain levels of brand markings. An academic understanding of how a person’s self-identification, commitment to and exploration of their ethnic origin (i.e., ethnic identity) influences their consumption of status goods was also discovered in this study. In addition to findings being discussed, theoretical and managerial implications are provided as well as suggestions for future research.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Branding, Consumer behavior, Ethnicity, Reference groups, Social comparison, Status
African American consumers
Minority consumers
Brand choice $x Psychological aspects
Brand choice $x Social aspects
Consumers' preferences
Consumer behavior

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