Foundations and Trends® in Marketing > Vol 10 > Issue 3

The Cultural Meaning of Brands

Carlos J. Torelli, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, ctorelli@illinois.edu Maria A. Rodas, University of Minnesota, USA, rodas003@umn.edu Jennifer L. Stoner, University of North Dakota, USA, jennifer.stoner@und.edu
 
Suggested Citation
Carlos J. Torelli, Maria A. Rodas and Jennifer L. Stoner (2017), "The Cultural Meaning of Brands", Foundations and Trends® in Marketing: Vol. 10: No. 3, pp 153-214. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/1700000048

Published: 31 May 2017
© 2017 C. J. Torelli, M. A. Rodas, and J. L. Stoner
 
Subjects
 
Keywords
D12 Consumer EconomicsM31 MarketingZ13 Economic Sociology
GlobalizationGlobal marketsCultural authorityCultural equityBrandsMulticultural consumerCultural icons
 

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In this article:
1. Introduction
2. Globalization and the Marketplace
3. The Multi-Cultural Consumer in the Global Village
4. Brands as Cultural Icons (of National, Regional, or Global Identities)
5. Cultural Equity
6. Measuring Cultural Equity
7. Consumers’ Relationships with Iconic Brands
8. Building Cultural Equity
9. Conclusions and Future Directions
References

Abstract

In this monograph, we introduce a conceptual framework to understand: (1) How globalization is changing the marketplace and the way consumers bring cultural meanings and identities to the fore of their minds, (2) the mechanisms by which brands acquire cultural meanings (i.e., from simple country-(or region-)-of-origin associations to the more complex enactment of cultural authority), (3) the tools that marketers have to purposefully imbue brands with cultural meanings that can resonate with culturally-diverse consumers (i.e., the tools to create cultural equity), and (4) how consumers respond to the cultural meanings in brands for fulfilling their goals.

DOI:10.1561/1700000048
ISBN: 978-1-68083-286-0
74 pp. $60.00
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ISBN: 978-1-68083-287-7
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Table of contents:
1. Introduction
2. Globalization and the Marketplace
3. The Multi-Cultural Consumer in the Global Village
4. Brands as Cultural Icons (of National, Regional, or Global Identities)
5. Cultural Equity
6. Measuring Cultural Equity
7. Consumers’ Relationships with Iconic Brands
8. Building Cultural Equity
9. Conclusions and Future Directions
References

The Cultural Meaning of Brands

The Cultural Meaning of Brands introduces a conceptual framework to understand: (1) How globalization is changing the marketplace and the way consumers bring cultural meanings and identities to the fore of their minds, (2) the mechanisms by which brands acquire cultural meanings (that is, from simple country-(or region-)-of-origin associations to the more complex enactment of cultural authority), (3) the tools that marketers have to purposefully imbue brands with cultural meanings that can resonate with culturally-diverse consumers (that is, the tools to create cultural equity), and (4) how consumers respond to the cultural meanings in brands for fulfilling their goals.

This framework is based on the premise that consumers are both aware of their membership in certain cultural groups, and often motivated to affiliate with these groups to fulfill their cultural identity goals. To do so, they often attend to the cultural meanings in brands and use culturally symbolic brands as instruments to make a cultural connection. This cultural connection can emerge for identities construed at a nation-state level, a regional level within a country, a pan-regional level that includes several countries, or even for sub-groups of individuals that might reside or not within a circumscribed geographical boundary. Marketers that understand how to imbue brands with cultural meanings that resonate with consumers’ cultural identity goals can build stronger consumer-brand relationships, as well as successfully differentiate from competitors in a crowded and culturally-diverse marketplace. The monograph concludes with a discussion of the future research that is needed to fully harness the power of cultural equity in globalized markets.

 
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