Consumption Symbols as Carriers of Culture

Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, Vol. 81, No. 3, pp. 492-508, 2001

Posted: 6 Aug 2011

See all articles by Jennifer Aaker

Jennifer Aaker

Stanford University - Graduate School of Business

Veronica Benet-Martinez

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jordi Garolera

Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Date Written: 2001

Abstract

This research argues that the meaning embedded in consumption symbols, such as commercial brands, can serve to represent and institutionalize the values and beliefs of a culture. Relying on a combined emicetic approach, the authors conducted 4 studies to examine how symbolic and expressive attributes associated with commercial brands are structured and how this structure varies across 3 cultures. Studies 1 and 2 revealed a set of "brand personality" dimensions common to both Japan and the United States (Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, and Sophistication) as well as culture-specific Japanese (Peacefulness) and American (Ruggedness) dimensions. Studies 3 and 4, which extended this set of findings to Spain, yielded brand personality dimensions common to both Spain and the United States (Sincerity, Excitement, and Sophistication), plus nonshared Spanish (Passion) and American (Competence and Ruggedness) dimensions. The meaning of these brand personality dimensions is discussed in the context of cross-cultural research on values and affect, globalization issues, and cultural frame shifting.

Keywords: consumption, symbols, brand, culture, symbolic attributes, expressive attributes

JEL Classification: M30, M31

Suggested Citation

Aaker, Jennifer Lynn and Benet-Martinez, Veronica and Garolera, Jordi, Consumption Symbols as Carriers of Culture (2001). Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, Vol. 81, No. 3, pp. 492-508, 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1905663

Jennifer Lynn Aaker (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Veronica Benet-Martinez

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Jordi Garolera

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, E-08005
Spain

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