Role of brand names and product types on bicultural consumers’ purchase intentions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study is to examine the role of brand names and product types on bicultural’s purchasing intention. In cross-cultural marketing, a current popular position among bicultural consumer advocates that brand name that has a foreign character denotes that when an unknown brand is present, and if the unknown brand is a hedonic product, then a foreign character that has a long-standing history of delivery quality products should be mandatory.

Through a multidisciplinary literature review, qualitatively supported differences in bicultural consumers from a majority-minority status are reviewed and formulated as hypotheses, and a survey is used to collect quantitative data from a stratified random sample.

A 2 (cultural identity vs felt ethnicity) × 2 (English brand name vs Japanese brand name) factorial experiment, which tested this contention, revealed that, although consumers are considered biculturals, they will be more inclined to perceive products to be of higher quality when the product is written in Japanese than in English. Furthermore, the result shows that felt ethnicity has a significant impact on attitude toward brand names, whereas bicultural’s cultural identity does not. However, on the other hand, cultural identity has a significant impact on the product type considered, whereas felt ethnicity does not.

Research limitations/implications
As a starting point for understanding the bicultural consumer from a majority-minority perspective, this study is subject to exploratory research limitations.

Practical implications
The result suggests that when developing ads, managers should take into account the effect of language characters has on their target audience’s ethnicity. As it is common for ads to consist of written language, colors, images and messages, managers should not just concentrate on one, rather should consider how all these factors can come together and create a favorable ad.

As the number of immigrants increase in the USA, the notion of considering what a melting pot is has reached another level. Predicted by the US census, in the year 2050, the minority population will take over the mainstream population, resulting in a majority-minority status for these minority individuals. Businesses will then have to redesign their strategy in marketing to this new market segment and not fall victim to these new challenges. They can turn around and leverage them as marketplace opportunities. This study provides some early insights that can help marketers strategically and creatively think of leverage such opportunities.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-65
JournalJournal of Consumer Marketing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017