Do Americans seek pleasure while Chinese care about others’ approval? Examining stereotypical utilities positioning in brand choice contexts

Enav Friedmann, Merav Weiss-Sidi, Tiziano Vescovi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Past marketing research has found that hedonic utility is more important for Western cultures, whereas social utility is more important for Eastern cultures, suggesting differential positioning in each culture. However, the research has so far focused on a single choice context of one brand. This paper aims to examine cultural differences in utility importance using two brand choice contexts: single choice and brand selection. Design/methodology/approach: Four studies (n = 1268) were conducted. Study 1 focused on a single choice context by asking directly about utility importance when choosing a cellphone. Study 2 focused on a brand selection context using conjoint analysis for the same cellphone category used in Study 1. To validate the results of Studies 1 and 2 with the categories of perfume, sports shoes and computers, Study 3 analyzed single and selection contexts using latent regression methods. Finally, Study 4 explored the role of cognitive load in explaining the differences between the two choice contexts using the laptop category. Findings: The analyses of the brand selection context, which simulates real-life choice, revealed that the importance ascribed to utilities was not idiosyncratic for each culture. In contrast, single-choice contexts demonstrated stereotypical cultural differences. Originality/value: Positioning a specific utility message to fit the culture stereotype might not be necessary, as it does not always affect brand choice in a competitive environment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Product and Brand Management
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Brand selection context
  • Cultural differences
  • Functional
  • Hedonic and social utility
  • Positioning
  • Single choice context

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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