Self-Brand Congruity and Brand Communication

Self-Brand Congruity and Brand Communication

Mahdi Rajabi (University of Antwerp, Belgium), Nathalie Dens (University of Antwerp, Belgium) and Patrick De Pelsmacker (University of Antwerp, Belgium & Ghent University, Belgium)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6242-1.ch008
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Brand communication through advertising plays an important role in developing strong brands in emerging markets, especially in India. This chapter investigates how ethnocentrism moderates the effects of advertising adaptation levels (globalization, glocalization, and localization) on Indian consumers' ad evaluation and self-brand congruity. It uses self-brand congruity to explain the psychological reasons behind the Indian consumers' preferential patterns of the levels of advertising adaptation. A 2 (local celebrity, global celebrity) x 2 (local verbal cues, global verbal cues) full factorial between-subjects experiment is set up with 219 Indian consumers. Ethnocentrism is measured at the individual level. Results show that highly ethnocentric individuals respond more positively (attitude towards the ad and self-brand congruity) to localization and glocalization advertising strategies compared to a globalization strategy, while lowly ethnocentric individuals do not respond differently to these strategies. The practical and theoretical implications as well as suggestions for further research are discussed.
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This chapter reports a study set in India, one of the largest emerging markets of the world with a fast growing population of more than 1.2 billion. India’s constant growth in purchasing power in recent years (IMF, 2012) indicates the ability of Indian consumers to purchase a whole new variety of products. Euromonitor International (2010) forecasts that India will be one of the best performing emerging economies in 2020 with annual real GDP projected to grow by 7.1%. This makes India an attractive market for multinational companies.

The Indian market is culturally and socio-economically diversified (Kumar, 2007). Developing and preserving a strong brand in a diverse market like India requires flexibility in marketing strategies, in order to cater to different segments. In a description of the Indian market, Panda (2004) suggests that brand building in India needs a high decibel of advertising with a focus on social differentiations, self-indulgence and gratification. Thus, advertising has a prominent role in building a strong and favorable brand image in India. One of the most important factors that not only affects the overall image of a brand, but also the marketing costs of the company, is the level of adaptation of the advertisement to the social and cultural context of the target groups. This chapter aims to explain how the level of advertising adaptation to the Indian context affects consumers’ ad attitudes and self-brand congruity, two important determinants of brand attitude and purchase intention.

Advertising adaptation is a continuum ranging from a globalization strategy (i.e. one unique ad for several culturally different markets) to a localization strategy (i.e. an ad with ‘local’ cues adapted to the target market), and in between these two extremes, there are hybrid forms, glocalization strategies (i.e., ads with a mixture of global and local executional elements) (Sinclair & Wilken, 2009). In the present study, we operationalize this continuum by means of two frequently used advertising cues, namely the origin of the celebrity used in the ad (local vs. global) and the type of verbal cues origin (local vs. global) (Table 1). Both factors used in our operationalization are frequently employed in Indian advertisement. Celebrity endorsement is a crucial strategy in the Indian context, as most of the companies use it to build strong brands (Panda, 2004). India has two main official languages, i.e., Hindi and English, both are spoken and understood by the majority of the people. In such conditions, the choice of language is “becoming increasingly crucial for multinational corporations that need to weigh the advantages of single language use (e.g., English) across markets versus the complexities of communicating their message in the local language” (Krishna & Ahluwalia, 2008, pp. 692).

Table 1.
Operationalization of advertising adaptation levels
Visual Cue (Celebrity Origin)
Verbal Cues OriginLocalLocalizationGlocalization
(type 2)
(type 1)

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