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A multinational examination of the symbolic–instrumental framework of consumer–brand identification


  • Son K Lam

    (Terry College of Business, University of Georgia, Athens, USA)

  • Michael Ahearne

    (C T Bauer College of Business, University of Houston, Houston, USA)

  • Niels Schillewaert

    (Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School, Gent, Belgium)


The authors propose a symbolic–instrumental interactive framework of consumer–brand identification (CBI) and explore its predictiveness across 15 countries. Using multinational data, they show that the negative impact of the misalignment between self–brand congruity and perceived quality on CBI is universal. The interaction among CBI, perceived quality, and uncertainty avoidance orientation in motivating consumers’ identity-sustaining behavior is weak. However, the synergy between CBI and perceived quality in motivating consumers’ identity-promoting behavior is stronger among collectivist consumers. The authors derive a typology of symbolic–instrumental misalignments to help international marketing managers motivate consumers to identify with and promote brands.

Suggested Citation

  • Son K Lam & Michael Ahearne & Niels Schillewaert, 2012. "A multinational examination of the symbolic–instrumental framework of consumer–brand identification," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 43(3), pages 306-331, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:43:y:2012:i:3:p:306-331

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Huizinga, Harry, 2004. "Market discipline and deposit insurance," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 375-399, March.
    2. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Karacaovali, Baybars & Laeven, Luc, 2005. "Deposit insurance around the world : a comprehensive database," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3628, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Balaji, M.S. & Roy, Sanjit Kumar & Sadeque, Saalem, 2016. "Antecedents and consequences of university brand identification," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(8), pages 3023-3032.
    2. Oliver Parts, 2013. "The Effects of Cosmopolitanism on Consumer Ethnocentrism, Brand Origin Identification and Foreign Product Purchases," International Journal of Business and Social Research, MIR Center for Socio-Economic Research, vol. 3(11), pages 30-44, November.
    3. Elbedweihy, Alaa M. & Jayawardhena, Chanaka & Elsharnouby, Mohamed H. & Elsharnouby, Tamer H., 2016. "Customer relationship building: The role of brand attractiveness and consumer–brand identification," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(8), pages 2901-2910.
    4. repec:eee:touman:v:52:y:2016:i:c:p:507-520 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:touman:v:52:y:2016:i:c:p:82-95 is not listed on IDEAS

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