Self-Construal, Reference Groups, and Brand Meaning
We propose that consumers purchase brands in part to construct their self-concepts and, in so doing, form self-brand connections. We focus on reference groups as a source of brand meaning. Results from two studies show that brands with images consistent with an ingroup enhance self-brand connections for all consumers, whereas brands with images that are consistent with an outgroup have a stronger negative effect on independent versus interdependent consumers. We propose that this differential effect is due to stronger self-differentiation goals for consumers with more independent self-concepts. We also find greater effects for more symbolic than for less symbolic brands. (c) 2005 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..
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