When brands reflect our ideal world: The values and brand preferences of consumers who support versus reject society’s dominant ideology
© 2015 The Author. In what ways can brands symbolize America’s defining values, and for whom do these values resonate? Drawing from research on values (Schwartz 1994), the symbolic power of brands (Holt 2004, 2006; McCracken 1986), and system justification theory (Jost and Banaji 1994), the current research explores (1) what values define America’s dominant ideology, (2) which consumers subscribe to these values, and (3) implications for brands that reflect versus do not reflect the dominant ideology. It is proposed that consumers vary in their satisfaction with American society and their endorsement of America’s defining values, and thus differ in the values they endorse versus reject in brands. Five experiments manipulate whether or not the values signaled by a brand are in alignment with the dominant ideology. Consumers more versus less satisfied with American society respond differently to the values a brand signals, affecting brand attitudes, perceptions of a brand’s status as a cultural icon, and purchase intentions. In a sixth experiment, those more versus less satisfied with American society respond differently to consumerrelated policy (i.e., a ban on trans fat), depending on the values that the policy is framed as reflecting. Implications for branding and policy are discussed.
Shepherd, S; Chartrand, TL; Fitzsimons, GJ
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