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Seeing is Being’: Consumer Culture and the Positioning of Luxury Cars in China
Journal of Business Research (2017)
  • Dr. Boris Bartikowski
  • Mark Cleveland
Researchers recognize the indispensable role of inwardly vs. outwardly-focused social identities as predictors of consumers' attitudes toward local vs. global brand positioning. Extant studies typically report symmetric assimilative identity effects, meaning that consumers high on national/ethnic identity favor brands with a local (vs. global) consumer culture positioning, and vice-versa for consumers high on an outward (e.g., cosmopolitan) identity disposition. Such identity outcomes may not be generalizable, but rather, be affected by the specific consumption context as well as the individual trait of consumer need for uniqueness (NFU). Focusing on the Chinese premium car market, our experimental study consistently supported assimilative effects for the role played by ethnic identity. For cosmopolitanism however, such effects only held for low NFU consumers, whereas contrastive identity effects emerged for high NFU consumers. These results challenge some findings reported in the literature. Implications of these asymmetric identity effects for marketing theory and practice are discussed.
  • consumer culture positioning,
  • china,
  • cosmopolitanism,
  • ethnic identity,
  • premium car brands,
  • need for uniqueness
Publication Date
Summer August 1, 2017
Citation Information
Bartikowski, B., & Cleveland, M. (2017). “Seeing is being”: Consumer culture and the positioning of premium cars in China. Journal of Business Research, 77, 195-202.