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Introduction

Today's consumers are exposed to an overload of external cultural influences (Bartsch, Cleveland, Ko, & Cadogan, 2018). Technological developments, trends and an information overload due to the internet, media and mobile devices are transforming the consumer landscape as well as the way in which brands operate (Steenkamp & de Jong in Bartsch et al., 2018; Özsomer, Batra, Chattopadhyay, & ter Hofstede, 2012).

In response, a large number of consumers are replacing globally known consumer brands, images and preferences (mainly from the west) for those from their traditional and local cultures (Bartsch et al., 2018). This is resulting in a convergence of consumer behaviors, attitudes and values (Pieterse in Alden, Steenkamp, & Batra, 2006). The young consumers today are no longer living everyday life uniformly with the traditional values, norms and behavioral expectations of their local culture. The globalized consumer landscape is leaving traditional segmentation of consumers behind, transcending national boundaries, ages, groups, culture and income (Özsomer et al., 2012; Cleveland, Rojas-Méndez, Laroche, & Papadopoulos, 2016).

This marketplace globalization has led to the emergence of a Global Consumer Culture (Alden, Steenkamp, & Batra, 1999). A consumption culture of a consumer group with similar interests and preferences (Lindstrom & Seybold in Frank & Watchravesringkan, 2016). Within the Global Consumer Culture, two consumer groups can be formed, a consumer group with a positive disposition towards the Global Consumer Culture and a consumer group with a negative disposition towards the Global Consumer Culture (Özsomer et al., 2012).

In the globalized, competitive marketplace, developing strong consumer-based brand equity is essential for a brand to financially thrive (Keller, 1993). Brand Equity is an important tool which aids in expanding economic performance as well as marketing strategies LU, GOYSYT< LU + EDIT). The brand strategy of an organization has to be coordinated with the attitudes, behaviors and values that the consumers possess, in order to be able to positively influence the perceived brand equity of the brand ( OOK EEN NIEUWE EQUITYBRON en edit).

As a result, the Global Consumer Culture is forcing brands to redevelop their brand strategies and constructs. Many brands are shifting their focus from traditional, local approaches and brand strategies, to a global strategy, where brands market their products with a global approach, incorporating limited changes in strategy per market (Kotabe & Helsen in Özsomer et al., 2012). These strategies have to be redeveloped in accordance to the behaviors and values of the consumer groups that have emerged from the convergence of cultural and individual factors, in order to positively influence the perceived brand equity (Frank & Watchravesringkan, 2016; Özsomer et al., 2012; nieuwe equity).

Despite the growing attention towards Global Consumer Culture and the ways in which this impacts marketing decisions, the effects of Global Consumer Culture on brands, consumers and implications of shifting brand strategies from a local-based focus to a global-based focus are relatively unknown (Bartsch et al., 2016; Cleveland et al., 2016).

There is limited research available on what effect Global Consumer Culture has on the perceived brand equity of consumers (Frank & Watchravesringkan, 2016).  Little research has been done on the behaviors and identities that derive from and are affected by the Global Consumer Culture (Craig & Douglas in Cleveland et al. 2016). As well as the dispositions, positive or negative, that consumers hold in regard to this Global Consumer Culture, and how these dispositions influence perceived brand equity. Literature on these subjects is fragmented and requires further attention (Bartsch et al., 2018).

Being able to recognize and identify the factors that influence the perceived brand equity of consumers in relation to the attitudes and behavior of participants of the Global Consumer Culture, is beneficial for managers and marketers in order to understand how to market their products and brands in the global marketplace (Frank & Watchravesringkan, 2016). Consequently, this study aims to answer the question “What is the effect of Global Consumer Culture on brand equity?

There are various factors that need to be taken into account when determining the effect of Global Consumer Culture on brand equity. Consumer and behavioral factors such as disposition towards Global Consumer Culture, preferences, attitudes and values that can influence the perception of brand equity (Özsomer et al., 2012).

The study takes into account the characteristics and preferences of young participants of the Global Consumer Culture, as well as their behavioral attitudes, triggers, stimuli, and disposition towards the Global Consumer Culture and Global Brands. It also takes into account the factors influencing perceived brand equity of an organization, discussing the positive and negative effects that the Global Consumer Culture might have on the brand equity of an organization.

Due to the limited scale of this study, only the consumer and behavioral aspect of young participants of Global Consumer Culture and its ramifications for perceived brand equity of global brands will be discussed. In order to ultimately come to a conclusion on the effects that Global Consumer Culture might have on the brand equity of an organization. Leading to recommendations on managerial implications, how brands can use this to their advantage to improve their brand strategies and positively influence their perceived brand equity.  

Theoretical Framework

Brand Equity  

In order to come to a conclusion on the effect that Global Consumer Culture has on Brand Equity, it is essential to have a deeper understanding of Brand Equity and the various factors that influences the perceived brand equity of an organization (Keller, 1993, wel of niet).  

Brand equity is essential for the economic and financial performances of a brand Yoo & Donthu in Frank & Watchravesringkan, 2016).  Brand equity provides value for consumers as well as brands, and has a positive effect on the future earnings of a brand as well as long-term incomes (Srivastava & Shocker in Frank & Watchravesringkan, 2016). By positively influencing the perceived brand equity of young consumers, brands are able to ultimately create a stronger relationship with their consumers (Frank & Watchravesringkan, 2016).

Yoo and Donthu (2001) define Brand Equity as “the value that a brand name adds to a product based on consumer's associations and perceptions of that brand name“ (As cited in Frank & Watchravesringkan, 2016). Various elements of marketing strategies affect the perception that a consumer has of a certain brand or organization (Keller, 1993). Faircloth, Capella, & Alford (2001) propose that brand equity is representative of the biased and subjective attitude that a consumer has towards a certain branded brand or product in contrast to an unbranded brand or product. Keller (1993) proposed that the “conceptualization of consumer-based brand equity allows for a more applicable interpretation of marketing effects for marketing managers”.

The research of Keller (1993) displays that a positive brand attitude and brand image stimulate perceived brand equity of a consumer.  Keller (1993) defines brand image as  “the perceptual beliefs about a brand's attribute, benefit, and attitude associations.” The attributions and associations that a consumer perceives from a brand, is the basis for the total evaluation of a brand, this forms the brand attitude (Faircloth et al., 2001). The research of Faircloth (2001) suggests that brand attitude indirectly influences brand image, and is therefore a part of brand image as a component.

Other components that can positively influence perceived brand equity are purchase intentions, likelihood of purchase and willingness to pay, these components can result in a positive brand image, which in turn can affect the brand equity. This can be reached by various combinations of associations that consumers experience with brands. However, the knowledge on the various components that construct brand equity are not an assurance on understanding how a brand image is created or perceived, as well as its resulting effect on the perceived equity of the brand (Faircloth, 2001).

Aaker (1991) argues that brand equity is a construct consisting of multiple dimensions, being brand loyalty, -quality, -awareness and other associations (As cited in Faircloth, 2001). IETS MEER TOELICHTEN EN + BRONNEN

In this study we will contribute the following factors as factors that are able to directly influence Brand Equity:

The Emergence of Global Consumer Culture

To be able to come to a conclusion on the effect that Global Consumer Culture has on Brand Equity, it is important to have an understanding of Global Consumer Culture and the distinctive  behaviors, attitudes and values that this consumer group has. As well as how this might be able to, either direct or indirectly, influence the perceived brand equity of a global brand.

The digitization makes today's society more global than ever. Developments that are stimulating the marketplace globalization are the rise of global and social media and mobile communications amongst others (Özsomer et al., 2012). This has led to the emergence of a Global Consumer Culture (Alden, Steenkamp, & Batra, 1999).

Global Consumer Culture is defined by Alden et al. (1999) as “a system of cultural phenomena recognized as transcending national cultural systems.” Another definition by Alden et al. (1999) is a “cultural entity not associated with a single country, but rather a larger group generally recognized as international and transcending individual national cultures”  The rise of Global Consumer Culture has blurred cultural traditions, leading to the existence of consumer and market interconnectedness across various geographic areas. (Cleveland et al., 2016).

Taking these definitions into account, the following definition has been established for this literature review: a Global Consumer Culture is a cultural entity transcending traditional, individual and national boundaries, groups and cultures, creating global market interconnectedness.

In order to reach the participants of Global Consumer Culture, a brand or organization would have to be perceived to be a global brand (Özsomer et al., 2012). Kapferer defines global brands as brands that “use similar brand names, positioning strategies, and marketing mixes in most of their target markets” (as cited in Özsomer et al., 2012). Alden et al. 2006 define a global brand from a consumers' viewpoint as “the extent to which the brand is perceived by potential and existing customers as global and as marketed not only locally but also in some foreign markets.”

In this study, global brands are defined as brands that use similar brand names and branding- and marketing strategies in multiple countries and target markets.

The Global Consumer Culture has a strong focus on young consumers, who aim to connect with a group or culture separate from their national and local environment (Lindstrom & Seybold in Frank & Watchravesringkan, 2016). Therefore, in this study, the focus lies on young consumers within the Global Consumer Culture, as these young consumers are an ideal, unique consumer group for global brands in contrast to other consumer groups (Özsomer, 2012; Frank & Watchravesringkan, 2016).

Negative versus positive dispositions towards Global Consumer Culture

The emergence of Global Consumer Culture has led to a change and divide in attitudes and behaviors towards the marketplace globalization, consumers that have a positive- and negative disposition towards Global Consumer Culture. The different groups, with different outlooks on the Global Consumer Culture, probably also react differently to brand strategies of global brands (Bartsch et al., 2016).

Consumers with a positive disposition towards the Global Consumer Culture, are susceptible towards brand cues that provide insight into the high quality or economic consequences across various geographic area, these consumers are characterized as having a global identity. Consumers with a positive disposition might perceive global brands as having a unique image or myth, leading them to aspire towards this image or myth. Global brands are also perceived to be less risky by this group (Özsomer et al., 2012).

Consumers with a positive disposition towards Global Consumer Culture prefer global brands over local brands, even when there are no noticeable differences in quality and value Cleveland et al., 2016). Brands are taking advantage of positioning the brand globally in order to enhance their brand image, ultimately leading to an increase in brand equity (Alden et al., 1999). However, the reactions and preferences of the consumers that have a negative disposition towards Global Consumer Culture are not known in regards to this phenomenon.

Consumers with a negative disposition towards the Global Consumer Culture are susceptible to an approach in where global brands market their products in accordance to national and local values (Cleveland et al. 2016). These consumer prefer products and brand that are considered to be more culturally rich to show their connection to local culture (Frank & Watchravesringkan, 2016). However, consumers with a negative disposition have a subconscious positive predisposition towards global brands, in relation to risk- and image perception, this means that they are not aware of this effect in their responses and behaviors.

This suggest that there is an element of brand equity of global brands that is manipulated by an undetermined factor, challenging the study of global brands in relation to brand equity (Özsomer, 2012).

Behavior and attitudes within the Global Consumer Culture

“Culture subconsciously drives perceptions” (Cleveland et al., 2016). Consumers' attitudes and preferences towards globalization or localization of culture are not only driven by practicalities such as quality, price and function, but also influenced by sociological factors (Cleveland et al., 2016). Various factors that might influence perceived brand equity of consumers with either a negative or positive disposition towards the Global Consumer Culture are discussed: self-identification, cosmopolitanism, perceived brand globalness, and ethnocentrism (Bartsch et al. 2016; Davvetas et al. 2015; Steenkamp et al. 2003).

Self-Identification

The emergence of Global Consumer Culture has created an enlarged focus on global brands, transforming these brands into accessible tools for self-identification (Alden et al., 1999; Bartsch et al., 2016). Especially for the participants of the Global Consumer Culture that have a positive dispositions against market globalization, these global brands can strengthen their identification with the Global Consumer Culture (Strizhakova, Coulter, & Price in Cleveland, 2016). “The Social identity refers to the absorption of group characteristics into people's self-concept”(Markus in Cleveland et al. 2016). Consequently, this self-identification communicates the measure to which the culture, norms and values of a specific group impact the attitudes and behaviors of an individual (Bartsch et al., 2016). Consumer self-identification with a brand has a positive impact on brand loyalty and – advocacy levels (Stokburger-Sauer in Bartsch et al., 2016). Therefore,

H1. Self-identification has a positive, indirect effect on perceived brand equity of consumers with a positive disposition towards Global Consumer Culture

H2. Self-identification has a negative, indirect effect on perceived brand equity of consumers with a negative disposition towards Global Consumer Culture

Cosmopolitanism

Global brands might exhume cosmopolitanism (Steenkamp et al., 2003). Steenkamp, Batra, & Alden (2003) define cosmopolitanism as “specific qualities held by certain individuals including the willingness to immerse themselves with different cultures”. Consumers with a positive disposition towards Global Consumer Culture buy global brands in order to be perceived as modern, sophisticated and modern. As well as to show participation in the cosmopolitan Global Consumer Culture that is being communicated in the media. This desire to connect with a consumer group separate from local and national surrounding is characteristic to young consumers (Friedman in Steenkamp et al., 2003). Consumers that have a negative disposition towards Global Consumer Culture might not possess these qualities in which they want to show participation in this culture. Consequently,

H3. Cosmopolitanism has a positive, indirect effect on perceived brand equity of consumers with a positive disposition towards Global Consumer Culture

H4. Cosmopolitanism has a negative, indirect effect on perceived brand equity of consumers with a negative disposition towards Global Consumer Culture

Perceived brand globalness

Perceived brand globalness is defined as the extent to which “consumers believe that a brand is marketed in multiple countries and is recognized as global in these countries” (Steenkamp et al., 2003). Perceived brand globalness is positively linked to perceived brand- and product quality, purchase likelihood, prestige and esteem. The higher the perceived globalness of the brand the higher the perceptions of quality, prestige and purchase likelihood (Davettas et al.,2015). As a result this perceived brand globalness might affect brand equity. The prestige and perceived quality of a brand cannot  be replicated, this provides a competitive advantage for a company (Steenkamp et al., 2003).

The assumption that perceived brand globalness is linked to perceived quality, purchase likelihood and esteem, can be challenged by Ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism is “a well-established bias among many consumers in favor of home-grown products” (Shimp and Sharma in Steenkamp et al.,  2003). Ethnocentrism therefore is more likely to occur in people with negative dispositions in regards to Global Consumer Culture. The effects of perceived brand globalness on these components may be weaker for more ethnocentric consumers (Steenkamp et al., 2003). However, since consumers with a negative disposition have a subconscious positive predisposition towards global brands, the effect of perceived brand globalness might still subconsciously be positive, the effect might only be weaker.

Consequently,

H5. Perceived Brand Globalness has a positive, indirect effect on perceived Brand Equity of  consumers with a positive disposition towards Global Consumer Culture

H6. Perceived Brand Globalness has a positive, indirect effect on perceived Brand Equity of consumers with a negative disposition towards Global Consumer Culture

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