When does brand foreignness matter for ethnocentric consumers in developing countries? the role of emotions and national icon products
It is widely known that an increase in the perceived quality of a brand significantly increases one’s intention to purchase that brand. According to the signaling theory, the foreignness of a brand may act as a sign of quality. In developing countries, foreign brands originating from developed countries are identified with wealth, prestige, allure, and superiority; these features lead consumers to consider them higher quality. However, for ethnocentric consumers, as the social identity theory suggests, a higher perceived foreignness of a brand may become an out-group sign that decreases one’s perception of brand quality, and which eventually decreases purchase intentions. Despite these expectations, there is no obvious pattern demonstrating a relationship between perception of brand foreignness, brand quality, and the purchase intentions of ethnocentric consumers. To explore a relevant pattern, I focus on the purchase intentions of ethnocentric consumers for products that are categorized as national icons. As ethnocentric consumption hints at an emotional attachment to one’s own culture, I investigate the effect of emotions on ethnocentric consumption through observing changes in the purchase intentions for national icons. Drawing on the appraisal tendency framework, I hypothesize that incidental emotions (i.e., mood) moderate the relationships among perceived brand foreignness, perceived brand quality, and purchase intentions in such a manner that each emotion has a distinct effect on judgments and decisions surrounding quality and purchase. ANOVA and OLS regression analyses illustrate that the national icon status of a product on its own does not have a statistically significant effect on the purchase decisions of ethnocentric consumers. By contrast, when the incidental emotion of anger is present, the purchase intention for national icon products with foreign brand names decreases significantly; incidental anger triggers a shallow heuristic decision which amplifies stereotypical reasoning.