Perceived ‘Hispanicness’ versus ‘Americanness’: A study of brand ethnicity with Hispanic consumers

Cong Li, Sunny Tsai and Gonzalo Soruco

University of Miami

Introduction

The symbolic meanings of branded products have long been a focus of interest among consumer theorists (Aaker et al. 2001; Arnould & Thompson 2005). Brands have been recognised as consumption symbols and cultural icons that not only reflect the image with which advertisers try to instil them, but also embody cultural meanings that individuals utilise to make sense of life situations, and to advance identity projects and lifestyle goals (McCracken 1986). Thus there is a far-reaching and significant connection between cultural processes and brand meanings (Thompson 2004). In their review of the literature, Strizhakova et al. (2008) summarised the dominant brand meanings, including brands as signals of social status (Coulter et al. 2003), as expressions of personality (Aaker 1997), as a mechanism for group identity and community construction (Muñiz & O’Guinn 2001; Bagozzi & Dholakia 2006), and as a link to national/ethnic heritage (Deshpande et al. 1986; Donthu & Cherian 1994).