Social identity salience: Effects on identity-based brand choices of Hispanic consumers



The purpose of this study was to examine the combinatorial effects of enduring and momentary mechanisms of cultural identity salience on identity-based apparel brand choices of three Hispanic acculturation segments (Hispanic-dominant, mainstream-dominant, and balanced-bicultural). The hypotheses were empirically tested among Hispanic students at a midwestern university in the U.S. employing a two-session online experiment. Results revealed that the influence of cultural primes (momentary salience of the cultural identity) on subsequent brand choices of Hispanic consumers is moderated by their bidimensional acculturation (enduring salience of the cultural identity). As posited, the current study found that the same cultural primes had differential effects among the three Hispanic acculturation segments, with the largest effect size among the balanced-bicultural segment. Specifically, the results indicated that Hispanic-dominant and mainstream-dominant consumers were less responsive to cultural cues in the environment and were less likely to demonstrate significant preference shifts in response to cultural primes. However, balanced-bicultural consumers demonstrated significant shifts in their attitudes and purchase intent for Hispanic and mainstream apparel brands when exposed to cultural primes, such that their brand choices assimilated toward the primed identity. Results are discussed in the context of social identity theory, the self-stereotyping process, cultural frame shifting, and the bidimensional acculturation model. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.