According to Lisjak, Lee, and Gardner (2012), a threat to a brand can elicit the same response as a threat to the self. The current research examined whether people react differently to brand threats as a function of East Asian versus North American culture and as a function of whether the source of the threat was a stranger or a close friend. In Study 1, 616 U.S. and East Asian participants were recruited to complete an online survey via Amazon’s M Turk. Participants were asked to read a blog post that contains negative evaluations of two U.S. brands. Participants were randomly assigned to two conditions, in which they were either told that the blog post was written by a close friend or by a stranger. After reading, participants’ attitude change towards the brands was measured to reflect their defensiveness. Results show that there was no significant difference in defensiveness between East Asian and U.S. participants in either condition. Study 2 was then conducted to examine Chinese responses to Chinese brands assessed in their native language. In Study 2, 500 Chinese participants completed the study in Mandarin, and the survey included Chinese as well as American brands. Participants showed no significant difference in their defensiveness on brands from China versus the U.S. Overall, no evidence was found to support the cultural differences in consumers’ defensiveness when a brand they identify with is threatened.
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