Commentary on “Salient Cultural Identities and Brand Valuation”

pp.82-85. Sandra Awanis


In an increasingly competitive consumer market, a brand’s unique value proposition is key to secure the firm’s capacity to compete in non-price terms. Amaral and Torelli's (2018) article on Salient Cultural Identities and Consumers’ Valuation of Identity Congruent Brands: Consequences for Building and Leveraging Brand Equity provides an integrative insight of how the malleable consumer identity can be regulated to enhance the consumer’s valuation of and engagement with a brand. This work echoes prior research in consumer psychology that examined the link between self-concept and brand, such as the social identity theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1986), self-brand connection (McCracken, 1986) and identity-based motivation (Oyserman, 2009). Central to these theories is the shared notion that the activation of a salient identity associated with a valued social identity leads to actions that are congruent with the perceived action of members of the desired social group. A distinct contribution of Amaral and Torelli’s research is the “double-edged sword” nature of identity-congruent brand, which illuminates a boundary condition that limits the efficacy of identity-based branding strategies. Nonetheless, the research shows that the longstanding interest in social identity and branding among and marketing academia practitioners remains unabated. In this commentary, I discuss the emerging questions that arise from the field of identity-congruent marketing and offer suggestions for future developments.

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