Running head: SELF-OTHER ASYMMETRY, SIMILARITY AND BRAND-IDENTITY. Self-other asymmetry: more similarity through brand-identity. Liset Valks (472054)

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1 Running head: Self-other asymmetry: more similarity through brand-identity Liset Valks (472054) Tilburg University Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences Department of Social Psychology Master s thesis supervisor: Claudia Toma January 14, 2013

2 Self-other asymmetry: more similarity through brand-identity 2 Nowadays, diversity can be seen as an increased important value in societies, which can be beneficial in diverse circumstances. The increased value of diversity can be beneficial for everyday interactions, performance in problem solving and decision-making, because it brings different perspectives in a way that things can be valued more broadly (Cremer, Dick & Murnighan, 2011). But, although diversity may lead to benefits in social interactions, it is also seen as the unknown and uncertain area that increases ambiguous feelings (Hannan, 1986). For example, interacting with dissimilar others means interacting with outgroups, which takes more effort, because people cannot easily identify themselves with dissimilar others (Karylowski, 1990). Generally, people are more attracted to interact with similar others, because they expect that social similar others already share the same information and opinions (Phillips, Northcraft & Neale, 2006). Additionally, similarity feels safer and more comfortable, because similar others can be seen as more equal to one s own identity, which could then be categorized to in-group persons. So, even though many researches proved the benefits of diversity, people still see benefits in similarity. But, when would be the moment that we prefer similarity over diversity? According to this research question we defined a general hypothesis: Hypothesis 1a: When people think about their own feelings, than they prefer similarity over diversity. Hypothesis 1b: When people think about others feelings, than they think diversity is better for others than similarity. similarity. To test this general hypothesis we first discussed the differences between diversity and

3 3 The value of diversity Diversity is a much-discussed topic in organizational settings. Prior researchers examined the value of diversity for everyday interactions, performance in problem solving and decision-making, mostly for organizations. Knippenberg and Schippers (2007) defined diversity as a characteristic of a social grouping that reflects the degree to which there are objective or subjective differences between people within the group (without presuming that group members are necessarily aware of objective differences or that subjective differences are strongly related to more objective differences). Besides this definition, there are diverse other definitions of diversity which we can distinguish (for examples, see Williams & O Reilly, 1998; Chen & Kenrick, 2002). To distinguish the different sources of diversity, Cremer et al. (2011) adopted the term social category diversity and surface-level diversity. Whereas social category diversity refers to distinctions of categorization between in-group and out-group (based on functional background differences), surface-level diversity is more defined as the characteristics that are specific for certain groups (based on race). Informational diversity, an underlying type of social category diversity, includes the differences in information, opinions, thought and action that are relevant for specific groups. Through this distinction, we can make a difference between in-groups and out-groups, and whether or not people make social relationships and creating interactions with others. Expected everyday interactions with social dissimilar others can have affective consequences and influence people s cognitive processes (Antonio et al., 2004; Phillips & Lount, 2007; Sommers, 2006; Wang et al., 2009). The experienced affective pain of out-group members (feelings of discomfort when entered in-groups) can lead to cognitive gains; diverse groups engage in more careful processing of information, and pay more attention to this information, which results in better group performance and decision-making (Philips,

4 4 Liljenquist & Neale, 2009). Diversity can therefore has a positive influence on everyday interactions in organizational settings. Furthermore, believing in the value of diversity may also increase the benefits of diversity (Homan, van Knippenberg, van Kleef & van De Dreu, 2007). When people are open for new information and others opinions, diversity in tasks could be resulted in positive group performances. On the other hand, when people believe in de value of similarity, diversity could negative be related to diverse group tasks but positive related to tasks working with similar others (Phillips & Loyd, 2006). Believing in the value for diversity can therefore have a positive influence on working with diverse others, while believing in the value for similarity could have a negative influence on working with diverse others. However, the value of similarity could also have benefits in everyday interactions. The value of similarity Although people know the benefits of diversity, a lot of people still prefer similarity. Generally, individuals are more attracted to interact with perceived similar others (Phillips, Northcraft & Neale, 2006). In-group members are expected to share similar opinions, which lead to an increase in social conformity (Abrams, Wetherell, Cochrane, Hogg & Turner, 1990). Furthermore, people who are holding similar values are seen as more trusting, while people who are holding dissimilar values could be seen as untrustworthy, because of these different values (Siegrist, Cvetkovich & Roth). Interacting with dissimilar others can therefore feel as a perceived risk to you. Since people are risk averse (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979), they may prefer similarity over diversity, because diversity is the unknown and uncertain area that increases risk feelings, while similarity gives certainty and is more seen as the save option. This can be seen as a cause why people still have a preference for similarity instead of diversity.

5 5 Interacting with similar others can also lead to perceived differences between oneself and the other. Seeing oneself differently in comparison to others, even though the others behave similarly, is also called pluralistic ignorance. This phenomenon occurs when people attribute their behavior to traits that they believe are more strong determinants of their own behavior than the behavior of others (Miller & McFarland, 1978). Even though other people behave similarly, people believe others feel and think differently. As a consequence, individuals experience a feeling of uniqueness through having their own identity. Therefore, people who believe they have their own identity may react differently than others on the same thing (Hogg, Terry & White, 1995). We can say that people are affected by biases in the perception of differences and similarities between oneself and others; the self-other asymmetry bias occurs when people are allowed to consider themselves as the reference point of social comparison instead of the other person. Therefore, a possible explanation of this perceived self-other asymmetry is the motive of feeling unique. Being similar to oneself, the feeling of having an own identity, increase one s uniqueness more than being similar to others (Codol, 1987). In sum, the way people view their unique self compared to others can thus be seen as a self-other asymmetry. Accordingly, to indicate this perceived asymmetry between oneself and others we could apply people s identity. Identification may explain the difference between the value for similarity and a value for diversity. Brand identification In individualistic countries, every individual is seen as a unique person who has his or her own identity. People have a tendency to distinguish themselves from others by showing uniqueness. The identity theory refers to the role related behavior of individuals; how they identify themselves compared to social others (Hogg, Terry & White, 1995). One way to show one s identify is relating this to brand products. People s ability to

6 6 identify oneself with brands is also called brand-identification or self-concept connection (Swaminathan, Page & Gurhan-Canli, 2007). Self-concept connection, also known as the consumer-brand relationship, indicates the extent to which the brand contributes to one s identity, values and goals. People purchase brands to construct their self-concept and, through this, forming self-concept connections (Escalas & Bettman, 2005). People with a high selfconcept connection can identify themselves stronger with a brand than people with a low selfconcept connection due to the endowment effect. The endowment effect is the increased value of a product to an individual when this product becomes part of the individual s possession (Thaler, 1980). Additionally, by the endowment effect people can also indicate a perceived asymmetry, but this occurs when people evaluate a product either as a loss or as a gain (Kahneman and Tversky, 1979). People experience more intense feelings when they loss something than when they gain something; losses loom larger than gains. A loss gives more negative feelings than a gain gives positive feelings. According to this theory, when individuals identify themselves with a brand and often purchase this brand, they add extra value to this brand. Because of this extra value, people are more able to maintain their brand instead of brand switching. Brand switching can be seen as a loss of one s own brand, because losing their extra value, which one has formed through brand possession, will also be perceived as a loss. On the other hand, when people have to choose products for others, for example when they have to shop for a company, they can imaging brand identification for the other (the company), but not that extra value which they could imaging for themselves. This may leads to a perceived equal value for different brands from which someone can choose. As a consequence, people may experience less brand value when shopping products for others, which could lead to shop for different brands instead of staying with the same brands. Therefore, we proposed that having high brand identification, with brand value as control variable, could increase peoples own preference for similarity in products or brand

7 7 maintenance, because someone thinks this brand fits him or her, while on the other hand, having low brand identification may lead to a preference for diversity in brands, or brand switching, because someone has no specific brand connection and is therefore able to try other brands. The lack of brand identification could lead to brand diversity, because people feel less connected to a specific brand. This is in contrast for people who feel highly connected to a specific brand; then, it is more reasoning that people choose for that specific brand instead of other unknown brands. Thus, choosing your own brand product, instead of another, unknown brand, could be seen as similarity, while choosing different brand products, could be seen as diversity. In line with these statements, our expectation is that brand identification is an indicator for product choice. Therefore, we examined if brand identification could lead to a preference for similarity in brand products for oneself and a preference for diversity in brand products for others. We could therefore hypothesize that high brand identification leads to more similarity in brand products for the self, while less brand identification leads to more diversity in brand products for others. Or more general: People may think similarity is good for oneself and diversity is good for others. Thus, we examine this self-other asymmetry, or more specific, the attitude toward brand switching, on the basis of peoples and others approaches toward brand identification, people s loyalty toward brands and people s value toward brands. Additionally, brand loyalty and brand value were control variables for brand identification. Hypothesis 2a: High brand identification for the self leads to a lower attitude toward product switching, controlled for brand loyalty and brand value. Hypothesis 2b: Low brand identification for the other leads to a higher attitude toward product switching, controlled for brand loyalty and brand value.

8 8 In this study, we tested participant s own and other s perceived self-concept connection with brands, according to well-known and commonly used products like selfchosen brand drinks (study 1), to a specific brand Coca Cola (study 2), and to a combination of both studies with self-chosen brand drinks (study 3 and study 4). Study 1 This study tested the hypothesis that people think that similarity in products is good for oneself while diversity in products is good for others. In addition, this experiment examined the attitude toward brand switching or brand diversity. The independent variable we were most interested in would be whether the participants would choose a brand product for themselves, and therefore think about their own brand identification, brand loyalty and brand value, or whether participants would choose a brand product for others, and therefore think about others brand identification, brand loyalty and brand value. To test the hypothesis we randomly put participants in the condition in which they had to choose a brand product for themselves or the condition in which participants had to choose a brand product for a person they know, and thereby indicated ones preferences or imaging others preferences. Method Participants and design. Sixty-four students of Tilburg University (25 males, 39 females; M age 25.20, SD = 8,71) voluntarily participated and were randomly assigned to either the self condition or the other condition. Therefore, we conducted a 2 (brand product choice self vs. brand product choice other) between subjects design. Procedure Participants described a brand product, especially a soft drink, tea or coffee, which they often buy (self condition) or a brand product which a good friend of them often buys (other condition). We decided to use brand drinks in this test, because this is a general and well-known brand product that people often buy in the supermarket. In addition, participants

9 9 were asked to specifically describe this brand product and were asked why they choose that specific brand product. Due to these first questions, participants were intensively thinking about their chosen brand product. According to a Brand Identification Scale (α =.84), participants subsequently indicated how much they agreed with the Brand Identification statements, on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much) (based on Kim, Han & Park, 2001). For example, a statement of the Brand Identification Scale was The success of this brand is my (his/her) success (see table 1 for an overview of the statements). Next, participants were asked to fill in the Brand Loyalty Scale (α =.66), in which they rated their own (self condition) or others (other condition) brand loyalty feeling according to the brand product which they had chosen before, on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much) (based on Kim, Han & Park, 2001). For example, a Brand Loyalty statement was I (he/she) will continue to use this brand because I (he/she) am (is) satisfied and acquainted with the brand (see table 1 for an overview of the statements). Furthermore, we tested if we could find a difference in rating between Brand Identification and Brand Loyalty. Therefore, we examined this variable as a control variable for Brand Identification. To distinguish Brand Identification from the concept Brand Value (Brand Value Scale, α =.61), participants were asked to indicate to what extent they value the product for themselves (the brand product is valuable, a good product, costly) or to what extent they could image the brand value for others, on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much). Just like Brand Loyalty, we examined Brand Value as a control variable for Brand Identification. We measured the self-other asymmetry due to a Brand Change Scale (α =.86). Participants were asked to what extent they would agree with the Brand Change statements when they had to evaluate their own attitude (self condition) or others attitude (other condition) towards brand switching when a new brand came up with the same kind of soft drink, tea or coffee, on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much). An example of a Brand

10 10 Change statement was To what extent do you think you (he/she) should be willing to try this brand product? (see table 1 for an overview of the statements). At least, participants in the other condition were asked to fill in an extra questionnaire, a Self-Other Identity Scale (α =.80), which measured how much the person could identify themselves with the other person for whom they had filled in the questionnaire, on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much). According to the statements To what extent can you identify yourself with this person?, To what extent do you feel similar to this person?, and To what extent would you make the same choices as the other?, we measured the identity differences between the self and the other person. Results Brand Identification. An independent sample t test showed no significant differences between participants who had to identify themselves with a specific brand drink (self condition) and participants who had to imagine other s brand identification (other condition). Participants in the self condition (M = 2.52, SD =.79), and in the other (M = 2.63, SD = 0.65) rated equal levels of Brand Identification, t(62) = -.61, p =.541. Therefore, we cannot conclude that participants felt more connected to a brand product than other people. Brand Loyalty. An independent sample t test showed that participants in the self condition (M = 3.48, SD =.66), and the other condition (M = 3.59, SD =.58) rated also equal levels of Brand Loyalty, t(62) = -.71, p =.479. Also for Brand Loyalty, we could not make any conclusions about the difference between participants in the self condition and participants in the other condition. We tested if we could found a difference between Brand Identification and Brand Loyalty. A paired sample t test showed that participants scored significant higher on the Brand Loyalty Scale (M = 3.54, SD =.61) than on the Brand Identification Scale (M = 2.58, SD =.71), t(63) = , p <.001. This result indicated that participants experienced more loyalty to brand products than they experienced identification to brand products.

11 11 Brand Value. An independent sample t test showed that participants in the self condition (M = 3.13, SD =.79), and the other condition (M = 3.24, SD =.62) rated equal levels of Brand Value, t(62) = -.63, p =.530. Similarly for the variable Brand Value, we tested if there is a difference between Brand Identification and Brand Value. A paired sample t test showed that participants scored significant higher on the Brand Value Scale (M = 3.19, SD =.70) than on the Brand Identification Scale (M = 2.58, SD =.71), t(63) = -7.35, p <.001. This concludes that participants indicated also more value to brand products than identification to brand products. Brand Change. An independent sample t test showed no significant differences in brand change between participants in the self condition (M = 3.19, SD =.72) and participants in the other condition (M = 3.24, SD =.62), t(62) = -.29, p =.772. The high scores on the statements of Brand Change indicated that participants in both conditions were able to change their own brand to a new product brand when they get the possibility to try another brand product. A linear regression was used to assess the ability of the identification level (Brand Identification) to predict levels of diversity (Brand Change). The model in the self condition, which indicated the extent to which participants were able to change their own product, with Brand Change as dependent variable and Brand Identification, Brand Loyalty, and Brand Value as independent variables was significant, F (25,3) = 5.75, p =.004. This linear regression could be used to predict the intensity of diversity in the self condition: 40.8% of the variance in diversity in the can be explained by Brand Identification, Brand Loyalty and Brand Value (R 2 = 0.41). In this model, only the independent variable Brand Value had a significant relation with the dependent variable Brand Change, b* = -.81, t = -3.39, p =.002. Therefore, we could say that when participants rated the value for their brand product higher, their attitude toward brand change decreased. This result was in line with our second hypothesis: High brand identification for the self leads to a lower attitude toward brand

12 12 switching, controlled for brand loyalty and brand value. The model for the self condition with only Brand Identification as independent variable, showed also significant results, b* = -.37, t = -3.39, p =.040. However, in this model we did not control for Brand Value and Brand Loyalty (see table 3 for an overview of the beta values). The model for the other condition, which indicated the extend to which they thought other people were able to change their brand product, with Brand Change as dependent variable and Brand Identification, Brand Loyalty, and Brand Value as independent variables, showed no significant results, F (31,3) =.752, p =.529. Therefore, we could not examine a relation between the dependent and the independent variables for participants in the other condition (see table 3 for an overview of the beta values). Self-Other Identification. A One Sample T-Test (test value = 3) yielded a significant result on the Self-Other Identity Scale (M = 3.44, SD =.77), t(34) = 3.37, p =.002. These high results concluded that participants in the other condition could strongly identify themselves with the other person. As a consequence, participant s high identification with the other person may led to no difference between the ratings of participants in the self condition and participants in the other condition. Discussion According to the hypothesis that people think similarity is good for oneself, while diversity is better for others, we expected that participants who had to choose a brand product for themselves (self condition) could identify themselves with that brand, which would lead to a negative attitude toward brand switching. On the other hand, we expected that participants who had to choose a brand product for others (other condition) could less identify the other with a brand, which will lead to a positive attitude toward brand switching. The results showed that participants rated equal levels of Brand Identification for themselves and for others. Furthermore, participants in both conditions rated equal levels of Brand Loyalty and

13 13 Brand Value, which means that we could not indicated that participants in the self condition experience more closeness to their own brand than participants in the other condition. The Brand Change Scale showed also no significant mean difference in brand change between the self and other condition. According to the regression analysis, we found significant results for the participants in the self condition: participants showed a more negative attitude toward brand switching when ratings for brand value increased. For the model with respectively brand identification and brand value as only factor, we could also see a relation between the independent variables and the dependent variable, the attitude toward brand switching. Participants indicated a more negative attitude toward brand switching for themselves when their ratings for brand identification and brand value increased. This result was in line with our hypothesis, which stated that a higher brand connection lead to a negative attitude toward brand switching, or diversity. However, results of the Self-Other Identity Scale showed that participants in the other condition could highly identified themselves with the other person. Due to the high self-other comparison we could determine that participants in the self condition and in the other condition rated equal levels on the questionnaires. Therefore, in the following study we had to reduce the self-other comparison in a way to differentiate the self condition from the other condition. Study 2 The following study would be a continuation of study 1. In study 1 we tested the hypothesis that people think that similarity in brand products is good for oneself while diversity in brand products is good for others, due to brand identification. In addition, this experiment tested if participants chose to maintain their brand product for themselves and think diversity in brand products, or brand switching, is good for others. Both conditions (self condition vs. other condition) indicated a high rating on Brand Change, but determined no

14 14 significant results. Because of the high self-other identity ratings in study 1, in the next study we had to be sure that participants could not identify themselves with the other person in the other condition, so that we could indicate a better difference between both conditions. Furthermore, different from study 1, in study 2 we tested the willingness to change one s brand product according to one specific brand (Coca Cola) to be more constantly in brand product choice during the test. The independent variables (Brand Identification and Brand Value) and the measured dependent variable (Brand Change) were the same as in Study 1. However, we removed the variable Brand Loyalty because this independent variable had no added value for our results. Method Participants and design. Fifty-five students of Tilburg University (17 male, 36 female; M age 22.89, SD = 6.40) voluntarily participated and were randomly assigned to either the self condition or the other condition. Therefore, we conducted a 2 (consumer behavior self vs. consumer behavior other) between subjects design. Procedure Participants were asked to their own consumption behavior (self condition) or someone else s consumption behavior (other condition) about how much Coca Cola they generally drink in a week. To be more constantly during the test we used one specific brand, Coca Cola, because this brand was a well-known soft drink and thereby an often-mentioned brand product in Study 1. Participants in the other condition were asked to think about a random person at the Tilburg University, instead of a well-known person, to reduce the selfother identification. According to a Brand Identification Scale (α =.86), participants subsequently indicated how much they agreed with the Brand Identification statements, on a scale of 1 (not

15 15 at all) to 5 (very much) (based on Kim, Han & Park, 2001). Therefore, we used the same Brand Identification statements as in Study 1 (see table 1 for an overview of the statements). To distinguish Brand Identification from the concept Brand Value (Brand Value Scale, α =.75), participants were asked to indicate to what extent they value the brand for themselves (the brand product is valuable, a good product, costly) or to what extent they could image the brand value for others, on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much). To measure the self-other asymmetry in consumer behavior, participants were asked, due to a Brand Change Scale (α =.74), to what extent they would agree with the Brand Change statements when they had to evaluate their own attitude (self condition) or others attitude (other condition) towards brand switching when a new brand came up with the same kind of soft drink, on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much). To measure the self-other asymmetry in consumer behavior we used the same Brand Change statements as in Study 1. See table 1 for an overview of the statements). Participants in the other condition were asked to fill in an extra questionnaire, a Selfother Identity Scale (α =.70), which measured how much the person identify themselves with the other person for whom they had filled in the questionnaire, on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much). According to the statements To what extent can you identify yourself with this person?, To what extent do you feel similar to this person?, and To what extent would you make the same choices as the other?, we again measured how much participants could identify themselves with the other. Results Brand Identification. An independent sample t test showed significant differences between participants who have to identify themselves with the brand Coca Cola (self condition) and participants who have to imagine other s brand identity with Coca Cola (other condition). Contrary to our expectations, participants in the self condition (M = 1.63, SD =

16 16.39) rated a lower level of their own brand identity than participants in the other condition (M = 2.67, SD = 0.68), t(37.23) = -6.83, p <.000. Brand Value. An independent sample t test of the Brand Value between participants in the self condition (M = 2.26, SD =.71), and participants in the other condition (M = 3.32, SD =.70) yielded also significant results, t(50.53) = -5.47, p <.000. This was again contrary to our expectations: participants rated a higher brand value for others (other condition) than for themselves (self condition). We tested if we could found a difference between Brand Identification and Brand Value. A paired sample t test showed that participants in both conditions scored significant higher on the Product Value Scale (M = 2.76, SD =.88) than on the Brand Identification Scale (M = 2.13, SD =.76), t(52) = -9.14, p <.001. These results concluded that participants indicated more value to brand products than they indicated identification to brand products. Brand Change. An independent sample t test showed no significant differences in brand product change between participants in the self condition (M = 3.02, SD =.56) and participants in the other condition (M = 2.89, SD =.63), t(51) =.83, p =.412. Again, the high scores on the Brand Change statements indicated that participants in both conditions were able to change their own brand product to a new brand product when they get the possibility to try another brand. A linear regression was used to assess the ability of the identification level (Brand Identification) to predict levels of diversity (Brand Change). The model in the self condition, which indicated the extent to which participants were able to change their own product, with Brand Change as dependent variable and Brand Identification and Brand Value as independent variables yielded no significant results, F (25,2) =.07, p =.937. This linear regression could not be used to predict the degree of diversity in the self condition: 0.5% of the variance in diversity in the could be explained by Brand Identification and Brand Value (R 2 = 0.005) (see table 4 for an overview of the beta values). The model in the other condition

17 17 which indicated the extent to which participants were able to change their own brand product, with Brand Change as dependent variable and Brand Identification and Brand Value as independent variables yielded also no significant results, F (22,2) =.28, p =.760. Additionally, this linear regression could not be used to predict the degree of diversity in the self condition: only 2.5% of the variance in diversity in the could be explained by Brand Identification and Product Value (R 2 = 0.025) (see table 4 for an overview of the beta values). Therefore, according to the regression models in the self condition and the other condition, we could not indicated a relation of the level of brand identification on the attitude to change a brand product in both conditions. Self-Other Identification. A One Sample T-Test (test value = 3) yielded a significant result on the Self-Other Identity Scale (M = 2.24, SD =.76), t(24) = -4.99, p <.000. Because the mean was below the test value (test value = 3) we could conclude that participants in the other condition were not able to identified himself or herself with the other person. Therefore, we could say participants in the other condition based their ratings on another person instead of themselves. Discussion In this study we tested the hypothesis if brand identification of a well-known brand product would lead to a negative attitude toward brand switching for participants in the self condition, while brand identification of a well-known brand product in the other condition would lead to a positive attitude toward brand switching. Contrary to our expectations, the results showed that participants in the self condition felt less identified with Coca Cola (M = 1.63, SD =.39), while participants in the other condition thought that other people were more identified with Coca Cola (M = 2.67, SD = 0.68). Consequently, these results had an influence on the product value ratings for the brand Coca Cola; participants in the other condition indicated higher product values for the well-known brand than participants in the self condition. By comparing the variable Brand Identification with Brand Value, people

18 18 reported significant higher ratings for Brand Value than for Brand Identification. Overall, participants indicated a higher consumption and brand identification/value for other people than for themselves. As a consequence, these results may influence the scores on the Brand Change scale; we found no evidence for the variable Brand Change in both conditions. According to the regression models, we found no relations between brand connections and participant s positive or negative attitude toward brand switching. However, in this study we could say that participants indicated different ratings in the other condition than in the self condition. Participants who had to imaging others preferences indicated they shared no identity with this person. Because of the low results of the variable Brand Identification in the self condition, in the next study we inserted again participants own product choice, instead of a beforehand selected brand product. We also combined both conditions in one questionnaire, to see whether or not there is a difference in between subject design and within subject design. Study 3 Study 1 and study 2 indicated no differences in Brand Change between the self and the other. In study 3 participants had to choose a brand product in which they could highly identify themselves (self condition) and the other (other condition) with. All participants were asked to fill in the questions according to themselves and according to the other. So, different from study 1 and study 2, in this study we compared the self condition and the other condition in one questionnaire. Additionally, participants had to choose their own brand drink, instead of the beforehand given brand drink in study 2. Again, the independent variables (Brand Identification and Brand Value) and the measured dependent variable (attitude toward brand switching) were the same as in Study 1. Method

19 19 Participants and design. Forty students of Tilburg University (16 male, 24 female; M age 21.32, SD = 3.39) voluntarily participated to the combined conditions. Therefore, we conducted a 2 (self condition vs. other condition) within subjects design. Procedure Participants were asked to describe a brand product, especially a soft drink, tea or coffee, which they often drink (self condition) and were asked how much they consume this beverage generally in a week. To be more constantly during the experiment, we again decided to use brand drinks in this study. In addition, participants were asked to specifically describe a brand drink and were asked how much they consume this product in a week. Due to these first questions, participants were intensively thinking about their own chosen brand product. According to a Brand Identification Scale (α =.75), participants subsequently indicated how much they agreed with the Brand Identification statements, on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much) (based on Kim, Han & Park, 2001). The Brand Identification statements in this study were the same statements as used in Study 1 (see table 1 for an overview of the statements). To distinguish Brand Identification from the concept Brand Value (Brand Value Scale, α =.75), participants were asked to indicate to what extent they value the brand product for themselves (the brand product is valuable, a good product, costly) or to what extent they could image the brand value for others, on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much). To measure the self-other asymmetry in consumer behavior, participants were asked, due to a Brand Change Scale (α =.81), to what extent they would agree with the brand change statements when they had to evaluate their own attitude (self condition) or others attitude (other condition) towards brand switching when a new brand came up with the same kind of soft drink, on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much). Statements of the Brand Change Scale were the same statements as used in study 1 (see table 1 for an overview of the statements).

20 20 Then, participants had to imaging a random person at the Tilburg University who often drinks the same brand beverage as they mentioned earlier (other condition). Participants were asked how much they think this person drinks the same brand beverage in a week. Also in this part, participants were asked to fill in the same statements, a Brand Identification Scale (α =.84), Brand Value, (α =.69), and Brand Change (α =.81), but this time related to the other person instead of themselves (see table 1 for an overview of the statements). At least, participants were asked to fill in a Self-Other Identity Scale (α =.80), which measured how much the person identify themselves with the other person for whom they had filled in the questionnaire, on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much). According to the statements To what extent can you identify yourself with this person?, To what extent do you feel similar to this person?, and To what extent would you make the same choices as the other?, we measured how much participants could identify themselves with the other. Results Brand Identification. A paired sample t test showed no significant differences when participants who had to identify themselves with a specific self-chosen brand drink (self condition) and when these participants had to imagine other s brand identification on that brand product (other condition). Participants rated equal levels of brand identity in the self condition (M = 2.33, SD =.52), and in the other (M = 2.36, SD = 0.66), t(39) = -.41, p =.687. Brand Value. A paired sample t test showed that participants rated equal levels of product value in the self condition (M = 3.12, SD =.67), and in the other condition (M = 3.13, SD =.70), t(39) = -.25, p =.804. Therefore, we could not indicate if participants valued their own brand product more than they can imaging other s value for brand products.

21 21 Accordingly, we examined if we could found a difference between Brand Identification and Brand Value for both conditions. A paired sample t test showed that participants for themselves scored significant higher on the Brand Value Scale (M = 3.12, SD =.67) than on the Brand Identification Scale (M = 2.33, SD =.52), t(39) = -8.79, p <.001. Participants scored also significant higher for others on the Brand Value Scale (M = 3.13, SD =.70) than on the Brand Identification Scale (M = 2.36, SD =.66), t(39) = -7.86, p <.001. This concludes that participants indicated more value to brand products than they indicated identification to brand products for themselves and for others. The control variable Brand Value could therefore be seen as a higher indicator for participants brand connection than Brand Identification. Brand Change. A paired sample t test showed no significant differences in brand change between the self condition (M = 3.40, SD =.67) and the other condition (M = 3.34, SD =.60), t(39) =.77, p =.446. The high scores on the statements of the variable Brand Change showed that participants in both conditions were able to change their own brand instead of a new brand product when they get the possibility to try another brand product. A linear regression was used to assess the ability of the identification level (Brand Identification) to predict levels of diversity (Brand Change). The model in the self condition, which indicated the extent to which participants were able to change their own brand product, with Brand Change as dependent variable and Brand Identification and Brand Value as independent variables yielded no significant results, F (37,2) =.46, p =.636. Therefore, this linear regression could not be used to predict the degree of diversity in the self condition: 2,4% of the variance in diversity in the can be explained by Brand Identification and Brand Value (R 2 = 0.024) (see table 5 for an overview of the beta values). The model in the other condition which indicated the extent to which participants were able to change their own brand product, with Brand Change as dependent variable and Brand Identification and Brand Value as independent variables yielded significant results, F (37,2) = 3.65, p =.036. This

22 22 linear regression could be used to predict the degree of diversity in the self condition: 16.5% of the variance in diversity in the can be explained by Brand Identification and Brand Value (R 2 = 0.165). However, the variance explained a weak relation, thus we could not indicated significant relations of Brand Identification and Brand Value on Brand Change (see table 5 for an overview of the beta values). The model for the other condition with only Brand Identification as independent variable and Brand Change as dependent variable did show a significant result, b* =.35, t = -3.39, p =.002. Also, the model for the other condition with only Brand Value as independent variable and Brand Change as dependent variable yielded significant results, b* =.37, t = -3.39, p =.002. In line with hypothesis 2b, we could say that participants indicated higher levels of brand switching for other people, when ratings for Brand Identification and Brand Value increased. Self-Other Identification A One Sample T-Test (test value = 3) yielded a significant result on the Self-Other Identity Scale (M = 3.28, SD =.69), t(39) = 2.52, p =.016. These results concluded that participants in the other condition could identify themselves with the other person. Therefore, participant s ratings in the other condition could be the same as participant s ratings in the self condition. Discussion With some procedural changes in study 3, we tested again the hypothesis whether brand identification of a self chosen brand product would led to a negative attitude toward brand switching in the self condition, while brand identification of a self chosen brand product for others would led to positive attitude toward brand switching. Therefore, we examined participant s attitude towards brand switching for respectively the self and for others. The results showed that participants rated equal levels of Brand Identification and Brand Value for themselves and for others. Consequently, the equal scores on the Brand Identification and Brand Value may led to equal scores on Brand Change. According to these results, we still could not conclude whether there is an effect between Brand Identification

23 23 and Brand Change for the self and for the other, or not. A regression analysis showed only significant results for Brand Value on the attitude toward brand switching for other people, which was in line with hypothesis 2b. According to this relation, we could say participants think that other people are able to change their brand product instead of maintaining with their own brand. However, due to the high ratings on Self-Other Identification, participants compared themselves with the other person in the other condition, so we could not determine whether there are real differences between both conditions, or not. To increase the levels of Brand Identification, in the last study we selected the top scored items on the Brand Identification Scale of the prior studies. We also selected high scored items of the prior studies by the variable Brand Value and Brand Change, so that ambiguous questions were removed. To be sure that participants interpreted the Brand Change question as buying item instead of a trying item, we adjusted the question in the buying direction. Study 4 In the forth study, we put the self condition and the other condition in one questionnaire, just like study 3. Differently from study 3, in study 4 we selected the best scored items of study 3 and emphasized the questions in the Brand Change manipulation in willingness to pay instead of willingness to try. To emphasize the willingness to pay, participants would probably not see the brand change as a free brand product, but more as a new brand product they could buy. Additionally, the independent variables (Brand Identification and Brand Value) and the measured dependent variable (Brand Change) were the same as in Study 1. Method

24 24 Participants and design. Forty students of Tilburg University (22 male, 18 female; M age 20.73, SD = 1.77) voluntarily participated to the combined conditions. Therefore, we conducted a 2 (self condition vs. other condition) within subjects design. Procedure Participants were asked to describe a brand product, especially a soft drink, tea or coffee, which they often drink (self condition) and were asked how much they consume this beverage generally in a week. In this study, we again decided to use brand drinks to be more consistent when testing the results according to the new conditions. In addition, participants were asked to specifically describe this brand product and were asked how much they consume it. Due to these first questions, participants were intensively thinking about their chosen brand product. According to a Brand Identification Scale (α =.34), participants subsequently indicated how much they agreed with the Brand Identification statements, on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much) (based on Kim, Han & Park, 2001). See table 1 for an overview of the selected items of the Brand Identification statements. To distinguish Brand Identification from the concept Brand Value (Brand Value Scale, α =.52), participants were asked to indicate to what extent they value the brand product for themselves (the brand product is a nice brand product, and a good brand product ) or to what extent they could image the brand value for others, on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much). To measure the self-other asymmetry in consumer behavior, participants were asked, due to a Brand Change Scale (α =.79), to what extent they would agree with the Brand Change statements when they had to evaluate their own attitude (self condition) or others attitude (other condition) towards brand switching when a new brand came up with the same

25 25 kind of soft drink, on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much). See table 1 for an overview of the selected items of the Brand Change statements. Then, participants had to imaging a random person at the Tilburg University who also drinks often the same brand beverage they mentioned earlier (other condition). Participants were asked how much they think this person drinks the same brand beverage in a week. Again, participants were asked to fill in the same statements of Brand Identification (α =.62), Brand Value (α =.59), and Brand Change (α =.69), but this time related to the other person instead of themselves. At least, participants were asked to fill in a Self-other Identity Scale (α =.80), which measured how much the person identify themselves with the other person for whom they had filled in the questionnaire, on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much). According to the statements To what extent can you identify yourself with this person?, To what extent do you feel similar to this person?, and To what extent would you make the same choices as the other?, we measured how much participants could identify themselves with the other. Results Brand Identification. A paired sample t test showed significant differences between participants who have to identify themselves with a specific self chosen brand drink (self condition) and participants who have to imagine other s brand identification (other condition). Participants rated higher on the Brand Identification variable in the self condition (M = 3.78, SD =.52) than in the other condition (M = 3.57, SD = 0.55), t(39) = 2.89, p =.006. Brand Value. A paired sample t test of showed that participants rated significant higher brand values in the self condition (M = 4.18, SD =.55), than in the other condition (M = 3.79, SD =.61), t(39) = 4.90, p <.000. We can conclude that participants experienced more brand value to their brand product than they can image the experienced brand value by another person.

26 26 We also tested if there is a difference between the variable Brand Identification and Brand Value for both conditions. A paired sample t test showed that participants for themselves scored significant higher on the Brand Value Scale (M = 4.18, SD =.55) than on the Brand Identification Scale (M = 3.78, SD =.52), t(39) = -5.56, p <.001. Participants scored also significant higher for others on the Brand Value Scale (M = 3.79, SD =.61) than on the Brand Identification Scale (M = 3.57, SD =.55), t(39) = -2.70, p =.010. This concludes that participants indicated more value to brand products than they indicated identification to brand products for themselves and others. Brand Change. A paired sample t test showed no significant differences in Brand Change the self condition (M = 3.14, SD =.71) and the other condition (M = 3.26, SD =.47), t(39) = -1.25, p =.220. In comparison to the other studies, this study showed slightly higher ratings on Brand Change in the other condition than in the self condition. However, this difference was not significant. A linear regression was used to assess the ability of the identification level (Brand Identification) to predict levels of diversity (Brand Change). The model in the self condition, which indicated the extent to which participants were able to change their own brand product, with Brand Change as dependent variable and Brand Identification and Product Value as independent variables yielded no significant results, F (37,2) =.09, p =.915. Therefore, this linear regression could not be used to predict the degree of diversity in the self condition: 0.5% of the variance in diversity in the can be explained by Brand Identification and Brand Value (R 2 = 0.005) (see table 6 for an overview of the beta values). The model in the other condition which indicated the extent to which participants think that other people were able to change their own brand product, with Brand Change as dependent variable and Brand Identification and Brand Value as independent variables yielded also no significant results, F (37,2) =.83, p =.443. This linear regression could also not be used to predict the degree of diversity in the self condition: only 4.3% of the variance in diversity can be explained by

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