Skip to main content

Cultural experiential goal pursuit, cultural brand engagement, and culturally authentic experiences: sojourners in America

Abstract

Our research uses an interpretive approach to explore the consumer journeys of sojourners, temporary residents of a new country, with attention to cultural experiential goal pursuit and cultural brand engagement. Depth interviews with students from nine countries studying in America document that home country access to American popular culture impacts cultural experiential goals; the temporary nature of sojourners’ stay engenders instrumental brand use (vs. brand attachment); and cultural brand engagement relies on indexical/iconic brand meanings inextricably tied to the desired cultural experience. Three cultural experiential goals and their brand engagement emerge: the “imagined American” cultural experience is grounded in American myths and stereotypes and iconic brand meanings; the “unique Americana” experience is grounded in Americana symbolism and indexical brand meanings with American symbolism; and the “life like the locals” experience is grounded in observed realities in America and indexical brand meanings. We discuss theoretical and managerial implications related to our findings.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  1. Alden, D. L., Steenkamp, J., & Batra, R. (2006). Consumer attitudes toward marketplace globalization: Structure, antecedents and consequences. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 23(3), 227–239.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Appadurai, A. (1996). Modernity al large: Cultural dimensions of globalization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Arnett, J. J. (2002). The psychology of globalization. American Psychologist, 57(10), 774–783.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Arnould, E. J., & Price, L. L. (2000). Authenticating acts and authoritative performances: Questing for self and community. In S. Ratneshwar, D. G. Mick, & C. Huffman (Eds.), The why of consumption: Contemporary perspectives on consumer motives, goals and desires (pp. 141–163). New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Askegaard, S., Arnould, E. J., & Kjeldgaard, D. (2005). Postassimilationist ethnic consumer research: Qualifications and extensions. Journal of Consumer Research, 32(1), 160–170.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Bardhi, F., & Eckhardt, G. M. (2017). Liquid consumption. Journal of Consumer Research, 44(3), 582–597.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Bardhi, F., Eckhardt, G. M., & Arnould, E. J. (2012). Liquid relationship to possessions. Journal of Consumer Research, 39(3), 510–529.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Bayles, M. (2014). Through a screen darkly: Popular culture, public diplomacy, and America’s image abroad. Yale: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Belk, R. W. (1997). Been there, done that, bought the souvenirs: Of journeys and boundary crossings. In S. Brown and & D. Turley (Eds.), Consumer research: Postcards from the edge (pp. 22–45). New York: Routledge.

  10. Bengtsson, A., Bardhi, F., & Venkatraman, M. (2010). How global brands travel with consumers: An examination of the relationship between brand consistency and meaning across national boundaries. International Marketing Review, 27(5), 519–540.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Berger, J., & Heath, C. (2007). Where consumers diverge from others: Identity signaling and product domains. Journal of Consumer Research, 34(2), 121–134.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Beverland, M. B. (2005). Crafting brand authenticity: The case of luxury wines. Journal of Management Studies, 42(5), 1003–1029.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Bhattacharjee, A., & Mogilner, C. (2014). Happiness from ordinary and extraordinary experiences. Journal of Consumer Research, 41(1), 1–17.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Bradford, T. W., & Sherry Jr., J. F. (2014). Hyperfiliation and cultural citizenship: African American consumer acculturation. Journal of Business Research, 67(4), 418–424.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Brakus, J. J., Schmitt, B. H., & Zarantonello, L. (2009). Brand experience: What is it? How is it measured? Does it affect loyalty? Journal of Marketing, 73(3), 52–68.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Brodie, R. J., Ilic, A., Juric, B., & Hollebeek, L. (2013). Consumer engagement in a virtual brand community: An exploratory analysis. Journal of Business Research, 66(1), 105–114.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Campbell, N. (2011). Producing America: Redefining post-tourism in the global media age. In D. Crouch, R. Jackson, & F. Thompson (Eds.), The media and the tourist imagination (pp. 98–214). London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Chun, H. H., Diehl, K., & MacInnis, D. J. (2017). Savoring an upcoming experience affects ongoing and remembered consumption enjoyment. Journal of Marketing, 81(3), 96–110.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Cohen, E. (1988). Authenticity and commodification in tourism. Annals of Tourism Research, 15, 371–386.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Cohen, S., & Taylor, L. (2003). Escape attempts: The theory and practice of resistance in everyday life. New York: Routledge.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  21. Costa, J. A. (1998). Paradisal discourse: A critical analysis of marketing and consuming Hawaii. Consumption, Markets and Culture, 1(4), 303–346.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Coulter, R. A., Price, L. L., & Feick, L. (2003). Rethinking the origins of involvement and brand commitment: Insights from postsocialist Central Europe. Journal of Consumer Research, 30(2), 151–169.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Crothers, L. (2018). Globalization and American popular culture (4th ed.). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Crouch, D., Jackson, R., & Thompson, F. (2011). Introduction: The media and the tourist imagination. In D. Crouch, R. Jackson, & F. Thompson (Eds.), The media and the tourist imagination (pp. 1–13). London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Cruz, A. G. B., & Buchanan-Oliver, M. (2017). Moving toward settlement: Tourism as acculturation practice. European Journal of Marketing, 4(51), 772–794.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Desforges, L. (1998). Global representations/local identities and youth travel. In T. Skelton & G. Valentines (Eds.), Cool places: Geographies of youth cultures (pp. 175–193). London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Dong, L., & Tian, K. (2009). The use of western brands in asserting Chinese national identity. Journal of Consumer Research, 36(3), 504–523.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Doyle, S., Gendall, P., Meyer, L. H., Hoek, J., Tait, C., McKenzie, L., & Loorparg, A. (2010). An investigation of factors associated with student participation in study abroad. Journal of Studies in International Education, 14(5), 471–490.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Escalas, J. E., & Bettman, J. R. (2003). You are what they eat: The influence of reference groups on consumers’ connections to brands. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 13(3), 339–348.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Firat, A. F., & Venkatesh, A. (1995). Liberatory postmodernism and the reenchantment of consumption. Journal of Consumer Research, 22(3), 239–267.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Fournier, S. (1998). Consumers and their brands: Developing a relationship theory in consumer research. Journal of Consumer Research, 24(4), 343–373.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Furstenberg Jr., F. F. (2010). On a new schedule: Transitions to adulthood and family change. The Future of Children, 20(1), 67–87.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Ger, G., & Belk, R. W. (1996). Cross-cultural differences in materialism. Journal of Economic Psychology, 17(1), 55–77.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self-identity: Self and society in the late modern age. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Gilmore, J. H., & Pine, B. J. (2007). Authenticity: What consumers really want. Cambridge: Harvard Business Press.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Grayson, K., & Martinec, R. (2004). Consumer perceptions of iconicity and indexicality and their influence on assessment of market offerings. Journal of Consumer Research, 31(2), 296–312.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Grayson, K., & Shulman, D. (2000). Indexicality and the verification function of irreplaceable possessions: A semiotic analysis. Journal of Consumer Research, 27(1), 17–30.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Guo, X. (2013). Living in a global world: Influence of consumer global orientation on attitudes toward global brands from developed versus emerging countries. Journal of International Marketing, 21(1), 1–22.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Guzmán, F., & Paswan, A. K. (2009). Cultural brands from emerging markets: Brand image across host and home countries. Journal of International Marketing, 17(3), 71–86.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Hollebeek, L. D. (2011). Exploring customer brand engagement: Definitions and themes. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 19(7), 555–573.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Holt, D. B. (2004). How brands become icons: The principles of cultural branding. Cambridge: Harvard Business School Press.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Hunter, J. D., & Yates, J. (2002). In the vanguard of globalization: The world of American globalizers. In P. L. Berger & S. P. Huntington (Eds.), Many globalizations: Cultural diversity in the contemporary world (pp. 323–357). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  44. Izberk-Bilgin, E. (2014). Infidel brands: Unveiling alternative meanings of global brands at the nexus of globalization, consumer culture, and Islamism. Journal of Consumer Research, 39(4), 663–687.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Keller, K. L. (2003). Brand synthesis: The multidimensionality of brand knowledge. Journal of Consumer Research, 29(4), 595–600.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Kjeldgaard, D., & Askegaard, S. (2006). The glocalization of youth culture: The global youth segment as structures of common difference. Journal of Consumer Research, 33(2), 231–247.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Kjeldgaard, D., Askegaard, S., & Eckhardt, G. M. (2015). The role of cultural capital in creating “glocal” brand relationships. In S. Fournier, M. Breazeale, & J. Avery (Eds.), Strong brands, strong relationships (pp. 48–60). New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Li, M., & Cai, L. A. (2012). The effects of personal values on travel motivation and behavioral intention. Journal of Travel Research, 51(4), 473–487.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic enquiry. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Lindholm, C. (2008). Culture and authenticity. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Luedicke, M. K. (2011). Consumer acculturation theory: (crossing) conceptual boundaries. Consumption Markets & Culture, 14(3), 223–244.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. MacCannell, D. (1976). The tourist: A new theory of the leisure class. New York: Schocken Books.

    Google Scholar 

  53. Mazodier, M., & Merunka, D. (2012). Achieving brand loyalty through sponsorship: The role of fit and self-congruity. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 40(6), 807–820.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. McCracken, G. (1988). The long interview. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  55. Mehta, R., & Belk, R. W. (1991). Artifacts, identity, and transitions: Favorite possessions of Indians and Indian immigrants. Journal of Consumer Research, 17(4), 398–411.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: A sourcebook. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Moffatt, M. (1991). College life: Undergraduate culture and higher education. The Journal of Higher Education, 62(1), 44–61.

    Google Scholar 

  58. Nyaupane, G. P., Paris, C. M., & Teye, V. (2010). Study abroad motivations, destination selection and pre-trip attitude formation. International Journal of Tourism Research, 13(3), 205–217.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Olsen, K. (2002). Authenticity as a concept in tourism research: The social organization of the experience of authenticity. Tourist Studies, 2(2), 159–182.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Open Doors, Executive Summary. (2017). Institute of International Education, Inc. Available at https://www.iie.org/Why-IIE/Announcements/2017-11-13-Open-Doors-2017-Executive-Summary. Accessed 7 Feb 2018.

  61. Oswald, L. R. (1999). Culture swapping: Consumption and the ethnogenesis of middle-class Haitian immigrants. Journal of Consumer Research, 25(4), 303–318.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Peñaloza, L. (1994). Atravesando fronteras/ border crossings: A critical ethnographic exploration of the consumer acculturation of Mexican immigrants. Journal of Consumer Research, 21(1), 32–54.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Ritzer, G. (2004). The globalization of nothing. Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press.

    Google Scholar 

  64. Rose, R. L., & Wood, S. L. (2005). Paradox and the consumption of authenticity through reality television. Journal of Consumer Research, 32(2), 284–296.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Sanchez, C. M., Fornerino, M., & Zhang, M. (2006). Motivations and the intent to study abroad among U.S., French, and Chinese students. Journal of Teaching in International Business, 18(1), 27–52.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  66. Sanders, B. A. (2011). American avatar: The United States in the global imagination. Dullus: Potomac Books.

    Google Scholar 

  67. Snee, H. (2014). A cosmopolitan journey? Difference, distinction, and identity work in gap year travel. London: Ashgate.

    Google Scholar 

  68. Solomon, M. R. (1983). The role of products as social stimuli: A symbolic interactionism perspective. Journal of Consumer Research, 10(3), 319–329.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  69. Spiggle, S. (1994). Analysis and interpretation of qualitative data. Journal of Consumer Research, 21(3), 491–503.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  70. Steenkamp, J.-B., & de Jong, M. (2010). A global investigation into the constellation of consumer attitudes toward local and global products. Journal of Marketing, 74(6), 18–40.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  71. Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  72. Strizhakova, Y., Coulter, R. A., & Price, L. L. (2011). Branding in a global marketplace: The mediating effects of quality and identity. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 28(4), 242–351.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  73. Strizhakova, Y., Coulter, R. A., & Price, L. L. (2012). The young adult cohort in emerging markets: Assessing their glocal cultural identity in a global marketplace. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 29(1), 43–54.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  74. Thompson, C. J., & Tambyah, S. K. (1999). Trying to be cosmopolitan. Journal of Consumer Research, 26(3), 214–241.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  75. Üstüner, T., & Holt, D. B. (2007). Dominated consumer acculturation: The social construction of poor migrant women’s consumer identity projects in a Turkish squatter. Journal of Consumer Research, 34(1), 41–56.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  76. Üstüner, T., & Thompson, C. J. (2013). How marketplace performances produce interdependent status games and contested forms of symbolic capital. Journal of Consumer Research, 38, S147–S166.

    Google Scholar 

  77. Van Boven, L., & Gilovich, T. (2003). To do or to have? That is the question. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(6), 1193–1202.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  78. Van Doorn, J., Lemon, K. N., Mittal, V., Nass, S., Pick, D., Pirner, P., & Verhoef, P. C. (2010). Customer engagement behavior: Theoretical foundations and research directions. Journal of Services Research, 13(3), 253–266.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  79. Wallendorf, M., & Reilly, M. D. (1983). Ethnic migration, assimilation, and consumption. Journal of Consumer Research, 10, 292–302.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  80. Wang, N. (1999). Rethinking authenticity in tourism experience. Annals of Tourism Research, 26(2), 349–370.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  81. Ward, C., Bochner, S., & Furnham, A. (2001). The psychology of culture shock. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  82. Warde, A. (2005). Consumption and theories of practice. Journal of Consumer Culture, 5(2), 131–153.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  83. Weinberger, M. F., Zavisca, J. R., & Silva, J. M. (2017). Consuming for an imagined future: Middle-class consumer lifestyle and exploratory experiences in the transition to adulthood. Journal of Consumer Research, 44(2), 332–360.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  84. Xia, R. (2016). Number of international students in U.S. colleges at an all-time high, and California is their top destination. Los Angeles Times (Online), available at http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-study-abroad-students-20161124-story.html. Accessed 2 June 2017.

Download references

Acknowledgments

The authors thank Jill Avery, Kelly Herd, William T. Ross Jr., Susan Spiggle, and Yuliya Strizhakova for helpful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Anna J. Vredeveld.

Additional information

Rebecca Hamilton served as Special Issue Guest Editor for this article.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Vredeveld, A.J., Coulter, R.A. Cultural experiential goal pursuit, cultural brand engagement, and culturally authentic experiences: sojourners in America. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. 47, 274–290 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-018-0620-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • Consumer journeys
  • Cultural experiential goals
  • Brand engagement
  • Experiential consumption
  • Cultural authenticity
  • Sojourners
  • American popular culture
  • Emerging adulthood