Journal of Brand Management

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 228–237 | Cite as

Expressing herself through brands: A comparative study of women in six Asia-Pacific nations

  • Åsa Wallström
  • Peter Steyn
  • Leyland Pitt
Original Article


Consumers express themselves through the brands they desire, purchase and consume. Self-expression, therefore, can be an important driver of consumer preferences and choices. Despite the importance, few multi-country comparative studies have examined how people use brands to express themselves, although there are indications that the importance of brands for self-expression differs across cultures. This study investigates whether female consumers, on average, in six Asia-Pacific nations differ in the extent to which they express themselves in using their favorite brand of beauty care products. We conducted an email survey, which shows that the importance of these brands as a vehicle of self-expression differs significantly across the six countries, and three clusters could be found. Women in India, China and the Philippines, on average, perceived these brands as more important for self-expression than women in Malaysia, Japan and Australia. Women in Japan and Australia, on average, perceived these brands as less important for self-expression than Malaysian women. We discuss whether economic similarities between the countries can explain these results, which could indicate a high negative correlation between brand expression and wealth. We also consider cultural differences across countries in the form of power distance and uncertainty avoidance as a possible explanation.


self-expression brands cultural differences self-image self-congruity 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Leo Burnett (Asia Pacific), who initiated and funded the study and allowed us access of the data for the study.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Åsa Wallström
    • 1
  • Peter Steyn
  • Leyland Pitt
  1. 1.Division of Industrial Marketinge-Commerce and Logistics, Luleå University of TechnologySweden

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