Skip to main content

The Japan brand personality in China: is it all negative among consumers?

Abstract

This study measured the Japan brand personality in China. The main purposes are first, to identify the Nation Brand Personality (NBP) dimensions of Japan as seen by Chinese consumers; second, to determine the effect of NBP upon overall attitude and behavioral intentions; third, to test the predictive effects of the overall attitude and demographic variables upon behavioral intentions; and fourth, to cluster Chinese consumers and determine who among them can be commercially targeted by Japanese entities. The study was conducted in Shanghai, China, via a paper survey in the Chinese language. A convenience sample of Chinese respondents was used. The nation brand personality, overall attitude, and the behavioral intentions scales were used. Path analysis is employed to test the hypotheses. Finally, cluster analysis is used to determine the Chinese citizens segments in terms of their views of Japan as a brand. Japan brand personality has two positive factors—competence and sincerity—and one negative factor—assertiveness. As expected, the positive (negative) factors positively (negatively) influence attitude and behavioral intentions. Age is a negative predictor of behavioral intentions. Besides, age and gender moderate the relationship between NBP and behavioral intentions. More specifically, the relationship between NBP and intentions to behave is stronger for the younger individuals and women. The Chinese sample was classified into four clusters: admirers, sympathizers, skeptics, and rivals. Nation brand personality is culture specific, and therefore this paper contributes by identifying the specific brand personality of Japan among Chinese citizens, and then uses such a personality to predict both overall attitude and intentions to behave. The identification of the factors and facets of Japan brand personality in China contributes in understanding why Chinese citizens’ overall attitude towards Japan is unfavorable. This paper also focuses on how NBP explains attitude formation and intentions to behave.

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

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  • Aaker, J. 1997. Dimensions of brand personality. Journal of Marketing Research 34 (3): 347–356.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Aaker, J.L., V. Benet-Martínez, and J. Garolera. 2001. Consumption symbols as carriers of culture: A study of Japanese and Spanish Brand Personality constructs. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 81 (3): 492–508.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Aaker, J., and S. Fournier. 1995. A brand as a character, a partner and a person: Three perspectives on the question of brand personality. Advances in Consumer Research 22 (1): 391–395.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ajzen, I. 1991. The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 50 (2): 179–211.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Anholt, S. 2002. Foreword. Journal of Brand Management 9 (4/5): 229–239.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bagozzi, R.P., and Y. Yi. 1988. On the evaluation of structural equation models. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 16 (1): 74–94.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • BBC. 2014. China and Japan: Seven decades of bitterness. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-25411700. Accessed 20 Dec 2016.

  • Bond, R., and P.B. Smith. 1996. Culture and conformity: A meta-analysis of studies using Asch’s (1952a, 1956) line judgement task. Psychological Bulletin 119 (1): 111–137.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brahnam, S.D., T.M. Margavio, M.A. Hignite, T.B. Barrier, and J.M. Chin. 2005. A gender-based categorization for conflict resolution. Journal of Management Development 24 (3): 197–208.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Byrne, B.M. 2010. Structural equation modeling with AMOS: Basic concepts, applications and programming, 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cateora, P.R., N. Papadopoulos, M.C. Gilly, and J.L. Graham. 2011. International marketing, 3rd ed. Whitby: McGraw-Hill Ryerson.

    Google Scholar 

  • Churchill, G.A. 1979. A paradigm for developing better measures of marketing constructs. Journal of Marketing Research 16 (1): 64–73.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • CNN. 2017. Japan: China ‘escalating’ tensions over disputed islands. https://www.cnn.com/2017/05/19/asia/japan-china-disputed-islands-jets-drone/index.html. Accessed 16 Feb 2018.

  • d’Astous, A., and L. Boujbel. 2007. Positioning countries on personality dimensions: Scale development and implications for country marketing. Journal of Business Research 60 (3): 231–239.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • d’Astous, A., and D. Li. 2009. Perceptions of countries based on personality traits: A study in China. Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics 4 (21): 475–488.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Davies, G., J. Rojas-Méndez, S. Whelan, M. Mete, and T. Loo. 2018. Brand personality: Theory and dimensionality. Journal of Product and Brand Management 27 (2): 115–127.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • De Mooij, M. 2011. Consumer behavior and culture. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ekinci, Y., and S. Hosany. 2006. Destination personality: An application of brand personality to tourism destinations. Journal of Travel Research 45 (2): 127–139.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Everitt, B.S., S. Landau, M. Leese, and D. Stahl. 2011. Cluster analysis, 5th ed. Chichester: Wiley.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Fishbein, M., and I. Ajzen. 1975. Belief, attitude, intention, and behavior: An introduction to theory and research. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fiske, S.T., A.J.C. Cuddy, and P. Glick. 2007. Universal dimensions of social cognition: Warmth and competence. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11 (2): 77–83.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fiske, S.T., A.J.C. Cuddy, P. Glick, and J. Xu. 2002. A model of (often mixed) stereotype content: Competence and warmth respectively follow from perceived status and competition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 82 (6): 878–902.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Forristal, L., and X. Lehto. 2009. Place branding with native species: Personality as a criterion. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 5 (3): 213–225.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goldman, Sachs. 2015. The Asian Consumer—The Chinese Tourist Boom. http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/macroeconomic-insights-folder/chinese-tourist-boom/report.pdf. Accessed 20 Dec 2016.

  • Haigood, T. 1999. The brand personality effect: An empirical investigation. In Proceedings of the American Marketing Association Winter Educators’ Conference, Chicago, 1999, pp. 149–150.

  • Hankinson, G. 2003. Relational network brands: Towards a conceptual model of place brands. Journal of Vacation Marketing 10 (2): 109–121.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hegner, S.M., M. Fetscherin, and M. van Delzen. 2017. Determinants and outcomes of brand hate. Journal of Product and Brand Management 26 (1): 13–25.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hofstede, G. 2016. Country comparison. https://geert-hofstede.com/countries.html. Accessed 20 Dec 2016.

  • Hudson, S., and B. Ritchie. 2009. Understanding and meeting the challenges of consumer/tourist experience research. International Journal of Tourism Research 11 (2): 111–126.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ishii, K., and S. Watanabe. 2015. Nation brand personality and product evaluation among Japanese people: Implications for nation branding. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 11 (1): 51–64.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kaplan, M.D., O. Yurt, B. Guneri, and K. Kurtulus. 2010. Branding places: Applying brand personality concept to cities. European Journal of Marketing 44 (9/10): 1286–1304.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kilmann. 2018. An overview of the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI). http://www.kilmanndiagnostics.com/overview-thomas-kilmann-conflict-mode-instrument-tki. Accessed 17 Feb 2018.

  • Kim, S., and X. Lehto. 2013. Projected and perceived destination brand personalities: The case of South Korea. Journal of Travel Research 52 (1): 117–130.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Klein, J., R. Ettenson, and M. Morris. 1998. The animosity model of foreign product purchase: An empirical test in the People’s Republic of China. Journal of Marketing 62 (1): 89–101.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kline, R. 1998. Principles and practice of structural equation modeling. New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kotler, P., and D. Gertner. 2002. Country as brand, product, and beyond: A place marketing and brand management perspective. Journal of Brand Management 9 (4): 249–261.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Laroche, M., N. Papadopoulos, L.A. Heslop, and M. Mourali. 2005. The influence of country image structure on consumer evaluations of foreign products. International Marketing Review 22 (1): 96–115.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Levine, R. 1997. A geography of time. New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Malhotra, N.K. 1988. Self-concept and product choice: An integrated perspective. Journal of Economic Psychology 9 (1): 1–28.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Martin, I.M., and S. Eroglu. 1993. Measuring a multi-dimensional construct: Country image. Journal of Business Research 28 (3): 191–210.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Merriam-Webster. 2018. Conflict. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conflict. Accessed Mar 24, 2018.

  • Morgan, N., and A. Pritchard. 2005. (PR)omoting place: The role of PR in building New Zealand’s destination brand relationships. Journal of Hospitality and Leisure Marketing 12 (1): 157–176.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Morgan, N., A. Pritchard, and R. Piggott. 2003. Destination branding and the role of the stakeholders: The case of New Zealand. Journal of Vacation Marketing 9 (3): 285–299.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Murphy, L., G. Moscardo, and P. Benckendorff. 2007. Using brand personality to differentiate regional tourism destinations. Journal of Travel Research 46 (1): 5–14.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Norusis, M.J. 1985. SPSS-X: Advanced statistics guide. New York: McGraw Hill.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nuttavuthisit, K. 2007. Branding Thailand: Correcting the negative image of sex tourism. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 3 (1): 21–30.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • O’Shaughnessy, J., and N. O’Shaughnessy. 2000. Treating the nation as a brand: Some neglected issues. Journal of Macromarketing 20 (1): 56–64.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Papadopoulos, N., L. Hamzaoui-Essoussi, and A. El Banna. 2016. Nation branding for foreign direct investment: An integrative review and directions for research and strategy. Journal of Product and Brand Management 25 (7): 615–628.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rojas-Méndez, J.I. 2013. The nation brand molecule. Journal of Product and Brand Management 22 (7): 462–472.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rojas-Méndez, J.I., S. Murphy, and N. Papadopoulos. 2013a. The U.S. brand personality: A Sino perspective. Journal of Business Research 66: 1028–1034.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rojas-Méndez, J.I., and N. Papadopoulos. 2012. Argentine Consumers’ perceptions of the US brand perosnality. Latin American Business Review 13 (4): 329–345.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rojas-Méndez, J.I., N. Papadopoulos, and M. Alwan. 2015. Testing self-congruity theory in the context of nation brand personality. Journal of Product and Brand Management 24 (1): 18–27.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rojas-Méndez, J.I., N. Papadopoulos, and S.A. Murphy. 2013b. Measuring and positioning nation brands: A comparative brand personality approach. Corporate Reputation Review 16 (1): 48–65.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Roth, K.P., and A. Diamantopoulos. 2008. The predictive validity of alternative country personality measures: an empirical investigation. In Proceedings of the 37th conference of the European Marketing Academy in Brighton, UK, 2008.

  • Sheth, J.N., B. Mittal, and B.I. Newman. 1999. Customer behaviour: Consumer behavior and beyond. Orlando: Dryden Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sirgy, M.J. 1982. Self-concept in consumer behavior: A critical review. Journal of Consumer Research 9 (3): 287–300.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Song, Y.A., and Y. Sung. 2013. Antecedents of nation brand personality. Corporate Reputation Review 16 (1): 80–94.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • The Telegraph. 2014. Why do Japan and China have such a frosty relationship? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/11221248/Why-do-Japan-and-China-have-such-a-frosty-relationship.html. Accessed 28 Jan 2018.

  • Time. 2013. China and Japan may not like each other, but they need each other. http://world.time.com/2013/12/01/china-and-japan-may-not-like-each-other-but-they-need-each-other/. Accessed 20 Dec 2016.

  • Toussaint, L., and J.R. Webb. 2005. Gender differences in the relationship between empathy and forgiveness. The Journal of Social Psychology 145 (6): 673–685.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Urdde, M. 1999. Brand orientation: A mindset for building brands into strategic resources. Journal of Marketing Management 15 (1): 117–133.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Usakli, A., and S. Baloglu. 2011. Brand personality of tourist destinations: An application of self-congruity theory. Tourism Management 32 (1): 114–127.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Van Ham, P. 2001. The rise of the brand state: The postmodern politics of image and reputation. Foreign Affairs 8 (5): 2–6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Worldbank. 2018. Gross Domestic Product 2016. http://databank.worldbank.org/data/download/GDP.pdf. Accessed 17 Jan 2018.

  • Yousaf, S. 2017. Quantification of country images as stereotypes and their role in developing a nation brand: The case of Pakistan. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 13 (1): 81–95.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to José I. Rojas-Méndez.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Rojas-Méndez, J.I., Kannan, D. & Ruci, L. The Japan brand personality in China: is it all negative among consumers?. Place Brand Public Dipl 15, 109–123 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41254-019-00118-6

Download citation

  • Revised:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41254-019-00118-6

Keywords

  • Nation (country) brand personality
  • Personality traits
  • Cluster analysis
  • Attitude
  • Behavioral intentions