Is Two Really Better than One? The Effects of Dual Language Labelling on Consumer Perceptions and Purchase Intention: An Abstract
In quite a number of countries, companies do not only use the local language in order to describe their products but additionally use at least one second language (Krishna & Ahluwalia, 2008). Not in all cases, companies make a well-researched decision with regard to the choice of that second language but follow a strategy of cost reduction and standardization. Our research was conducted in the context of a food company that started to operate internationally and describes its food products in two languages to save costs. However, the company is without knowledge about the consequences of its dual language labelling approach on consumers’ perceptions of the product in the home market.
As to our best knowledge, marketing studies on choice of language were often conducted within the scope of bilingualism and advertising (Kubat & Swaminathan, 2015) or with regard to country-of-origin effects (Berry et al., 2015). Our study aims to clarify the impact of dual language labelling on product perceptions (i.e. perceived quality, evaluation of information) and purchase intention without contrasting specific cultures but focusing on monolinguals, who are characterized by not communicating in two languages regularly. We therefore extend research by exploring the effects of two different dual language labelling strategies by applying a new approach of looking at language labelling effects as we manipulate the comprehensibility of the language.
We conducted a between-subjects online experiment with one manipulated factor: dual language labelling (control group including German language only vs. dual language labelling including German and English (comprehensible second language) vs. dual language labelling including German and Spanish (non-comprehensible second language)). A total of 88 participants (Mage = 25.8, 55.7% female) completed the study. We show interesting insights on how these language labelling strategies affect consumers’ perceptions in negative ways. The negative effect of a dual language labelling strategy on consumers’ purchase intention can be explained via reduced information evaluation and perceived quality. However, this only holds true in the condition in which a non-comprehensible language was used as all the effects were significant. With regard to the second dual language labelling strategy (English as comprehensible language), no significant effects were detected. Interestingly enough, the direction of all presumed and postulated effects was negative. Companies should be aware of possible negative effects of dual language labelling. Whereas usage of English does not have a significant negative effect on purchase intention, usage of Spanish significantly diminishes purchase intention.