Building Brands for the Emerging Bicultural Market: The Appeal of Paradox Brands

Maria A Rodas, Deborah Roedder John, Carlos J Torelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bicultural consumers now represent a third of the US population and are the fastest growing demographic group in the United States. This shift in consumer markets presents a challenge for marketers as they try to design brand strategies to serve this important group. In this article, the authors show that certain types of brands, specifically paradox brands that incorporate contradictory brand meanings, are particularly appealing to bicultural consumers. Results from seven studies reveal that bicultural consumers evaluate paradox brands more favorably and choose paradox brands more than traditional brands without contradictions. Furthermore, bicultural consumers exhibit more favorable evaluations and greater choice of paradox brands than do monocultural consumers. These cultural differences are attributable to greater cognitive flexibility found among biculturals, particularly those who adopt an acculturation strategy of integrating their different cultural identities. Greater cognitive flexibility, in turn, prompts stronger engagement with a paradox brand, which contributes to more favorable brand evaluations and choice. Contributions of this research for understanding bicultural consumers, marketing to bicultural consumers, and directions for future research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberucab037
Pages (from-to)633-650
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021


  • brands
  • engagement
  • cognitive flexibility
  • biculturalism
  • brand management


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