Cultural equity: knowledge and outcomes aspects

Carlos J. Torelli, Hyewon Oh, Jennifer L. Stoner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to propose cultural equity as a construct to better understand the characteristics that define a culturally symbolic brand and the downstream consequences for consumer behavior and nation branding in the era of globalization. Design/methodology/approach: This paper is an empirical investigation of the knowledge and outcome aspects of cultural equity with a total of 1,771 consumers located in three different countries/continents, 77 different brands as stimuli, and using a variety of measures, surveys, lab experiments, procedures and consumer contexts. Findings: Cultural equity is the facet of brand equity attributed to the brand's cultural symbolism or the favorable responses by consumers to the cultural symbolism of a brand. A brand has cultural equity if it has a distinctive cultural symbolism in consumers' minds (brand knowledge aspect of cultural equity: association with the central concept that defines the culture, embodiment of culturally relevant values and embeddedness in a cultural knowledge network), and such symbolism elicits a favorable consumer response to the marketing of the brand (outcome aspect of cultural equity: favorable evaluations and strong self-brand connections). Practical implications: This paper offers a framework that allows marketers to develop cultural positioning strategies in hyper-competitive and globalized markets and identify ways for building and protecting their brands' cultural equity. Originality/value: This paper advances our understanding of brands as cultural symbols by introducing cultural equity and integrates prior research on brand equity, cross-cultural differences in consumer behavior, country-of-origin effects and nation branding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-123
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Marketing Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 12 2021


  • Brand equity
  • Country of origin
  • Culture
  • Globalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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