Self congruity versus situation congruity
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Despite the importance of understanding of the interactions among self-concept, brand personality, and situational cues in consumer psychology and the persuasion process, relatively little work has examined how persuasive appeals can use these interactions to enhance persuasion. The current research tests two theoretical conceptualizations of the self: stable self-concept and malleable self-concept to shed further light on the role of brand personalities, consumers’ self-concepts, and situational cues on the brand persuasion process. Further, these effects are tested in a set of theory-based interactions that rely on cultural difference and the self-monitoring individual difference variable. Two experimental studies are conducted in each of the two cultures: the United States and Korea. The results of two experiments demonstrate that brands with distinct personality traits that are congruent with consumers’ self-concepts are evaluated more positively than brands with incongruent personality traits. Also, brands were evaluated more positively when situational cues were congruent with the personality traits of the brands than when incongruent situational cues were presented. That is, across the two experiments, both self and situation congruity effects were strongly supported across brand personality dimensions and cultures. However, the results of the current research provide no evidence for the moderating role of self-monitoring in situation congruity effects. Regardless of individuals’ levels of self-monitoring, subjects’ attitudes toward brands were determined by situational cues. Together, the results of Experiments 1 and 2 provide empirical support for the premise that the self-expressive use of commercial brands is driven by both the stable and malleable (dynamic) self-concepts. The theoretical and practical contributions and implications are presented. Finally, limitations and suggestions are offered regarding future research directions.