Are You Talking to Me? Addressing Consumers in a Globalised World Defended on Friday, 4 December 2015

The first part of the dissertation focusses on the impact of formal and informal address on consumer response. In Chapter 2, we show that brand personality affects consumers' preferences for and responses to forms of address. Across linguistic contexts and marketing situations, informal address elicits more positive responses when associated with warmer brands, whereas formal address elicits more positive responses when used by more competent brands. The second part of the work deals with minority targeting strategies. In today's multicultural societies, members of ethnic minorities represent a growing percentage of both customers and service providers. There are two main approaches to targeting ethnic minorities: messaging consumers when their ethnic identity is most salient, and doing so with spokespeople with the same heritage as the targeted minority. In Chapter 3, we identify generational status as an important boundary condition for these strategies. In Chapter 4, we investigate the impact of heritage congruence between customers and salespersons. We show that a same-heritage minority service provider leads to more positive attitudes towards the recommended product, but more among first- than among second-generation minority consumers. We highlight the implications of our findings for choosing effective ethnic targeting strategies in the advertising, retailing, and personal selling contexts.


Language, biculturalism, globalisation, consumers, bilingualism, culture, identity, address, sales, communication

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