Cultural competency can work like branding too, if the indication of the social attribution theory has anything to go by. Though the concept of brand has emerged from the sole idea of making more profit, it has extended the connotation of profit to a great extent, where it involves all of the three dimensions of the world it approaches – the producer, the consumer and the society and add more value to any product by providing it an identifiable character and meaning (McCracken, 1993).
Consequently, the consumers utilize brands as the clues towards possible product performance, thereby narrowing the gap of research among competing products (de Chernatony and McDonald, 1992). While the above mechanism fetches new consumers for the companies, the brand spells faith for the old customers. Cultural competency too creates the same impact, where the customers feel comfortable with service and in return provides more business. Brands have deep association with consumer behavior.
This fact was also corroborated by a plethora of research conducted by innumerable researchers, since it gained momentum in the early 1950s (Gardner and Levy, 1955). With the increase of products the consumers got more options to exercise, and that brought forth the necessity of researching consumer behavior – that how the consumer brand knowledge influences the consumer behavior (Laroche and Brisoux, 1989; Dodds et al. , 1991; Keller, 1993; Cobb-Walgren et al. , 1995).
The researches immediately showed that humans respond to various stimuli while opting to buy something, and never always stop to the dry matter of fact details that spell its basic quality. This tendency of humans is deeply routed in their basic foundations, which engraves an invisible wish list of elements as the providers of happiness and accordingly, the consumers too keep searching for them in the products they use. Thus the research on the different stimuli of consumers goes on, because stimuli are the products of the social situations that are dynamic in nature.
Therefore, branding is grossly influenced by the social identification theory, which helps the companies to align the appeal of their products with one or more desires of the consumers, or to say, strike the right chord of the consumers’ hearts. Social Identity, according to Jenkins (2004) is an ongoing process of interaction between the individual and the two groups like “ingroup” and “outgroup, ” where the first group stands as the favored group and the second group consists of several other groups at various levels of the society.
Accordingly, social identity theory evolved out of group membership and behavior (Hogg et al. , 1995). This theory focuses on understanding how individuals assess themselves and others under the social environment, besides deriving some slices of their identities from their experiences as the members of groups (Hogg and Terry, 2000). Cultural competency too can generate the same kind of ingroup feelings among the customers and reap the benefits out of it.
According to Mary Brown, the creative director of Marketing Angel, brand aims to create an emotional bond with the customers (McCall, 2003). David Ogilvy, the famous copywriter, ad agency founder and creator of many a brand opines that “brand is an intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging, price, its history, reputation, and the way it’s advertised” (Brand, 2008).
Cross-cultural competency too performs the same role in hospitality sector, albeit in a different way where it creates the emotional bond with the clients by humane qualities.
Barney, J. B. (1991) Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management. 17, 99-120. Bateman, B. E. (2002) Promoting Openness toward Culture Learning: Ethnographic Interviews for Students of Spanish. The Modern Language Journal, 86 (3), 318- 331. http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/brand