The relevance of personal and experiential sources of influence on brand equity: Family life-cycle matching as determinant of intergenerational influences
In the 21st century market, characterized by an emphasis on commercial and public sources of information, like globalized media and internet, one could question the relevance of experiential and personal influences (Kotler, 2004) on brand equity. In order to contribute to this answer, this study builds on the conclusions of two previous papers: Moore Wilkie & Lutz' (2002), who found strong intergenerational influences (IG) on the transfer of brand equity from mothers to daughters at the category and brand equity levels; and Childers and Rao's (1992), who studied IG from a cross-cultural perspective in the US and Thailand. This research was conducted in Mexico, a collectivistic /high power distance /high uncertainty avoidance society (Hofstede, 2001), considering it as a symbol of a group of 22 countries sharing these cultural dimensions. By researching IG effects between mothers and their sons/daughters in a time span of approximately 14 years, this study diverges from previous literature by demonstrating that match in family life-cycle (between mothers and married daughters), may be a stronger determinant of IG prevalence than the amount of elapsed time living separately. Diverging from Childers and Rao's conclusions for Thailand, the results indicate that even in collectivistic /high power distance/high uncertainty avoidance societies, when young adults live away from home, IG is lower for publicly than for privately used products, suggesting the presence of peers' influence. Finally, no significant differences were found between mothers' real brand preferences and sons/ daughters' memory of their mothers' brand preferences; a result that may be associated with the cultural characteristics of the Mexicans. This study revealed that personal and experiential sources in the 21st century, particularly IG continue to be relevant in the creation of brand equity.