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Goldsmiths - University of London

‘We’ are more likely to endorse than ‘I’: the effects of self-construal and brand symbolism on consumers’ online brand endorsements

Bernritter, Stefan F.; Loermans, Annemijn C.; Verlegh, Peeter W.J. and Smit, Edith G.. 2017. ‘We’ are more likely to endorse than ‘I’: the effects of self-construal and brand symbolism on consumers’ online brand endorsements. International Journal of Advertising, 36(1), pp. 107-120. ISSN 0265-0487 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Recent research increasingly highlights that consumers engage in online brand endorsements (e.g. Facebook likes) to signal their identity, but has failed to explain why different consumers use this type of signaling to differing degrees. This paper addresses this gap by looking at a culturally constructed individual difference variable, namely self-construal. Self-construal, which can be independent or interdependent, refers to the extent that people define themselves in terms of the relations they have with others. In four studies, this research shows that consumers’ self-construal is related to their intention to endorse brands online. In particular, high levels of interdependent self-construal positively affect consumers’ intention to endorse brands online (Studies 1A & 1B). This effect is mediated by an increased perception of brands’ symbolic value (Study 2). Moreover, this positivity bias toward symbolic brand cues is conditional upon consumers’ brand attitude (Study 3). These findings demonstrate that consumers’ identity plays a central role in their brand perception and brand-related social media use.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


social media, self-construal, online brand endorsements, consumer identity, consumer behavior

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies


27 April 2016Accepted
20 May 2016Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

19 Sep 2018 09:58

Last Modified:

19 Sep 2018 09:58

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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