ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (6): 1216-1229.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.01216

• Conceptual Framework • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The mechanism and influences of multilingual packaging strategy for tourism product: From the perspective of selective accessibility model

LI Xi1, LI Tongmao1(), HU Jihao2   

  1. 1College of Management, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518052, China
    2CUHK Business School, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong 999077, China
  • Received:2021-10-10 Online:2022-06-15 Published:2022-04-26
  • Contact: LI Tongmao


As a key marketing tool, product packaging language can convey information to consumers, and it is even essential for multinational corporations to establish and promote the brand image of their products overseas. Based on selective accessibility model, this study aims to identify the effects of corporate multilingual packaging strategies towards tourism merchandise. To be specific, it explores how consumers utilize multilingual packaging to determine whether tourism products specific to a country or a culture (contrast effect), or a broader international market (assimilation effect). It also examines the underlying mechanism and influencing factors of multilingual packaging strategies on consumers’ purchasing decision towards tourism merchandise.
First, this study aims to explore the formation mechanism of assimilation/contrast effects of multilingual packaging strategy. Under the context of international tourism marketing, the packaging languages of tourism merchandise are segmented into host country language, major market language, international language, and specific context language. Based on the core principle of selective accessibility model, this study proposes that consumers make judgments of multilingual similarity based on host country language, experience similarity test or dissimilarity test, and induce assimilation effect or contrast effect. The above process is moderated by the consumers' objective knowledge structure (language familiarity, brand familiarity) and subjective thinking structure (motivation type, thinking styles). when the language familiarity is low, the consumers will have a higher tendency to rely on the overall similarity judgment to flow into the psychological testing process and then strengthen the possibility of assimilation effect and weaken the possibility of contrast effect. If the brand familiarity is higher, it is easier for consumers to extract the brand association information in memory and avoid the acquisition of linguistic cues, and thus weaken the assimilation/contrast effect. Accurate motivation drives consumers into similarity test while defensive motivation encourages them to initiate the dissimilarity test. Compared with holistically-minded consumers, analytical consumers tend to detect the language differences and intrigue the mental processes of the dissimilarity test.
Second, this study explores the influences of the assimilation/contrast effect on consumers’ purchase responses. Considering that the consumers make purchase decision of the tourism merchandise based on the judgment of attribute preference, this study divides multilingual packaging strategy into comparison strategy (host country strategy, large-market strategy) and assimilation strategy and identifies the influences of multilingual packaging strategy on competence perception (authenticity, foreignness) and warmth perception (affinity, connection) of tourism merchandise. It proposes that the stronger the cognitive legitimacy of the language strategy that can reflect the relationship between tourism merchandise and tourism destinations, the better it can improve the authenticity and foreign perception of tourism merchandise. And the comparison strategy that highlights the target market can induce higher attachment towards tourism merchandise. In addition, it also discusses the moderating role of language identity, and proposes that the higher the degree of the language identity of consumers, the higher the degree of emotional attachment as well as the higher the affinity and connection is. It is proposed that when consumers purchase tourism merchandise for their symbolic value, they have a higher tendency for the attributes of authenticity and foreignness, while when they buy the merchandise for their utilitarian value, they have a higher tendency for the attributes of affinity and connection.

Key words: multilingual packaging strategy, tourism product, selective accessibility model, assimilation effect, contrast effect

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