2015 S. Tamer Cavusgil Award
Drivers of Local Relative to Global Brand Purchases: A Contingency Approach
Yuliya Strizhakova and Robin A. Coulter
Journal of International Marketing: March 2015, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 1-2
What motivated you to research this particular area?
Prior research has focused primarily on understanding consumer attitudes and relationships with global brands; yet, local brands have seen unprecedented growth in recent years, particularly in emerging markets. Our goal was to understand what drives consumer purchases of local relative to global brands. Additionally, research on branding in general but on local branding in particular in emerging markets is sparse, so our goal was to contribute to that stream of research.
Describe any challenges related to research and writing of your article?
We focused on contributing to understanding global relative to local brands in emerging and developed markets using both consumer and country-level data. First, we collected consumer data in seven countries and three different languages, which involved translating and back-translating the questionnaires; we further needed to ensure that all measures had sufficient invariance, and to control for common method biases. Second, we used Euromonitor GMID database market-level data to control for marketplace differences in local brand market share, sales volume and per capita GDP; this involved extensive coding of brand market share data for each country. Third, we selected product categories that had both local and global brands in each of the seven countries of interest; this was challenging because of cross-cultural differences in branding and product category involvement. Fourth, we used an open-ended recall-based measure of brand purchases across seven countries; this required extensive research and translations to ensure consistent coding efforts. Finally, because of the complexity of our data, across brands and product categories, and emerging and developed markets with an eye to both consumer and market forces, the analyses were complicated. The JIM editor and reviewer team were very instructive to help us tell a compelling story about consumer choices of local relative to global brands.
How might marketing managers apply your findings in the field?
There is an implied belief that local brands are purchased only because of lower prices or because of some patriotic appeal. Hopefully, marketing managers can understand from our research that the identity connection and identity meanings that local brands project are the strongest predictor of local relative to global brand purchases. These identity meanings are not the same as “national” identity meanings and can encompass much more that nationalism. Moreover, consumer ethnocentrism does not predict local brand purchases in more developed markets and only increases purchases of local brands in less symbolic product categories in emerging markets. Hence, local brand managers should strive to develop a range of identity connections and meanings beyond “buy local” appeals. Local brand managers in more symbolic products categories (e.g., clothing) should recognize that globally-oriented consumers are likely to opt for global brands, particularly in emerging markets; hence, they should strive to link their local brands to global discourses.
Were there any interesting questions stemming from your article that you hope will be explored in future research?
We are currently examining cause-related pro-environmental campaigns as one way of building an identity connection with consumers and evaluating how these campaigns work in developed and emerging markets in relation to both global and local brands. Future research can further examine other identity-based meanings and how they impact effectiveness of local brands in different markets.
Questions for the Classroom
What motivates consumers to purchase local relative to global brands?
What differences exist in consumer purchases of local relative to global brands in emerging versus developed markets?
What differences exist in consumer purchases of local relative to global brands in more versus less symbolic product categories?
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