Brands and Consumers in Emerging Markets


Brand Management and Consumer Experience: An Emerging Market Perspective, Special issue of Intl Mar Rev, Editors Cheng Lu Wang, Jiaxun He and Bradley R. Barnes; Deadline 31 Jul 2014

Brand Management and Consumer Experience: An Emerging Market Perspective

Special issue call for papers from International Marketing Review

Guest editors

Cheng Lu Wang, University of New Haven, USA

Jiaxun He, East China Normal University, China

Bradley R. Barnes, Sheffield University Management School, UK

Call for papers

The transition of emerging market economies is having a major impact on marketing practitioners in terms of bringing about various opportunities and challenges. First, with a huge population and a growing number of middle class consumers that have high purchasing power, emerging markets are becoming ever more attractive as a prime target for multinational companies. For example, it has been estimated that by 2035, the gross domestic product from emerging markets will surpass that of advanced markets (Wilson and Purushothaman 2003).

Second, as many western consumer markets have matured and there has been little or no growth, global brand managers are frequently turning their attention to fast-growing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. How such companies enter and compete with local players in emerging markets represents a key challenge. Third, companies in emerging markets themselves are striving to become global. While brand building among emerging market companies is still at an infancy stage, the challenge is whether such companies with their own brands can develop in a similar successful way as Japanese brands did half a century ago.

Sheth (2011) suggests that as emerging markets evolve, marketers need to grapple with their unique characteristics and challenge existing perspectives – as these were mainly developed in the context of traditional industrialized markets. Furthermore, he identified five key characteristics of emerging markets i.e. their a) market heterogeneity, b) sociopolitical governance, c) chronic shortage of resources, d) unbranded competition and e) inadequate infrastructure. Due to such unique characteristics associated with emerging markets, there is a need to obtain fresh insights to help further our understanding of brand management and consumption in such markets (Burgess and Steenkamp, 2006).

The aim of this special issue is to address these very concerns and advance knowledge of brand management in emerging markets, particularly with a focus on consumer experience or consumer psychology surrounding brands (Schmitt, 2012). Articles that integrate consumer theories to address the following topics (but not limited to these) are particularly welcome:

  1. Global brands competing in emerging markets
    • To what extent globalization influences brand recognition and brand consumption among consumers in emerging and developed markets? How consumer use of brand signals such as brand image and self-identity may differ in emerging markets compared with developed countries?
    • How symbolic meanings associated with global brands can be changed? Do global brand managers consider local cultural values when entering emerging markets? How brand symbolism influences consumption patterns, such as conspicuous consumption of luxury brands? What factors distinguish consumer use of authentic vs. counterfeit brands?
    • When a number of leading global brands have for decades been operational in many emerging markets, have consumer perceptions and attitudes toward such brands changed over these years? If so, how have these changes happened and what theories can best explain the process? How can research in this area contribute to theoretical development in terms of brand management over time?
    • With a fast growing middle class and other wealthy consumer segments, emerging markets have become an attractive target market for global luxury brands. Despite this, several highly admirable global brands have lost their ‘high-end’ status among such consumer segments. So how have these changes associated with brand image occurred and to what extent does it influence the competitiveness of such global brands relative to local brands? How can marketers of such global brands respond consumer taste changes and re-position their brands to appeal to more sophisticated and demanding consumers within the context of emerging markets?
    • How does the new generation of consumer i.e. born after 1990, who has grown up in the digital environment evaluate and compare brands from advanced industrialized countries with those from emerging countries? To what extent does the Internet and particularly social media affect brand building and brand management among such younger generation consumers from emerging markets? How global brands adopt local social media networks for penetrating emerging markets when global social media tools may not available?
  2. Emerging market brands competing locally and globally
    • – What factors and elements of emerging market brands are more or less likely to be accepted by consumers in developed countries? Can national identity and cultural heritage help emerging market brands to develop unique positions in the global marketplace? What are the theoretical implications for brand positioning and in developing global, local or glocal strategies?
    • Do national identity, cultural heritage and consumer ethnocentrism help emerging market brands to compete in local markets? What other direct, moderating or mediating variables can influence the competitiveness of these brands in local and global markets?
    • Companies from emerging markets have been striving to build strong global brands. How can brands from emerging markets continue to compete over the long-term? Are consumers in developed countries likely to change their perceptions and acceptance of brands from emerging markets? What is the theoretical underpinning that explains such changes and what managerial implications are there for practitioners in terms of developing brand strategies when going global?
    • Through international joint ventures with world known corporations or through merging or acquiring global brands like Lenovo acquiring IBM’s PC business, many emerging market brands have entered global markets with high visibility at rapid pace. Does having such brand alliances or co-branding strategies leverage secondary brand associations and will it enhance consumer perceptions as well as brand equity?
    • When brands from emerging markets enter and compete in the global marketplace, how do they influence consumer perceptions and experience in such countries? How does going global enhance the competitiveness of emerging market brands? How can an emerging market brand’s perception of being global influence brand equity? In which ways can research in this area contribute to the theoretical development in customer-based brand equity?

Submission details

Submissions are due before 31st July 2014. Authors should follow IMR’s submission guidelines, and submit via the ScholarOne site: Please select the correct Special Issue from the dropdown box.

Guest editor biographies

Cheng Lu Wang, Ph.D., is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Marketing and Quantitative Analysis at the University of New Haven. Dr. Wang’s research interests include consumer behavior and international marketing, with a particular focus on marketing in China. Dr. Wang is the editor of the Contemporary Marketing in China: Theories and Practices, published by Nova Science Publishers, Inc., in 2011. Dr. Wang also served as editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Consumer Research and as the guest editor of special issues on marketing in China themes for Industrial Marketing Management (2011), Journal of Consumer Marketing (2010), Young Consumers (2009) and Journal of Consumer Behavior (2008). Dr. Wang has over 50 scholarly publications that have appeared in International Marketing Review, Journal of Business Research, International Business Review, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Psychology & Marketing, Journal of Consumer Affairs, Journal of Global Business, Management International Review, Journal of Business Ethics and Industrial Marketing Management, among others. His paper exploring the different mechanism between Guanxi and Western relationship marketing concept is listed among the top 10 most-cited articles published in Industrial Marketing Management. Currently, Dr. Wang and Dr. He are editing a book, Brand Management in Emerging Markets: Theories and Practices. Dr. Wang can be reached at

Jiaxun He, Ph.D., is currently the Chair of the Business Administration Department, the Director of Center for Branding Science, and Professor of Marketing, Branding and Management in the School of Business at East China Normal University, Shanghai. He is also an area editor for Journal of Marketing Science (Chinese). He obtained his Ph.D. from Sun Yat-Sen University in China. He owned a distinction of being called the New Century Excellent Talent in University by Ministry of Education of China (2008-2011), and was honored the title of Distinguished Visiting Professor of Marketing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2011-2012). His research focuses on customer-based brand equity and brand relationships, cross-cultural consumer behavior, and branding in emerging markets. In recent years, he has published more than 50 important articles on Journal of Chinese Entrepreneurship, Frontiers of Business Research in China, Nankai Business Review International, Journal of Marketing Science (Chinese), Management World (Chinese), and so on. He is now in charge of two research projects funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China. Currently, Dr. He and Dr. Wang are editing a book, Brand Management in Emerging Markets: Theories and Practices. Jiaxun He can be contacted at:

Bradley R. Barnes, Ph.D, is the Associate Dean for Internationalisation and Professor of International Management & Marketing at the Sheffield University Management School. Prior to that, he was the Hong Kong Alumni Endowed Chair in International Management at Kent Business School. Dr Barnes initially studied for his undergraduate degree at Sheffield Business School, before completing his Master’s in Marketing at the University of Huddersfield, and Ph.D from the University of Leeds. Professor Barnes has over ten years international marketing exposure working with companies to physically promote their products and services in Europe, the Middle East and Far East. Bradley has published in a range of practitioner and academic Journals including Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of International Marketing, International Business Review, International Marketing Review, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing, European Journal of Marketing, Psychology & Marketing, Journal of Marketing Management and International Journal of Advertising among many others.


Burgess, Steven Michael and Jan Benedict E.M. Steenkamp (2006), “Marketing Renaissance: How Research in Emerging Consumer Markets Advances Marketing Science and Practice,” International Journal of Research in Marketing, 23 (December), 337–56.

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Schmitt, Bernd (2012), The Consumer Psychology of Brands, Journal of Consumer Psychology, 22, 7-17.

Sheth, Jagdish N. (2011), Impact of Emerging Markets on Marketing: Rethinking Existing Perspectives and Practices Journal of Marketing, 75 (July), 166 –182

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Wilson, Dominic and Roopa Purushothaman (2003), “Dreaming with BRICs: The Path to 2050,” Global Economics Paper No.99, New York: Goldman Sachs.

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