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RESEARCH INSIGHT | How Global Is Your Brand? Social Media Metrics Can Help You Find Out

The Research

Many brands are available in multiple countries, and an important corporate and marketing strategic decision is to decide on the extent of brand globalization, localization, or “glocalization,”  or how much the product should be tailored to a specific country. The authors use a novel method to measure this aspect: social media metrics. Using data that are easily accessible on a representative social media platform, they find that country brand popularity is influenced by brand (brand globalness, brand home country, and social signaling industry), cultural (power distance, individualism, uncertainty avoidance, long-term orientation, and indulgence), social media accessibility (English speakers, Internet penetration, and cell phone penetration), and economic (per capita GDP, trade importance, Gini index) factors.

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What You Need to Know

  • Managers can examine the social, economic, and cultural factors influencing brand popularity to understand which countries require more significant brand glocalization.
  • Global brands tend to perform poorly in countries that show greater appreciation for local versus global brands (e.g., developing countries with economic inequality and low trade).
  • However, products that have a role of “signaling” brand choices and a consumer’s status to others (e.g., accessories, coffee, and automobiles) tend to be more successful in global markets.


he literature on consumer choice between global and local brands is focused on sales-based measures of brand globalness (BG). When managers need to establish an effective social media campaign to raise awareness of their brands’ activities on social media, the literature focus may not provide clear guidance on how such measures can be applied to social media. This research contributes to global brand research by combining the literature streams on consumer social media engagement and global branding marketing strategies. First, to provide a managerial tool for this task, the authors propose two novel measures, BG and country brand popularity (CBP), based on consumers’ brand activities on social media. Using these measures, the authors hypothesize that CBP is influenced by cultural, social, and economic factors, which is motivated by motivation–opportunity–ability theory. Using Facebook data covering the top 100 brands that operate across 50 countries in each of 51 industries, they show that CBP is influenced by BG and cultural, social, and economic characteristics.

Moon-Yong Kim, Sangkil Moon, and Dawn Iacobucci (2019), “The Influence of Global Brand Distribution on Brand Popularity on Social Media,” Journal of International Marketing 27 (4), 22–38.