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Is brand globalness compatible with brand country-of-origin? An investigation of hybrid brand positioning strategies for emerging market brands

Ruiyang Hong (School of Management, Shandong University, Jinan, China)
Zhe Zhang (Ivey Business School, Western University, London, Canada)
Chun Zhang (Grossman School of Business, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, USA)
Zuohao Hu (School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 5 April 2022

Issue publication date: 27 February 2023

1437

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate hybrid brand positioning strategies for emerging market brands based on two positioning elements: brand country-of-origin (COO) and brand globalness.

Design/methodology/approach

Researchers conducted two studies. In Study 1, a survey of 128 brand managers of emerging market brands were used to examine whether asymmetric positioning strategies improve brand preference more than symmetric strategies, and if so, which type of asymmetric strategies improves brand preference more. In Study 2, a consumer experiment in the USA was conducted to identify the positioning strategy for emerging market brands that improve brand preference the most.

Findings

For emerging market brands, at any given value of COO or global elements, asymmetric strategies outperform symmetric strategies in terms of brand preference. On average, the best hybrid positioning strategy is the one that highlights brand COO and de-emphasizes brand globalness.

Originality/value

A large body of branding literature examines COO and globalness separately without considering their co-presence in the same brand positioning strategy. Few studies that examine the joint influence of brand COO and globalness focus on established brands from developed markets and do not examine whether highlighting both brand COO and global elements equally is an effective positioning strategy for emerging market brands. This study introduces a framework to systematically examine the various combinations of COO and global elements in a brand’s positioning strategies for emerging market brands. By conducting two studies, the authors empirically test the influence of various combinations of COO and global elements on brand preference for emerging market brands from both firm and consumer perspectives.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors appreciate the generous financial support from the National Science Foundation of China for Projects No. 71972114.

The first two authors contributed equally to the manuscript.

Citation

Hong, R., Zhang, Z., Zhang, C. and Hu, Z. (2023), "Is brand globalness compatible with brand country-of-origin? An investigation of hybrid brand positioning strategies for emerging market brands", International Marketing Review, Vol. 40 No. 1, pp. 49-79. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMR-08-2021-0260

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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