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Go local or go global: how local brands promote buying impulsivity

Eline L.E. De Vries (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Madrid, Spain)
Bob M. Fennis (University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands) (Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 27 August 2019

Issue publication date: 10 January 2020

Abstract

Purpose

Using food brands as a case in point, the purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between a local vs global brand positioning strategy and buying impulsivity, as well as the mediating role of construal level. The findings add a psychological argument to the array of reasons for firms to opt for a local instead of a global brand positioning strategy: local food brands promote higher levels of buying impulsivity than global brands by lowering consumers’ level of construal.

Design/methodology/approach

Five experiments use student and nonstudent samples, different construal level indices and generic and brand-specific buying impulsivity measures to test the hypotheses.

Findings

Local food brands promote higher levels of buying impulsivity than global brands by lowering consumers’ level of construal. Because local brands are proximal to consumers’ lifestyles, values, preferences and behaviors, they decrease the psychological distance between the brand and the consumer, compared with global brands. The smaller psychological distance lowers consumers’ construal level and renders the immediate, concrete, appetitive attributes of the product more salient, thus making consumers more prone to impulsively buy a local brand than a global one.

Practical implications

For the choice between a global or local brand positioning strategy, this paper argues in favor of the latter. Local (food) branding is a concrete brand positioning mechanism that can influence and benefit from consumers’ buying impulsivity.

Originality/value

The research reveals heretofore unknown but important implications of local vs global brand positioning strategies for consumers’ construal level and buying impulsivity.

Keywords

Citation

De Vries, E.L.E. and Fennis, B.M. (2020), "Go local or go global: how local brands promote buying impulsivity", International Marketing Review, Vol. 37 No. 1, pp. 1-28. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMR-10-2018-0292

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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