Beyond country image favorability: How brand positioning via country personality stereotypes enhances brand evaluations

Abstract

Across four lab experiments and a field study, we find that brands are evaluated more favorably when the brand is positioned in a manner that is congruent with the brand’s home country personality stereotype than when brand positioning is incongruent. Results demonstrate that cultural authenticity mediates this effect. We also uncover a moderating effect whereby brands are viewed more favorably when brand positioning and country personality stereotypes are incongruent, rather than congruent, under conditions of consumer animosity toward the firm’s home country. This study is the first to demonstrate how international firms can leverage country-of-origin personality stereotypes as a brand-building advantage.

Résumé

A partir de quatre expériences de laboratoire et d’une étude de terrain, nous constatons que les marques sont évaluées plus favorablement lorsque la marque est positionnée de manière conforme au stéréotype de personnalité du pays d’origine de la marque que lorsque le positionnement de la marque est non conforme. Les résultats montrent que l’authenticité culturelle a un effet médiateur sur cette relation. Nous découvrons également un effet modérateur par lequel les marques sont perçues plus favorablement lorsque le positionnement de la marque et les stéréotypes de la personnalité du pays sont non conformes, plutôt que conformes, dans les cas d’animosité du consommateur envers le pays d’origine de la firme. Cette étude est la première à démontrer comment les firmes internationales peuvent tirer parti des stéréotypes de personnalité du pays d’origine comme avantage de développement de la marque.

Resumen

En cuatro experimentos de laboratorio y un estudio de campo, encontramos que las marcas se evalúan más favorablemente cuando se posiciona la marca de una manera que es congruente con el estereotipo de la personalidad de la marca del país de origen, que cuando el posicionamiento de marca es incongruente. Los resultados demuestran que la autenticidad cultural media este efecto. También descubrimos un efecto moderador por el cual las marcas son vistas de manera más favorable cuando el posicionamiento de marca y los estereotipos de la personalidad del país son incongruentes, en lugar de congruentes, en condiciones de animosidad del consumidor hacia el país de origen de la empresa. Este estudio es el primero en demostrar como las empresas internacionales pueden aprovechar los estereotipos de la personalidad del país de origen como una ventaja de creación de marca.

Resumo

Por meio de quatro experimentos de laboratório e um estudo de campo, descobrimos que marcas são avaliadas mais favoravelmente quando a marca é posicionada de forma congruente com o estereótipo de personalidade do país de origem do que quando o posicionamento da marca é incongruente. Os resultados demonstram que a autenticidade cultural medeia esse efeito. Também descobrimos um efeito moderador pelo qual as marcas são vistas mais favoravelmente quando o posicionamento da marca e os estereótipos de personalidade do país são incongruentes, e não congruentes, sob condições de animosidade do consumidor em relação ao país de origem da empresa. Este estudo é o primeiro a demonstrar como empresas internacionais podem alavancar os estereótipos de personalidade do país de origem como uma vantagem de construção de marca.

摘要

在四个实验室实验和实地研究中, 我们发现, 当品牌定位的方式与品牌的母国国家刻板印象一致时,品牌的评估较品牌定位不一致时更有利。结果表明, 文化真实性可以调节这种效应。我们还发现了一种调节效应, 即当品牌定位和国家个性刻板印象在消费者对公司母国的敌意情况下不一致(而不是一致)时, 品牌被更有利地看待。本研究首次揭示了国际公司如何利用原籍国个性刻板印象获得品牌建设优势。

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Figure 1
Figure 2

References

  1. Aaker, J. L. 1997. Dimensions of brand personality. Journal of Marketing Research, 34(3): 347–356.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Aggarwal, P., & McGill, A. L. 2007. Is that car smiling at me? Schema congruity as a basis for evaluating anthropomorphized products. Journal of Consumer Research, 34(4): 468–479.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Alden, D. L., Steenkamp, J.-B. E. M., & Batra, R. 1999. Brand positioning through advertising in Asia, N America, and Europe: The role of global consumer culture. Journal of Marketing, 63(1): 75–87.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Ayala, N., Truss, M., & Montecuollo, K. 2012. JWT personality atlas. http://personalityatlas.com/. Accessed 27 March 2018.

  5. Baker, V. 2017. Havaianas: How a Brazilian flip-flop took over the world. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-40610739. Accessed 27 March 2018.

  6. Barbarossa, C., De Pelsmacker, P., & Moons, I. 2018. Effects of country-of-origin stereotypes on consumer responses to product-harm crises. International Marketing Review, 35(3): 362–389.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Becker, J. 2015. German neo-mercantilism: Contradictions of a (non-)model. In B. Unger (Ed.), The German model: Seen by its neighbours. London: SE Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Bilkey, W. J., & Nes, E. 1982. Country-of-origin effects on product evaluations. Journal of International Business Studies, 13(1): 89–99.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Cartwright, D. 1949. Some principles of mass persuasion. Human Relations, 2(3): 253–267.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Cuddy, A. J. C., Fiske, S. T., Kwan, V. S. Y., Glick, P., Demoulin, S., Leyens, J.-P., et al. 2009. Stereotype content model across cultures: Towards universal similarities and some differences. British Journal of Social Psychology, 48(1): 1–33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. d’Astous, A., & Boujbel, L. 2007. Positioning countries on personality dimensions: Scale development and implications for country marketing. Journal of Business Research, 60(3): 231–239.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Diamantopoulos, A., Florack, A., Halkias, G., & Palcu, J. 2017. Explicit versus implicit country stereotypes as predictors of product preferences: Insights from the stereotype content model. Journal of International Business Studies, 48(8): 1023–1036.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Dichter, E. 1962. The world customer. Harvard Business Review, 40(4): 113–122.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Festinger, L. 1957. A theory of cognitive dissonance. Stanford, CA.: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Fetscherin, M. 2010. The determinants and measurement of a country brand: The country brand strength index. International Marketing Review, 27(4): 466–479.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Fiske, S. T. 1982. Schema-triggered affect: Applications to social perception. In M. S. Clark & S. T. Fiske (Eds.), Affect and cognition, 17th annual Carnegie Symposium on Cognition (pp. 55–78). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Fiske, S. T., Cuddy, A. J. C., Glick, P., & Jun, X. 2002. A model of (often mixed) stereotype content: Competence and warmth respectively follow from perceived status and competition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82(6): 878–902.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Fiske, S. T., & Taylor, S. E. 1991. Social cognition. New York: McGraw-Hill.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Gao, G. Y., Wang, D. T., & Che, Y. 2017. Impact of historical conflict on FDI location and performance: Japanese investment in China. Journal of International Business Studies, advance online publication.. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41267-016-0048-6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Gineikiene, J., & Diamantopoulos, A. 2017. I hate where it comes from but I still buy it: Countervailing influences of animosity and nostalgia. Journal of International Business Studies, 48(8): 992–1008.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Gürhan-Canli, Z., Sarıal-Abi, G., & Hayran, C. 2018. Consumers and brands across the globe: Research synthesis and new directions. Journal of International Marketing, 26(1): 96–117.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Harmeling, C., Magnusson, P., & Singh, N. 2015. Beyond anger: A deeper look at consumer animosity. Journal of International Business Studies, 46(6): 676–693.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Hayes, A. F. 2013. Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Heider, F. 1946. Attitudes and cognitive organization. Journal of Psychology, 21(1): 107–112.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Heinberg, M., Ozkaya, H. E., & Taube, M. 2017. The influence of global and local iconic brand positioning on advertising persuasion in an emerging market setting. Journal of International Business Studies, 48(8): 1009–1022.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Herz, M. F., & Diamantopoulos, A. 2013. Activation of country stereotypes: Automaticity, consonance, and impact. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 41(4): 400–417.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Herz, M., & Diamantopoulos, A. 2017. I use it but will tell you that I don’t: Consumers’ country-of-origin cue usage denial. Journal of International Marketing, 25(2): 52–71.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G. J., & Minkov, M. 2010. Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

    Google Scholar 

  29. John, O. P., & Srivastava, S. 1999. The big-five trait taxonomy: History, measurement, and theoretical perspectives. In L. A. Pervin & O. P. John (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (pp. 102–138). New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Katsikeas, C. S., Morgan, N. A., Leonidou, L. C., & Hult, G. T. M. 2016. Assessing performance outcomes in marketing. Journal of Marketing, 80(2): 1–20.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Keller, K. L. 1993. Conceptualizing, measuring, managing customer-based brand equity. Journal of Marketing, 57(1): 1–22.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Kim, Y. K., Shim, S. W., & Dinnie, K. 2013. The dimensions of nation brand personality: A study of nine countries. Corporate Reputation Review, 16(1): 34–47.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Klein, J. G. 2002. Us versus them, or us versus everyone? Delineating consumer aversion to foreign goods. Journal of International Business Studies, 33(2): 345–363.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Kotler, P., & Gertner, D. 2002. Country as brand, products, and beyond: A place marketing and brand management perspective. Journal of Brand Management, 9(4): 249–261.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Kumar, N., & Steenkamp, J.-B. E. M. 2013. Brand breakout: How emerging market brands will go global. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Lane, V. R., & Fastoso, F. 2016. The impact of repeated ad exposure on spillover from low fit extensions to a global brand. International Marketing Review, 33(2): 298–318.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Lee, A. Y., & Labroo, A. A. 2004. The effect of conceptual and perceptual fluency on brand evaluation. Journal of Marketing Research, 41(2): 151–165.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Leong, S. M., Cote, J. A., Ang, S. H., Tan, S. J., Jung, K., Kau, A. K., et al. 2008. Understanding consumer animosity in an international crisis: Nature, antecedents, and consequences. Journal of International Business Studies, 39(6): 996–1009.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. MacKenzie, S., & Lutz, R. J. 1989. An empirical examination of the structural antecedents of attitude toward the ad in an advertising pretesting context. Journal of Marketing, 53(2): 48–65.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Magnusson, P., Westjohn, S. A., & Zdravkovic, S. 2011. “What? I thought Samsung was Japanese”: Accurate or not, perceived country of origin matters. International Marketing Review, 28(5): 454–472.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Mandler, G. 1982. The structure of value: Accounting for taste. In M. S. Clark & S. T. Fiske (Eds.), Affect and cognition: The 17th annual carnegie symposium (pp. 3–36). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Martin, I. M., & Eroglu, S. 1993. Measuring a multi-dimensional construct: Country image. Journal of Business Research, 28(3): 191–210.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Moulard, J. G., Garrity, C. P., & Rice, D. H. 2015. What makes a human brand authentic? Identifying the antecedents of celebrity authenticity. Psychology & Marketing, 32(2): 173–186.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Nagashima, A. 1970. A comparison of Japanese and U.S. Attitudes toward foreign products. Journal of Marketing, 34(1): 68–74.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Netemeyer, R. G., Krishnan, B., Pullig, C., Wang, G., Yagci, M., Dean, D., et al. 2004. Developing and validating measures of facets of customer-based brand equity. Journal of Business Research, 57(2): 209–224.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Papadopoulos, N., El Banna, A., & Murphy, S. A. 2017. Old country passions: An international examination of country image, animosity, and affinity among ethnic consumers. Journal of International Marketing, 25(3): 61–82.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Pappu, R., Quester, P. G., & Cooksey, R. W. 2007. Country image and consumer-based brand equity: Relationships and implications for international marketing. Journal of International Business Studies, 38(5): 726–745.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Rojas-Méndez, J. I., Murphy, S. A., & Papadopoulos, N. 2013a. The U.S. Brand personality: A Sino perspective. Journal of Business Research, 66(8): 1028–1034.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Rojas-Méndez, J. I., Papadopoulos, N., & Alwan, M. 2015. Testing self-congruity theory in the context of nation brand personality. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 24(1): 18–27.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Rojas-Méndez, J. I., Papadopoulos, N., & Murphy, S. A. 2013b. Measuring and positioning nation brands: A comparative brand personality approach. Corporate Reputation Review, 16(1): 48–65.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Roth, K. P., & Diamantopoulos, A. 2009. Advancing the country image construct. Journal of Business Research, 62(7): 726–740.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Roth, M. S., & Romeo, J. B. 1992. Matching product category and country image perceptions: A framework for managing country-of-origin effects. Journal of International Business Studies, 23(3): 477–497.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Russell, D. W., & Russell, C. A. 2006. Explicit and implicit catalysts of consumer resistance: The effects of animosity, cultural salience and country-of-origin on subsequent choice. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 23(3): 321–331.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Samiee, S., & Leonidou, L. C. 2011. Relevance and rigor in international marketing research: Developments in product and brand origin line of inquiry. In S. C. Jain & D. A. Griffith (Eds.), Handbook of research in international marketing (2nd ed., pp. 68–87). Cheltenham, UK: Edgar Elgar.

    Google Scholar 

  55. Schooler, R. D. 1965. Product bias in the Central American common market. Journal of Marketing Research, 2(4): 394–397.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Shimp, T. A., Samiee, S., & Madden, T. J. 1993. Countries and their products: A cognitive structure perspective. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 21(4): 323–330.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Sirianni, N. J., Bitner, M. J., Brown, S. W., & Mandel, N. 2013. Branded service encounters: Strategically aligning employee behavior with the brand positioning. Journal of Marketing, 77(4): 108–123.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Southworth, S. S., & Ha-Brookshire, J. 2016. The impact of cultural authenticity on brand uniqueness and willingness to try. Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 28(4): 724–742.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Spielmann, N. 2016. Is it all or nothing? Testing schema congruity and typicality for products with country origin. Journal of Business Research, 69(3): 1130–1137.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Stumpf, C., & Baum, M. 2016. Customer referral reward-brand-fit: A schema congruity perspective. Psychology & Marketing, 33(7): 542–558.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. UN Food and Agriculture Division. 2013. Global wine production. http://faostat3.fao.org/download/Q/*/E. Accessed 27 March, 2018.

  62. Veale, R., & Quester, P. 2009. Do consumer expectations match experience? Predicting the influence of price and country of origin on perceptions of product quality. International Business Review, 18(2): 134–144.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Verlegh, P. W. J., & Steenkamp, J.-B. E. M. 1999. A review and meta-analysis of country-of-origin research. Journal of Economic Psychology, 20(5): 521–546.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Whittlesea, B. W. A. 1993. Illusions of familiarity. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 19(6): 1235–1253.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Zdravkovic, S., Magnusson, P., & Stanley, S. M. 2010. Dimensions of fit between a brand and a social cause and their influence on attitudes. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 27(2): 151–160.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  66. Zellmer-Bruhn, M., Caligiuri, P., & Thomas, D. C. 2016. From the editors: Experimental designs in international business research. Journal of International Business Studies, 47(4): 399–407.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge Nicolas Papadopoulos, Colleen Harmeling, and participants at the AMA Global Marketing Conference in Havana, Cuba for feedback on early versions of this manuscript and the valuable guidance provided by Editor Costas Katsikeas and the three anonymous JIBS reviewers.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Peter Magnusson.

Additional information

Accepted by Constantine Katsikeas, Area Editor, 30 July 2018. This article has been with the authors for three revisions.

Supplementary information accompanies this article on the Journal of International Business Studies website (www.palgrave.com/journals).

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 662 kb)

Appendix

Appendix

See Table 3.

Table 3 Demographic characteristics

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Magnusson, P., Westjohn, S.A. & Sirianni, N.J. Beyond country image favorability: How brand positioning via country personality stereotypes enhances brand evaluations. J Int Bus Stud 50, 318–338 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41267-018-0175-3

Download citation

Keywords

  • country personality
  • country of origin
  • international consumer behavior
  • cultural authenticity
  • consumer animosity