Purpose – This study seeks to examine differences in the signals of brand quality that consumers utilize in and across different countries. The approach is driven by the practical goal of helping international firms understand how they could tailor their marketing mix to target consumers based on the particular signals of brand quality that they use in different countries. Design/methodology/approach – Survey data are collected from Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Russia, Singapore, Thailand and the USA and analyzed using factor analysis to identify the signals that are used as extrinsic and intrinsic cues of brand quality in different clusters of countries. Two major dimensions of signals of quality are identified and used to generate four clusters of countries representing different beliefs in signals of brand quality. Findings – Two major dimensions of signals of quality are identified and used to generate four clusters of countries representing different beliefs in signals of brand quality. These dimensions broadly fall in to those that can be characterized as external signals (brand popularity, retailer's name and volume of advertising) and internal signals (brand name, price and country of origin) with the eight countries clustering in terms of these signals. Thus, Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong and the USA form one cluster with Thailand and Russia forming another cluster while Indonesia and Singapore show differences in their signal preferences. Practical implications – Practical implications in terms of standardization versus differentiation of marketing mix strategies are discussed. The most important implication is that differentiation of marketing strategies would seem to be advantageous contrary to the commonly held view that international firms need to standardize their marketing strategies in the face of increasing globalization and alleged consumer convergence. Originality/value – This study seeks to examine differences in the signals of brand quality that consumers utilize in and across different countries.
Journal of Product & Brand Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 23, 2011
Keywords: Quality; Quality signals; Extrinsic brand cues; Brands; Segments of countries; Standardization versus differentiation
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