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This research draws upon construal level theory to investigate how brands can develop effective international marketing strategies using country image versus product image across international markets with different cultural distances between them.Design/methodology/approachThe paper reports two preliminary studies and three experimental studies in the context of Australian brands using a “clean and green” image. The preliminary studies explore how product versus country image and cultural similarity are related to construal levels. Then, Study 1 examines consumers from different countries as a proxy of cultural distance, whereas Studies 2 and 3 manipulate levels of cultural distance to test the effects on consumers. Moreover, Study 3 also uses a behavioral outcome as the focal dependent variable and tests the underlying mechanism.FindingsThe results demonstrate a significant interaction effect between country-of-origin positioning and cultural distance, such that an Australian brand emphasizing the country (vs product) image gains more favorable responses among consumers with high levels of cultural distance. Conversely, an Australian brand emphasizing the product (vs country) image gains more favorable responses among consumers with low levels of cultural distance. Further, this research identifies perceived brand cultural authenticity as the underlying process driving the interaction effect.Originality/valueThe findings of this research contribute to the literature on international marketing in general and the country-of-origin literature in particular by examining country-of-origin positioning and cultural distance from the construal level perspective. The research also provides managerial implications on how to promote products in the international market across different cultural distances.
International Marketing Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 4, 2022
Keywords: National advertising; Brand positioning; Country-of-origin; Cultural distance; Construal level
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