Place Associations in International Branding and Advertising: A Cross-National Investigation

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Reid, Jill Lesley




The impact of globalization, characterized by technological innovations in the sphere of transportation and communications, presents multiple challenges to international marketing managers. The accelerated diffusion of brands on a worldwide scale has heightened the importance of international branding, as manufacturers endeavour to differentiate their products and create a sustainable and relevant brand image across multicultural consumer audiences. This study offers a significant contribution to the field of international marketing research by bringing together two connected areas that have largely been studied in parallel. Specifically, this research examines the role of place brands in supporting the development of product brand images. The increasing volume of studies in this field centres on the use of place associations as brand image heuristics from the consumer perspective. The key compelling element of this study is that it provides, for the first time, an exploration of the use of country brand associations in marketing communications from the managerial perspective. The focal area of analysis is to examine how the construct of place manifests itself in international branding and advertising, and to identify some of the antecedent factors that direct the way place associations are utilized by marketing managers. A multimethod quantitative and qualitative approach was adopted, hence, the study is divided into three phases. In Phase 1, the actual use of place associations in brand marketing communications is investigated, using the vehicle of print advertising across four economically similar, but culturally divergent nations. In light of the exploratory nature of this first-ever marketing management study integrating the fields of place branding and product branding, an inductive approach was adopted for the in-depth interviews in Phase 2, to gain a deeper understanding of the managerial perspective and aid the design of the online survey conducted in Phase 3. Each phase of the study is of value in itself to advancing research in the fields of international branding and advertising, not least by engaging practitioners in the process. All three research phases reflect the continued interest in this topic from a marketing management perspective, thus reinforcing the call for further investigation into this untapped field.


Mass Communications




Carleton University

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