How Global are Global Brands? An Empirical Brand Equity Analysis
Pforzheim University Working Paper No. 136
69 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2010
Date Written: January 17, 2010
The term “global brand” has become widely used by the media and by consumers. Business week publishes annually its widely known ranking of the “Best Global Brands” (with Coca-Cola as number 1 in the past years) and consumers on summer vacations purchase brands such as Heineken or Marlboro they are familiar with from their home country. Although media and consumers call these brands “global” and centralized marketing departments manage these brands globally – are these “global brands” really global? Are they really perceived everywhere in the same way by the customers? Can we talk about truly global brand equity? And if there were brand image differences between countries, which factors causes them?
The authors conducted an empirical research during May and June 2009 with similarly aged University students (bachelor students at business school) in Germany (n=426) and Mexico (n=296). The goal was to identify if brand awareness rates differ between Germans and Mexicans, if the brand image of Apple iPod is perceived in the same way in Germany and in Mexico and what influencing factors might have an impact on any brand image discrepancy between the countries. Results prove that brand recall rates differ between the two countries (with higher rates in Mexico) as well as brand image attributes vary significantly (28 out of 34 brand image attributes are significantly different between Germany and Mexico), with Mexico showing higher levels of favorable brand image attributes. Key influencing factors on the different brand image perceptions are perceived quality, satisfaction and the influence of reference groups (such as friends and family). The results suggest that so-called “global brands” are not perceived the same way in Germany and Mexico. As a consequence, brand management using standardized marketing instruments for its presumable “global brands” might be better off with a more differentiated approach that takes account a specific local brand image.
Keywords: Global Marketing, Global Brand, Brand Equity, Brand Image, Brand Awareness, Brand Analysis, Cross-country Comparison
JEL Classification: C21, M31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
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