Towards an integrative framework of brand country of origin recognition determinants : a cross-classified hierarchical model

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To propose a framework integrating the types and levels of the determinants of brand CO recognition and to provide evidence on Internet users’ brand CO recognition rates using a sample of multi-regional and global brands from a variety of product categories and countries. We integrate 'level-1' consumer and brand characteristics and 'level-2' product category and country effects in a single framework. Data obtained through an original on-line survey hosted by Yahoo provide the basis for the empirical analysis. Seven hypotheses are tested using a two-level cross-classified random-effect model (‘HCM2’) : (a) Education is positively related with brand CO recognition; (b) experience with brands is positively related with brand CO recognition; (c) integration between the consumer and the country of a foreign brand is positively related with brand CO recognition; (d) Internet users’ classification performance is significantly better for domestic than for foreign brands; (e) brand-name congruence with true brand origin is positively related with brand CO recognition; (f) brand equity explains brand CO recognition, and (g) product categories with higher consumer involvement enhance brand CO recognition. Brand CO recognition performance by Internet users is in line with classification performance rates reported in other studies dealing with well-know and global brands. The main limitation is the cross-sectional study design. The research implications suggest that scholars should consider level-2 product category and country characteristics in their models, and that the level of brand CO recognition must be understood as inherently associated to the kind of brands under study. Managers would benefit from considering product category and country aspects of their most valuable brands. Policy makers should encourage firms to promote a clear association between brands and countries (when these countries have a positive image) and discriminate between high and low involvement product categories. We contribute to the brand CO awareness literature by integrating consumer and brand characteristics in a theoretical model, and identifying level-2 product category features and CO effects previously disregarded in brand CO recognition frameworks. In addition, our study positively contrasts with previous research by providing empirical evidence on brand CO recognition from the largest set of global brands (109), countries of origin (19) and product categories (15) ever investigated.
Brand awareness, Country of origin, Brand CO recognition, Cross-classified hierarchical model, International marketing
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International Marketing Review, 2011, v. 28, n. 6, pp. 1-41