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Navigating Brand Preference through Consumers' Stereotypes

This project focuses on three distinct kinds of stereotypes that are expected to influence consumer behavior, involving beliefs about the characteristics of (a) typical users of a certain brand (brand user stereotype), (b) different countries and their people (country-of-origin stereotype), and (c) different brands (brand stereotype). For example, would a decision to buy a new Mercedes car be subject to simultaneous, yet distinct influences by the brand stereotypes and the country-of-origin stereotype and the brand user stereotype? Or would only a subset of these stereotypes impact the purchasing decision? The usefulness of stereotypes as explanatory constructs in a consumer behavior context is clearly dependent on their ability to boost perceptions of consumer value and/or mitigate perceived risk, and this important issue is examined in the project. Moreover, the extent to which the interplay between multiple consumer stereotypes is characterized by cross-national stability (or otherwise) is also assessed.

The following research questions are addressed by the project:

  • How are the brand user stereotype, the country-of-origin stereotype, and the brand stereotype related to one another and how do they influence customer perceived risk and perceived value as well as consumer decision-making and behavior?
  • Which brand- and consumer-level characteristics potentially boost or suppress the aforementioned effects?
  • Is there cross-national stability of the interplay and content of the different consumer stereotypes and their impact on consumer behavior?
  • Do different stereotypes influence consumer evaluations in concert or whether one stereotype dominates?

This project is the first to consider multiple consumer stereotypes simultaneously, assessing their similarities/differences in terms of stereotype content and examining their consequences on behavioral outcomes. Branding research will benefit from this project because the routes through which different stereotypes impact brand preference and choice will be outlined. International marketing theory will be enriched by highlighting the nature and extent of cross-national stability/variability in stereotypical assessments and identifying whether they exhibit greater cross-country similarity when global brands are involved. Practitioners will benefit from empirically-based guidance on which stereotype(s) and stereotype content dimension(s) to emphasize (or downplay) in brand communications in an effort to enhance perceptions of customer value and reduce perceived risk.

Institut für Betriebswirtschaftslehre
Lehrstuhl für Internationales Marketing

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