FWF Projects

Explicit and Implicit Country Stereotypes of Consumers – P26740-G11

Extant country-of-origin (COO) research lacks strong theory, assumes only reflecting thinking on the part of consumers, and relies invariably on explicit (direct) measurement of country stereotypes. The proposed project integrates Fiske et al.’s (2002) stereotype content model (SCM) with Strack and Deutsch’s (2004) reflective-impulsive model (RIM) into a unifying conceptual framework which is subsequently used to study the impact of both explicitly- and implicitly-assessed country stereotypes on consumer emotions and behavior. Based on a series of complementary studies – both survey- and experimentally-based – it seeks to offer detailed insights into (a) the degree of and reasons for the convergence/divergence of explicitly- and implicitly-measured country stereotypes, (b) the relative influence of such stereotypes on deliberate vs. spontaneous purchase decisions, (c) the role of implicit country stereotypes in steering consumers’ attention and (automatic) approach impulses, (d) the mediating effects of (positive and negative) emotions on the stereotype-behavior relationship, and (e) the relative predictive validity of explicitly- and implicitly-measured country stereotypes with respect to a wide range of behavioral outcomes. The project findings are expected to substantially advance both COO theory and stereotyping theory as well as generate several implications relevant for practice.

Navigating Brand Preference through Consumers' Stereotypes – I3727-G27

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.