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The underlying social identities of a nation's brand

Lee, R.Y., Klobas, J.E.ORCID: 0000-0003-2146-7059, Tezinde, T. and Murphy, J. (2010) The underlying social identities of a nation's brand. International Marketing Review, 27 (4). pp. 450-465.

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The purpose of this paper is to draw on self-categorisation theory and nation branding to investigate the social identities and influences which underpin consumer preferences for national brands.

A survey in Mozambique, an underdeveloped African country, compared a domestic mobile phone company whose brand contains the country name against a European brand. Consumer ethnocentrism might arise identifying with the national brand or with Mozambican personalities endorsing the brand. Value-expressiveness might arise from consumers associating with celebrity endorsers. A dichotomy of youth versus older consumers moderated the relationships between social identities and brand preference. Bayesian structural equation modelling using Monte Carlo simulations estimated the path coefficients from a sample of 611.

Across age groups, ethnocentrism is stronger than value-expressiveness in determining preference for national brands. Moreover, ethnocentrism is stronger with the older rather than younger consumers. Consumer ethnocentrism stemmed mainly from injunctive influence (IN) with both age groups. With older consumers, value-expressiveness related significantly to descriptive influence, but not to IN. With youth, neither social influence significantly related to value-expressiveness.

Single-item measures might be less effective than multi-item measures for psychological concepts of social identities and influences.

Understanding the role of social identity in consumer preferences for national brands may help managers heighten consumers' social identities and increase their loyalty for national brands. Shedding light on under-researched African consumers may help firms doing business in these emerging markets as well as African governments that are attempting to strengthen the perceptions of their nation brand.

This paper bridges research in social psychology and international marketing by investigating the social identities and influences that underpin consumer preferences for national brands.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Murdoch Business School
Publisher: Emerald Publishing Group Ltd
Copyright: © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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