This paper investigates cross-country differences in the importance of four brand benefits that are commonly stressed in international positioning strategies—quality, uniqueness, leading position, and growing popularity—in determining brand purchase intentions. It also investigates how these effects are moderated by country characteristics, consumer characteristics, and perceptions about competing brands’ benefits, as well as whether they are stable across product categories. To achieve this, we developed a hierarchical Bayesian model that recognizes the ordinal nature of the measurement of purchase intentions and captures scale usage differences in a parsimonious way. The model is estimated using a unique multi-continent, multi-category data set across 19,682 respondents from 25 countries. In total 337 brands across six product categories (fast food, beer, designer brands, athletic shoes and apparel, mobile phones, photography) and two service categories (airlines, credit cards) were assessed. The results show that on average intrinsic benefits (i.e., quality and uniqueness), are most important in determining purchase intentions. The strengths of these effects are significantly influenced by culture and become weaker if more competing brands are perceived to possess these benefits. Companies are therefore advised to trade-off between positioning their brand along a brand benefit that appeals to a country, while ensuring that this positioning is distinct from the positioning of competing brands. If a multinational company prefers using one global strategy, then focusing on quality is recommended.

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ERIM Top-Core Articles
International Journal of Research in Marketing
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

van der Lans, R., van Everdingen, Y., & Melnyk, V. (2016). What to stress, to whom and where? A cross-country investigation of the effects of perceived brand benefits on buying intentions. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 33(4), 924–943. doi:10.1016/j.ijresmar.2016.05.002