The Strategic Role of Branding in International Marketing

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Merrilees, Bill

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Sweeney, Arthur

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2006
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Abstract

This dissertation examines the importance of branding strategy in international marketing. The research question is 'what is the role of branding strategy in international marketing?' The particular focus is to examine the consequences of branding and international marketing strategy in international markets. Furthermore, the antecedents of branding and international marketing strategy have been studied with the aim of depicting the systemic picture of international marketing strategy in a holistic view. Branding is recognised as a powerful strategic tool for marketers. With globalisation, foreign markets are becoming more accessible and available; accordingly, a brand becomes a strategic tool for firms not only for domestic markets, but also for international markets. However, there are few studies explicitly exploring the issues of international branding from an international marketing perspective. This study anchors the branding concept in a holistic view of a brand and not simply the product itself. Using the literature review as a point of departure, and strengthened by in-depth interviews, a conceptual model is developed. It is argued that international marketing strategy should be the focal point of any new international marketing venture. Moreover, it is believed that the successful deployment of an international marketing strategy determines the overall international marketing performance. To ensure a thorough understanding of the role of international marketing strategy in international marketing, this study also examines the antecedents of the international marketing strategy. Ten research hypotheses are established, three of which investigate the impact of international marketing strategy on firm performance. Another three hypotheses examine the relationships between international marketing strategy and its antecedents, being brand orientation, brand repositioning and international commitment. The other four hypotheses look at the relationships between the constructs of brand repositioning, brand orientation, international commitment, control of marketing activities and culture. The ten hypotheses are as follows:

  1. International marketing strategy is a positive determinant of brand performance
  2. International marketing strategy is a positive determinant of financial performance
  3. Brand performance is a positive determinant of financial performance
  4. Brand orientation is a positive determinant of international marketing strategy
  5. International commitment is a positive determinant of international marketing strategy
  6. Brand repositioning is a positive determinant of international marketing strategies
  7. Control of marketing activities is a positive determinant of international commitment
  8. Culture aspect is a positive determinant of brand repositioning
  9. Control of marketing activities is a positive determinant of brand orientation
  10. International commitment is a positive determinant of brand repositioning
    The research methodology in this study is a mix of qualitative and quantitative approaches. The major advantage to this methodology is the opportunity for the researcher to tease out rich information from qualitative research combined with the objectivity and generalisability stemming from quantitative research. The qualitative research was carried out in two phases. Firstly, I interviewed eight domestic Australian firms to study the features of brand orientation. After that, I conducted interviews with management executives of Australian firms involved in international business, with the aim of strengthening the conceptual model. As to the quantitative survey, the steps suggested by Churchill (1979), Cheng (2001) and Andersen and Gerbing (1988) have been rigorously followed with an aim to producing a piece of research that is both objective and generalisable. The results from the quantitative study using structural equation modelling method confirm significant relationships between the constructs hypothesised in the model. All major fit indices from structural equation modelling analysis show satisfactory results for both the measurement models and the structural model. The essential contributions of this study are the establishment of the role of branding in international business. Both brand orientation and brand repositioning have significant impacts on international marketing strategy, which in turn positively affects a firm's performance. Developments of new constructs such as brand orientation, brand repositioning and cultural aspects are statistically validated.
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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

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Griffith Business School

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The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.

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Subject

Branding

international marketing

marketing performance

brand repositioning

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