Global Branding in a Rapidly Changing Environment

Call for papers for: International Marketing Review

Global Branding in a Rapidly Changing Environment


Submissions for the special issue begin 30 April 2021, and end 30 August 2021.

Over the past 20 years, the world has witnessed the emergence of a relentless push towards global market integration, fueled by global media, the Internet, mobile communications, and the free movement of capital and goods, leading to worldwide investment and production strategies (Talay et al., 2015; Wang, He & Barnes, 2017; Xie et al., 2015). With rising levels of globalization, consumers have increasingly come into contact with products and services from diverse cultures that are different from their own (Torelli et al., 2017), and there has been a corresponding growth in the study of consumer behavior in the context of global branding. The latter literatures have focused on questions such as why (or when) do consumers prefer global brands, the impacts of global consumer culture (GCC) on consumer purchasing, and how firms can implement effective global consumer culture positioning (GCCP) (e.g. Alden et al., 1999; Steenkamp et al., 2003; Davvetas et al., 2015; Xie et al., 2015; see the 2019 Special Issues of IMR on Global Consumer Culture). However, three key forces are in a state of flux, and we encourage global branding researchers to focus their efforts on addressing one or more of the following three broad issues:


Political Context

The recent political and economic events of Brexit, “America First” policy, America’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, trade disputes, the refugee crisis in Europe, and heightened xenophobia, among other issues, have slowed down the process of global market integration (Steenkamp, 2019). Indeed, the renascence of consumer ethnocentrism, patriotism, local identity, and global company animosity has shadowed the prospect of global brands (Alden et al., 2013; He and Wang, 2015; Steenkamp, 2017). Thus, in an age of emerging and growing antipathy towards globalization, perhaps fueled by global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, a relevant issue within the global branding literature needs to be answered: to what extent do global brands and global branding matter? There are numerous avenues which can be explored under this broad umbrella, and authors are welcome to adopt multidisciplinary perspectives, macro or micro, in addressing the issue.

For instance, the following questions and issues may stimulate some ideas (but are not exclusive in defining the agenda):

  • What is the future of global brands, and how may this vary across geopolitical contexts? What is the research agenda in this area?
  • What impact do sociopolitical and psychopolitical forces have on consumers’ responses to global and local brands? For instance, what are the various impacts of the recent renascence of consumer ethnocentrism, patriotism, local identity, and global company animosity on global branding?
  • What strategies can global and local marketers adopt to negotiate multiple complex emerging sociopolitical and psychopolitical landscapes?
  • How does identity politics shape consumer behavior in the context of global marketing?
  • How do global brands fair in the economic and political aftermath of global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Global brands’ engagement in sociopolitical issues: what are the consequences?
  • How do facets of ethnocentrism (e.g., preference, superiority, exploitation – see Bizumic (2019)) differentially shape consumer’s psychological outcomes and behaviors towards global businesses?
  • How effective is the use of GCCP in the age of anti-globalization?
  • Do perceptions of the extent to which a brand is global ever hurt a brand or a company’s marketing success? Are there dark sides and liabilities of perceived brand globalness? What role do global brands play in creating and disseminating global movements (e.g., #metoo, #occupyWallStreet, Extinction Rebellion, #BlackLivesMatter)?


Technological Context

Furthermore, it is widely recognized that the digital technology has been one of the most important tools for modern day brand globalization. Over the past two decades, digital platforms have revolutionized marketing, offering new ways to reach, inform, engage, sell to, learn about, and provide service to customers (Lamberton and Stephen, 2016). While building a global brand is a long and painstaking process that requires significant time and resource investment (Steenkamp, 2017), with the help of digital technology, global companies have substantially reshaped their organizations and changed the way to build global brands. It is possible to build a global brand even for a start-up in a very short time, such as Google, Facebook, Linked-in, and Groupon (Özsomer et al. 2012). As such, born globals often leverage platform ecosystem and digital technology to get competitive advantages (Van Alstyne et. 2016). To expand our knowledge regarding this emerging issue, we highlight the following research questions, among others:

  • What are the opportunities and challenges for global branding in the age of digitization-driven globalization?
  • How do global companies manage global brand images in social media across countries?
  • Global branding and platform-based branding
  • How do global companies co-create global brands with various stakeholders in a diverse world?
  • Global branding and value co-creation.
  • How does digital technology change the building processes and procedures of born globals?


Cultural Context

Culture has long been recognized as playing a significant role in influencing consumers’ attitudes toward global brands and their perceptions of PBG (Akaka and Alden, 2010; Steenkamp and De Jong, 2010). While there is a general agreement that global branding should be operate in accordance with the cultural value priorities of different countries on a global basis, the literature is less clear on how to build a global brand on a local basis. A particularly important manifestation of this knowledge gap is the lack of global branding research that specially addresses unique features in local cultures (He and Wang, 2017; Wang, et al. 2017). For example, Confucian societies tend to put more emphases on group social norms, self-other connection, obligation, renqing and face, and the latter may enhance the acceptability and manifestation of conspicuous consumption activities with respect to prestigious global brands (Huang and Wang, 2018; Lin and Wang, 2009; Wang et al., 2000; Wang and Chen, 2004; Wang and Lin 2010). Such cultural values may influence the way that global branding is undertaken in Confucian societies relative to more Western cultures. In addition, although PBG has been become a core concept in global branding literature, little is known regarding what drives PBG and how PBG and perceived brand localness (PBL) can coexist within a brand, especially in cross-cultural contexts (He and Wang 2017). With these considerations, we see a plethora of potential research questions of interest, including (and not restricted to):

  • How do luxury global brands adapt their marketing strategies across the global contexts? What are the benefits and drawback?
  • To what extent is there an acculturation process occurring in cross-cultural consumption manifestations of luxury products, as implied by Cleveland and Bartsch’s (2019) model?
  • How do local cultures influence global branding and consumers’ attitudes toward global brands?
  • How do marketers combine GCC and local consumer culture (LCC) in brand positioning?
  • What kind of brand concepts help to promote or reduce PBG? Are there difference across countries and cultures?
  • How do country-level values interplay with individual personal-level dispositions in driving consumers’ attitudes toward global brands?
  • Are there national or cultural differences in the factors shaping consumers’ perceptions of brand ethicality and brand morality, and what role do the latter have on consumer behavior?
  • Separation from GCC, and the fear of loss of local identity: the role of global brands, and consumer responses.
  • A myriad of GCCs? The process of consumer creolization and the creation of new cultural identities.

In sum, many unresolved global branding issues await future research. The objective of this special issue is to advance knowledge about how political, technological, and cultural forces reshape global branding. We encourage scholars with diverse scholarly and disciplinary backgrounds to submit papers to address the aforementioned questions.

Authors should submit full papers to this IMR Special Issue through the ‘ScholarOne Manuscript portal (, to be reviewed for publication in the special issue. For any inquires, please send to the guest editors: 

Cheng Lu Wang (University of New Haven), [email protected]

Jiaxun He (East China Normal University), [email protected]



Akaka, M. A., and Alden, D. L. (2010), “Global brand positioning and perceptions: International advertising and global consumer culture”, International Journal of Advertising, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 37-56.

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Alden, D. L., Kelley, J. B., Riefler, P., Lee, J. A., and Soutar, G. N. (2013), “The effect of global company animosity on global brand attitudes in emerging and developed markets: does perceived value matter?” Journal of International Marketing, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 17-38.

Bizumic, B. (2019), “Effects of the dimensions of ethnocentrism on consumer ethnocentrism: An examination of multiple mediators, International Marketing Review”, Vol. 36 No. 5, pp. 748-770.

Cleveland, M. and Bartsch, F. (2019), “Global consumer culture: epistemology and ontology”, International Marketing Review, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 556-580.

Davvetas, V., Sichtmann, C., and Diamantopoulos, A. (2015), “The impact of perceived brand globalness on consumers' willingness to pay”, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Vol.32 No 4, pp. 431-434.

He, J. and Wang, C. L. (2015), “The Impact of Cultural Identity and Consumer Ethnocentrism on Buying Domestic vs. Import Brands: An Empirical Study in China”, Journal of Business Research, Vol. 68 No. 6, pp. 1225-1233.

He, J. and Wang, C. L. (2017), “How global brands incorporating local cultural elements increase consumer purchase likelihood”, International Marketing Review, Vol. 34 No 4, pp. 463-479.

Huang, Z. and Wang, C. L. (2018), “Conspicuous consumption in emerging market: The case of Chinese migrant workers”, Journal of Business Research, Vol 86, May, pp. 366-373.

Lamberton, C., and Stephen, A. T. (2016), “A thematic exploration of digital, social media, and mobile marketing: Research evolution from 2000 to 2015 and an agenda for future inquiry”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 80 No. 6, pp. 146-172.

Lin, X. and Wang, C. L. (2010), “The heterogeneity of Chinese consumer values: a dual structure explanation”, Cross-Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 17 No. 3, pp. 244-256

Özsomer A., Batra R., Chattopadhyay A. and Hofstede F. (2012), “A global brand management roadmap”, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Vol. 1, No. 29, pp. 1-4.

Talay, M. B., Townsend, J. D., and Yeniyurt, S. (2015), “Global brand architecture position and market-based performance: the moderating role of culture”, Journal of International Marketing, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 55-72.

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Torelli, C. J., Ahluwalia, R., Cheng, S. Y., Olson, N. J., and Stoner, J. L. (2017), “Redefining home: how cultural distinctiveness affects the malleability of in-group boundaries and brand preferences”, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 44 No. 1, pp. 44-61.

Van Alstyne, M. W., Parker, G. G., and Choudary, S. P. (2016), “Pipelines, platforms, and the new rules of strategy”, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 94 No. 4, pp. 54-62.

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Wang, C. L. and Chen, Z. X. (2004), “Consumer ethnocentrism and willingness to buy domestic products in a developing country setting: testing moderating effects”, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 21 No. 6, pp. 391-400

Wang, C. L., He, J. X. He and Barnes, B. (2017), “Brand management and consumer experience in emerging markets: directions for future research”, International Marketing Review, Vol. 34 No. 4, pp. 458-462.

Wang, C. L. and Lin, X. (2010), “Migration of Chinese consumption values: traditions, modernization, and cultural renaissance”, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 88 No. 3, pp. 399 –409.

Xie, Y., Batra, R., and Peng, S. (2015), “An extended model of preference formation between global and local brands: The roles of identity expressiveness, trust, and affect”, Journal of International Marketing, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 50-71.


About the guest editors:

Cheng Lu Wang, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Marketing, University of New Haven. Dr. Wang has published over 80 refereed papers in high impact journals, including International Marketing Review, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Business Research, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of World Business, and Journal of Business Ethics, among others. Dr. Wang has extensive editorial experience, including serving as Special Issue guest editor for Industrial Marketing Management, International Marketing Review, and Journal of Business Research, etc.

Jiaxun He, Ph.D., Professor of Marketing and Co-Dean of Asia Europe Business School at East China Normal University. He is also the founder and director of Institute for Nation(al) Branding Strategy. His research focuses on global branding and nation branding, customer-based brand equity and brand relationships, and branding in emerging markets. His publications have appeared in many marketing and business journals, including International Marketing Review, Journal of Business Research, Industrial Marketing Management, and Computers in Human Behavior, among others.