Inconsistencies in global brands and their affect on consumers' perceptions

Master's Thesis, 2015

163 Pages, Grade: 110





Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Literature Review
2.1. Global Brands and Local Brands
2.1.1. Brands and branding
2.1.2. Types of Brands Global Brands Definition Local Brands Definition
2.1.3. Reasons to choose Reasons to choose global brands Company related reasons Consumer related reasons a. Quality and Price b. Prestige c. Others Reasons to choose local brands Company related reasons Consumer related reasons a. Trust b. Health Value c. Others
2.2. Global Brands with Inconsistencies
2.2.1. Globalization
2.2.2. Global Expansion
2.2.3. Brand Inconsistencies Global Brands with different names Global Brands with different logos Global Brands with different positioning strategies
2.3. Hypothesis

Chapter 3. Methodology
3.1. Survey Instrument
3.2. Questionnaire Design

Chapter 4. Data Analysis
4.1. Global Brands without inconsistencies
4.2. Global Brands with Different Brand Names
4.3. Global Brands with Different Brand Logos
4.4. Global Brands with Different Brand Positioning Strategies Regardless of the specifying the strategy
4.5. Global Brands with Different Brand Positioning Strategies Premium strategy in home country
4.6. Global Brands with Different Brand Positioning Strategies Value for money in home country

Chapter 5. Discussion
5.1. Change in consumer evaluation
5.2. Perception of the difference
5.3. Change in likelihood of purchase

Chapter 6. Conclusion

Chapter 7. Limitation and Future Directions

Appendix A. Survey Instrument

Appendix B. Tables Appendix C. Bibliography


Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who directly or indirectly helped me while I was writing my master thesis.

I also would like to pay my gratitude to my prof. Dr. Gulen Sarial Abi for her excellent support throughout my thesis. Although we were in different countries, she always created time for me and gave her valuable comments and advises for my master thesis. I am grateful for her support and understanding. I also wish to thank To my mother who supported me throughout my journey, To my father who would be proud of this accomplishments To my grandmother who always wanted the best for me and I always feel her support in me even if she is not with us anymore, To my aunts who always believed in me and motivated me to do more To Ezgi, who I grew up together and who opened all of her opportunities to me while I was writing my thesis.

Lastly, I would like to thank all my friends, classmates, relatives and my colleagues who constantly motivated me and gave me the strength to give my best and to keep moving forward.


Recently, a lot of big corporations are pruning their portfolio just to be present with their big global brands. Even if it seems like managing global brands are easy, a lot of companies are facing with problems.

Many global brands are using different names, different logos or different positioning strategies around the globe. Especially in an increasingly global world, consumers’ likelihood of noticing these differences have been dramatically increased. Suprisingly, so far the effects of these differences were ignored by both scholars and practitioners. This study strikes the first match about this topic.

Consumers’ evaluation of the global brands’ attributes, the perception of these differences and likelihood of purchase are investigated in the case of three conditions; global brands with different names, with different logos and with different positioning strategies.

In all conditions, consumers’ evaluation about attributes of brands is changing. In line with previous literature, a high percentage of people perceive the differences as local adaptations. Lastly but most importantly, it is found that likelihood of purchase both in home country and in abroad is decreased in all the cases.


There is a big competition amongst the all the brands around the world and every marketer is trying to create the best brand value in consumer’s mind in order to be rewarded by the highest financial returns (Özsomer,2012).

In an increasingly global world, many companies are cutting the number of their brands in order to go global only with their strongest brands (Johansson and Ronkainen, 2004). However many global brands use different names, different logos or different positioning strategies across the world due to historical reasons (De Mooij, 2013). According to the increasing number of mobile consumers and the technologies which makes people access any information in the world, it is important to understand how these inconsistencies affects the consumers’ perceptions about the global brands.

While I was working in a global headquarter, I realized that companies have a lot of complexities with their global brands due to these inconsistencies. Therefore, I would like to study deeper about how consumers feel when they realize these differences across the globe. When I was looking for some information, I realized that researchers made many studies about the perception differences between local and global brands. Nevertheless, there weren’t many studies about how global consumers perceive the inconsistencies between the global brands around different parts of the world and whether their evaluation of the brands changes or not.

Firstly, I would like to understand people’s overall attitude towards global brands. Secondly and most importantly, I would like to understand how consumers’ perception changes about global brands when they have inconsistencies around the globe. I have stated three different inconsistency conditions in global brands when everything else remains the same. First condition is when global brands have different brand names. Second condition is when they use different brand logos. The last condition is when they have different positioning strategies. For example one brand can be presented as premium brand and can be sold in high end stores in some countries and it also can be presented with value for money strategy positioning and it can be sold in discount markets or lower levels of the shelves. I used previous researches between local and global brands to better understand which attributes to asses such as quality, innovativeness etc. Therefore, I can compare these attributes when there is differences. Furthermore I want to understand how consumers purchase decisions are affected when they realize these changes. Lastly, how these differences are perceived by consumers such as whether they think these differences are like local adaptions or they perceive it as different products.

In my opinion, this study has benefits for both scholars and for practitioners. Since this topic of having global brands with inconsistencies is ignored for a long time, I believe this study will give an insight for scholars about this topic and I will contribute the literature by lighting the first fire. Moreover, it also has managerial implications. Firstly, the study will show how people perceive different attributes when they are aware of the differences so that managers can understand whether these differences affects the perception of attributes which brand builders constructed over years and how consumers define these differences in their mind. Secondly, since purchase decisions are also investigated, this study will help managers which type of inconsistencies they really need to avoid due to potential decrease in sales when this inconsistencies are well-known. Due to advanced technology and increase number of mobile people in the world, some differences might be fatal for the global brands.


2.1. Global Brands and Local Brands

2.1.1. Brands and Branding

Branding is one of the most crucial issues in marketing (Keller,2003). According to American Marketing association, brand is ‘"name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.’’ Brands are also seen as the main capital of many businesses. Branding process refers building, executing and enhancing strong brands (Kapferer, 2008). Strong brands differentiate themselves from others and it aids them to define an identity in a marketplace (Aaker,1996). Once the brands are known and trusted, it makes them more favorable in the eyes of consumers and consumers make their decision easier and faster (Gillespie et al., 2004).

Many researchers relate global brands as strong brands and many refers that in order to increase the strength of brands, companies prune their portfolio to go global (Aaker, 1996 and Johansson and Ronkainen, 2004). Regarding international branding, there are one narrow and one broad definition. According to the narrow understanding, international branding is basically states to brand name in an international level (Alashban et. al., 2002). On the other hand, broader approach defines it as processing of developing a brand’s equity in a way which appeals consumers all over world with a positive attitude about the brand (Cheng et al. 2005). Furthermore Holt refers global branding as standardization of products, packaging and communications (Holt et al., 2004). Therefore, there is no common understanding of what branding has in its scoop so it is especially have an increase importance when evaluating global branding and understanding what needs to be involved in global branding strategies.

2.1.2. Types of Brands

According to brands strategy about their presence in world and their strategies, there are many different definitions. Global brands and local brands are the ones which are known for a long time. In addition, recently scholars used different definitions. Glocal, post-global are some of them. Nevertheless, Since global and local brands are present in the literature for a long time, the definitions, differences and advantages are widely investigated by academics. That’s why I used these two types to understand what I can further investigate. Global Brands Definition

In 1983, Theodore Levitt declared his long-discussed opinion about the globalization. It created a great interest both amongst scholars and practitioners. Therefore, the continuing globalization started marketers to create of global brands with great opportunities. As a lot of companies see the whole world as their playground, companies which have global brands were envied by the other brand builders (Aaker,1999).

What is a global brand? Even if there are many studies about global brands, there is no specific definition about what a global brand is (Johansson and Ronkainen, 2004). The problem might come from the different interpretations of the word global from academics, practitioners and consumers point of view.

Even if there are many different global brand definitions, it can be said that global brand definitions changed and interpreted differently over time. When the globalization idea first stated, global brands was presented as brands who has the same rigid marketing mix in anywhere in the world (Levitt, 1983). By time, many researchers were more lenient about the definition of global brands. Many defined it as a brand which is marketed under the same name in several countries with same type of marketing strategies (Yip ,1995 ; Johansson and Ronkainen, 2004 ; Steemkamp et al.,2003). In recent years, many brands started to do some local adaptations. Regarding these adaptations, Inkpen and Ramaswamy defined global brands as brands which have capability to tailor their messages in a local level while preserving the brand image on a global level (Inkpen and Ramaswamy, 2006). Furthermore, despite of many researchers consider the marketing mix use as a first parameter to define the global brand, there are also some other parameters which some use to define global brands such as considering their global brands success in many countries (Ghose and Lowengart, 2001) or according to Kapferer’s work, most manager’s defines global brands only with brands presence in many countries (Kapferer,2005).

Despite there are many different definitions by academics, they haven’t done any quantitative definition of what a global brand is, and this lack of quantification was making global brands hard to understand which brands are global and which are not. That's the reason why the market research company ACNielsen made a quantitative definition about what a global brand is. According to The ACNielsen Global Brand Report, global brands are the brands that is presented in the major parts of the world with sales over a billion dollars but needs to get at least 5% of its revenues from outside of its home country (ACNielsen, 2001). In line with this definition, there were not many brands which can be called ‘global’.

However, there is still a big ambiguity about what defines a global brand. That’s why it is always likely to see different top 100 global brands list in different publications (Dimofte et. al, 2008). Local Brands Definition

While there is a great focus on global brands, local brands get little attention from scholars and practitioners (Schuiling and Kapferer, 2004). Nevertheless, when considering local brands which are far more outnumbered than global ones and there are many dominant players in many markets, this case is especially interesting (Schuiling and Kapferer, 2004 ; Johansson and Ronkainen, 2004).

Even if there is no definition about global brands, literature about local brands is quite definite. Local brands are defined as brands which are only available in a specific geographical area (Wolfe, 1991). It is interesting that, local brands are defined as its availability in region whereas global brands number one parameter is marketing mix which makes a bit harder to compare these two between each other.

Even if there is an agreement amongst scholar about local brands definition, generally ‘national brand’ and ‘local brand’ definitions are misunderstood. While the term ‘national brand’ is generally used to refer to brands which are only available in one country, local brands has a wider definition as brands which are only available in a specific geographical area (Bronnenberg et al., 2007).

2.1.3. Reasons to Choose Reasons to Choose Global Brands

According to studies, global brands have longer shelve lives and many multinational companies are cutting the number of their brands in favor of being only presented by their strong global brands with longer life cycle (Pitcher, 1999). Many corporations are taking their decisions which fuels the growth of global brands. (Özsomer and Altaras,2008). A recent real time example is P&G. In August 2014, P&G announced that they will discontinue with 90 to 100 brands. They stated that they decided to only keep 70 to 80 of its best brands and divest on them. Many other companies also would like to pursue with stronger global brand strategies and there are many other corporations which prunes their portfolio as P&G did.

When the trend is in favor of having global brands, in this section, we will talk about the reasons for preference of global brands. These can be divided in to two sections as company related factors and consumer related factors. When first globalization issues started, generally company related factors were emphasized by many scholars(Levitt, 1983; Kapferer 2008), more recently scholars also concentrated on the consumer related factors (Steenkamp et al.,2004 ; Holt et al. 2004).

2.1.З.1.1. Company related reasons

The concept of decreasing cultural differences and continuous convergence of tastes which creates a favorable environment to produce standardized brands and communication, is not new (Roostal, 1963 ; Elinder, 1965 ;Buzzell, 1968). Global brands can generate economies of scale and scope in production, sourcing, research and development, logistics and marketing. It also leads to a competitive advantage in pricing (Levitt,1983 ; Schuiling and Lambin 2003 ; Schuiling and Kapferer, 2004). Rather than decreasing the costs of production and sourcing, one of the biggest important reason is decreasing the cost of research and development. We need to consider that consumers would like to have the best products in the most affordable prices. That’s the reason why if brands would like to have the reputation of the most innovative, state of art products in the sector, they need to do research and development which requires a lot of effort, time and especially money. Since new products are essential for the future of companies, R&D is an area which companies does high investments. Having a worldwide presence absolutely decreases the amount costs. The success coming from the launch of new products will be highly awarded by worldwide presence (Kapferer, 2008).

As far as advertising is concerned, even if advertising cost is regarded to be one of the business system pillars which is positively affected by the economies of scale in many different literatures, it is also added that advertising is generally not always the one which produces high cost savings (Riesenbeck and Freeling, 1991).

Even if in many past literature, economies of scale brings the highest financial returns, in another point of view, it is also noted that rewards from economies of scale may not be completely true for all companies or products and managers needs to consider whether their decision would fit the market or to the company (Aaker and Joachimsthaler,1999). For example, some product categories such as food category is not a great category to create a global brand as other categories (Ramsey,2003). Moreover, all factors which makes consumers to prefer global brands is actually another factor for companies to prefer going global. Consumer related reasons

There are many reasons for companies to choose global brands, however these are not the only benefits of global brands. One of the most important reason to go with a global brand is consumer perceptions. Literature supports the fact that even consumers who are not in favor of global brands have positive sentiments about global brands (Dimofte, 2008). In addition, according to previous literature, the more consumers perceive a brand as global, the higher opinion they have about a brand. (Shocker et. al., 1994). Along with this perceived brand globalness (PBG), consumers value to a brand changes (Steenkamp et al.,2003). a. Quality & Price

According to previous literature review, global brands’ worldwide availability might make consumers attribute higher quality to the brands due to their worldwide acceptance by consumers even when the quality and the value are not objectively superior (Kapferer, 2008; Keller, 2008). It makes global brands safer to choose (Dimofte et al, 2008) In an empirical research done by Steenkamp et al, it is found that perceived brand globalness is positively associated with perceived brand quality. In addition, it is stated that quality has a significant direct association with global brand preference. Therefore, this perceived quality also increases the purchase possibility and moreover, it lets companies to put higher prices to their products due to high quality perception level. Even though it needs to be clear that the brand does not necessary to be a global brand, but they need to be perceived as global (Steenkamp at al., 2003).

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Figure 1: Relation between perceived brand globalness, quality and purchase likelihood (Steenkamp et al.,2003)

From a qualitative study done by Holt et al. states that people attain a higher quality to global brands. From their focus groups, people gave different reasons for this high quality; while one said she thinks it has a better quality because of its worldwide acceptance, other said that it is more innovative and that’s why it has a better quality. Regardless of why people attain higher quality on global brands, quality signal explained approximately 44% of brand preferences (Holt, 2004).

There are also some differences amongst different countries. Researchers also found out a difference between consumers in mature markets to consumers in emerging markets. Global brands might have more appeal to global brands especially for consumers in emerging markets (Alden et al.,1999).

Overall, everyday global brands are in competition with the strong local counterparts (Özsomer,2012). Since this competition is high, it is important to understand the advantages of globalness on consumers perceptions in order to give suggestion to managers both who works with global brands and who are working with local brands. b. Prestige

Prestige is another driving factor in global brand’s preference. Some authors claimed that consumers might prefer global brands due to their higher prestige perception (Kapferer, 2008).

The reason of higher prestige perception arises from global brands’ scarcity and higher price comparing them with local brands (Bearden and Etzel, 1982). Although there are some exceptions, researches prove that global brands are generally more expensive and scarce than local ones. That’s why Bearden and Etzel generally associated higher prestige for global brands in luxury brands category. Furthermore, in China there are many brands which use global communication even if they are just local. The conducted research has found that consumer’s are choosing perceived global brands to show the prestige even if these brands are not necessarily global brands. It is also noted that generally global brands are chosen in a publicly visible consumer goods such as luxury products (Zhou and Belk,2004).

Steenkamp’s study found that global brands perception transfer higher prestige and status and it increases the likelihood of purchase. Nevertheless, it is also added that quality has a higher effect on global brand purchase likelihood than prestige. It needs to be noted that these brands doesn’t have to be global but they need to be perceived as global (Steenkamp at al., 2003).

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Figure 2: Relation between perceived brand globalness, prestige and purchase likelihood. (Steenkamp et al.,2003) c. Others

In a large scale study conducted by Holt, Taylor and Quelch, it is stated that consumers are expecting a socially responsible behavior from global brands and they are assessing global brands according to their level of social responsibility. (Holt et al.,2004 ; Dimofte et al. 2008). It is also noted that this behavior is not expected by local brands. Therefore, it is just considered when choosing amongst global brands. Furthermore, it is found that social responsibilities explained 8% of brand preference worldwide (Holt et al.,2004).

Global brands are the symbols of a new connected world. People use global brands to express their global identity with the like-minded others. They offer consumers an opportunity to strengthen their relationship (Alden et al., 1999). In Holt’s study, some consumers said that these brands gave them a ‘sense of belonging’ to something bigger. One of their respondents said, ‘local brands show what they are and global brands shows what they want to be’. In the study, global myth explained 12% of brand preference worldwide (Holt et al.,2004). What closely related to global myth concept is that global brands also have a particular appeal with individual accomplishment and excitement (Dimofte, 2008).

Moreover, global brands are considered as more the cosmopolitan than local brands (Zhou and Belk,2004; Dimofte et al. 2008).

There is also another view as consumers in mature markets does not choose global brands in global brand per se, but for simply that those brands better satisfy their needs (Kapferer,2008).

2.1.З.2. Reasons to Choose Local Brands

Recently companies are decreasing their number of local brands. Even if creating new local brands may not be so advantageous, we can not ignore the fact that proven local brands with high recognition from consumers also have many advantages over global ones (Schuiling and Kapferer,2004).

Overall, we may say that local brand’s advantages are actually global brands disadvantages in both consumer and company point of view.

2.1.З.2.1. Company related reasons

Local brands are created and tailored for the needs and desires of the local markets. That’s why the most important reason why companies pursue with their local brand is that they have the ability to manufacture their products in line with the needs of local consumers. Since global brands in general have some standardization which they can not change in order to achieve economies of scale and scope, local brands’ most important advantage is to offer tailored specific solutions for the local consumers. Therefore, extreme flexibility in responding the needs is local brand’s strongest point comparing with global brands. Therefore, local brands can enjoy the rewards by tapping in to markets in needed segments which can not be satisfy by global brands. (Schuiling and Kapferer,2004). Furthermore, local brands can also enjoy the flexibility in their pricing strategy while global brands won’t have this type of freedom due to brands strategic decisions by top management (Schuiling and Kapferer, 2004). For example, In India many global brands are unaffordable. That’s why local brands has more success (Kapferer, 2001) In addition, companies with local brands won’t have any problems with different legislation and competitive environments (Keller, 2003).

Moreover, for big corporations to have local brands in their brand portfolio decreases the risk taking (Schuiling and Kapferer, 2004).

In general, companies have strong managerial reasons to keep their local brands. Consumer related reasons

Even if there are some counter-part studies, some scholars also supported the idea that consumers tend to assess local brands higher than global brands (Han, 1989 ; Nagashima 1977). However, it also needs to be noted that these studies have been conducted a long time ago and the perceptions might be changed over time. a. Trust

The most important perception factor for local brands is consumers’ trust in local brands which is significantly higher than global brands. Since consumers have a long relationship with the local brands, they trust these brands more. In addition, trust is more important in household products, especially in food category. (Schuiling and Kapferer, 2004). b. Health Value

Consumer has higher perception for local brands have for health values. That’s why local brands have an advantage on global brands especially on food category. (Schuiling and Kapferer, 2004).

Local brands have their own strengths in consumer perceptions. For example they are perceived as original and unique. Furthermore, when the local brands perceived as prestigious, it decreases the likelihood of global brand purchase especially for an older age group in emerging markets (Özsomer, 2012). Moreover, consumers associate local brands as their pride of their local market so they generally get higher values from consumers with high level of patrionism or ethnocentrism. (Kapferer 2002 ; Özsomer, 2012).

In addition, Özsomer worked on local iconness and she found that local iconness is associated with local brand quality percepitons in food category. On the other hand except food category, local iconness has no connection to quality. In addition it is noted that perceived quality of local brand is conversely associated with global brands purchase possibility in all categories (Özsomer,2012). Local brands are also perceived as more reliable (Schuiling and Kapferer, 2004).

2.2. Global Brands with inconsistencies

2.2.1. Globalization

In 1983, Theodore Levitt was the first person who opened the debate about globalization of the markets. According to his study, consumers around the world become more and more alike and the global success of having a long list of products that becomes household names is the proof of that. He continues that technology has homogenized the world and created the similarities. Therefore, even if there are really small local segments, they always have their global counterparts (Levitt, 1983). With the time, Levitt's definition was evolved. In a study which involves the participation of companies, company managers agreed that tastes were converging however they all denied that convergence doesn’t mean homogenization (Riesenbeck and Freeling, 1991).

Even though there were different interpretations about globalization, one thing was certain. Globalization became a trend which is not only accepted by the brand builders but also by scholars (Merino and Gonzalez, 2008). The discussions increased the interest in globalization and there were some solid reasons behind this interest. Firstly, companies were eager to enter new markets and gain new revenues as they promise new opportunities (Hollis, 2008). Secondly, when entering new markets, economies of scale which provides efficiency in production, distribution, marketing would be achieved. With a more efficient approach, cost lowers and it has a direct impact on the pricing which is one the main drivers in consumer decision process (Levitt, 1983). These debates and solid advantages increase managers appetite about having a worldwide presence and gathering high financial results.

2.2.2. Global Expansion

With the increase in globalization and proven studies’ results about global brand’s higher strength, many brand builders tried to expand their brands abroad to have strong global brands (Pitcher, 1999). Since being broadly available in many markets is one of the most important parameter for a global brand, it is not easy to expand a brand internationally. Most brands are initiated as local brands and then started to extend in to other countries (Hollis and Fitch,2009). According to scholars’ studies, to create a global brand and expand it internationally, there are two different approaches: Waterfall and Sprinkler Model.

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Image 1 : Waterfall and Sprinkler Model


According to waterfall model, when there is a successful brand in a home country, this brand’s success and its capability is evaluated whether it can be global or not. After deciding that it has a global potential, this brand is expanding to one country and then to others which takes more than 20 years to get a brand to be internationally available (Riesenbeck and Freeling,1991). For example it took McDonalds 22 years and Marlboro 35 years to go completely global (Kapferer, 2008). This model’s advantage is that it is less risky and less expensive (Schuiling and Lambin, 2003).

According to Sprinkler model, when there is one brand in a home country and this brand expands to many countries nearly simultaneously. Approximately it takes 1-2 years to a brand to be internationally available (Riesenbeck and Freeling,1991).

Therefore we may say that with these strategy, corporations creates global brands from the start. Pringles and Swiffles are created with this strategy. It is certain that this strategy is extremely risky (Schuiling and Lambin, 2003).

The most important difference between Waterfall and Sprinkler model is the implementation time. While Sprinkler model enables international availability so quickly, it takes time for Waterfall model. Even if it took around 20 years for many brands to be internationally available, now many scholars support sprinkler model more (Riesenbeck and Freeling,1991).

2.2.3. Brand Inconsistencies

As far as the branding literature concerns, brand management needs to have a standardized strategy and consistent execution which includes a consistent brand name, symbol and positioning strategies (Keller 2008). Brands needs to be consistent over time and across space (Keller, 2008 ; Aaker,1996).

Consistency is especially important when the consumers are more mobile or where media transfers images amongst different countries (Keller, 2008).

The advantages to have brand consistency are gathering the highest brand awareness and the strongest associations (Keller 2008). Moreover, consistency in brand execution decrease the time for processing and increase the brand credibility (Lee et al. 2007). On the other hand, researches also indicate that inconsistency in brand identity might create the discomfort and disturbance (Penitone, 1966). Nevertheless, having a fully standardized consistent global brand is extremely hard and only a few companies are successful enough to have this full standardization such as Coca Cola and Marlboro. It might be said that many brands are not able to have standardization in their brand elements. (Nilson, 1998)

Scholars researched about this topic and they find some interesting data. According to brand literatures, it is predicted that consumers search for the same value from the brand no matter where they are sold (Bengthsson et al., 2010). It is also stated that consumer’s perceive that global brands are seen as brands that are standardized everywhere and they are generally the dominant brands (Dimofte et al., 2008)

On the other hand, a different study noted that even if the brand has the same brand name, symbols and strategies, brands are perceived differently in different markets. Therefore even a complete standardization doesn’t mean that everyone will have the same perception about the brands (Schuiling and Lambin,2003).

With globalization decision, since it is really hard to maintain fully standardized brands due to differences in cultures, it is certain that brands are affected by the brand image inconsistencies across the countrie (De Mooij, 2008). In one study, researchers found that products from home contexts take a different meaning abroad (Oswald, 1999) According to this input it might be interpreted that consumers might assess global brands differently in unfamiliar cultural surroundings than their home context. Therefore, consumer may create multiple meanings for global brands (Bengthsson et al., 2010).

2.2.З.1. Global Brands with different names

Even if in many global brand definitions, it is stated that global brands are the brands sold under the same name all over the world (Keegan and Green, 2004; Steemkamp et al. 2003), this definition is not always true. Brands may have the same brand elements except its brand name all over the world. This is explained by stating that sometimes what global is the brand symbols, rather than the brand name.

There are many different reasons why different names are used in different countries.

One reason derives from the fact that companies generally prefer to expand geographically by acquiring companies in different countries. Since every country somehow protects themselves from the invasion of foreign products. It is easier for corporations to enter the markets by this way. Many of those who bought local companies tried to eliminate the local brands. However, some had to pay for their decisions. Because they forgot that there is a emotional dimension attached to some brands (Kapferer,2008). That’s why If the acquired local companies or brands have high recognition from local consumers, then companies tend to remain this brands (Douglas et al.,2001)

In order to avoid these problems, some corporations choose to leverage on their brands by transferring local brands into their ones. They try to harmonize these two brands’ values. One of the most relevant example is Unilever’s ice cream brand. It is sold under many different names all over the world. Unilever acquired different companies in different parts of the world. Since they wanted to utilize the advantages coming from the acquired company and also their own company, they leveraged these advantages by using the name from the local company with their own logos in many countries. (De Mooij,2003). We may say that in this case it seems like Unilever went global with the help of their consistent brand logo.

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Image 2: Unilever’s ice cream brands with different names

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Another example of a global brand who uses different names is Mr. Clean which is also sold under the Mr. Proper and Maestro Limpio names among others (Johansson and Ronkainen 2004).

Second reason why global brands uses the different names is that language differences. This can be a big barrier to the use of global names (Kapferer, 2008). Sometimes the name used in home country is not favorable to use in other countries or vice versa (Kahn, 2013). A whole different name or a name which is similar to its original name can be used. For example McDonalds in Japan is called Makudonaldo in order to make it easy to pronounce (Riesenbeck and Freeling, 1991).

Even if we know the reasons why companies uses different names in different countries for their global brands, there is no information about how consumers who are aware of these differences perceive this brands. So far, it seems like many companies seems to assume that having a consistent look without a consistent brand name is enough for consumer’s to keep their evaluations stable. Nevertheless, since there is no empirical data proving this issue, one can say that this is just an assumption of the companies to make their lives easier. Notwithstanding, this differences may hurt global brands’ image and in an increasingly mobile world, this damages will be more important for practitioners. Global Brands with different brand logos

Although literature suggest that global brands needs to have same symbols, and some global brands sustain their global image from the help of using same brand logos all over the world such as Unilever’s ice cream example, not all of the global brands use the same brand logo in all countries (De Mooij, 2008)

The reasons to use different logos are the same ones as the global brands with different brand names. One reason is deriving from the acquisitions (Kapferer, 2008).

Companies, in this case, might use the same names around the world but they can have brand logos to leverage two brands. Another example is that the logo might not be suitable for all countries. In that case, companies might use different logos.

For example Henkel’s detergent brand Dixan is sold by 2 different logos in different countries. However, it is also needs to be noted that 2 different logos are closely related with the companies positioning strategies. Therefore in this case, the reason to change the logos is also to signal that the brands has different positioning strategies.

There is no previous research about how this differences change consumers evaluations of the global brand and how they perceive these changes. Global Brands with different positioning strategies

Despite of some global brands definition in the literature (Aaker and Joachimsthaler, 1999; Keegan and Green,2004;, Schuiling and Kapferer , 2004), global brands don’t have to have the same positioning strategies around the world. To satisfy the needs of consumers, positioning strategies show some differences amongst different countries.

There are many reasons in having different positioning strategies for global brands. One of them is that the target segment and cultural habits may not be the same in every country. For example, in Japan, Hello Kitty, the Japanese brand, is targeting not only little girls but also adult women. However in western countries it only attracts girls. That is why positioning needs to be adapted to these changes across countries (De Mooij, 2013).

Another example is from Bacardi. It uses the same product formulation and packaging in all over the world. However, its positioning strategies, advertising, pricing shows high variances across the countries (Riesenbeck and Freeling, 1991).

In addition, there is a story about the brand Stella Artois beer mentioned in Verbeke’s book. Stella Artois has a premium positioning strategy in U.S. and it is sold in the most exclusive clubs and bars in New York. On the other hand, in Belgium it has a total different positioning strategy. It is a common man’s beer in Belgium’s domestic market and it is served in plastic cups in fast food chains (Verbeke,2013).

Another relevant example is from Nivea. While German company has a prestigious positioning in Germany and it is sold under big Nivea shops or in higher levels of the shelves in high end shops, in United Kingdom Nivea is generally sold in the discount markets or in lower level of the shops. Therefore, generally Germans are disappointed by realizing this difference between two countries.

Although McDonalds has been perceived as one of the most standardized brands in the world, one can easily say that they don’t stick with the same positioning in US and in Europe. McDonalds is using a higher positioning strategy in Europe and one can understand the difference from overall decoration and the locations of the restaurants. The difference might be stemmed from their difference in target audience.

Even if there are some examples about different positioning strategies around the world, so far no research has been done to assess consumer’s perceptions.

2.3. Hypothesis

I have mentioned about global brands which don’t have a full consistency around the world. Even if there were many studies which asses some important attributes as quality, trust, prestige, innovativeness etc. between global and local brands, there are no studies on not fully standardized global brands which doesn’t have a brand consistency all over the world.

In an increasingly globalized world, where a lot of consumers are highly mobile and where everybody can access all kind of information through internet, it is important to know how people perceives these differences and how it affects people’s perceptions about global brands (Kapferer, 2002).

Brand name, brand logo and brand positioning are the key important elements for a brand. That’s why I would like to construct my research on how people evaluates the attributes of global brands when they know that these brands are present in the world with different names, different brand logos and different positioning strategies when all other brand elements are the same. I will use the attributes which previous researchers used to compare global brands with local brands. I would also like to understand whether people perceives these differences like normal local adaptations or whether these changes hurt brand image overall.

On the basis of above-mentioned literature, my hypothesis are :

H1 : Consumer’s evaluation of a global brand will be changed when they know these brands have inconsistencies around the world
H1a: Consumer’s evaluation of a global brand will be changed negatively when they know a global brand uses different names around the world
H1b: Consumer’s evaluation of a global brand will be changed negatively when they know brand uses different logos around the world
H1c: Consumer’s evaluation of a global brand will be changed negatively when they know these brands uses different positioning strategies around the world

H2: Most consumers will perceive these differences as local adaptations
H2a: Most consumers will perceive the change in brand name as a local adaptation
H2b: Most consumers will perceive the change in brand logos as a local adaptation
H2c : Most consumers will perceive the change in brand positioning as a local adaptation

H3: Consumers purchase decisions will be changed when they know brand inconsistencies
H3a : Consumer’s purchase decisions will be changed negatively when they know brands have different names
H3b: Consumer’s purchase decisions will be changed negatively when they know brands have different logos.
H3c : Consumer’s purchase decisions will be changed negatively when they know brands have different positioning strategies.


3.1. Survey Instrument

There are two different ways to collect data. One is qualitative method and the other one is quantitative method. It is really important choose the right way to collect data. In my study, since I need to verify and test my hypothesis, I chose to use quantitative methods.

In order to follow quantitative method, online surveys has been used to collect data. Using online surveys has given the advantage to easily collect and analyze the data. Furthermore, since the survey is anonymous, participants do not fear to choose the best well-suited option for them. In addition, the risk of receiving persuaded answers is much more less than other type of methods.

The questionnaires were built on Qualtrics. Qualtrics is a self-administered system which means that the respondents completed the surveys by themselves.

Participants’ eligibility was not determined by any specific demographic information. Therefore, no specific criteria were used to exclude people from the study.

3.2. Questionnaire Design

Having a clear and understand questionnaire design is necessary while making a research. Therefore it is important to have a good flow and structure of the questions as well as the wording. The questionnaire was divided into different parts.

I have created 6 different surveys in order to test my hypothesis. One was assessing people’s perceptions about global brands regardless of any inconsistency reasons. Other five surveys were build on 5 different scenarios. Consumers perceptions and understanding about global brands when consumers are aware that global brands has different names ; when they have different logos ; when they have different positioning strategies regardless of higher or lower positioning strategies at home or abroad ; when they have a higher positioning strategy in home country and lower positioning strategy abroad ; lastly when they have a lower positioning strategy in home country and lower positioning strategy abroad.

While survey which is about global brands without inconsistencies consists of 14 questions, surveys about global brands with different brand names, with different brand logos and positioning strategy without specifying the strategy consist of 17 questions. Meanwhile two surveys which includes the information about positioning strategy consist18 questions.

The first section was about understanding people’s behavior which may give an insight about people’s perceptions afterwards.

Second section was designed in order to understand consumers evaluation when they are buying.

Third section is showing a case about a fictional global brand which has different inconsistencies. All different scenarios had its own survey and relevant designs have been prepared in order to give people a visual view about the condition. For example : in the survey which assess different brand names, the name has changed on the same packaging in order to be visually understandable for the participants. Therefore, definitions and pictures were used in order to clarify inconsistencies. In this section, the main goal is to understand people’s behavior and their evaluation when they are aware of these inconsistencies. Therefore in this section, brand’s globalness, brand’s features’ evaluation, consumers purchase decisions in home and in abroad were assessed. Furthermore, how people give a meaning to these inconsistencies was also searched about.

Fourth section is about understanding the past experience. If they experienced the same condition before, then I wanted to understand how they responded in that situation. Therefore in this part, I wanted to understand how much their purchase decision was affected by these changes and how they perceived these changes.

Fifth section is about understanding consumers behavior towards global brands in general.

Last section is about respondent’s personal information. How she/he evaluate yourself in some personal characteristics, age, gender, occupation and income information is gathered in that section.


6 different online surveys have been spread online and in total 274 people participated. Cleaning data is important before doing any analysis, however in my case, there were no missing values due to forced answers and also no outliers due to not having any specific criteria.

The survey results were processed with SPSS 17.0 to conduct both descriptive statistics and cross tabulation in order to understand whether there is a correlation or not.

Even if all surveys were independent from each other, an overall view shows that my participants were generally young people, with the age of 26,73 as their mean. While 95 people were male (34,7%), 179 people were female (65,3%). Furthermore 38,5% participants were student, 55,1% were workers, 0,7% was retired and 5,5% was unemployed. A better understanding of each survey’s participants and their results will be shared deeply in the next sections.

4.1. Global Brands - Without Inconsistencies

This survey has been designed in order to understand consumer’s general perception about global brands. In this survey, brand has no inconsistencies. Therefore, this survey is like our reference point when we assess the other inconsistency scenarios.

In order to assess the data I used univariate statistics and cross tabulation analysis.

In total, 38 people participated in this survey. Regarding the demographics, 15 people were male and 23 were female. The mean of the participants age was 25,71 and standard deviation is 3,352. Since I had a young population in my survey, most of them were either students (50%) or workers (44,7%). In line with their occupation, they had low incomes, most of them (60,5%) had less than 10.000$ per year.

As far as participants’ behavior is concerned, on a scale of 5 ‘I travel a lot’ statement got a mean of 3,76 (σ= 0,883) and ‘I like to travel’ statement got the highest rate with a mean of 4,76 (σ=0,590) which are signals of high internationality potential. Even though it seems to be that they don’t read international magazines that much (x=3,27 ; σ=1,318). Therefore, it might be stated that their level of internationality is due to their mobility. In addition, ‘I like to try new things’, ‘I have a natural curiosity to what happens around myself’, ‘I give attention to what I use’ got higher rates than 4 (their means and their standard deviation respectively x=4,39 σ=0,718; x=4,26 σ=0,795 ; x=4,00 σ=0,870). Therefore, these results show that participants seem to be attentive and interested in trying new products. It might be a signal that they would also be attentive to big global brands and their innovations overall. In addition, ‘I like to stick with the things that I trust’ has a mean of 3,89 (σ=0,764) and ‘I change my mind easily’ got a rate near to neutral (x=3,03 σ=0,972). Therefore those are two solid signals that people tend to be loyal.

Regarding participants behavior about brands overall and their evaluation when they are buying things, people tend to give a lot of importance to quality and price when shopping (respectively x= 4,53 σ= 0,506 ; x=4,18 σ=0,896 on a scale of 5). ‘Brands are part of our modern life’ also got a high mean of 3,95 (σ=1,064). As previous literature mentioned, people tend to expect global brands to be socially responsible and they give a mean of 3,71 (σ=1,063) for that statement. Conversely, ‘brands are showing who I am to the outside world’ got the lowest mean of 2,87 (σ=1,417).

When Lusol’s definition was given to participants, they are asked to evaluate Lusol’s brand globalness. On a scale of 7, Lusol brand globalness has a mean of 4,79 (σ=1,679) and its mode is 5. Also Lusol’s attributes are asked to be rated on a scale of 5. Quality is has a mean of 3,74 (σ=0,644), which is the highest attribute that Lusol gathered. Other attributes are price (x=3,58, σ=0,722 ) trustworthy (x=3,61 σ=0,718 ), innovative (x= 3,32 σ=0,933 ), socially responsible (x=2,71 σ= 0,898), prestigious (x=3,39 σ= 0,823) and cosmopolitan (x=3,37 σ= 1,101).

Previous literature states that there is a relation between brand globalness and evaluation of the global brand. In my analysis, I have done a cross tabulation between Lusol’s perceived brand globalness and Lusol’s attirubutes. I only have found two correlations. One is between Lusol’s perceived brand globalness and its level of innovativeness (χ2=61,945, p<0.005), and other one is between Lusol’s perceived brand globalness and Lusol’s level of prestige (χ2=55,61, p<0.005). Nevertheless, it needs to be noted that other attributes didn’t show any correlation.

As far as Lusol’s likelihood of purchase in home country is concerned, on a scale of 5 (1- unlikely ; 5- likely) Lusol’s likelihood of purchase’s mean is 3,42 (σ=0,722). In a deeper look, 7,9% are unlikely to buy ; 47,4% are undecided to buy and 44,7% are likely to buy. In addition, Lusol’s likelihood of purchase in abroad if it is available in that market the mean is 3,76 (σ=0,786). In a deeper look, 5,3% are unlikely to buy ; 28,9% and 65,8% are likely to buy. There is a correlation between likelihood of purchase in home and likelihood of purchase in abroad (χ2=34,833, p<0.005). Regarding participants’ attitude towards global brands in abroad, ‘I always choose global brands when I am abroad’ statement got a mean of 3,53 (σ=1,202). Moreover, when people are choosing a global brand abroad, the most important attribute is global brands quality. The second important attribute its convenience in availability. Its convenience coming from knowing the brands follows the list and price is the last attribute when consumers are buying a global brand abroad.

About participants overall view of global brands, on a scale of 5, while participants assigned a mean of 3,84 both for the trust in global brands (σ=1,128) and convenience to choose global brands when traveling^ 1,001), at the same time global brands are overrated took 3,55 as its mean (σ=3,55). Meanwhile, overall they have neutral view for when it is about sense of belonging to the world with global brands (x=2,95 σ=1,394) and choosing local brands that they trust rather than global brands (x=3,08 σ=1,171).

4.2. Global Brands with Different Brand Names

The survey has been designed in order to understand people’s perceptions when they are aware that global brands have different names around the world.

In order to assess the data I used univariate statistics and cross tabulation analysis.

In total, 40 people participated in this survey. As far as the demographics are conerned, amongst participants, there were 14 male and 26 female. The mean of the participants’ age was 26,73 and standard deviation is 6,274. Regarding their occupation, 45% are student; 52,5% are workers and 2,5% is unemployed. Their level of income is generally between low and middle level as 57,5% earns below 10.000$ ; 15% earns between 10.000$ and 20.000$ ; and 12,5% earns between 20.000$ and 30.000$.

As far as participants behavior is concerned, the statements in order to understand international behavior which are participants who like to travel participants, who travel a lot and participants who read international magazines got the rates of x=4,57 σ=0,874 ; x=3,82 σ=0,903 ; x=2,93 σ=1,207 respectively on a scale of 5. It seems like international behavior comes from their mobility. The signals to understand their openness to new things, which are I like to try new things, I change my mind easily, I like to stick the things with that I trust got the rates of x=4,43 σ=0,781 ; x=3,30 σ=1,067 ; x=3,68 σ=0,971 respectively. The results show that people are open to new brands but they are also somewhat loyal.

Regarding their overall view of brands and their evaluation when shopping, on a scale of 5, quality and price are highly important ( respectively x=4,25 , σ=0,927 and x=4,30 σ=0,791) when shopping. They have a neutral attitude about buying only the brands which they trust (x=3,07 σ=1,095). This result is also in line with their openness to trying new things (x=3,78 σ=0,862). Global brands socially responsible act is a need argument is also somewhat agreed by the participants (x=3,88 σ=0,966). Conversely, they gave a lower rate to the statement about brands are showing who they are to out outside world (x=2,43 σ=1,196). Lastly, they gave a mean of 3,45 (σ=1,011) for the brands are part of our modern life statement.

When the brand was represented with two different names when everything else remained the same, consumers are asked to evaluate the perceived brand globalness on a scale of 7, while 1 stands for not global at all and 7 stands for extremely global. Perceived brand globalness got a mean of 4,68 and its standard deviation was 1,716. Also consumers evaluated the perceived attributes of the brand. On a scale of 5, quality, price, trustworthy, innovative, socially responsible, prestige and cosmopolitanism was rated. Highest rate was given to quality as x=3,72 σ=0,960 and trustworthiness followed the top rate list in the second place and got a mean of 3,70 (σ=0,853). Meanwhile, price and cosmopolitanism got the same the mean as 3,45 and same standard deviation as 0,959. Innovativeness, prestige and socially responsible behavior got low means as 3,20 ; 3,18 ; 3,12 (respectively σ=0,823 ; σ=1,010 ; σ=0,853).

Even if previous literature suggest that there is a correlation between perceived brand globalness and evaluation of global brands, however I couldn’t find any correlation between perceived brand globalness and any of the attributes.

In addition, I found a correlation between ‘Quality is important to me when I buy things’ and ‘Lusol’s quality’ (χ2=47,903, p<0.005). Therefore, it can be noted that people who give an importance to quality are likely to perceive global brands quality higher. Moreover, there is another correlation between ‘Price is important to me when I buy things’ and Lusol’s price (χ2=32,339, p<0.005).

On a scale of 5 as 1 stands for unlikely and 5 stands for likely, Lusol’s likelihood of purchase in home country got a mean of 3,35 (σ=0,834). In a deeper look, 10% are unlikely to buy ; 50% are undecided to buy and 40% are likely to buy. Since there is a difference, I also would like to understand whether consumer can recognize the name difference or not. Therefore on a scale of 5, they gave a mean of 3,68 (σ=1,185). In a deeper look, 12,5% stated they are unlikely to recognize the name difference, 22,5% stated they are undecided about whether they can recognize the difference or not and 65% stated they they are likely to recognize the difference. Therefore it can be said that the difference somewhat likely to be recognized by consumers.

When it is asked to consumers how they actually perceive this difference, %35 stated that they would think that it is the same product and probably Lusol is not a favorable word for that country. Therefore, most consumers see the difference as a local adaptation. 32,5% stated that they think these are the same products.15% stated that they would think these are two different products, 10% stated that they would think that since company didn’t want to use Lusol name, it may not be the sameDand lastly 7,5% stated that they would think it may be a counterfeit product of Lusol. Therefore, in sum one can say that while 67,5% would think those two are the same products, however 32,5% states that they wouldn’t think those are the same products.

As far as likelihood of purchase abroad when noticing the different names concerned, on a scale of 5, as 1 stands for unlikely and 5 stands for likely, the mean is 3,27 with a standard deviation of 0,905. In a deeper look, 20% are unlikely to buy ; 35% are undecided to buy and 45% are likely to buy.

Regarding their past experiences, 33 people (82,5%) stated that previously they have recognized a name difference in different countries which is a quite high amount. Amongst these 33 people, 42,4% of them thought these are the same products and other 42,4% of them thought the product is the same but probably the name wasn’t favorable in that country. Therefore 85% of people thought those are the same products. Nevertheless, %15 thought these are somewhat not the same and the distribution follows as 6,1% thought since these didn’t have the same name probably they are not the same, other 6,1% thought the product might be a counterfeit product and lastly 2,5% thought that these are two different products. Although, it seems like consumers’ view tenders in an actual situation since the percentage of consumers who thought the products are the same in their past experiences higher than consumers who thought Lusol and Siyon are the same products, this is not true. Because there is a correlation between consumers perception about Lusol’s name difference and consumers past experiences about name difference (χ2=50,648, p<0.005). Therefore we may say that actually there is no tenderness in view and most probably this difference was due to people who didn’t have any past experiences. With these outputs in mind, we can say that Lusol’s name difference perception is a better representative for us.

Amongst these 33 people, while 39,4% disagreed that having different brand names affected their purchase decision, 21,2% said their views were neutral and 32% agreed that having different brand names affected their purchase decision. Therefore, even if in their past experience, it seems like they thought products are same, still it is also noted that purchase decision was affected even if they states that they think those are the same products.

As far as people’s overall behavior about global brands is concerned, people gave a mean of 3,85 (σ=0,864) to ‘I think it is convenient to choose brands that I know when I am traveling’ statement. There is also a correlation between convenience to choose global brands when travelling and Lusol’s likelihood of purchase abroad (χ2=48,010, p<0.005). In addition, ‘I trust global brands’ got the second highest mean which is 3,57 (σ=0,844). On the other hand, an opposite view of ‘I feel like global brand are overrated’ statement got also a relatively high mean of 3,55 (σ=0,959). In general, people had neutral view of always choosing local brands over global brands (x=3,08 σ=1,118). Lastly, global brands give me a sense of belonging to the world statement got a low rate (x=2,58 σ=1,279).

4.3. Global Brands with Different Brand Logos

The survey has been designed in order to understand people’s perceptions when they are aware that global brands have different logos around the globe.

In order to assess the data I used univariate statistics and cross tabulation analysis.

In total, 39 people participated in this survey. As far as the demographics are concerned, amongst participants, there were 17 male and 22 female. The mean of the participants’ age was 24,13 and standard deviation is 2,736. Regarding their occupation, 74,4% are student; 20,5% are workers and 5,1% are unemployed. Their level of income is generally between low and middle level as 82,1% earns below 10.000$ ; 7,7% earns between 10.000$ and 20.000$ ; 7,7% earns between 20.000$ and 30.000$ and lastly only 2,6% earns between 30.000$ and 40.000$.

Regarding the statements about participants’ behavior, on a scale of 5, participants like to travel and it got the highest rates (x=4,56 σ=0,852). Even though other signals about international behavior of the participants didn’t show high rates as I travel a lot got a mean of 3,44 (σ=1,165) and I read international magazines got a neutral view (x=3,08 σ=1,345). As far as their behavior to openness to new things is concerned, results shows that they are open-minded to try new things (x=4,31 σ=0,694) and also sticking with the things that they trust wasn’t so strong (x=3,56 σ=0,882) is another signal of openness. In addition, they show a neutral behavior when it comes to changing their mind easily (x=3,15 σ=0,844). Regarding the signals about how likely they are attentive to what is happening, it might be said that they are somewhat attentive since ‘I have a natural curiosity to what happens around myself’ got a mean of 3,87 (σ=0,894) and ‘I give attention to what I use’ got a mean of 3,74 (σ=0,910). Regarding their overall view of brands and their evaluation when shopping, on a scale of 5, quality and price are highly important when shopping (respectively x=4,31 σ=0,694 and x=4,23 σ=0,667). They also somewhat agreed that global brands need to do something for society (x=3,87 σ=1,031 ) and brands are parts of our modern life (x=3,90 σ=0,821). Conversely, they gave a lower rate to the statement about brands are showing who they are to out outside world (x=2,64 σ=1,181). In addition, ‘I like to try new products on the market’ got a mean of 3,87 (σ=1,181) and ‘I only buy the brands that I trust got a mean of 3,41 (σ=0,785).


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Inconsistencies in global brands and their affect on consumers' perceptions
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Global brands, Consumer perceptions, Inconsistencies in global brands, Globalization, Global, Local brands, Purchase decision, Likelihood of purchase
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Tugba Deniz (Author), 2015, Inconsistencies in global brands and their affect on consumers' perceptions, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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