Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions

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Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

  1. Introduction
    Branding is a well-known marketing practice using which the design, symbol or the name of a company is created that gives a unique identity to the company and which makes it easy for consumers to distinguish between the company and other businesses in the market (An and Harvey 2019). The process of product identification and unique positioning of a product is something that is carried out with the help of branding strategies.Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

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More often than not, the brand image of a company has an important influence to exercise on the purchase decisions of customers. Consumer decision making forms an essential part of consumer behavior, that is, the type of behavior that is exhibited by customers prior to and while engaging in a purchase of a specific product or service (An and Harvey 2019). Product branding and consumer decision making form two sides of the same coin, with the brand image and identity of the product inducing customers either to go ahead and buy that product or to refrain from its purchase altogether. If consumer decision making and branding are to be adequately understood, then the cultural orientation of consumers is an area that also needs to be taken into consideration (Baporikar and Deshpande 2017).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay. Cultural values more often than not are seen to constitute a vital component of the consumer’s self. The more global it is that businesses around the world become, the more important is the role that is played by cultural values and cultural factors in general in influencing the buying behavior or the purchase decisions of consumers (Boisvert and Ashill 2018). The cross cultural phenomenon which is seen to occur in such circumstances is a direct consequence of the many different cultural components which are seen to exist among consumers, and as such, culture is one of the most significant factors that can exercise an influence on the buying behavior and tendencies of customers in, what may be termed as, consumer driven markets (Boisvert and Ashill 2018).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay. This assignment is written as a dissertation and it investigates the impact of MNC branding strategies on consumer purchase decisions in the context of cultural orientation in emerging markets, with a specific comparative study being undertaken of the countries of China and USA. The aims and key research questions of the project have been identified and stated at the outset, a detailed review of literature has been undertaken on the subject of branding, consumer decision making, cultural orientation and emerging markets, the methods that have been deployed in order to carry out the investigation have been discussed in detail, including the techniques and strategies that have been used for the purpose of data collection and data analysis, after which the findings of the study have been presented and then discussed.Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay. The dissertation concludes with a few recommendations on how branding strategies may be implemented to influence consumer decision making processes in emerging markets by taking cognizance of cultural orientation of consumers in this respect.Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

1.1. Branding and Consumer Behavior: A Conceptual Overview
Branding maybe defined as a strategy which is adopted on the part of businesses in order to give their products and services a unique look (Botero et al. 2019). An exclusive identity is created for a given product or service with the help of branding strategies, with the sole intention of making this product or service stand out from whatever is offered by rival or competitor companies, in a given market (Bonnin and Alfonso 2019). Branding is quite an elaborate process and there are a number of steps that have to be taken on the part of businesses in order to ensure that branding strategies are conceived and implemented in the desired way (An and Harvey 2019).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay. The business owners first have to determine exactly the manner by which they would like the products or services of their enterprise to be perceived after which steps will be taken to adopt images, designs, symbols, logos and even names in order to make business come across as unique and desirable in the eyes of consumers (An and Harvey 2019). The process of branding can be quite diverse and dynamic to say the least and three of the most important types of brands that are seen to be prevalent in the marketplace are corporate brands, product brands and personal brand (Botero et al. 2019). Corporate branding is undertaking in order to give a business or enterprise a new look, a new vibe and to get it to be perceived in a new way by its target audience, product branding is undertaken to give the specific products manufactured and marketed by a business a unique appearance and identity while personal branding is something that is usually engaged in on the part of celebrities, using strategies and methods by which they promote their talent and services in the most unique yet appealing of ways (Casia and Magno 2019).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

Consumer decision making refers to the decisions that are made by consumers prior to the purchase of a product or service, or rather, the decision that is taken by consumers to buy a certain product or not buy it (An and Harvey 2019). Consumer decision making is influenced by a variety of factors, such as the needs and requirements of the consumer, the purchasing power of the consumer, and the appeal or the value of the product or service that is being offered for sale (Casia and Magno 2019). Consumer decision making behavior may be further classified into three important categories, namely, nominal consumer decision making, limited consumer decision making and extended consumer decision making (Boisvert and Ashill 2018).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay. Consumer decision making is seen to exist more often than not, on what may be termed as purchase involvement continuum. The co-relation between branding and consumer behavior is a subject that is worthy of discussion (Boisvert and Ashill 2018). The type of special attributes that are accorded to a given product or service by virtue of branding strategies or branding processes can influence the consumer to go ahead and buy that product or avail that service more readily than what he otherwise would have done, which is why it is argued that branding has a positive impact to exercise on the consumer decision making process (Botero et al. 2019).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

1.2. Problem Statement
Existing literature on the subject of branding and consumer behavior points out significant details that are associated with the branding process and the consumer decision making process, and the association between the two is also highlighted.Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay. Literature on the subject of consumer decision making also throws light on cultural factors that can influence the buying behavior of customers. However, this is not a subject that is discussed in too much detail in the existing literature, especially insofar as consumer decision making in emerging markets is concerned. Also, it is important to note that the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic and the US China trade war as affected economic prospects for businesses operating in such countries. If MNC’s are to attain success in such markets, they need to be cognizant about patterns and trends associated with customer purchasing behavior in this part of the world. Hence this study will engage in an attempt to understand how the branding strategies of MNC’s can impact consumer decision making in the context of cultural orientation in emerging markets.Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

1.3. Research Aims and Objectives
The aims and the objectives of this research project are as follows –

To provide an overview of the theories and the principles that are associated with important marketing processes such as branding and consumer decision making
To examine the awareness, thoughts, views, loyalty and preference of consumers on the branding strategies that have been implemented by Johnson and Johnson in the area of personal care products
To examine the branding processes and approaches that can be made use of on the part of MNC’s in cosmetic manufacturing industries that are located in emerging markets
To find out if a connection is seen to exist between consumer’s perception of a brand and the willingness of his or her part, to purchase that product.Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.
1.4. Research Questions
The key research questions that are going to be addressed in this particular project are as follows –

RQ 1 – How do the characteristics of developed and emerging markets differ from one another in terms of the consumer based branding strategies that are adopted by businesses operating in the cosmetics industry?

RQ 2 – What are some of the most effective and up to date branding strategies that are being used by businesses especially those that deal in cosmetic products, in developed and in emerging markets?

RQ 3 – What is the relationship between consumer buying behavior and branding strategies with regard to cosmetic products that are sold in China and the USA?Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

RQ 4 – What are the views that are exhibited by consumers on the branding strategies of MNC’s and the influence that such strategies exercise on cosmetic industry in the USA and in China?Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

1.5. Rationale for the Study
The research that is being undertaken is one that is likely to make a significant contribution to the prevailing information on the branding and labeling of cosmetic industries as evident from the case of China and the USA. The buying intentions of customers and other aspects of the customer decision making process that are exhibited prior to engaging in the purchase of a cosmetic product will also be ascertained in this piece of research with special reference to the role that branding strategies have to play in influencing the purchase decisions of customers insofar as cosmetic products are concerned.Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

1.6. Research Hypothesis –
This study seeks to attest the following hypotheses –

Hypothesis 1 – Age, gender and marital status are positively associated and significantly co-related with customer perception of cosmetic brands in USA and China

Hypothesis 2 – Age, gender and marital status are not positive associated with and are not significantly co-related to customer perception of cosmetic brands in USA and China

  1. Chapter 2 – Review of Literature
    2.1. Brands and Branding: A Theoretical Overview
    The brand is a logo, a symbol, an image or even word or sentence that is used to distinguish one product from many other products that are available for sale in the marketplace (Deepa and Baral 2019). By using specific words and symbols to designate a particular product, a unique identity known as a brand identity is created for the product and which in turn gives the product a considerable amount of value (Grenni et al. 2019). The brand is considered to be one of the most important and valuable assets of a business enterprise as it helps customers to identify the products and services associated with that business enterprise in the marketplace.Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay. Customers can easily locate and gauge the value of a product in the marketplace based on the brand identity of this product (Grenni et al. 2019). The main purpose behind the creation of a brand is not only to accord a given product or service a certain amount of uniqueness but also to help it to be easily located when it is launched for sale in the market. Customers today are known to understand the worth or the value of goods and services and are able to understand and purchase and discern among products in the marketplace owing to the brand identity that is established for these products (Keller et al. 2016). Customer awareness about a product is something that is definitely boosted when a product or a service is given a brand identity of its own (Botero et al. 2019).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

More often than not the brand identity which is conceived for a given product or service is something that ends up creating a positive notion in minds of the customers, not only with regard to that product but to all of the other products which are sold by the business (Deepa and Baral 2019). Customers are known to equate the various products that are offered for sale by a given enterprise with the brand identity that is usually established for one or more of these products (An and Harvey 2019).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay. One of the most important reasons why brands are so popular in today’s day and age is because of the crucial role that a branded identity has to play in the establishment of competitive advantage. If a business enterprise wants its products and services to come across as unique and if it is meant to attract the attention and interest of the target audience by virtue of the exclusivity of its products, then a brand identity has to be created for such products (Figueiredo, T. and Castro, R., 2019). The specific logo, shape, word or sentence, image or design that is given to a specific product or service and which in turn gives the product or service a brand identity is something that goes a long way in positioning the product in a way that it truly stands out in the marketplace. It can be located easily by the target audience, its value can be understood by the target audience and customers can gain an understanding of the key differences between the branded product and other products that are up for grabs in the marketplace, simply on the basis of the brand identity of the product (Botero et al. 2019). When a customer engages in the purchase of a branded product or when he decides to make use of a branded service, he has full knowledge of the fact that he has something unique and valuable in his possession (Casia and Magno 2019).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

The process of brand building is one that can be divided into two important components, the first of these is the meaning or the essence of the brand and the second is the experience that customers have when using the brand (Boisvert and Ashill 2018). The brand meaning is nothing but the unique positioning of a product or service, involving an array of specific and valuable attributes that make this product or service worth using and which to some extent justifies the price for which the product or service is put up for sale in the marketplace (Botero et al. 2019). Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay. Once the brand identity has been created, a perception is created in the minds of the customers that this is a product which is worth using, or which is worth at least buying and trying out. Brand identity is something that is strongly related to customer perception. People think and feel about a certain brand what the brand owners want them to think (Casia and Magno 2019). Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.The brands are nothing but perceptions, ideas and promises. The brand experience is something that is created by a business by investing both emotionally as well as monetarily in discovering human needs and creating a product or service that is capable of meeting or satiating such human needs (Keller et al. 2016). What is offered by a branded product to the customer who engages in its purchase is not something that is easily offered by related products and services in the market place. In other words, the branded product is one that is capable of satiating or meeting the needs and requirements of customers in a way that other products are not able to do, and herein lies the uniqueness and the value of the brand (Grenni et al. 2019).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay. More often than not, customers who are attracted to a brand feel a desire for the brand because it is nothing like any of the other products and services which are available for sale in the market and they realize that they can own or possess something that is exclusive when they engage in the purchase of a branded product, regardless of whether this is a garment, accessory or a luxury item (Deepa and Baral 2019). In the most essential sense of the term, the brand that is created by a company is one that reflects the true ethos of the company. It serves as a reflection of the values and ideals of the company as well as its vision and mission. The identity of the company and the reputation of the company is something that is linked quite closely to the brand which is created for one or more of its products and services, and which in turn leads to greater awareness about the company and its products among the members of the target audience (Figueiredo, T. and Castro, R., 2019).

2.2. Important Concepts and Definitions of Branding
2.2.1. Brand Loyalty
Brand loyalty maybe described as the tendency on the part of customers to engage in the continuous purchase of specific branded services and products over others that are available in the market (Kim and Sullivan 2019). As demonstrated by consumer behavior patterns, customers are most likely to engage in the purchase of the products and services of a company on a regular basis if they have managed to build a relationship of trust with this company and if they are truly content with the quality and the price of the branded products on offer. An example of brand loyalty is when certain customers only engage in the purchase of Pepsi from a grocery store in the place of other beverages, while other customers are seen to endorse and purchase Coke, over any other beverage, every time they visit a restaurant or make their way to a grocery store (Papaluca et al. 2020).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

2.2.2. Brand Association
Brand association is a term that describes the deep seated ideas and thoughts in the minds of customers regarding a particular brand (Boisvert and Ashill 2019). Ideally the connection or association that is made by consumers with a particular brand is something that is positive in nature, and which makes the customers favorably inclined towards the purchase of such branded products and services (Richards and Duif 2018). When a brand association is created, customers come to equate the products and services sold by a business with the products or services of the business for which brand value or brand identity was established. Usually, the brand experience and the brand perception among customers is one that is favorable and positive and they feel induced to engage in the purchase of such branded products every time that they set their eyes on it or every time that their budget permits them to do so (Casia and Magno 2019).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

2.2.3. Perceived Quality of Brands
The perceived quality of a branded product is something that has a vital role to play in ensuring its success in the market place. If the perceived quality of a brand is positive, it means that customers are going to buy that brand or are going to endorse that brand in large numbers. On the other hand, if the perceived quality of a brand is negative, then customers are not going to want to engage in the purchase of the product (Grenni et al. 2019). Perceived quality is thus one of the most critical factors that ensure the success of a brand in the marketplace. Those who engage in branding strategies and who seek to give products and services a unique identity using various types of branding techniques have to make sure of the fact that the perceived quality of the brand is something that is fairly positive in nature so that customers are induced to make regular purchase and regular use of this branded product. If the perceived quality is positive, then a business is guaranteed of the fact that its branded products or services are going to do well in the marketplace (Keller et al. 2016).

2.3. Types of Branding
Product Branding – Product branding is something that is widely engaged in by businesses around the world, especially businesses that cater to a global rather than a local target audience, and which have already made a name for themselves for the quality and value of their products and services (Botero et al. 2019). Product branding is engaged in when a design or a logo is created for a specific product and which gives the product some form of uniqueness in the marketplace. The brand identity of the product helps the target audience to clearly distinguish this from other products which are found for sale in the marketplace. More often than not, the branded products are those that come in a number of unique colors and designs, and can be distinguished easily form the other products that are located on the shelves (Deepa and Baral 2019).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

Personal Branding – Another form of branding that is seen to be prevalent in today’s day and age is personal branding. This is a type of branding strategy that is quite common among celebrities such as film stars and politicians (Keller et al. 2016). By engaging in personal branding strategies the celebrity is able to create a good and positive image about himself and the services that he has to offer and which in turn leads to greater attention and interest in the services that he has to offer (Richards and Duif 2018). Politicians are known to make use of personal branding strategies and techniques a good deal in order to give voters the idea that they are the right choice for a certain office and that the public should cast their votes in their direction. Personal branding is especially necessary and is used by celebrities who function in highly competitive industries such as the film industry, where artists need to constantly sell themselves and promote the work that they do, in order to stay ahead in the game and keep rivals and competitors at bay (Richards and Duif 2018).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

Corporate Branding – Corporate branding is a strategy that is mostly engaged in by businesses that are interested in the creation as well as the maintenance of a good reputation in the eyes of their target audience (Kolotouchkina, O. and Seisdedos, G., 2018). Corporate branding is something that is seen to cut across the employees, products and services of a given organization, the corporate social responsibility that is engaged in by the company as well as the corporate culture that is maintained and followed by the company (Casia and Magno 2019). The corporate branding activities that are carried out by the business usually have a positive or a negative impact on the overall perception that people hold regarding that business. If branding strategies are not implemented with consideration and care, this can lead to a negative reputation of the enterprise in the minds of customers, and who may then take the decision to refrain from the products and services that are sold by the enterprise, leading to huge financial losses for the same. Hence corporate branding is something that is quite vital and there are many factors which need to be considered when engaging in the art of corporate branding (Casia and Magno 2019).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

Retail Branding – Retail branding is not a form of branding that is carried out by small businesses but rather, it is a strategy that is made use of by large scale businesses, especially retail giants that are located in different parts of the world (Cais and Magno 2019). Retail branding is something that is undertaken on the part of a large business in order to create a lot of interest among its target audience with respect to the many different products that such businesses usually have to offer (Botero et al. 2019). Unique brand images are developed and promoted so that customers are convinced to select or purchase a particular branded product over many others that are found for sale in the marketplace. There is plenty of planning that is seen to go into the process of retail branding (Botero et al. 2019). It is also important to adopt the right strategy and the right methods when engaging in the act of retail branding in order for such branding measures to be perceived as successful. Retail branding strategies need to be implemented with care and caution in order to create or produce the desired impact among the target audience (An and Harvey 2019).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

Geographical Branding – Geographical branding is a sort of branding strategy that is implemented for boosting the sale of services and products that are unique to a specific geographic location or region of the world (Casia and Magno 2019). It is a type of branding strategy that is deployed quite extensively in travel and tourism industries. There are numerous regions and countries of the world that try to accord brand value to the sights, sounds and experiences that tourists can avail when they visit their country or region compared to other parts of the world. Tourist centers, historical attractions, cuisine and landscapes of a particular region or country are advertised using this type of branding strategy, and which in turn come to be associated with this region (Grenni et al. 2016). For instance, the Eiffel Tower is a monument that people are always going to associate with Paris and France, because travel businesses that offer vacation packages to Europe, and to France in particular, always highlight this monument in their promotional plans and business agendas. The Eiffel Tower has come to be equated with Paris and with France while France and Paris both have come to be equated with and are synonymous now, with the Eiffel Tower (Grenni et al. 2016).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

Co-Branding – Co-Branding is a well-known branding strategy using which the brands of two companies or more than two companies are strongly linked or are associated with one another (Keller et al. 2016) Co-Branding may be construed as a type of marketing partnership between two brands or more than two brands, with the success that is associated with one particular brand rubbing off on the success that is associated with another brand. The strategy of co-branding is something that can prove to be hugely effective in the building of a particular business, in increasing awareness or knowledge about a particular business or in the act of breaking into new types of markets (Richards and Duif 2018).

2.4. Consumer Decision Making: A Conceptual Understanding
The consumer decision making process is one that is made use of by marketers around the world in order to understand the factors that influence a consumer to make a purchase at a certain time, at a certain place and in a certain way (Maniatis 2016). There are a number of important stages that the consumer decision making process is characterized by. The first stage is known as the state where the problem is recognized, that is, the need or the requirement for a particular product is recognized. The second important stage of the consumer decision making process is Information search and at this stage a lot of information and data is gathered by customers on products and services that can be purchased by them in order to address the needs or requirements that have been identified earlier on (Zhao et al. 2017). The third important stage of the consumer decision making process is the evaluation of alternatives.Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay. This is the stage when the number of choices that is made available before the customer are those that are weighed against a wide range of possible alternatives in the market, so that customers are able to ascertain that what they end up ultimately buying is a product that is worth owning (Zhao et al. 2017).The fourth stage of the consumer decision making process is the stage when the actual purchase is made on the part of the customer, and a transaction is carried out to this end. The fifth and final stage of the consumer decision making process is known as post-purchase behavior and it is the stage when customers tend to reflect on the purchase that they have made, to identify whether or not the purchase was worth making, whether it is going to be of any value, or whether it was merely money down the drain (Maniatis 2016).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

Some of the important factors that are seen to have an impact on the consumer decision making process are the lifestyle and the socio-economic status of the consumer, the age of the consumer, the gender of the consumer as well as the occupation of the consumer (Zuschke 2020). All of these factors can individually as well as collectively have an impact on the purchase decisions that are made by customers. Customers more often than not are seen to buy products and avail services which are well suited to the specific age to which they belong (Zuschke 2020). Their socio-economic status and occupation is something that dictates their purchasing power. Customers who belong to a low socio-economic status, and who are not gainfully occupied or who are not doing a prestigious job are customers who will not have the purchasing power that is necessary to engage in the purchase of a luxury product and neither will they have any inclination towards the same. Customers, who belong in their youth, will prefer purchasing garments which are colorful and vibrant for the most part, while those who are older will tend to prefer outfits that are more somber in color (Maniatis 2016).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

2.5. Cultural Orientation and the Consumer Experience
Culture may be perceived as a collection or set of meanings that are experienced by people at a given time and in a given location (Choi et al. 2016). The definition of culture is something that appears to underscore the fact that this is a phenomenon which is primarily psychological, and that there are a number of common or set standards that are established by culture for assessing, perceiving, interacting as well as acting (Kim 2016).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay. The critical role that is played by social institutions and material artifacts in shaping culture is something that ought not to be dismissed. Rather what needs to be emphasized is the fact that the influence of such social institutions and material artifacts, flows through the very psychological process of thinking, reasoning and perceiving (Kim 2016). Owing to the fact that culture functions in the domain of the human mind, there are a number of contextual elements that are capable of activating various types of cultural notions in the human memory and which in turn will influence the perception, judgment and behavior of human beings (Shavitt and Cho 2016).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay. Culture, by virtue of its exposure to various types of socialization processes, cultural artifacts and institutions, provides what may be understood as a collective program of the human mind, as argued by Hofstede. The manner by which consumers perceive the world around them, the thinking styles that come to exercise an influence on their decisions and their judgment and the motivations which drive consumers to make a purchase of a product or service are, as put forward by Hofstede, influenced by culture (Choi et al. 2016). This influence of culture is something that is exercised in a number of fundamental ways. The values held by consumers are influenced by culture, over and the above the goals that consumers are seen to pursue and the way that consumers perceive, reason and categorize the environment in which they live and do their work in (Shavitt and Cho 2016). Even as product availability or national wealth are seen to converge with one another at different levels, and as economic systems become more and more integrated the cultural differences in the purchasing priorities of consumers are seen to persist (Kim 2016). Such differences tend to hold a number of important and significant implications for the way by which the journey of a shopper is seen to unfold. If the process of retailing across cultures could have been undertaken as easily as by replicating a proven and Western formula in a different cultural region, then Walmart would not have failed in Japan and Ebay would have continued running its business operations in China (Kim 2016). The problems that such retail businesses have faced when expanding their operations to new geographic regions of the world is in essence because of a failure on their part to properly appreciate all the cultural differences that otherwise form such an important part of the consumer journey. When a customer compares the prices of products, when products that are placed on the market shelves are evaluated by consumers, when ads are viewed online or on television and when shopping coupons are received in the mailbox, it is cultural factors that will come to exercise an influence on how it is that customers respond to such products, prices, coupons and advertisements (Kim and Sullivan 2019). Hence, the intrinsic relationship between cultural orientation and consumer behavior is not something that can be denied (Kim and Sullivan 2019).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

The notions of individualistic culture and collective culture need to be spoken about when analyzing the impact that cultural factors can have on the purchase decisions of consumers (Shavitt and Cho 2016). An individualistic culture can be found in a society where individualism is the watchword, and where emphasis or prioritization is laid over the individual rather than on an entire group (Choi et al. 2016). The individualistic cultures tend to be mostly those that are self-oriented in nature and where being independent is given a lot more importance than the act of identifying with a collective or group mentality. The collective culture on the other hand is one where the needs of a community or a group are valued far more than the needs of a particular individual. Family, community and kinship are considered to be extremely important in a collective cultural setup and in such a culture, people tend to come together and create harmony, while group cohesion is something that is greatly valued at the same given time (Kim 2016). Cultural differences and the notion of individualistic and socialistic cultures are seen to be particularly important in the fourth stage of the consumer decision making process, which is the type when a consumer engages in the purchase of a particular product or service (Kim 2016). The purchase stage maybe considered as a desired end state in the journey of consumers, and both collectivist and individualistic cultural values have an influence to exercise on what this desirable end state is going to look like (Kim and Sullivan 2019). It may be noted in this respect that goals are nothing but an internal manifestation of the desired state, and when the customer embarks on the consumer journey, he or she may be motivated by two important factors, the first being the motivation to attain such a desired state and then the second being to maintain this desired state once it has been attained (Shavitt and Cho 2016).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay. Owing to the fact that distinction from other people and personal advancement are prioritized by individualistic customers, such customers are greatly motivated or inspired by attainment goals. On the other hand, collectivist customers, on account of the fact that they prioritize stability as well as the smooth functioning of social relations will be motivated instead by the maintenance goals (Shavitt and Cho 2016). For instance, American customers who are individualistic customers as they belong primarily to an individualistic society will tend to value the goal attainment process while Chinese customers who are collectivist customers, will place more emphasis and value on the maintenance goals than anything else (Kim 2016). Cultural differences as seen to exist in self-regulatory processes of the consumer journey, can also have an impact on how it is that consumers perceive the so called desired state and how it is that they work towards or work against this desired state. Self-regulation is the process by which impulsive desires are overcome for attaining healthy, virtuous and beneficial outcomes (Kim 2016).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay. People who belong to an individualistic culture such as the cultures of Western nations like USA or Australia and who value personal advancement are going to be in favor of self-regulation, will view self-regulatory behavior as the type of behavior where internal desires are emphasized upon for maximizing or achieving positive benefits for oneself (Kim 2016). For people who belong to the collectivist culture such as people who belong to countries such as China and India and who value interpersonal harmony or social harmony above individual happiness and contentment self-regulatory behavior is frowned upon, self-regulatory behavior in such a society will be characterized by a prevention focus, where emphasis is laid on keeping the members of the social group well protected from any type of harm and where the focus is on minimization of losses (Kim and Sullivan 2019).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

2.6. Emerging Markets and their Characteristics
The emerging market bears a similarity to a developed market but does not meet all of the standards that a developed market is associated with. Emerging markets have the potential that is needed in order to transform into a developed market in the near or distant future (Kotabe and Kothari 2016). The term frontier market is often preferred in place of emerging market and it is a term that is used to designate markets which are small and riskier than the emerging markets are known to be. Some of the largest and most prominent emerging markets in the world are the markets of China and India respectively.Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay. The process of estimating supply and demand for goods and services in an emerging market is something that can turn out to be quite a trying matter (Rottig 2016). Countries that are characterized by emerging markets are usually those that feature unique commercial environments. Such markets may tend to be greatly limited in respect to market research firms, reliable data, as well as trained interviews (Rottig 2016). The consumers who reside in such markets may pose a lot of objection to being surveyed which is why it becomes difficult to arrive at an accurate understanding of the nature and dynamics of such markets (Kotabe and Kothari 2016).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay. Emerging markets are peculiar in the truest sense of the term and are not characterized by the stability and the certainty that one could come across in a developed market. At times, the emerging market can even be perceived as volatile and selling products and services in an emerging market tends to be vastly different from the process of selling products in a developed market (Heinberg et al. 2019). There are plenty of uncertain conditions and circumstances that buyers and sellers have to face in an emerging market which they do not have to face when doing business in a developed market. Interest rates tend to be higher and the rates of inflation that are so characteristically high for the developing countries of the world, makes the process of functioning in an emerging market far more challenging and complicated than usual (Heinberg et al. 2019).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

2.7. Emerging Markets versus Developed Markets
While there are no established metrics that can be used to make a distinction between developing markets and the developed markets, what remains true about the latter is that developed markets are characterized by advanced economies, with there being no hindrances to the flow of capital and where the availability of resources, be it financial resource or human resource is far more balanced and stable compared to what is in the case in an emerging market (Seifoddini et al. 2017). The emerging markets are found in the countries of the Global South, which are still developing natures and which still have a long way to before until they can attain economic advancement. The standard of living is far higher in a developed market than it is in an emerging market, the infrastructure is better developed and there are more capital markets here than in the emerging economies of the globe. Some of the most well-known of developed markets in the world are those that are situated in the countries of the Global North such as in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, The Netherlands, and the Scandinavian countries (Heinberg et al. 2019). The countries of New Zealand, Australia and Canada are also characterized by developed markets. The emerging markets are those that are characterized by rapid stages of economic growth but at the same time are also characterized by low income households and high levels of consumption (Heinberg et al. 2019). The emerging markets of the world tend to have modernized infrastructure and are well integrated with the processes and functioning of the global economy (Seifoddini et al. 2017). High levels of economic and political instability are experienced by emerging markets of the world, which is why doing business or selling products and services in an emerging market is seen to feature so much uncertainty. The BRIC countries of the world are those that are known to have emerging markets namely, China, India, Russia and Brazil. Countries such as Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain are also known to feature emerging markets (Kotabe and Kothari 2016).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

What sets the emerging markets apart from the developed markets is the fact that investment in the emerging markets can prove to be a risky affair. This is largely because of the high levels of volatility that are so characteristic of the emerging markets (Rottig 2016). There are of course plenty of opportunities for growth and expansion insofar far as the emerging markets are concerned (Seifoddini et al. 2017). The countries that are characterized by emerging economies are those that are characterized by growing populations that can fuel future consumption and which present businesses around the world the scope to expand and grow by a considerable degree, provided they are prepared to meet the many risks that can otherwise when doing business in an emerging market. Investors in the emerging markets can expect a higher return for the money that they spend on business activities here because of the higher degrees of risk that are involved in carrying out business affairs in the emerging markets of the world (Rottig 2016).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

2.8. Understanding the Importance of Emerging Markets
The importance of emerging markets can be gauged from the fact that these are markets that are gradually make their way towards becoming developed markets, they are embracing what may be termed as free market economics and as such are presenting opportunities for growth and expansion for businesses, both large scale as well as small (Kotabe and Kothari 2016). The emerging countries of the world that are characterized by emerging markets are countries which are going through an intensive phase of industrialization. Such markets are becoming more and more industrialized with every passing day and will sooner or later catch up with the advanced markets (Heinberg et al. 2019).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay. High rates of growth and expansion, the large scale availability of manpower and terrific rates of industrial growth and development are some of the key reasons why doing long term business in the emerging market can prove to be such an attractive affair (Heinberg et al. 2019). As mentioned above, the emerging markets are those that are located in the countries of the Asia Pacific. These are markets where business owners can get to cash in on cheaply available manpower in large numbers and can locate the funding and other opportunities that are needed to do business at profitable rates of return (Rottig 2016). There are a lot of risks that businesses have to be prepared for when doing business in an emerging market. This implies that businesses can expect higher returns from their investment owing to the risks that they have to incur when doing business here in the first place (Seifoddini et al. 2017). Due to the uncertainties that prevail in the emerging markets, due to the absence of government support etc. doing business in an emerging market may not serve as attractive for investors who hail from the developed countries of the world. Yet the economic potential of doing so cannot be denied (Rottig 2016).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

A key feature of running business operations in emerging markets is that businesses have to deal with vastly differing traditions and cultures that can have an impact on the behavior of consumers in this part of the world (Seifoddini et al. 2017). It is necessary for businesses that are setting up operations in emerging markets to demonstrate an understanding and respect for the culture of the countries where emerging markets predominate, in order to win over the trust, the satisfaction and the long term custom of consumers (Seifoddini et al. 2017). The cultural attributes and behavioral patterns of consumers have to be recognized and the fact that such attributes and behavioral patterns can have an impact on their purchasing behavior is something that needs to be recognized a swell (Heinberg et al. 2019). Consumers in the emerging markets will not be well disposed towards or a product or service that offends their cultural values and their sentiments (Rottig 2016). On the other hand, they may engage in the increased purchase of services and products of businesses that do a good job of taking their cultural values and traditions into account, Hence the role and the importance of culture is something that needs to be taken note of when doing any business in an emerging market (Rottig 2016).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

2.9. Johnson and Johnson in China and in the USA
Johnson and Johnson is one of the largest and most well-known cosmetics companies in the world that has acquired wide acclaim for its skincare products, most of which are designed for babies and very small children. Johnson and Johnson is a business that has a presence in both developed as well as emerging markets (Heinberg et al. 2019). It is running business operations in the developed markets of the United States of America and it is also doing business in the emerging markets of the People’s Republic of China.Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay. Johnson and Johnson has for the longest span of time enjoyed a brick and mortar presence only and has recently started making increasing use of digital technology in order to boost sales and marketing operations and to make its products better known for its target audience (Heinberg et al. 2019). The online sales growth of the company in the year of 2017 stood at 50% while the market growth of the company in that same year was only 30%. The changing consumer marketplace is something that the company has taken cognizance of, and which is why it is looking to grow and expand its online presence in order to be able to meet with success the changing needs and requirements of its target audience (Heinberg et al. 2019). The company has in the recent past invested in the use of a model that is known as a scanner and which is used to carry out online sales and marketing activities with a considerable degree of excellence, while content management and search engine optimization are areas that have been looked into by the company as well (Seifoddini et al. 2017). An online channel has been created by Johnson and Johnson in China, through which it has been establishing its presence in China in quite a magnanimous way. As per data from the year of 2017, 20% of the sales generated by Johnson and Johnson in China was generated online. With regard to the beauty business in particular, the sales associated with the products offered by Johnson and Johnson via its online platform stood at 30% and this online presence of the company is something that is expected to grow at an even faster pace, that is, at the rate of 35% in the coming years (Papaluca et al. 2020).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

2.10. Gaps in the Review of Literature
The review of literature has provided a conceptual of branding and its many dimensions and it has thrown light on the many aspects of consumer decision making as well. The factors that influence the consumer decision making process and the various stages of the consumer decision making process have been discussed in detail in the review of literature. A conceptual understanding of cultural orientation and its relationship with consumer behavior, as well as emerging markets and developed markets, especially the importance of emerging markets is something that has been made quite explicit in the review of literature as well. What the review of literature has not done, is point out how the branding strategies of MNC’s can have an impact on consumers in emerging markets in the context of cultural orientation of consumers, with special reference to the emerging market of China and the developed market of USA. This is an area of study that will be addressed in detail in the present investigation.Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

  1. Chapter 3 – Research Methodology
    3.1. Research Philosophy
    The philosophical outlook that is embraced by the researcher towards the collection and analysis as well as interpretation of data, at the outset of a research project, and which is implemented during the research project, is known as research philosophy (Shekhar et al. 2019). Some of the most popular and much used research philosophical frameworks are the research philosophy of interpretivism, the research philosophy of positivism and the research philosophy of realism. Realism is a research paradigm that is deployed during scientific research and investigations for the most part, and which helps the researcher to understand the underlying reasons behind the occurrence of specific types of incidents, situations or phenomenon (Mason et al. 2020). The interpretivist research paradigm helps the investigator to interpret the many different dimensions of a research problem and as such, it is made use of quite extensively in the field of business and management research (Mason et al. 2020). The roles and the functions of managers, the responsibilities and the duties that are performed by managers and supervisors are studied in great detail using the interpretivist research paradigm as are a wide range of other social science and business related problems and situations (Mason et al. 2020). The positivist research philosophy involves studying and analyzing a subject matter in a lot of detail based on factual evidence or information (Shekhar et al. 2019). For this specific research project, the positivist research philosophy has been adopted in order to gain an in-depth understanding of the impact that the branding strategies of MNC’s can have on consumer purchase decision making, especially in the context of cultural orientation of consumers in emerging markets, with reference to the countries of China and the USA.

3.2. Research Design
The strategies that are deployed by the researcher to collect data and also to analyze this data are collectively defined as research design (Shekhar et al. 2019). The research design for any given academic project has to be chosen with care at the outset of the project in order for the findings of the study to be presented and reflected upon in an appropriate manner. Common examples of research designs that are made use of by academics around the world are the exploratory research design, the explanatory research design and the descriptive or analytical research design (Shekhar et al. 2019). The explanatory research design helps the researcher to acquire an understanding of the relationship that exists between and among the key variables which are considered for the investigation, the exploratory research design helps the researcher to engage in a conceptual study of the research problem using relevant theoretical frameworks for this purpose while the descriptive or analytical research design is also quite a commonly used research design that helps the researcher to gain in-depth understanding of the research problem based on the study and analysis of relevant facts and figures, as accessed in the public domain (Bird 2017). This study has used the analytical research design or the descriptive research design as this is commonly known, in order to understand in detail, the type of impact or influence that is exercised by the branding strategies of MNC’s on consumer purchase decision making in the context of cultural orientation in emerging markets.

3.3. Research Approach
There are two types of approaches that are usually taken when carrying out an investigation of an academic or scientific nature and these are the deductive research approach and the inductive approach. In the case of inductive approach, new theories and concepts are propounded based on existing or emerging data while in the case of the deductive approach, data is collected and analyzed with the aim of testing and validating a particular theory that is already seen to be in existence (Bird 2017). This study has made use of the deductive approach in order to put across new concepts and outlooks that can be adopted towards understanding the type branding strategies that are implemented by MNC’s in emerging markets and the influence that such branding strategies are seen to have on consumer decision making, with special reference to the cultural orientation of consumers in emerging markets.Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

3.4. Research Strategy
Research strategy refers to the plan of action that is followed by researchers when collecting and analyzing data for a research project and it outlines whether a researcher is going to make use of primary data or secondary data, or both, in order to obtain answers to key research questions (Bird 2017).Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay. Primary data is the type of data that is collected via first-hand sources, which has not been replicated in any piece of work and which has been obtained through the use of methods such as survey, interviews, experiments and/or participant observation behavior. Secondary research refers to the data that has already been collected and used in a given study, and it refers to the information and arguments that are contained in books and peer reviewed journal articles (Mason et al. 2020). This study has taken recourse to the use of primary as well as secondary research in order to understand the type of impact that is created by the branding strategies of MNC’s on consumer purchase decisions in the context of cultural orientation of consumers in emerging markets.

3.5. Data Collection and Data Analysis
The data that has been collected for this research project has been done so using primary and quantitative methods for the most part, with a survey having been taken on a specific respondent population comprising of participants from the countries of China and the USA. The survey questionnaire is one that is characterized by three distinct parts. The results that have been obtained from quantitative study have been supplemented with information that has been derived from key sources of secondary literature, with such secondary literary sources having been selected through the use of reliable and trusted databases like Google Scholar, Elsevier, Science-Direct and Pro-Quest. The quantitative data was converted first into graphs and numbers after which it has been analyzed using SPSS software and MS Excel, with the main aim of the data analysis process being to find the relationship that exists between the dependent and the independent variables in appropriate ways. Both validity and reliability tests have been conducted and the ANOVA and T-testing techniques have been used in this study in order to test the alternate hypothesis and the null hypothesis.Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

3.6. Instrumentation
The survey questionnaire was designed using the online tool of Survey Monkey after which the survey was undertaken online using this tool. MS Excel and SPSS software have been used to analyze the results of the survey as has already been mentioned above.Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

3.7. Sample Size
The sample size for this study is comprised of 200 respondents with 100 respondents having been surveyed from the country of China and another 100 respondents having been surveyed from the USA.

3.8. Sampling Technique
In order to create the respondent population for this study the probabilistic and convenient sampling technique has been used (Bird 2017). The 200 people who were surveyed for this research project were chosen based on how quickly, readily and easily the researcher was able to gain access to them and enlist their participation.Impact of MNC Branding Strategies on Consumer Purchasing Decisions Essay.

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