Congruent versus Incongruent Branding for Emerging Market Firms

Arpita Agnihotri, Saurabh Bhattacharya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Extant research suggests that emerging market firms that use foreign branding suffer from incongruent branding practices. When consumers realize the discrepancy between a foreign-sounding brand name and the country of manufacturing, they negatively evaluate brands from emerging markets. However, the extant literature does not explore appropriate brand naming practices across product categories where firms in emerging markets have a positive product category image. Leveraging on schema congruency theory as applied by two studies, we are testing for the effects of a brand name’s complete and moderate congruity versus incongruity through a product evaluation, in which one of the emerging markets, namely India, has a positive image of a specific product category. Our findings suggest that due to the unfamiliarity of the phonetics and linguistics of Indian words, brands from India were positively evaluated by foreign consumers when a moderately congruent brand name (i.e., when the country name was embedded in the brand name and the brand name was in English) was used instead of a completely congruent brand name (i.e., when the brand name was in a native Indian language) or an incongruent brand name (i.e., when the brand name was in English with no country name).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-237
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of International Consumer Marketing
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Marketing


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