Purpose – The aim of this study was to investigate the extent that consumers prefer the localised packaging over standard packaging, and how the differences may vary across different product types. An ongoing debate facing marketers is whether marketing approaches should be localised as international brands enter foreign markets. In practice, international brands often localise their packaging when sold in foreign markets. This research questions whether and under what conditions is this practice beneficial to foreign brands. Design/methodology/approach – The experiment used a 2 (product type: hedonic versus utilitarian) × 2 (packaging design: standard versus local) factorial designs. Product type was within-subjects, and packaging design was between-subject to minimise learning effects. For each product type, two product categories were used. Findings – Overall, the results show that the role of packaging is more pertinent for hedonic than for utilitarian products. For hedonic products, participants preferred the standard packaging to the local packaging and brand likeability is also rated more positively in their standard package. However, there were generally no significant differences in rating between standard and localised packaging likeability and brand likeability for utilitarian products. The results for the choice decisions were similar to those for the likeability ratings across both product types. Practical implications – A better understanding into how consumers perceive these packaging strategies would help international marketers operating in local markets. Originality/value – Although past studies on international marketing communications have investigated standardisation and localisation of messages in the context of advertising using foreign and local cues, none have examined this issue with packaging. This study also extends past research by examining the differential effects of localisation on hedonic versus utilitarian products.
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- Hedonic and utilitarian consumption
- Product standardization and adaptation