Warm versus competent countries: National stereotyping effects on expectations of hedonic versus utilitarian product properties

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In this empirical article, we examine if and how national stereotypes based on perceptions of warmth versus competence affect consumers' expectations about the hedonic versus utilitarian nature of products by employing a between-subjects experimental design on a US consumer sample. Results demonstrate that higher perceived warmth results in greater expectations of hedonic product properties, and that higher competence perceptions result in greater expectations of utilitarian properties. Importantly, we further show that warmth and competence consumer perceptions of nations mediate the effect of country-of-origin (COO) on hedonic and utilitarian product expectations, respectively. To the best of our knowledge, the study provides the first empirical verification in the COO literature that national stereotype contents (warmth and competence perceptions) actually drive consumer expectations of products. Our findings hold significant implications for the marketing strategies of nations as they position their products, investment and tourism offerings in a highly competitive nation-brand perceptual space. Further practical implications are recommended for global consumer brands. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

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Place Branding and Public Diplomacy

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