The impact of country attitudinal brand equity on country financial brand equity : the case of the United States

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Southern New Hampshire University
Approaching a country as a brand is growing in importance and significance. The advent of globalization, geopolitical concerns and global environmental issues place nation states in highly visible positions where a country’s brand is a concern for nation state policy makers as well as for the country’s businesses and citizens. Country brand equity derives from firm brand equity and the research similarly follows two major streams; brand equity as an emotional construct (i.e. trust, loyalty, emotional connection) and as a financial construct (i.e. brand value NPV calculations, Tobin’s Q, sales, market share) Recent debate surrounding the brand equity of the United States centers on the impact of attitudes toward the US and their impact on US businesses. The aim of this research is to determine, from a macro country level, if country attitudinal brand equity has an impact on country financial brand equity, and if so, to what extent. Based on in-depth interviews with US International Trade Representatives, and the recent literature on country brands, this study uses Granger Tests of Causality to determine the relationship between country attitudes toward the US and country imports of US goods and US export market share. This study then derives, validates and compares three country brand equity models using Structural Equation Modeling. This dissertation contributes to the marketing literature by advancing our understanding of US country attitudinal brand equity and its impact on US financial brand equity. This research demonstrates that the relationship between country attitudinal brand equity and country financial brand equity is statistically significant and that attitudes toward the US impacts US export market share, yet is the impact on US exports is less certain. Specific recommendations for nation state policy makers, business managers and future areas country brand equity research are also included. (Author abstract)