The purpose of this study is to explore the factors that influence the launch of brands into new markets in a global environment. Although multiple streams of literature exist with respect to the entry of brands into new markets and the diffusion of new brands within and across markets, the process of launching products and brands globally over time has received relatively limited attention. To address this issue, this study incorporates multiple indicators of activities that can contribute to experiential learning relevant for launching brands in a global marketplace. Market uncertainty and experiential learning provide a conceptual foundation for the development of relevant hypotheses, which are tested in the context of the global automotive industry from 1981 to 2004. A discrete time event history analysis with time-varying independent variables is employed to estimate the effects of the independent variables on the probability of a brand being launched in a specific market. The global brand launch observations are extracted from a proprietary dataset containing the global dispersion of automotive brands including 22 countries of origin and 42 countries of brand entry. The sample yields 50,572 spells, derived from 99 companies, 173 brands, and 700 market entries. The results of this study contribute to the literature in a variety of ways. Market attractiveness positively influences the propensity of a brand to be launched into a new market. This supports the idea that potential demand conditions are an important managerial consideration in product introduction decisions. The results reveal significant effects with respect to the role of psychic distance and experiential learning. Brands are reluctant to launch into countries that are culturally and economically less similar to the home market. Yet firms tend to place a lower degree of emphasis on factors of cultural distance when launching brands into larger markets, and global experience enables companies to overcome the uncertainties associated with launching brands into international markets that are economically distant. The results also suggest that companies are more likely to introduce additional brands in markets where they already have a presence. Overall, global dispersion and geographic scope, coupled with local market knowledge facilitate the launch of brands globally. From a managerial perspective, this study suggests companies should focus on acquiring both local and global experience to facilitate the launch of products and brands in the global marketplace.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Strategy and Management
- Management of Technology and Innovation