Research documents that consumers with a stronger belief in global citizenship through global brands (GCGB) view branded products as more important and prefer global to local brands. We test the mediating effects of consumer use of quality and self-identity brand signals on the relationships between GCGB and the importance attributed to branded products (Study 1: U.S. and Russia) as well as purchases of global brands (Study 2: U.S., U.K, and Russia). Our research establishes that consumer involvement with branded products and purchases of global brands revolves around consumers' use of brands as signals of quality and self-identity. In the developing country, results document mediation effects for the use of both quality and self-identity signals on the importance of branded products and global brand purchases. In developed countries, we find that the importance of branded products is explained by a greater use of brands as self-identity signals, whereas purchases of global brands are explained by a greater use of quality signals. Overall, consumers with a stronger belief in GCGB are more likely to use brands as symbolic signals and to express their identity through brands, and consumer use of global brands as quality signals provides a distinct competitive advantage to global brands in both developed and developing countries.
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