Liu, Y., Öberg, C., Tarba, S., & Xing, Y. (2018). Brand management in mergers and acquisitions: Emerging market multinationals venturing into advanced economies. International Marketing Review, 35(5), 710-732. DOI: 10.1108/IMR-01-2017-0011

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to focus on emerging market companies that internationalize into advanced economies by means of acquisitions and to investigate brand management during post-acquisition integration from a multi-level perspective and to identify how a brand management strategy can be constructed. It takes into account the influences of country-of-origin image, corporate brand and brand portfolio to obtain a granular view of post-acquisition brand management.

Design/methodology/approach: A multiple case study approach was adopted. By using case studies and storytelling qualitative research methods, the empirical setting was related to the acquisitions undertaken by Chinese companies in Germany.

Findings: The authors identified three mechanisms for brand management in the post-acquisition integration of emerging market companies – namely, transferring, dynamically redeploying and categorizing – that underpin the interconnection and combined influence of country-of-origin image at the national level, corporate brand at the organizational level and brand portfolio at the product level.

Practical implications: Brand has been viewed as a strategic asset in Chinese cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&As). Brand management is a dynamic process that involves learning and interaction between the acquirer and target. The research offers a practical guideline for both acquirers and targets in managing brand in the context of acquisitions undertaken by emerging market companies in advanced economies.

Originality/value: The findings provide important insights into the brand management strategies adopted in Chinese cross-border M&As in particular, and emerging market companies venturing into advanced economies in general. The interlinking of country, company and product levels introduces new ideas to the brand literature related to acquisitions, and the setting of Chinese companies acquiring German ones constitutes an important contribution to the understanding of the different ways in which companies from emerging economies may pursue branding strategies in the context of cross-border M&As.