Isomorphic Pressures, Peripheral Product Attributes and Emerging Market Firm Export Performance

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Drawing upon the neo-institutional theory of mimetic isomorphism and the concept of the extended product, we identify and empirically evaluate two potential product strategies that emerging market firms (EMFs) may use to improve their export performance while also addressing the financial, managerial expertise, and international experience limitations that they frequently face. We find that EMFs that change either of two visible peripheral product attributes (the brand name or the packaging) to conform to local market norms, on average, are more satisfied with their export performance than those that pursue other strategies. Our results also suggest that changing the brand name to conform to local market norms has more than twice the impact on EMF performance than does changing the packaging. We conclude that EMFs managers may be able to improve their firms’ export performance by changing the peripheral attributes of their products to conform to local market norms.