The best wine is made in France, the best watches are made in Switzerland, and the best TVs are typically made in Japan. Germany is typically known for producing high-quality automobiles.
Consider that you want to buy a TV. Would you prefer a Chinese-made version of the same TV or a Japanese one?
Because we tend to stereotype Japanese products as being of high quality, the Japanese TV receives significantly higher evaluations and purchase intentions than the Chinese one (and Chinese ones as poor quality).
A country image is the overall perception of products from a specific country that consumers form based on their
prior perceptions of the country’s production and marketing strengths and weaknesses.
In a global marketplace where products and services from various countries compete for market share, it is critical to understand how a product’s country of origin influences its overall image, as well as how consumers relate to the foreign product.
The country of origin (COO) of manufactured goods is unquestionably important in industrial brand equity. Consumers commonly refer to COO as the ‘‘made-in’’ label, such as ‘‘made-in-China’’ or ‘‘made-in-Germany.’’ Consumers’ perceptions of these ‘‘made in’’ labels vary.
Consumers use the ‘‘made in’’ label to evaluate specific products. One example is the ‘‘made in China’’ label stereotype, which has a negative impact on other products that bear that label.
Country of origin (COO) influences consumer perceptions, influences their preferences and brand choices, and influences their willingness to pay more.
In a developing country like Egypt, consumers perceive a product’s country of origin as a manifestation of its overall quality; additionally, COO can symbolise status and boost consumer self-esteem.
The rise of global brands raises the question of whether brand-image appeals influence consumer responses differently in different countries.
Consumers in developing countries who can afford to buy expensive imported goods represent high economic and social status, which represents wealth.
Imitating Western lifestyles and purchasing luxury goods from more developed countries boosts consumers’ self-esteem and indicates modernity, according to researchers at the University of Bristol.
A company that operates in multiple markets should identify the national characteristics that may have an impact on the success of its brand-image strategies.
Because one brand may be produced in different countries, resulting in different characteristics, brand images held in
the minds of consumers are likely to be affected differently across production countries.
COO is multi dimensional and it is further divided into Country of brand (COB), Country of manufacture (COM), Country of Assembly and Country of design (COD).
One product can be designed in one country, manufactured in another, assembled in another while the brand itself originates in another country.
This product is referred to as a hybrid product. For example Apple gadgets are usually designed in America and assembled in China and Taiwan.
Studies have shown that strong brands are highly affected and negatively evaluated when manufactured at a less favorable country than their country of brand (COB).
The same studies have also shown that weaker brands are positively affected when they are manufactured in countries with positive stereotypes.
That is to say the brand image of a well-known brand of a given product produced in a famous country for that product is likely to be affected differently from the brand image of a well-known brand produced in an unknown country and vice-versa.
Country-of-origin perceptions have been shown to change over time. A study evaluating the attitudes of Japanese businessmen regarding products from five countries in 1967 and subsequently in 1975 concluded that over the eight-year period, the businessmen’s opinions of the products were modified.
This study gives basis for the field of country image management, which aims to create positive attitudes or re-shape prior country images that, in turn, stimulate tourism, exports, and FDI.
How COO is used in Marketing
Use of the phrase ‘‘Made in . . .’’
COO used in the company name for example “Kentucky” in Kentucky Fried Chicken or Air Zimbabwe
Use of the COO language
Use of famous or stereotypical people from the COO
Use of COO flags and symbols
Use of typical landscapes or famous buildings from the COO