Academic journal article Journal of Management Research

The Country of Origin Effect for Brazilian Fresh Fruits: A Study Using Partial Least Squares Procedures

Academic journal article Journal of Management Research

The Country of Origin Effect for Brazilian Fresh Fruits: A Study Using Partial Least Squares Procedures

Article excerpt

Abstract

The image of a product or brand refers to the set of associations related to this product or brand, which is stored in the consumer's memory, and it directly affects the evaluation of products made in this country, leading to what is called "country of origin effect" ("COO effect"). In spite of this subject's importance, Brazilian studies on the effects related to COO information are still in their first steps. This study intended to investigate the COO effect in the consumer's evaluation process of buying alternatives, considering Brazilian fresh fruits. The problem investigated was: What is the impact of Brazil's image in the evaluation of this country's fresh fruits? A quantitative, descriptive study was carried out. The empirical research has used an indirect approach to measure the COO effect, which has not been seen before in past researches: a structural equation modeling approach. The resulting dimensions of Brazil's image found were Product Evaluation, Brazil's Respect and Importance, Art Evaluation, Affection toward Brazil and Communication and Distribution Evaluation. In conclusion, it was seen that the COO effect exists for Brazilian fresh fruits and it is positive, meaning that the image respondents have about Brazil positively affects their attitudes toward such product.

Keywords: Country image, Country of origin effect, Brazil, fresh fruits, PLS.

1. Introduction

The image of a product or brand refers to the set of associations related to this product or brand, which is stored in the consumer's memory. A positive image is associated to the consumer's loyalty to the product or brand, his or her positive beliefs about their attributes and his or her disposition to look for the product or brand on stores. Consumers have mental images of products, as well as images of different countries, including product suppliers and touristic destinations, among other possibilities. In an analogy, it can be said that the image of a country is the set of associations that exist between the country and other information, which is stored in the consumer's memory.

As for Roth and Diamantopoulos (2009) and Laroche et al. (2005), the existing literature about "country image" did not reach a consensus on how to conceptualize and operationalize this construct, as explained below. A common fact in different concepts of country image is the consideration of this concept's multidimensionality, referring not only to product-related aspects but to other elements. The images consumers form about a country are based on the inferences performed from both marketing and ambient stimuli, as well as the people's perception of the country's population, economic development and quality of products made in this country (Jaffe and Nebenzahl, 2001).

Still according to Jaffe and Nebenzahl (2001), the image of a country affects its product's evaluation. In turn, the experience with products leads to changes in country image. The image of a country directly affects the evaluation of products made in this country, leading to what is called "country of origin effect" (COO effect), which is the object of this study.

The COO effect has received many definitions in the literature, referring generally to the influence of information about a country on the attitudes and behaviour toward a product or brand. This issue is especially important due to the growth of the international market and to the advent of new production technologies. Marketing professionals can take advantage of COO effect, using its positive biases or neutralizing negative ones over consumers' perception during their buying process' decision taking.

In spite of this subject's importance, Brazilian studies on the effects related to COO information are still in their first steps, stressing the importance of this study. The Brazilian investigations on this issue are characterized by a strong descriptive component, aiming to detect the existence of COO effects, among other objectives (Ayrosa, 2000). …

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