Academic journal article IUP Journal of Marketing Management

Country of Origin vs. Consumer Perception: A Literature Review

Academic journal article IUP Journal of Marketing Management

Country of Origin vs. Consumer Perception: A Literature Review

Article excerpt

The concept of Country of Origin (COO) has been used by many researchers in order to study the context of purchasing products made in the home country vis-a-vis products that are available globally. The concept of COO is viewed as an important cue which would impact consumer decision-making process. This paper presents an extensive literature review of COO. The study has been done from a marketing perspective, and it also tries to draw a relationship between COO and Brand Origin (BO), and considers the role of COO in purchase decision making. A holistic approach has been adopted to understand all the related attributes of COO.

Introduction

The manufacture of products is increasing to include global activities and the quest for consumer research in international marketing is playing a significant role in understanding the business activities across boundaries in the present scenario. It is also very important to understand the attitude and preference of consumers towards the products of foreign origin. The Country of Origin (COO) studies would enable the academicians and corporate managers to understand how consumers perceive the products originating from a particular/foreign country; their response to imported products; and their perception regarding COO products-designed in one country, manufactured in another country, assembled in a third country, and finally branded in some other country.

This study considers literature review in the area of COO research. Initially, the paper discusses the literature related to COO, followed by the concept of Brand Origin (BO). The relationship between COO and BO is discussed later, followed by the literature review showing how COO is related to the concepts of brand image and brand perception. In the latter part of the study, a brief review of the literature concerning COO with quality, product evaluation and other product related attributes is discussed. The study also comprises studies based on the COO and its role in affecting the perception of global and local brands.

Objectives of the Study

The main objectives of the study are:

* To analyze the work done till date in COO related studies;

* To understand the concept of COO from a marketing perspective;

* To understand how BO and COO are related to each other; and

* To understand the other related attributes which affect the concept of COO.

Concept of COO

The study of COO has shown many broad ordering effects on consumer behavior, and these effects are more specific to the association of product classes to COO (Pecotich and Ward, 2007). Han (1989) explains the role played by COO in shaping the consumers' perception about goods and services belonging to different brands. COO can play a halo effect or a summary effect in product evaluation. COO has a halo effect when consumers are not aware of the country's product, and a summary effect when they are aware of the country and its products (Han, 1989). Consumers form beliefs based on the country image and form a specific attitude towards the brand in halo effect. In summary effect, they form country image based on the past belief of product attributes and characteristics, and formulate their desired brand attitude. According to Han (1989), COO is taken as an extrinsic cue which plays a major role in shaping the consumers' decision process. The brand is used as a summary construct when the customers have greater access to the country's product information. Roth and Romeo (1992) conducted a study on the effect of COO on consumers' perception of the product to see COO as a fit between product categories and countries. They defined COO as, "the overall perception [that] consumers form of products from a particular country, based on their prior perceptions of the country's production and marketing strengths and weaknesses". COO can be defined as "the country where corporate headquarters of the product or brand is situated, also it can be inferred from the country of assembly or manufacture, and the country of product design" (Ahmed and d'Astous, 1996). …

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