Globalization and market saturation have led to hyper-competition, which has made a country’s brand image extremely important for companies and their products, since this image may positively and negatively impact consumer behavior. The importance of the country of origin in the consumer’s behavior towards certain brands may generate both competitive advantages, as well as disadvantages. Due to previous experiences, knowledge acquired, or stereotyped beliefs about a certain country, consumers create their own brand country images. If the consumers’ judgement of the country of origin is positive, then this will lead to a favorable perception of the product brands from that country. Also, brands from a country that has a better image are “better placed to benefit from high prices in contrast to a country with a discount, which characterizes brands from countries that have a negative or weak image” (Berbel-Pineda, Palacios-Florencio, Santos-Roldán, & Hurtado, 2018, p. 2).
The country of origin effect, refers to the impact on consumers of the “made in” label, or more generally, the country a branded product or service is perceived to originate from. Products or services from countries with a positive image tend to be favorably evaluated, while those from less perceived countries tend to be downgraded. This effect has an impact on sales, and there is evidence that such an effect does not go away over time (Johansson & Furick, 2018). The Japanese cars entry into the U.S. in the 1970’s was based more on country-specific advantages rather than firm-specific advantages. American auto buyers bought Japanese cars, and not necessarily a Datsun or a Toyota.
With the growth of multinational production, the original emphasis on “made-in” labels has been widened i.e. brands also have “home countries”, so Sony is Sony, regardless of where the product is produced (Johansson & Furick, 2018).
Also, the country of origin effect depends on whether or not the country produces at widely different quality levels (Johansson & Furick, 2018). For example, Germany, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland has very high-quality standards in general, which guarantee the quality of their products. The Koreans seem to be working on joining this group. However, the U.S., Italy and China have widely varying quality tiers or levels, which sometimes render the made-in label useless for quality judgments.
Choose one of the following country/product combinations when writing your paper:
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