Country Of Origin Image
The Country of Origin Image or COO can be described as the motivation behind the tendency for consumers to make buying decisions, guided by their perception of the country which is associated with the purchased product. It is essentially one of the building blocks for brand equity when introducing new products into new markets internationally. This could be attributed to consumer’s need to make quality inferences via brand cues, which will help them move forward faster in the buying process. In recent times, the validity of COO image as a brand metric has become arguably questionable, as the arrival of globalization has diluted the efficacy of the country of origin term. These days, an Apple Iphone could be designed in San Francisco, California and manufactured in Taiwan at lower operating costs. Based on this phenomenon and the study by Essousi and Merunka (2007), the COO concept can be further evaluated on the basis of two sub categories, which are country of design (COD) and country of manufacture(COM) image. A lot of companies remain ethnocentric in their business operations, this means that they restrict their resources to the initial country of origin, but sell to varying markets on the international scene. This is in contrast to the truly global companies that distribute their resources worldwide and operate in a global market. It begs the question of whether country of design or country of manufacture, is the influencing factor with regards to consumer behaviour and a product’s country of origin image. Referring to the previous example of Apple’s Iphone, is the product quality amplified in the consumers eyes by virtue of its American design or is its value downgraded by Taiwanese production?, considering Taiwan’s COO image as one of cheap but low quality products. Reardon et al (2005) suggest that with the products being unfamiliar to the market, country of origin image becomes the most viable source of quality...
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