Effect of Perceived Brand Origin Associations on Consumer Perceptions of Quality

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An executive summary for managers and executive readers can be found at the end of this article

Effect of perceived brand origin associations on consumer perceptions of quality Mrugank V. Thakor Anne M. Lavack
Associate Professor, John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Associate Professor, Faculty of Administation, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

Keywords Brand identity, Country-of-origin, Corporate ownership, Consumer psychology, Component manufacturing, Manufacturing industries Abstract Reviews recent work in the country of origin and brand name literatures regarding the formation of perceptions regarding perceived brand origin. Based on this review, presents six hypotheses concerning such perceptions, including their effect on consumers' ratings of quality. Using real brands in two experiments, finds support for several of our hypotheses relating to the effects of country of component source, country of manufacture, and country of corporate ownership. In particular, finds that country of manufacture had no effect on product quality evaluations when country of corporate ownership was also present.

Consumer perceptions

The recognition of the importance of brand equity has led to significant research interest on the relationship between brand characteristics and consumer brand perceptions (Aaker, 1990, 1991). One such area of research focuses on how consumer perceptions of brands are likely to be shaped by brand characteristics, such as the intrinsic properties of different brand names (Zinkhan and Martin, 1987; Meyers-Levy, 1989; Pavia and Costa, 1993). To elicit perceived country of origin associations, many brands use cues that are either implied in the brand name or in promotional appeals (Agrawal and Kamakura, 1999). This is particularly true within categories in which perceived origin or national identity is exceptionally important to their image (e.g. Gucci and Tag Heuer signify Italy and Switzerland, respectively, to many consumers). These perceived origin associations are a powerful source of brand appeal, as marketers have demonstrated through focusing advertising on origin associations in many product categories. For example, Pace Picante Salsa had ads depicting a group of Texans who were shocked to find out that the ``other brand'' is ``made in New York city!'', thereby affirming the perception of Texas roots for Pace Picante. Coors ads have mentioned its origins in Golden, Colorado and use a mountain setting to reinforce these origin associations. Porsche ads often show a German test The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of FCAR (Fonds pour la Formation de Chercheurs et l'Aide a la Recherche, Government of Quebec), Concordia University, and the University of Regina in conducting this research, and also wish to extend their appreciation for the efforts of research assistant Oren Hoffart. An earlier and shorter abstract of this paper was prepared for the European Marketing Academy conference and proceedings. The Emerald Research Register for this journal is available at http://www.emeraldinsight.com/researchregister The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at http://www.emeraldinsight.com/1061-0421.htm


JOURNAL OF PRODUCT & BRAND MANAGEMENT, VOL. 12 NO. 6 2003, pp. 394-407, # MCB UP LIMITED, 1061-0421, DOI 10.1108/10610420310498821

track, to reinforce its German origin association. Finally, Christian Dior uses the French word, ``Parfum'', in its advertising to reinforce its French origin association. While issues relating to origin associations in general have been long considered in the country of origin (COO) literature, very little research has focused on the effects of brand origin associations (d'Astous and Ahmed, 1999). While brand names have been included in many studies, most of the COO literature to date has focused on origin effects at the product level as opposed to the brand level...
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