Country of origin and how it affects purchasing behaviors

In brand development, country of origin has been shown to have a significant influence on the attitudes and perceptions consumers hold toward a brand. It clues them in on that brand’s quality, performance, or suitability based on the country’s image and stereotypes. And in a world offering increasingly internationalized product selection, country of origin has never been more relevant – so much that some companies even consider it a brand in itself.

A host of product categories have come to be strongly associated with a particular country. Think watches, for example, where a connotation to Switzerland is almost immediate. It’s not really a watch unless it has that “Swiss Made” small print on the quadrant. That same psychological effect applies to high performance cars being from Germany and the best fashion coming from Italy or France – in this case, even permeating down to cities like Milan or Paris.

Some companies even consider it a brand in itself.

Somewhere in our minds, a product or service correlates with a particular country and its legacy, culture, or lifestyle, which leads us to perceive that product or service as more credible, authentic, and ultimately, superior. Some brands have even been given foreign names in order to create that perceived country of origin effect — Häagen-Dazs is a good example. Founded in the United States in the early 1960s, this ice cream company was given a Scandinavian-sounding name to evoke old-world traditions and artisanship.

Other times, country or origin is dismissed because it might not support a brand’s strategy.

There are other cases where referencing a country of origin might not always be a good idea, especially if it is a developing country. Products “Made in China” are generally perceived as inferior and don’t exactly conjure up positive emotions – other than affordability. Other times, country of origin is dismissed because it might not support a brand’s strategy. Nespresso, headquartered in Switzerland, is a good example of a brand that chose not to point to its country of origin — most likely because Switzerland doesn’t exactly ring up ‘coffee nation’.

Contact us today and find out how you can give your brand more credibility and authenticity using the country of origin effect.

Text credits: ARD / agi

Images credits: Häagen-Dazs / Anonimo

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