Misconceptions About Country-of-Origin Among Consumers: Understanding Its Drivers and Effects on Brand Equity

Alice Pollara

Student thesis: Master thesis


This paper investigates how the Country-of-origin Effect influences consumer behaviours and the equity of a brand. The work is based on the assumption that the Country-of-origin impacts consumers only when they actually perceive the origin of the product as being from that country. This means that it is not the actual country of origin that influences consumer behaviours and the equity of a brand, but rather the country associated with those products, even when it is not the actual country of origin (misconceptions about the COO). Through an inductive approach I developed a detailed observation of a specific case (the misconception about Pandora’s COO) to obtain generalized and transferable ideas as well as relevant cues for managerial implications. The concept of the COO has been explored extensively in traditional economic and marketing, especially as far as companies are concerned. This research study, on the other hand, focuses on today’s consumers in order to identify new strategies helpful to companies wishing to target contemporary consumers, takin in account all the implications of the country-of-origin effect. The suggested implications and strategies are linked to the statistical techniques used here (cluster and conjoint analyses) which companies could be effectively replicated on a wider scale. The suggestion is, that through the interesting cluster analysis results obtained innovative retargeting strategies could be implemented to cluster consumers and communicate different insights linked to the country-of-origin effect to each cluster. Similarly, I suggest using the results of the conjoint analysis to implement strategies focused on creating new customer experiences, since consumers appear to appreciate taking an ever more active role in the buying processes.
In sum, this work explains the content aspects derived from the analysis of the 257 respondents’ answers about the Country-of-origin Effect, with the intention of converting the mathematical statistical techniques into managerial implications. In doing so, I focused on two main aspects. The first concerns the preponderant role played by the sense of affectivity and belonging to one’s own country and the implications it produces in the explication of the country-of-origin effect. While the second concerns brand elements, particularly the brand name and its capacity to strengthen the power of communication allowing companies to renew their entire brand identity, even in relation to its country-of-origin and its reputation.

EducationsCand.merc.smc Strategic Market Creation, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages104
SupervisorsKarin Tollin