The following is the latest in a regular blog from Shanghai from China Branding expert, Jussara Bierman, MD of RareHQ (www.rarehq.com)
Country of Origin Effect
Building brand preference in China is often contingent on your country’s brand. The better your country’s reputation the easier it is to successfully transfer this image to exports, thereby building preference for your products or services. There is a reciprocal interdependence between country image and brand image.
The strength of a country brand is measured in much the same way as any other brand. When we visit or interact with a place we measure awareness, familiarity, preference, value systems, associations and attributes. The automatic associations and familiarity with a country largely informs our perception. When we look at the decisions made by Chinese consumers to buy foreign products, luxury goods, trips abroad, and study destinations, we see a strong correlation between country brand and purchase choice.
The image of a country, and the successful transference of this image to exports, is often referred to as the country of origin effect.
Country of Origin (COO) is a distinctive resource in increasing competitiveness in China. When consumers have knowledge of the COO, they can use a positive country image in their product or brand evaluation. This is increasingly important with brand conscious Chinese consumers who have diverse perceptions about foreign products and services.
Positive attributes in COO brands, such as quality, authenticity, nutritional value, luxury, beauty and so on, motivate consumption, but negative perceptions of strong COO brands may affect the country image and produce spillover effects to other national brands.
Integral to building preference for our exports and our brands, and assurance as to the quality and provenance of our products and services, is discovering the country from which it has come. Smaller nations, with neutral brand profiles, have a harder job in integrating country image with brand image, so country discovery must be fundamental to the development of your China brand strategy.
Contact shanghai@rareHQ.com to discuss your brand strategy for the China market.
PS – you can find all China Insights on their Blog – http://rarehq.com/blog/china-branding-insights/