Country of Origin Effect – RareHQ: Branding Insights, China #14

The following is the latest in a regular blog from Shanghai from China Branding expert, Jussara Bierman, MD of RareHQ (

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 to discuss your brand strategy for the  China market.

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