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The shift from manufacturing to brand origin: suggestions for improving COO relevance

Jean‐Claude Usunier (Faculty of Business & Economics, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 13 September 2011




The purpose of this paper is to comment on Magnusson et al.'s paper. Rather than entering into the COO (country of origin) relevance debate, the author observes the shift from manufacturing to brand origin and outline consequences for future COO research by taking into account linguistic aspects of brand names.


This paper documents the issue of brand origin recognition accuracy (BORA, a central theme in Magnusson et al.'s paper) and the progressive replacement of COO and COM (country of manufacture) by COB (country of brand). Linguistic cues lead to both incorrect and correct classification of brands in terms of their national origin, which the author subsumes in four ideal‐typical situations, by taking into account company intention to manipulate origin information or not. The author then outlines factors which cause and moderate incorrect versus correct classification, especially brand size, corporate vs product names, and linguistic devices.


A framework is developed crossing causes of incorrect versus correct classification with company strategic branding intents. Suggestions are provided for future research combining linguistic and non‐linguistic aspects of BORA.

Practical implications

Companies willing to build on the origin and favorability of their brand names should deploy a deliberate naming strategy that is expressed in the textual part, as well as in the visual part (i.e. brand name fonts, logo, packaging) and the accompanying marketing communications, especially advertising copy.


This paper takes distance from the raging debate on the relevance of COO research, and suggests to deepen the understanding of BORA. This is done by looking at causes and moderating variables of BORA, and taking into account linguistic aspects of strategic branding in the global market.



Usunier, J. (2011), "The shift from manufacturing to brand origin: suggestions for improving COO relevance", International Marketing Review, Vol. 28 No. 5, pp. 486-496.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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