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Quality‐based excellence and product‐country image: case studies on Italy and China in the beverage sector

Lauretta Rubini (Based at Teknehub – Department of Economics and Management, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy)
Luca Motta (Based at the Department of Economics and Management, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy, and the School of Business Administration, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China)
Marco R. Di Tommaso (Based at the Department of Economics and Management, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy)

Measuring Business Excellence

ISSN: 1368-3047

Article publication date: 23 May 2013

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to emphasize the role of the place of origin in overcoming the information asymmetries that characterize in particular “experience” and “credence” goods.

Design/methodology/approach

After having summarized the role of the country‐of‐origin (COO) in facilitating producers to effectively communicate to consumers the quality of their products, the article presents two case studies: the Chianti Classico wine from Tuscany (Italy) and the tea industry in Guangdong (China).

Findings

Both wine and tea have strong links with their place of origin. The two case studies show that business excellence depends not only on firms' strategy, but also on the territory where firms are located. In the case of Chianti Classico, the territorial brand plays a strategy role for product promotion, while Guangdong seems to be less effective in allowing consumers to perceive, and therefore to appreciate, the tea quality at the international level. This makes it possible to draw from the Italian case some indications that could be applied to the Chinese case but also to other productions in the world where the link with the territory is not sufficiently valorized.

Research limitations/implications

Despite the impossibility of drawing general conclusions from case studies, the two selected ones can be considered as emblematic of two different territorial strategies that over time led to two different results. This could be the starting point for policy makers aimed at valorizing the importance of territory for increasing business excellence.

Practical implications

The analysis suggests that connecting the products to their territory of origin can help firms communicate to consumers the quality of their items. The country of origin can be a powerful tool to reinforce a corporate brand, but of course it means admitting that the competitive advantage of a firm is also the result of collective public or private actions devoted to create and communicate a positive image of a specific locality. This implies a joint effort of firms and policy makers.

Originality/value

The paper underlines the similarities between two apparently very distant products, wine and tea. To appreciate such a similarity makes it possible to identify success factors of one sector that can be used to overcome the weaknesses of the other. The indications that arise from the analysis can also be the basis to re‐define the strategy of several other “credence” goods that require the provision to consumers of tools facilitating their process of quality appreciation of products.

Keywords

Citation

Rubini, L., Motta, L. and Di Tommaso, M.R. (2013), "Quality‐based excellence and product‐country image: case studies on Italy and China in the beverage sector", Measuring Business Excellence, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 35-47. https://doi.org/10.1108/13683041311329429

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited