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The asymmetric influence of cognitive and affective country image on rational and experiential purchases

Dongjin Li (School of Business, Nankai University, Tianjin, China)
Cheng Lu Wang (Department of Marketing and Quantitative Analysis, College of Business, University of New Haven, West Haven, Connecticut, USA)
Ying Jiang (Faculty of Business and Information Technology, Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Canada)
Bradley R. Barnes (Sheffield University Management School, Sheffield, UK, and)
Hao Zhang (School of Business Administration, Northeastern University, Shenyang, China)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 4 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to differentiate and examine how country image (cognitive and affective image) has different impacts on product judgment and purchase intention in rational versus experiential purchases.

Design/methodology/approach

A large-scale survey involving over 1,200 consumers was conducted in China. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze the data and test hypotheses.

Findings

Empirical results show that the impact of country image on consumer purchase intention is mediated by general and category product image. In particular, the impact of cognitive country image on category product image is fully mediated by general product image in both rational and experiential purchases, whereas the affective country image has a direct impact on category product image in experiential but not in rational purchases.

Research limitations/implications

This research extends the extant country-of-origin literature and shows that the product image dimension of the country-of-origin construct mediates the effect of the country image dimension of the country-of-origin construct on consumer purchase intention, and demonstrates the different effect of affective country image on product image in rational versus experiential purchases.

Practical implications

The findings of this research can help multinational marketers, exporters and retailers to better decide when to benefit from their positive country image and avoid the potential pitfalls associated with negative country image.

Originality/value

This study differentiates between cognitive and affective country image and between general and category product image. Thus, it provides insight to further understand how country image can influence consumer product judgment and purchase intention differently in rational and experiential purchases.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos 71072101; 71372099).

Citation

Li, D., Lu Wang, C., Jiang, Y., R. Barnes, B. and Zhang, H. (2014), "The asymmetric influence of cognitive and affective country image on rational and experiential purchases", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 48 No. 11/12, pp. 2153-2175. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-09-2012-0505

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited