Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: International Marketing Review, Volume 28, Issue 6.
Our last issue (28:5) was devoted to the discussion of country of origin (COO), a topic that shows no sign of falling in popularity. So much so that, as that issue was being compiled and went to press, three further papers on the topic were undergoing final review with this journal and are now included here.
The first paper in this issue, by Martín Martín and Cervino contributes to the brand CO awareness literature by integrating consumer and brand characteristics in a theoretical model, and identifying level-2 product category features and CO effects which have previously lacked attention in brand CO recognition frameworks. Their study provides evidence on internet users’ brand CO recognition rates using a sample of multi-regional and global brands from a variety of product categories and countries. The study finds that education, experience with brands and integration between the consumer and the country of a foreign brand are all positively related with brand CO recognition. It further suggests that internet users’ classification performance is significantly better for domestic than for foreign brands and that brand CO recognition performance by internet users is in line with classification performance rates reported in other studies dealing with well known and global brands. The study adds to previous research by providing empirical evidence on brand CO recognition from a large set of global brands (109), countries of origin (19) and product categories (15).
Second, Maher and Carter offer a theoretical foundation for differentiating between the cognitive and affective components of country image and differentiate between the various dimensions of each of these components. Although undertaken within a specific research context – requiring that the model be tested across other samples to increase generalizability – the study offers an interesting contribution by utilizing the BIAS map from the social psychology literature to operationalize and simultaneously examine the effects of the affective and cognitive components of country image. It further enables managers to determine whether country affect or cognition is the main driver of COO perceptions and hence whether to emphasize or downplay the country of origin when deciding to use foreign branding strategies.
Our third paper on this topic is by Tseng and Balabanis. Their paper offers a further contribution towards the development of a general theory of COO. By testing the effects of a category-based concept, typicality, in the context of the COO image, the study testifies to the applicability of categorization theories to COO effects and also tests the possible moderation effects of product types and category levels. Two dimensions of product typicality regarding COO images were created to help select stimuli used in the study. Typical products received more favourable consumer attitudes and stronger COO images than atypical ones. These results indicate that product typicality can help explain the discrepancies between COO images across products from a country, and across COOs of a product.
We would remind readers that none of these authors, of course, had the benefit of reading the papers included in issue 28:5 before conducting their own work. Nevertheless, these papers offer further thoughts on the COO debate and we recommend they are read in this context.
Our final two papers in this issue consider ethnocentrism and its impact on consumption and international market entry. Sivakumar and Malhotra develop and test an innovative theoretical model of managerial decisions involving international market entry. They propose a mathematical model that seeks to identify the optimal level of cultural distance between the host and the home country and the market potential of the host country that maximizes a firms’ investment in an international market. Using a large data set of cross-border acquisitions to validate the model in a specific data context, the authors find that cultural distance and market potential have curvilinear and interaction effects on the level of equity participation. The empirical results are further used to conduct sensitivity analysis of decisions for changes in parameters.
Finally, Josiassen, Assaf and Karpen's study was undertaken to clarify how demographic consumer characteristics influence and interact with consumer ethnocentrism and their impact on willingness to buy. Commenting that marketing research shows that consumers rely on different cues and make different decisions depending on their tendency for consumer ethnocentrism and that academic research has discovered important differences in the cognitive processes and behaviour of consumers depending on demographic characteristics, the authors point to competing views in the literature as to how these fundamental consumer characteristics influence and interact with consumer ethnocentrism. The empirical findings show that consumer tendencies for ethnocentrism are directly influenced by characteristics of the customer. The authors also find that the strength of the relationship between consumer ethnocentrism and willingness to buy is influenced by customer characteristics. Specifically, age and gender are found to be important moderators of the consumer ethnocentrism – willingness to buy relationship. Although again these results must be viewed as context specific, they provide managers with a specific, detailed understanding of which customer groups are the most consumer ethnocentric and of which customer groups have the strongest consumer ethnocentrism – willingness to buy link.
We are very grateful to all the authors for choosing to share their work through the pages of IMR and we are sure that readers will find all the papers interesting, stimulating and of the high-quality expected of papers published in IMR. It is also my pleasure in this last issue of the current volume to thank the Editorial Board and all our reviewers for their highly-valued continuing support and assistance. It goes without saying that IMR could not function without you all.