Country of origin
"Many of the home countries of the companies we spoke to still have an image of being under-developed and poor, with low competencies in technology and quality control, although these countries may admittedly have a more positive country-of-origin imagery in some narrow product areas (e.g.,
India as a source of tea, China for silk or low-cost computer manufacturing). Lenovo's ex-CMO Deepak Advani mentioned to us a survey in 2005 by PR consultants Edelman which showed Chinese products had a poor reputation for quality in many countries. Titan's Bhaskar Bhat explicitly said to us that his company thought its Indian country of origin was a major reason why its seven-year effort in Europe to market a global watch did not succeed (Titan pulled the plug on this in 2002), and China's Chigo said that China's poor image was a major reason why it decided to go the OEM route instead of marketing directly to overseas consumers. (There were, however, some other companies in our sample – Mitac and Midea among them – which did not feel their country of origin worked against them in their brand-building efforts overseas. Taiwan, notably, has had a nation-branding campaign in recent years focused on creating an image of high-quality innovation.)'
"If consumers doubt your quality because of the imagery of the country your company is from, it might help to downplay such country of origin by using either a global or regional brand identity or a local one. With today's wide Internet usage, no company can hope to keep its national origin a secret (as Lenovo's Advani reminded us), but it is still possible to reduce the salience of it through clever marketing. Alternatively, some of our companies target markets where their country-of-origin image is a positive rather than a negative. Evyap's country of origin,
Turkey, is an advantage for its soaps in Egypt, as is Natura's country of origin, Brazil, an advantage for its biodiverse Amazon-sourced ingredients in France."
(pp. 190-1, 'The New Emerging Market Multinationals: Four strategies for disrupting markets and building brands' by Amitava Chattopadhyay and Rajeev Batra – TMH)