Branding Our Roots : A study about the use of country of origin in international business

University essay from Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi; Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi

Abstract: It has been showed that COO of product has an effect on consumers purchase decisions. Companies are trying to find ways to differentiate their brands from those of their competitors. In many cases the use of COO is considered difficult and is not understood to the level where it would add to the brand value of those companies. Academic areas such as nation branding, COO (country of origin), brand positioning and brand communications work as a base for the investigation of our research problem. The study uses Finland as a study objective to investigate how companies aiming for international markets can use their COO in smart ways when creating and developing their brand identities. The knowledge in these areas is deepened through semi structured interviews with six experts from different fields. The previous academic areas acknowledge that the communication needs to be directed for the right consumers, in a way that suits the recipient. Since consumers in international markets often share multiple/different perceptions and associations, when communicating the origin of a brand, a customer centric approach in the communications is vital. The study finds that country of origin, when used in corporate branding often needs to be explained through storytelling, that emphasizes why the origin adds value. This is done by translating aspects about the COO in to a form which consumers are able to understand and appreciate. An additional finding the study makes is the symbiosis between the companies and their country of origin. The companies have the ability to shape the nation brand of their origin, and hence, aid their own branding capabilities. Marketers need to understand the value of their COO and see the possibilities it may offer. This realization creates a symbiance between the brand and its origin which will create long term positive implications.

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