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Impact of Country-of-origin Image on Consumer Behavior and Brand Equity

Info: 30772 words (123 pages) Dissertation
Published: 11th Dec 2019

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Tags: International StudiesConsumer DecisionsBranding

ABSTRACT

The motivation behind researching the country of origin and how does it affect the consumer behavior. Research has proven that country of origin represents an important factor considered by consumers in their purchasing decision process. Such impact is based on the image of the country in customer’s black-box which influence his/her brand perception, attitude, usage and loyalty. Accordingly, Country of origin has become an extrinsic product trait considered as a surrogate for product quality, performance, reliability, prestige and other product characteristics that cannot be directly evaluated.
The main purpose of this study is to explore the effects of country-of-origin of a brand on the consumers’ perception and overall brand equity. Particularly, the aim is to explore the relation between the consumers’ perception of the country of origin image and their perception and attitude toward the supplied brand image and attitude. In this respect , the  study will focus on the influence of Country-of-Origin factor on the mothers selection of baby diapers brands .

Due to the nature of study, a positivist approach is adopted and followed a quantitative research strategy. The data is collected using survey technique based on questionnaires. The study sample population is Lebanese consumers from all levels (highly educated, normal people and different economic levels).  Descriptive statistics, correlation analysis and regression analysis will be used to analyze the data.

As key terms will consider: Country of Origin Image; Consumer Behavior and Brand Perception; and Loyalty.

Contents

ABSTRACT

Introduction

Part One:

Literature Review

Chapter One :  Theoretical Foundation

Section1: Theoretical Fundamentals:  Key Terms definition

1.0 Country of origin

2.1 Brand Image

Brand Image vs. Brand Identity

Brand Perception

2.3 The Halo Effect and Country of Origin

2.4 Country of Origin and Ethnocentricity

Consumer Ethnocentrism

Brand perception

Definition of Brand Image

Brand Image vs. Brand Identity

Brand image components

Purchase Intention Background

COO Effect on Purchase Intention

Product Knowledge Concept

Influence of Product Familiarity on Product Evaluation and Country of Origin Image

Research Methods

Data collection

Research data

T- test

ANOVA analysis

Analyzing Factors

Reliability and Validity

Hypothesis

Results and Analysis

 

Introduction

In 1960’s, the attraction of researches has headed towards the world of branding highlighting its most relevant part, the Brand Equity(BE)(Zeugner-Roth et al.,2008;Swaminathan et al., 2009;Keller,2010; Hamzaoui-Essoussi et al.,2011 ). Branding expert, David Aaker defined brand equity back in 1991 as:“A set of assets and liabilities linked to a brand, its name and symbol that adds to or subtracts from the value provided by a product or service to a firm and/or to that firm’s customers.”

According to Keller (2013), brand equity represents the value that consumers associate with a brand. Furthermore, branding plays an important role in building and maintaining long term customers’ relation and engender competition on the market place (Moradi & Zarei, 2012; Ishaq et al., 2014).

Regardless of the role of brand equity, the researchers’ main concentration wasn’t on developing the brand equity capacities but on the factors affecting it. Globalization and the open markets strategy made the products from one country available for any customer in any other country.

The “made in” label of a product affects consumer’s perceptions while manipulating their preferences for a desired and preferable brand that pushes them even to pay more.

In the Middle East and the Arab world it is remarkable how much people invest on brands in order to satisfy their needs and preferences while spotlighting on the brand preference image.

Coming to the case of Lebanon, despite the bad economy situation, the Lebanese people are becoming more and more addicted to buy “made in” label of a product. With an interaction between the consumer and the brand itself, customers become more aware about the product features and benefits which influence positively the Brand awareness and Brand perceived Image.

Country -of- Origin of a brand (COB) and Country of Manufacture (COM) has a lot of influence and effects on consumer’s behavior and the consumer based brand equity (CBBE) and tis clarify the relationship between COB and COM and overall brand equity (OBE).

Many researches have been done revealing the impact of Country of Origin of a brand on consumer’s behavior and overall brand equity. Our study will focus on the influence of COO of “Pampers Baby Diapers” on the buying habits of its consumers compared to previous studies and points of view in this regard. To what extent people are concerned and influenced by the country of origin of a brand?  What appeals to consumers in Pampers origin? What level of influence does country image has on brand perceived image? How country image influence positively brand loyalty?

By justifying these questions, we will determine the main utensils affecting the relationship between Country of Origin and Overall Brand Equity.

We will present in the first part of our thesis a literature review about the dependent variable which is Brand Equity and its theoretical foundation, in order to expose the research context of our study and its hypothesis development. In the second part, we will design the research methodology strategy that helps to collect, discuss and interpret data of our study of the relation between Country of Origin and Brand Equity.

Part One:

Literature Review

Chapter One :  Theoretical Foundation

Section1: Theoretical Fundamentals:  Key Terms definition

1.0       Country of origin

Different Researches have defined the Country of origin (COO) as the source of manufacture  (Thakor and Katsanis 1997; Papadopoulos and Heslop, 2003; Zolfagharian et al, 2014). With Globalozation , the term country of origin reflecting the source of manufacturing has become  a potential conflict for consumers  (Phau and Prendergast, 2000). With the reduction of  international Commerce barriers  , consumers are exposed to the spread of  an amalgam of multi country Brands  as most of the manufacturing and assembly of a product components can takes place in different countries (Chao, 1993 et al.). Such country mix as source of origin could have a negative impact on brand perception  as the consumers beliefs in regards of some of these countries might be negative (Thakor and Katsanis, 1997). Different studies highlighted that international Brands with high notoriety has lost credibility when changing the country of manufacturing developed countries to developing ones (Johansson and Nebenzahl 1986; Han and Terpstra (1988). This is explained by the change in the consumers’ quality perception and buying intention reflected by the change in the country of manufacturing  (Lee and Schaninger 1996; Pappu et al., 2006). In fact different research papers outlined, that manufacturing place represents a major motive in consumers brand selection process (Ulgado and Lee (1993; Iyer and Kalita (1997).

Many country of origin studies get criticism by using single-cue approach without indicating the difference between country of manufacturing (COM) and country of origin of the brand (COB) (Johansson et al., 1985; Ozsomer and Cavusgil, 1991). The single-cue COO measurements have been pointed as a restriction in the studies with the increase of the multinational manufacture (Chao, 1993; Ettenson, 1993) which features the real need to dived COO into at least two separate parts: the country of origin of a brand (COB) and country of manufacturing (COM) (Ozsomer and Cavusgil, 1991;Chao, 1993).

Thakor and Lavack (2003) identify antecedents to brand origin such as place of ownership, of top management, position of manufacture, location of assembly, origin, and other antecedents specific for the consumer such as travel and press releases as well as marketing communications of the company. Although many of these elements are the same as in Nebenzahl‘s (1997) taxonomy, Thokar and Lavack (2003) put them together to form the concept – perceived brand origin. According to them, consumers draw brand origin cues from and with the help of these cues consumers set out perceived brand origins, which they use to devise general perceptions, attitudes, hopes and targets about the product and the brand.

Consequences

o Overall Quality Perceptions o Perceived Dimensions of Quality

o Brand‐Related Attitudes

o Price Expectations

o Perceived Value

o Purchase Intentions

Antecedents

o Location of Ownership

o Location of Manufacture

o Location of Assembly

o Origin of Top Management

o Other (travel, press reports)

o Marketing Communications

→ Perceived Brand→ Origin

Figure 1: A model of the Antecedents and Consequences of Brand Origin Source: Thakor and Lavack,2003,396

Ordinarily the bulk of the customers are not aware of the country manufacturer (Thakor and Lavack, 2003) consider these antecedents as the most powerful source for brand appeal. For example a study directed by Ratliff (1988) discovers that only 8 percent of customers were aware that the Volkswagen Fox was made in Brazil. The majority 66% of respondents thought that the car was made in Germany.

It is important to clarify the difference in customer perception between country of origin of the brand and country of production or manufacturing, because of the common practice of sourcing of production by international firms and their use of global, standardized advertising for their products. Consumers are easily misled expecting that buying western brand the products are also produced there. (Nebenzahl et al, 1997).

Nebenzahl et al (1997) propose a taxonomy to further distinguish the various elements of country of origin:

• Origin Country – The country which a consumer associates with the product or brand, regardless of where the product was manufactured. For example, many consumers perceive Nike as American brand but many of the products are made in China or elsewhere out of USA.

• Made‐in Country – The country where the final production takes place and which is specified on the label.

• Designed‐in Country – The country a part or whole of the finished product is designed.

Chao (1993) breaks down country of origin (COO) into several other dimensions by including two particular aspects of COO: country of assembly (COA) and country of design (COD). The purpose of this classification is the increase business practice in the formation of new international strategic alliances in which it gets more and more difficult for consumers to identify a specific country to associate the product with. In a later study Chao (2001) adds country of parts (COP) to the decomposition in order to illustrate the complex production processes of many products.

In this paper the country of Origin will be defined in terms country of origin of the brand (COB) defined in terms of : 1) country that the brand is firstly from and 2) where the headquarters is found.

  1. Brand Perception  and Consumer Behavior

Consumers brand perception is affected by a mix of factors: i.e.  psychological, social and personal . Their combined impact on consumer is expressed into the brand preference and buying process. Accordingly, brands represent one of the key motives in consumer buying decision making; his buying decision depends on the perceived brand image. (Sheth & Mittal 2004). As mentioned in the previous section the country of origin is one of the key  factors  associated to Brand perception ,  in the coming section will be presented different constructs related to Branding and Consumer Behavior.

2.1 Brand Image

Before clarify the brand image definition the pure definition of image has to be explained. Image is: ―a set of beliefs, ideas, and impressions that a person holds regarding an object

Kotler (1997, 607). The image concept turns out to be subjective comprising personal perception about the particular object. That makes the concept difficult to be measured because everyone has different image perception, which most of the time does not follow any logic (Jaffe and Nebenzahl 2001).

The first to discover that the brand has also social and psychological dimensions besides its physical characteristics are Gardner and Levy in 1955. They noticed that people tend to attach feelings and attributes to the product, which actually makes the image of the brand. That turns out to have significant effect on purchase intention and behavior (Gardner and Levy, 1955).

Interestingly product image appears to have very important role in consumer decision process. Frequently consumers neglect or do not take into account with such extent the functional or physical characteristics of the product but put the highest importance on the product image. Dichter, very successfully compares brand image with the placebo effect in the medicine: ―a drug’s effectiveness can be altered by the aura that surrounds it. The same is true of marketing, packaging, institutional advertising, and the credibility of a brand name, all of which can alter the power of specific claims‖ (Dichter, 1985).

Dobni and Zinkhan (1990) make a summary based on more than 25 studies on brand image, which leads them to the following conclusions:

 Brand image is very subjective and perceptional phenomenon based on the consumers ‘personal interpretation. Most of the time emotional.

 Brand image is a concept held in consumers ‘mind.

 Brand image has no connection with the physical or functional parameters of the product.

It is intentionally created through marketing. Brand image is entirely related to the consumers ‘perceptions of the product. Brand image comprises: reputation of the brand, brand expectations, consumers ‘peer estimation of the product or brand. Image has higher importance in the case when consumers are not so familiar with the product or do not have enough information about it (Gensch 1978).

Brand image is a combination of associations. They normally come from the manufacturer through advertising, marketing campaigns and others. On the other hand these associations come from consumers ‘social contacts and personal experience. Peers ‘opinions and advices also play a role (Aaker and Biel 1993, 71).

Brand Image vs. Brand Identity

It is important to clarify the difference between brand image and brand identity, which are often perceived identical. According to Roncha (2007) brand image can be define as: ―the perception of a brand and the feelings and expectations that it creates in the mind of the consumer. That means that the brand image is built in the consumers‘ mind, the company has no control over it. Roncha (2007) defines brand identity as: ―a well‐orchestrated corporate branding system of brand associations that the company communicates to consumers.

Brand Perception

Definitely important and at the same time interesting is the issue about the connection between consumers and brands, especially luxurious ones and why actually consumers buy luxury products or branded products. Since the beginning of the crisis the companies are more and more encouraged to look deep in that link. The main reasons for consumers to buy luxuries brands are for their own pleasure and as a social status or symbol of success (Kapferer, 2009).

Generally the brand might be taken as a piece of history from the company , comprising all the investments, improvements and actions initiated by the company (Rego et al., 2009). Moreover, customers can use the brand as a way to fulfill personal needs or to express themselves. Brands are usually associated with lower risk and higher level of quality (Keegan et al., 1992).

For example, Asian countries and specifically China is not anymore only a cheap, low quality producer, but the long period of cheap and bad quality manufacturing has formed strong associations in consumers‘ perception. On a survey, respondents define USA and Japan made in goods as stable, reliable and good quality, while made in China was perceived as the opposite. The majority of the respondents associate negative product characteristics with Chinese made goods, for both mass-produced and cheap.

To have this kind of information is of a big interest for the purpose of the current study, where later on will be analyzed and researched the actual issue about how famous western brands outsource their production process in Asian countries and how this affects consumers‘ brand perception and purchase intention.

Bearing in mind these expectations and beliefs that consumers have toward the luxurious brands , in this study will be observed the customers‘ reaction toward two group of brands luxurious brands and every day brands) and what happens when customers understand that they are made-in in some of the Asian countries.

Brand perception can be described as the summary of all the different types of experience that consumers have had by using a particular brand. Brand perception might have functional aspect comprising the quality, reliability of the product and on the other hand, emotional aspect, comprising the emotions that consumers feel when using the brand. There are many factors that can make a difference in the brand perception, which are also extremely for managers to develop strong brands:  Customer service, experience in the shops/staff

 A word of mouth from friends, peer or relatives might be very influential

 Past experience and associations with the brand are important

 Adequate and suitable ways of promoting the product.

 Good and positive reviews on the internet are taken really seriously nowadays Fetscherin, M. and Toncar, M. (2010).

Brand awareness is found to have direct effect on brand perception. For instance, consumers perceive or expect highly advertised brands to be also with higher quality, than brands that they have not heard or seen before. In the supermarket, even if the products are produced in the same place and have the same ingredients, consumers tend to perceive the popular brands as higher level than the local store brands. More strongly advertised brands are also more widely distributed, which makes the association of well-known brands and easy access. Usually for a specific product category, consumers can automatically recall some brands, can come up with several more with some help and could not recall all these brands that they have hardly seen before. Brand recall or recognition is directly related to brand perception and achieving top recall positions in consumers ‘mind is the aim of all marketing campaigns. High brand awareness among consumers leads to increased word-of mouth advertising, through conversations or social media.

Brands from a specific niche with high brand awareness can serve as building a brand community, so some brands are perceived from consumers as symbol of exclusivity or social status.

For instance, Nike, with its shoe product Air Jordans, was a leader in the category for a long time. Literally every, basketball player or fan experienced the need to have these shoes, in order to show the passion for the sport and to get the peer acceptance. It was almost impossible for a non-player to buy these shoes (Keegan et al., 1992).

Section 2: Impact of Country of Origin Image on Brand Perception

Due to the interdependency of the two constructs in terms of their impact on consumer brand perception , it is important to understand the relationship between brand perception and country of origin Image as on the business level it will permit companies to efficiently manage their brands and build sustainable competitive position , especially when functioning on the global market.. (De Chernatony et al., 1995).

Studies prove that consumers tend to consider more intrinsic cues when making purchase decisions. But that is not always valid. In some case and situations consumers perceive extrinsic attributes as more important and reliable. When the product is intended to express social status, image or prestige then extrinsic cues have stronger influence (Srinivasan et al., 2004; Piron, 2000). Most of the studies concerning COO have been focused on the country of origin influence at the product level but not that many on the brand level. Probably that is why customers’ perception about the origin might be easily manipulated and deceived through the “made – in” labels info (Thakor and Lavack 2003). Thakor and Lavack (2003) identify antecedents to brand origin such as place of ownership, of top management, position of manufacture, location of assembly, origin, and other antecedents specific for the consumer such as travel and press releases as well as marketing communications of the company. Although many of these elements are the same as in Nebenzahl‘s (1997) taxonomy, Thokar and Lavack (2003) put them together to form the concept – perceived brand origin. According to them, consumers draw brand origin cues from and with the help of these cues consumers set out perceived brand origins, which they use to devise general perceptions, attitudes, hopes and targets about the product and the brand.

In the next section will be covered  The image of the country of origin and its impact on consumer  Brand perception .

.

  1.   Country image Impact On Consumer Decision Process

Since a long time ago researchers have found that ‖made-in‖ as a fifth element of the marketing mix, might have significant influence on the product acceptance and success, besides the advertising and the other marketing techniques (Dichter, 1962). With the increase of the globalization and business internationalization country-of-origin-image turned into a key element for building stable competitive advantage, especially in the case with less familiar products or services for the consumers (da Silva, 1999).

Although consumers frequently neglect country-of-origin and consider it unimportant (Papadopoulos and Heslop, 1993; Hugstad and Durr, 1986) they unconsciously use it as a quality indicator. This is especially valid for products like household appliances, cars, computer technology, apparel, and cosmetics and so forth. That is why many studies from the past years support the hypothesis that country-of-origin influence consumers purchase intention as it is a concept directly based on the consumers‘ quality perception of a product associated with particular country and the people from that country. One of the definitions used for the country-of-origin image is: ―the picture, the reputation, and the stereotype that businessmen and consumers attach to products from a certain country‖ (Johansson, 2000).

Product produced in countries with favorable image or associations are perceived with higher quality than those produced in countries with more negative image. Products made in countries with negative image face difficulties entering the international market and the opposite, products produced in countries with positive image face wide acceptance everywhere. Country- of-origin appears to be one of the products cue providing information for the consumers. Cues can be divided on extrinsic and intrinsic. Intrinsic are all of the product characteristics which are not possible to be changed without changing the physical characteristics of the product like: shape, design, taste and so forth. Extrinsic are all the characteristics which are not physical like: image, brand name, price, package and others. In this way country of origin can be defined as an extrinsic cue because the ―made-in‖ label might be removed without changing the physical characteristics of the product (Eroglu and Machleit, 1988; Olson and Jacoby, 1983).

Two are the most famous models explaining the country-of-origin-image on products quality perception: the ‗Summary Construct Model‘ (Min Han, 1990) and the ‗Halo Model‘ (Johansson et al., 1985). The summary construct model consists of summarized information that consumers develop over time about different brands from specific country. Always when particular brand from a country has to be evaluated consumers use this information stored in their mind in the form of summarized evaluation of products from the specific country. When consumers are less or completely not familiar with a country‘s product they get information about the product from the country image and beliefs from their own experience (Min Han, 1990). Putting this in the context of clothing would be, when consumers are not familiar with clothing from a specific country they will infer information from the total of beliefs that they have for the specific country or its products.

Halo Model says that consumers use country-of-origin-image only in the case when they have no experience with the product. Consumers who are familiar with the product do not take into account in such high extent the country of manufacturing. The model also suggests that positive or negative experience with a product from a specific country may influence the consumers‘ decision for other products from the same country (Johansson et al., 1985).

Summary of country-of-origin-image can be made based on the studies mentioned already and some other of the most popular researches in the field:

The type of the product matters. Consumers take into account country-of-origin when it comes to acquiring luxury or enduring goods. For perishable products consumers are less interested in country-of-origin (Archarya and Elliot, 2001).

Country-of-origin image effect applies with different extent based on the consumers‘ demographics, social and economic status. It can be concluded that more educated consumers put more importance on country-of-origin-image (Al-Hammed, 1988; Dornoff et al., 1974).

Interestingly patriotism appears to play a role in some consumers‘ decision, preferring mostly products from their home countries (Baumgartner and Jolibert, 1977; Wall and Heslop, 1986; Darling and Kraft, 1977) but there are other who prefer to buy imported products (Beaudoin et al., 1998).

Products manufactured in less developed country are normally perceived more negatively than products produced in more developed countries because of the bigger experience in manufacturing (Bannister and Saunders, 1978). Consumers ‘country-of-origin-image perception changes over time if they have long experience with a product from a specific country (Ahmed and d‘Astous, 1993).

For unfamiliar brands entering the market, consumers tend to use country-of-origin image to evaluate the product or the brand quality. This comes to be important for the marketers taking advantage of the positive image of a particular country to attach to their product (Bannister and Saunders, 1978).

There is an inverse relation between country of origin effect and information available. The less information about the product is available the more consumers will rely on country of origin image and the opposite. The more information consumers have for the brand the less important ‖made-in‖ label is. (Johansson et al.,1985)

Country image effect is not a new issue, one of the first scholars writing about it, describes it as: ―special image, stereotype and standing, which customers have in their mind about specific country, this image can be designed by historical, traditional and economic variables (L. Y. Lin & Chen, 2006).

Since a long time ago country image was somehow related to the international companies. Later on other researchers complete the definition with: “economic, political, technological and social part of each country” (Hanzaee, K. H., & Khosrozadeh, S. 2011).

It has been found that in some cases the effect of country image has been associated with the country itself, the people who live in the country and frequently with past experience with the products from the particular country. A lot of literature exists about how country image influence consumers´ buying decisions. For some researchers country image serves only as a halo effect, when the consumers are not familiar with the production of a specific country, so through the image of the country they can infer about the product and the brand.

On the other hand others think of country image as a review construct. In this case consumers remember the made-in country of the product, know it and have experience with it. Studies found that product involvement and the extent to it plays important role in product perception and assessment. For instance, when consumers would like to buy: a mobile phone, cosmetics, laptop, car, then country image of the made-in country and brand origin country both are really important for the final buying decision. But for products with low involvement like: Tshirt or something like this, the country of origin and its image may not be that important. Taking into account the different researches in the field it could be concluded that consumers infer knowledge and information about the product based on the made-in country. So, it can be said that country image has the ability to influence consumers´ product perception and evaluation.

Country image can also contribute for making a product good or acceptable or the opposite unacceptable, weak product. Like, for instance, the car brands BMW and Mercedes are in perfect match with its made-in country – Germany, which has a strong image of an excellent car producer. The opposite case might be fatal for the product acceptance on the market, when the country manufacturer is not recognized as a good match with the product. Country image turns out to be an important factor not just for consumers, but also comes to be important for the global international companies. When consumers evaluate the product what matters is not only the country of origin, but the marketing for the product itself (Chao, 1998). Findings show Japan and Germany as a well known and highly valued car manufacturer. They followed by USA and Canada have the image of excellent, high quality car producer in the consumers´ mind, while China and other Asian countries have the most negative image in this product category (Roth, K. P., & Diamantopoulos, A. 2009). The studies show product category and country producer match as the other important factor. The best match between product and country is when the country is tightly specialized in the particular field. The connection and the relationship between them can be improved or strengthen with special marketing campaigns or activities that help consumers to accept the match first in their mind perception. Country image effect also can be perceived as emotional bond or personal experience or association that the particular consumer has with the country (Maher & Carter, 2011).

Country image turns out to be an important tool for the marketers. It should be taken into account the country image perception by the different types of people: buyers, investors, customers.

2.2 Country of Origin Impact and The Categorization Theory

Most of the researches on the comprehension of the impact of country of origin on consumer behavior have considered Categorization theory as a theoretical framework (Agarwal and Sikri, 1996).. The cognitive approach consists of differentiating between product intrinsic cues (function, design, material, taste..) and extrinsic dimensions (store image, price, brand name, country of origin.. ) (Bilkey and Nes, 1982). In regards of the categorization theory the Country of Orign falls under the extrinsic category of variables  as it is associated to the different products designed or manufactured in the country (Odou and Nicholson, 1998).

The different papers outline that in the product-brand evaluation process, consumers consider country of origin cognitive dimensions in addition to the products – brands features and characteristics. In this respect Product categories are selected according to a complex process whereby the country of origin perceived image plays a key role . In their research paper.  entitled  “ The impact of country of design and country of manufacture on consumer perceptions of bi-national products’ quality: an empirical model based on the concept of fit “, L. Hmazaoui and D. Merunka stipulate as example , that Germany is associated with electric household appliances and cars, the USA with sport-related articles and computers, and Japan with cameras and televisions.

The effect of country of origin on evaluating products is widespread and repeated range for research in the contemporary marketing (Verlegh and Steenkamp, 1999; Jaffe and Nebenzahl, 2001). With the globalization and the amplified practice of production all over the world, country of origin has become very vital. According to another study country of origin incites symbolic and emotional meanings to consumers based on the country identity (Verlegh and Steenkamp, 1999).

Almost all customers tend to assign beliefs from the country to the product itself, using country of origin as a rational cue (Verlegh and Steenkamp, 1999). It has been found that brands originating from countries with confident image are more positively accepted than from countries with undesirable image (Yasin et al., 2007). Consumers form their own opinions about the brand perception from the different countries (Kim and Chung, 1997). Moreover, confident country image subsidizes to brand commercialization and respectively loyalty (Kim and Chung, 1997). Other studies found out that when customers ‘knowledge about the product is narrow they will use as appraisal cue the image of the country (Klein et al., 1998; Aaker, 1996). The effect is less significant for simple to produce goods (e.g. clothes) and more significant for complex manufacturing process (e.g. cars) (Ahmed et al., 2002). Studies show that the effect of country of origin is different for the dissimilar merchandise groups. Customers have exact beliefs about different product groups and the country of origin. Across the product categories diverse countries are accepted differently in the customer’s awareness (Roth and Romeo, 1992), (Pappu et al. 2007). It turns out that country image has a significant importance for the new products on the market. Nevertheless is not that clear how customers from advanced countries see brands from advanced countries. Pyramid effect has been found out to be in these cases, based on the economic growth of the country (Bilkey and Nes, 1982; Han and Terpstra, 1988). Another study discovers that the outcome of country of origin applies with greater extent for products from developing countries and the products are perceived less favorably than products coming from developed countries (Bilkey and Nes, 1982; Verlegh and Steenkamp, 1999).

In the next section it will be explained further the two categories country of origin of a brand (COB) and country of manufacturing (COM), which are not constantly distinguishable and clearly defined in customers ‘awareness.

2.3 The Halo Effect and Country of Origin

The interaction between country of origin and the brand may happen in different ways. In some cases brand names may replace the country of origin because of their associations with particular countries (Bhaskaran and Sukumaran, 2007). It has been noted that often consumers infer the country of origin from the brand name itself (Terpstra and Han, 1988). When it comes to luxury goods, consumers take into account brand name , country of origin of the brand and country of manufacturing in their purchasing intentions. That is why many high class brnads are conected with countries with positive country image(Haubl 1996).

Researches discover that country of origin can influence the brand equity by evoking secondary associations for the brand. The use of foreign-sounding names influence brand equity as well Aaker (1991) and Keller (1993). Favorable brand image might be decreased if the country of manufacturing or country of design has bad reputation or image (Johansson and Nebenzahl 1986). Availability of country of manufacturing information does not have so negative effect on brand perception if there is appropriateness with the brand origin. But when the country of manufacturing has significantly more negative image than the country of origin of the brand this leads to significantly lower perception of the brand (Koubaa, 2008).

Brand is more favorably accepted when country of manufacturing and country of origin of the brand are in accordance (Haubl and Elrod 1999).

Country of origin and brand interaction is even more relevant and important for international brands as they often outsource the manufacturing. Based on the findings from the study of (Pecotich and Ward 2007), the more familiar the consumers are with the product or the brand the less importance they will put on country of origin or price of the product. Familiar and fully informed about the brand consumers are even able to neutrilize the negative effect usually associated with the bad reputation of the developing countries (Pecotich and Ward 2007).

Nowadays because of the globalization on the market the labels ‖made-in‖ and ‖manufactured in‖ are really blurred and not easy to distinguish between. Very frequently cunsumers associate a brand with a particular country although in most of the case the manufacturing is outsourced and the country of manufacturing is totaly different form the country of brand origin. We all recognize Toyota or Sony as Japanese brands and McDonald‘s and KFC as American brands (Baker, Michie 1995).

Interesting finding from the study of Hong and Wyer (1989) says that when consumers are informed about the COO and other cues like: brand or price, then consumers perceive COO in two different ways:

– Halo effect

– Summary construct

When consumers do not know the product of the specific country , then they use the image of the country as ‖halo‖ and infer information about the products through the image of the country. Usually every country arouses particular feelings and associations in consumers‘ mind and later they are aplied to the product itself.

On the opposite side is when consumers are familiar with the product of the specific country. Then they construct beliefs and feeling about the country through its products. In this case country image affects indirectly brand attitude (Hong ;Wyer, 1989).

Consumers infer about the quality of the product base on the information they have and cues presented. Cues might be defined as all stimuli exposed to the conusmer before consumption. They can be either extrinsic or intrinsic ( Monroe; Krishnan, 1985). Intrinsic are all cues related to the taste or design of the product, while extrinsic are related to COO, Brand, Logo, price. For instance, for low involvement products, consumers tend to rely more on extrinsic cues, especialy when intrinsic ones are not available or difficult to find. This is because it is too costly for consumers to search for this type of cues ( Rao; Monroe, 1989).

According to a study of Maheswaran (1994) COO is used as a stereotyping when consumers are using the manufacturing country to predict the product quality, prestige and generally there is a higher chance to buy when the COO is more positively perceived. Also it has been found that when consumers are not so familiar with the product or there are too much information about the product, then COO is used to facilitate and simplify the choice procedure (Hong ;Wyer, 1989),(Maheswaran, 1994)

2.4 Country of Origin and Ethnocentricity

Scholars allege that country of origin may have influence to a different extent and that depends on the: particular type of good, level of ethnocentrism, customer perception and other factors. It has been found that the country of origin of the brand is considered with higher importance than the country of manufacturing. For instance, the product is produced in China but the brand is from Germany, so consumers will perceive the brand as German and will not pay that much attention the country of production, according to these researches (Thakor & Lavack, 2003).

Patriotism might be taken as a barrier for international companies to enter the market. This happens when some consumers express their strong preferences to particular brands. Here the questions that comes is between the foreign and the domestic brands. For example, consumers from developing countries would have totally different reaction and behavior than those from developed countries.

Ethnocentrism occurs when consumers would like to buy foreign product but they are loyal to the brands made-in their home countries. Consumers with strongly expressed ethnocentrism put emphasis on the domestic brands and their advantages and do not pay attention to the foreign products and tend to buy local products. Scholars found that this ethnocentric behavior may lead to overestimation of the local or domestic products, of their quality and other characteristics and respectively in underestimation of the foreign goods (Wong, Polonsky, & Garma, 2008).

Consumer Ethnocentrism

Usually COO is mainly used by consumers as a quality indicator, but interestingly to know is that there are some consumers that show concern toward COO because of their loyalty and support of domestically manufactured products. Consumers ‘ethnocentrism is described as the customers ‘personal understanding of the morality to purchase domestic products (Shimp and Sharma, 1987).

Buying foreign product is seen as immoral and unappropriated as this has negative consequences about the local economy. Such consumers would purchase local products even if the quality is far lower than some foreign replacements. Another research finds that consumers from developed countries would buy with priority products made in their country followed by other developed countries and at the end products from less developed countries. So, it might be concluded that consumers with highly expressed ethnocentrism take into account seriously COO, when choosing products (Wall and Heslop, 1986).

It has been found that when COO is the only cue present for the consumers, then COO effect is more positively accepted ( Bilkey and Nes, 1982). But when other cues are presenter, then COO is not taken with such importance (Hastak and Hong, 1991).For instance, when consumers do not have enough information about the product , they can use the brand as a quality indicator. Another study finds that when the brand name is perceived as high level and prestigious, this may decrease the negative effect of poor COO image (Ettenson and Gaeth, 1991). Also when price and value for money is more important for the consumers, mostly for low-involvement products then COO is less influential factor (Wall et al., 1991).

Brand perception

Definitely important and at the same time interesting is the issue about the connection between consumers and brands, especially luxurious ones and why actually consumers buy luxury products or branded products. Since the beginning of the crisis the companies are more and more encouraged to look deep in that link. The main reasons for consumers to buy luxuries brands are for their own pleasure and as a social status or symbol of success (Kapferer, 2009).

Generally the brand might be taken as a piece of history from the company , comprising all the investments, improvements and actions initiated by the company (Rego et al., 2009). Moreover, customers can use the brand as a way to fulfill personal needs or to express themselves. Brands are usually associated with lower risk and higher level of quality (Keegan et al., 1992).

For example, Asian countries and specifically China is not anymore only a cheap, low quality producer, but the long period of cheap and bad quality manufacturing has formed strong associations in consumers‘ perception. On a survey, respondents define USA and Japan made in goods as stable, reliable and good quality, while made in China was perceived as the opposite. The majority of the respondents associate negative product characteristics with Chinese made goods, for both mass-produced and cheap.

To have this kind of information is of a big interest for the purpose of the current study, where later on will be analyzed and researched the actual issue about how famous western brands outsource their production process in Asian countries and how this affects consumers‘ brand perception and purchase intention.

Bearing in mind these expectations and beliefs that consumers have toward the luxurious brands , in this study will be observed the customers‘ reaction toward two group of brands luxurious brands and every day brands) and what happens when customers understand that they are made-in in some of the Asian countries.

Brand perception can be described as the summary of all the different types of experience that consumers have had by using a particular brand. Brand perception might have functional aspect comprising the quality, reliability of the product and on the other hand, emotional aspect, comprising the emotions that consumers feel when using the brand. There are many factors that can make a difference in the brand perception, which are also extremely for managers to develop strong brands:  Customer service, experience in the shops/staff

 A word of mouth from friends, peer or relatives might be very influential

 Past experience and associations with the brand are important

 Adequate and suitable ways of promoting the product.

 Good and positive reviews on the internet are taken really seriously nowadays Fetscherin, M. and Toncar, M. (2010).

Brand awareness is found to have direct effect on brand perception. For instance, consumers perceive or expect highly advertised brands to be also with higher quality, than brands that they have not heard or seen before. In the supermarket, even if the products are produced in the same place and have the same ingredients, consumers tend to perceive the popular brands as higher level than the local store brands. More strongly advertised brands are also more widely distributed, which makes the association of well-known brands and easy access. Usually for a specific product category, consumers can automatically recall some brands, can come up with several more with some help and could not recall all these brands that they have hardly seen before. Brand recall or recognition is directly related to brand perception and achieving top recall positions in consumers ‘mind is the aim of all marketing campaigns. High brand awareness among consumers leads to increased word-of mouth advertising, through conversations or social media.

Brands from a specific niche with high brand awareness can serve as building a brand community, so some brands are perceived from consumers as symbol of exclusivity or social status.

For instance, Nike, with its shoe product Air Jordans, was a leader in the category for a long time. Literally every, basketball player or fan experienced the need to have these shoes, in order to show the passion for the sport and to get the peer acceptance. It was almost impossible for a non-player to buy these shoes (Keegan et al., 1992).

Definition of Brand Image

Before clarify the brand image definition the pure definition of image has to be explained. Image is: ―a set of beliefs, ideas, and impressions that a person holds regarding an object‖ Kotler (1997, 607). The image concept turns out to be subjective comprising personal perception about the particular object. That makes the concept difficult to be measured because everyone has different image perception, which most of the time does not follow any logic (Jaffe and Nebenzahl 2001).

The first to discover that the brand has also social and psychological dimensions besides its physical characteristics are Gardner and Levy in 1955. They noticed that people tend to attach feelings and attributes to the product, which actually makes the image of the brand. That turns out to have significant effect on purchase intention and behavior (Gardner and Levy, 1955).

Interestingly product image appears to have very important role in consumer decision process. Frequently consumers neglect or do not take into account with such extent the functional or physical characteristics of the product but put the highest importance on the product image. Dichter, very successfully compares brand image with the placebo effect in the medicine: ―a drug’s effectiveness can be altered by the aura that surrounds it. The same is true of marketing, packaging, institutional advertising, and the credibility of a brand name, all of which can alter the power of specific claims‖ (Dichter, 1985).

Dobni and Zinkhan (1990) make a summary based on more than 25 studies on brand image, which leads them to the following conclusions:

 Brand image is very subjective and perceptional phenomenon based on the consumers ‘personal interpretation. Most of the time emotional.

 Brand image is a concept held in consumers ‘mind.

 Brand image has no connection with the physical or functional parameters of the product.

It is intentionally created through marketing. Brand image is entirely related to the consumers ‘perceptions of the product. Brand image comprises: reputation of the brand, brand expectations, consumers ‘peer estimation of the product or brand. Image has higher importance in the case when consumers are not so familiar with the product or do not have enough information about it (Gensch 1978).

Brand image is a combination of associations. They normally come from the manufacturer through advertising, marketing campaigns and others. On the other hand these associations come from consumers ‘social contacts and personal experience. Peers ‘opinions and advices also play a role (Aaker and Biel 1993, 71).

Brand Image vs. Brand Identity

Although most of the times brand image and brand identity are classified as identical elements, it is essential to clarify the difference between them.

Roncha (2007) defines brand image as the perception of a brand in the mind of the consumers. It represents the expectations, feelings, and interpretations of the consumers towards a certain brand. That is, the company does not have any control over the brand image. It is built in the consumer’s mind and it is subjective.

On the other hand, Roncha (2007) states that brand identity is what the company communicates to its consumers. It is a well-orchestrated corporate branding system.

Therefore, while brand image is created by the consumer’s perception, brand identity is driven by what the company communicates to its consumers.

Sender      Messages     Receiver

Brand identity
Signals transmitted

  • Products
  • Places
  • People
  • communication
Other source of

Inspiration

  • Mimicry
  • Opportunism
  • idealism
Brand image

competition

Figure 2: Identity and Image

Source: Kapferer, 2004, 98

The sender is actually the company. Through the development of brand identity, the company begins to create the brand image. Brand identity is what the company plans for the brand. Its meaning, target, and aim.

Mimicry, opportunism, and idealism are different sources that the companies use when building brand image.

Mimicry is imitating already existing strategies and marketing tools for a particular brand. Moreover, when a company plans to build an image that all consumers will understand and accept, opportunism occurs. Idealism is when the brand identity is totally separated from the company. The consumers do not relate the company’s marketing strategies with the brand.

The company might send various messages which might be the products or services offered by the company, the salesman representing those products, or the stores and shops where the products are offered directly to consumers.

Communication can also be perceived as a message sent by the company in order to activate certain marketing activities, public relations, or sponsoring.

However, some unpredictable situations may occur while the message is being sent to the consumer. Such as …

The most relevant terms to be considered when comparing between brand image and brand identity are time and control. While image is perceived gradually in time, identity is observed quickly by consumers. Image is built with time through the company’s development, while identity is controlled by the company. (Mackiewicz 1993, 1‐2)

Since brand identity is built by the company, it is synchronized with its missions and values. Identity is related to the company’s skills and competencies. A company cannot develop its branding strategies only to satisfy consumer’s needs and ignore its core competencies. Thus, brand identity is the way a company wants to communicate with its consumers.

Brand image components

Image of Product

Image of Maker (Corporate image
Image of User
Image of competing Brands

Brand Image

Figure 3: Components of Brand

Image Source: Aaker and Biel 1993, 7

Brand image consists of several subcategories which are stated as the image of the company producer, the image of the user, and the image of the product or service. Sometimes the competitor’s brand image also influences the company’s brand image. Competitions results in imitating marketing campaigns and strategies (Aaker and Biel 1993, 71).

Positive corporate image is another characteristic that helps in creating strong brands. Good customer service is important for the company’s image, but it has been found that public and social responsibility are not as important as company’s success and leadership.

When taking into consideration consumer’s purchase decisions, corporate image is not considered the most important factor in making such decisions (Page and Fearn 2005).

When the company aims to target a certain market segment, it has to take into consideration the image of the user. It is important that the target consumers recognize and accept the brand image and attach brand characteristics to themselves (Page and Fearn 2005).

The image of the product can be both intrinsic cues like the product physical characteristics or extrinsic like emotions and feelings associated with the product. For instance, luxury cars are famous with their brilliant performance, comfort and incredible driving experience.

Brand image can also be explained as the perceptions about the brand that the consumers have in their minds. Since brand image is subjective, it is important in building brand loyalty within the consumers. These perceptions are important and necessary because they help consumers to differentiate between different products and build favorable attitude towards a certain brand.

All the benefits that the associations have for the brand are shown on figure 4 (Aaker, 1991

Help process/ retrieve information
associations
Differentiation and position

Reason to buy

Create positive attitude and feelings
Basis for extensions

Figure 4: The Value of Brand Associations

Consumers might create various brand associations, but the most important for companies are those carrying purchase intentions. According to Aaker and Biel (1993, 71) the associations can be divided into two types. First the ones related to functional attributes such as performance, quality, shape, endurance are called the hard associations. The feelings and emotions that the brand develops in the consumers are represented as soft associations. For instance, Audi cars provide safety to consumers or Dior makes their customers to feel sexy and desired.

Soft and hard associations can be called also extrinsic and intrinsic cues. The physical attributes of the product do not have to change in order to change the extrinsic cues (Aqueveque, 2006). All of these associations might be successfully used to situate the brand in the consumers‘mind. Aaker presents several brand associations:

 Country or Geographic area – it is used to take advantage of the favorable image of the country or other products produced there.

 Competitors – they can be used for better positioning of the brand. Usually comparison with the competitors and highlighting the strength and benefits of the brand over the competitors‘ one.

 Product class – when the brand is referred to a particular product class. Like Versace and Armani are perceived as high class brands.

 Celebrity/Person – when famous people are used for the commercials afterwards the brand is associated with them

 Life Style/ Personality – when the brand is connected with certain lifestyle or human traits.

 User/customer – when the brand is directly associated with specific situation or target group.

 User/application – when customers associate the brand for specific use.

 Relative price – helps consumers to refer the product or brand to a particular price class category, which direct their expectations somehow.

 Customer benefits – when the product benefits are highlighted and consumers associate the product with them.

 Intangibles claims – when the product is directly communicated with the attributes that makes it stand out from the competitors.

 Product attributes – when consumers associate the product or brand with particular features (Aaker 1991, 114).

Intangibles
Customer benefits
Relative price
Use/ application
User / Customer

Product attributes
Country/ Geographic area
Competitors
Product Class
Lifestyle/ Personality
Celebrity/ Person
Brand Name & Symbol

Figure 5: Brand Assosiations

Source: Keller, 1998

When building positive brand image, managers should take into consideration building strong brand associations in consumer’s minds and the favorability of the brand association. Favorable associations are created when consumers recognize brand attributes as something helpful and useful for them. Something they can trust and rely on (Keller, 1998)

Purchase Intention Background

Nowadays, with globalization and internationalization of the markets worldwide, companies feel the burden to attract customers from different segments. Consumers have a wide variety of alternatives to choose from. Final buying decision depends on the perception of consumers towards the brand. When taking into consideration buying decision, it is important to differentiate between intention and attitude. Intention is a personal decision related to the consumer’s tastes, while attitude is like an assessment of the product.

Advertisements and marketing campaigns may also guide the purchase intention of consumers to buy certain products and shape their level of loyalty towards that product.

Product characteristics, customer perceptions, country of origin might affect the purchase intention as well   (Wang, C. L., Li, D., Barnes, B. R., & Ahn, J. 2012).

COO Effect on Purchase Intention

There is an interaction between a brand and its country of origin. Some brand names also represent the country of origin because of the association the brand has with that particular country.

According to the study of Haubl (1996), both the country of origin and the brand name are taken into consideration when buying luxury products. The classification of countries is an important factor in the purchase intention accompanying the brand characteristics.

If the manufacturing country has a good connection with the country of origin of the brand, the presence of made-in label will not have a negative effect over the brand perception. For example, some really good brands suffer from the bad image of the country in which they are being manufactured (Papadopoulos and Heslop, 1993). When evaluating a product, both the manufacturing country and the country of origin are taken into consideration. It is a disadvantage however if the manufacturing country has a more negative image that the country of brand origin (Koubaa, 2008).

When the brand is consistent with the country in which that brand is being manufactured, a favorable perception will be created within the consumers. Factors such as demographic variables, place of origin, help in shaping the brand’s personality (Thakor and Kohli, 1996).

Therefore, there is a connection between brand image and the country of origin.

When examining global brands, the relationship between the brand and the country in which it is being manufactured is extremely important. Brands that have high consumer perceptions towards them are less affected by the country of production or other extrinsic factors f (Pappu et al. 2005). A study of Pecotich and Ward (2007) also states that even the brands manufactured in developing or less developed countries might not have a negative effect on consumer’s perception is the products are familiar and trust the brand.

According to the studies of Nagashima, 1970 and Roth 2009, the country of origin highly affects the brand’s image. Findings from previous researches state that stereotypes and previous beliefs demonstrate a negative image for developing countries. Consumers rank products manufactured in developed countries much higher than those manufactures in developing countries.

Made-in information sometimes is used by consumers as a quality indicator (J. K. Lee & Lee, 2009).

For many years the relationship between the country or origin and the consumer’s buying behavior was studied. With globalization and development of international markets, product evaluation based on country of origin is harder than ever (Zeugner-Roth & Diamantopoulos, 2010). According to Lou and Johnson (2005), buyers’ preferences are indicated by the country of origin. Through the country of origin, consumers can judge the product more easily and focus their buying preferences cue (Dagger & Raciti, 2011); (Yasin, et al., 2007). Country of origin is an extrinsic cue and it is easier to asses an extrinsic cue than an intrinsic cue.

With globalization, the international markets became more complex and in need of deeper analysis. Consumer behavior is one of the most studied and researched fields. Markets nowadays are more complex and in need of deeper studies. The country of origin therefore plays an important role in the purchase intention of customers nowadays. It is rare when consumers rely on the –halo effect- for the particular country when making their choices especially when there is a large variety of a product to choose from. But the purchase behavior of individuals is highly subjective. Even the same family members sharing similar values and living standards might have different purchase behaviors (Ghazali, et al., 2008).

Also, it has been found that the origin of the customer has direct relation to his further buying intention.

Some studies state that the image of the country producing the product highly affects consumer’s behavior, while other scholars believe that country image has only indirect effect on the image of the product. When the customers accept and trust the product, country of origin becomes just information for them (Chen, et al., 2011).

Product Knowledge Concept

The different researches and readings display that product knowledge takes significant part from customer behavior literature. Product knowledge is defined as the information and knowledge that customers have for a specific product (Brucks, 1985). Of course there are many descriptions for product knowledge, but it can be generally distributed into three categories: 1- perceived knowledge or subjective knowledge, 2-objective knowledge, and 3experience based knowledge. It has been found that the need and use of too much new information leads to exceeded levels of objective knowledge, which means that customers with high levels of objective knowledge are the ones who are searching for specific product information. Other studies discover that subjective knowledge has important effect on product valuation, as the experience itself turns out to be more important than information itself. Subjective knowledge is also closely connected with self-judgment, therefore clients with higher confidence are less likely to look for information about the product, but would use stereotypes in order to make the final purchasing decision. According to the researchers´ studies people with high levels of objective knowledge tend not to take into consideration that much country of origin information when making their purchase decisions, but will look for additional characteristics of the product different than country of origin. The opposite for consumers with high levels of subjective knowledge, they are more likely to rely on country of origin cues as a product quality indicator (J. K. Lee & Lee, 2009).

Some researchers do recon that customer’s familiarity and knowledge with the product is one of the critical factors when it comes to the purchase decision. Customers that are familiar and knowledgeable about the product they are able to compare the different qualities of the product. The level of information that consumers have is indirectly related to bias assessing, when the knowledge is high, there is no bias in the evaluation. Of course other studies suggest different way to measure product knowledge. For instance, direct information from the consumers about how much they know the particular product. The number and the type of companies that they are able to memorize. And also the summary of their actual buying behavior. Product knowledge turns out to play significant role in consumer behavior. There are some common basic actions that consumers take: information search: when consumers are not fully certain about the product and need some more information in order to decide. And the other step is when they have the needed information and proceed to buying. Usually when consumers want to assess  the product they use their product knowledge when the product is already chosen. It has been noted that the level of product knowledge that the consumer has influences the final purchase decision (L. Lin & Zhen, 2005).

Findings show that country of origin is directly related to the knowledge that consumers have about the particular product. Also consumers that lack information or knowledge about the product, use country of origin as a tool to assess the product more than consumers with knowledge about it (Josiassen, Lukas, & Whitwell, 2008).

Customers with high levels of knowledge generally are able to memorize a lot more information than customers with low levels of knowledge. Besides they express more concern about the product and its particular characteristics, but on the other hand for them is very difficult to evaluate the quality of the product. Generally consumers with high level of  product knowledge store large quantity of information, organized and structured, they are also familiar with the product subcategories (Frey & Foppa, 1986).

Influence of Product Familiarity on Product Evaluation and Country of Origin Image

Country of origin appears to be a complex issue with many factors that have influence on it. When it comes to extrinsic cues, product knowledge has an important role (Chiou, 2003).

When researching the influence of country of origin on consumers´ buying behavior the studies show that when consumers lack information or just do not know enough for the particular product then they rely on country of origin as a guarantee or proof for the product. For instance, they do not know a diapers brand from Germany, but because Germany has the reputation of high class producer with high quality, then even without knowing absolutely anything about the brand, consumers tend to perceive it favorably. However, other studies found the opposite. Consumers rely on country of origin image and take it into account when they already know the product. That happens for example, when consumers have already experienced a diapers brand from Spain and were satisfied with the quality and other characteristics of the product, so when a new diapers brand enters the Spanish market, consumers will accept it positively because of the favorable experience with the previous brand and they expect the new brand will have the same quality level because it is manufactured in Spain (Josiassen, et al., 2008).

Likewise, it has been found connection between product knowledge and advertising. Consumers with different levels of knowledge about a particular product will react differently on the advertising. Consumers who know less about the product are a lot more influenced by the advertising and do take into considerations the advertisement of the product. Consumers who are already familiar with the product and have the needed knowledge do not pay attention on the advertisement and are less likely to be influenced by it (Chuang,Tsai, Cheng, & Sun, 2009).

All the studies in the field show that product knowledge takes an important part of consumer behavior analysis. The knowledge about the product turns out to have effect on the length of the buying decision process and the time for information search. Consumers make the final buying decision after gathering all the information needed, likewise memories come to be an important element when it comes to buying decisions, as consumers tend to use their memories and past experience when making decision to buy.

Generally from all the researches done about product knowledge it might be summarized that product knowledge takes significant part in the purchase decision together with past memories (Cowley, E., & Mitchell, A. A. 2003).

Research Methods

Data collection

Web based questionnaires and surveys which are sent to potential respondents through different social networks have many obvious advantages. First, they are convenient and less time consuming than other research methods. Respondents have the ability to respond to the questionnaires whenever they want. Moreover, another advantage is that online research methods are less expensive and more reliable. Despite all the advantages however, there are still   people who do not have access to social networks or the Internet and they are not able to respond to such questionnaires.

Most online research methods are made to be short and catchy. In order to focus on fast brand recognition, the logos of the brands “Pampers and huggies” for example are used internationally so that the respondents directly identify the product on whatever platform they’re working on. The Questionnaire consists of several sections. They tend to measure respondents’ product involvement and knowledge about the brand. Respondent’s probability to buy the product if produced under different circumstances is also evaluated.

The last part of the questionnaire contains the demographic information of the respondents such as their age, gender, education level, and so on.

For the evaluation and assessment of the results obtained, a five-point likert scale ranging is used ranging from   1 (strongly agree) to 5(strongly disagree). This method is easy to understand and manage (Malhotra & Birks, 2007, 348).

If we take Lebanon as an example, the majority of the participant are moms with new born babies. A questionnaire was conducted in Lebanon between March 1 2017 and April 1 2017 and was viewed by more than 400 people. The link was sent to 400 potential respondents through Facebook and email.

Research data

The analysis of the questionnaire states that from the 400 potential respondents, 259 have participated in the survey but only 172 fully completed it. The majority of the respondents are from Lebanon, although there were few from Syria. 95% of the participants were women and only 20% were men. 80% of them were within an age range of 22-30, and 20% were within the range of 30-40 years old. The majority of the respondents are with Bachelor or Master Degree. 75% of the respondents are employed, 25 % are housewives.

T- test

The T-test is also used to compare certain attitudes. For example, the attitude of different genders can be tested using this method. For example, brand acceptance based on gender where brand attitude would be the dependent variable and the gender would be the independent variable is an example of T-test analysis. The T-test shows if there is a significant difference in the answers obtained and helps us conclude the results.

Moreover, Z-test might be used if the population under study is larger. It is similar to the T-test but the Z – test uses standard normal distribution.

ANOVA analysis

In order to study the difference between the means of more than two unrelated groups, one-way ANOVA test can be used. For example, one-way ANOVA is used to study the purchase intention for particular brands based on country of production. According to the results, the consumers are categorized by their choices into several independent groups. The one-way ANOVA test shows that there is a difference between two different groups, but it does not show what the significant difference between those two groups is. If there is a need to study the effect of each different group, post-hoc test could be used as well.

Analyzing Factors

In order to have an efficient analysis, the sample under study must be large. For example, a sample ranging from 200 to 400 people is considered enough to obtain accurate results, while a sample of 50 to 100 people is considered poor. It is good to have at least 10 observations per variable Tabachnick, B. & Fidell, L. (2001).

Reliability and Validity

Validity is the extent to which a measurement represents characteristics that exist in the phenomenon under investigation Malhotra and Birks (2007, 159). Before the final questionnaire is distributed, the validity of the questionnaire is usually tested in order to prevent problems. Previous researches can be useful in order to insure the validity of the questionnaires. Moreover, reliability is the extent to which a scale produces consistent results if repeated measurements are made using the same scale.

Previous researches are also used to establish reliability and minimize research based errors. However, some respondents may face focus and concentration problems during the survey. This would affect the consistency of the responses and lead to respondent-based errors. This is why different methods are used to keep the focus of the respondents. The questionnaire is divided into sections and pictures of the brand logo is used in order to prevent the respondents from getting bored.

Hypothesis

Country of origin of a product and the manufacturing country effect consumers’ product perception and many researches have been made discussing this issue. However, the controversy still exists concerning this issue. For example, Schooler (1971) and Tongberg (1972) found out that older people favor foreign products more than domestic products. According to them, females and educated people also favor foreign products rather than the domestic ones (Anderson and Cunningham 1971; Schooler 1971).

On the other hand, other researchers such as Wang (1978) and Tongberg (1972) state that age and education level have no effect on county of origin product perception. Dornoff  (1974) states that gender does not influence foreign product perception.

In this study the product chosen is Diapers. Diapers are perceived as feminine for female gender, but on the other hand, it might be considered that females will be interested in the flexible and comfortable the diaper is for the kid. Other females will be interested in the branch name and the country of origin of the product. That is why product category –Diapers, might be taken as feminine.

H1: Country of origin and country of production influence differently male and female customers’ brand purchase intention.

The purpose is to see if there is a difference between male and female buying intention of branded diapers when the brand country of origin is different from the country of manufacturing of the product. Which gender is more sensitive to such mismatch between the made – in and brand origin country or there is no difference? Then logically might be said that this depends on the brand and most probably for the high class brands the influence will be stronger than for the lower class. That is why in the study the research will be limited into four brands. For the everyday class brands are chosen Pampers, Huggies Diapers, because they fit in the category of every day class brands, and they are famous enough and affordable for the majority of the people in Lebanon, as the research will be conducted among mostly Lebanese respondents. For the high class brands are chosen Pampers Swaddlers and Huggies Little Snugglers, the Pampers Swaddlers price is approximately 58 $ and the Huggies little snugglers price is approximately 25 $ because the fit well in the category of high class brands. Not everyone can afford them and at the same time are popular enough. Also these two brands are closely associated with the United States of America and it will be interestingly to observe consumers‘ brand attitude and purchase intention if diapers are not manufactured there. That leads to the second central hypothesis in the study:

H2a: Country of origin and country of production have a significant influence on brand purchase intention for high class brands.

H2b: Country of origin and country of production do not play a role for every day class brands.

In the survey for the study, respondent will have to assess the probability to buy one of the five brands in combination with different countries as a possible ―made – in country for the particular brand. Each brand is presented with five possible countries as a country of production. The country of brand origin is always one of the countries in the list, although it is expected this country to get the highest rate, is kept as a comparison and to highlight the difference. Then there is one European developing country: Belgium, Lithuania and Greece. The purpose is to see if those countries are more favorably perceived compared to the Asian countries. And three Asian countries are chosen: China, Malaysia and Bangladesh. China already has the fame of mostly cheap, low quality producer and is chosen to see if this is still valid for the case of the study. China is expected to have the most negative level of acceptance. Bangladesh and Malaysia are chosen as less known Asian countries producers. They are expected to have more favorable level of acceptance compared to China, because do not have yet such a negative reputation. Turkey also has not so good reputation of a manufacturer and it is intentionally chosen as a comparison with China, to see which of the two countries is more negatively perceived.

  Results and Analysis

Gender effect on purchase intention toward country of origin and country of production for the brands Pampers, Huggies Diapers, Pampers Swaddlers and Huggies Little Snugglers,

Gender N mean Std deviation std error mean
Pampers – USA male 66 4.65 0.69 0.85
female 103 4.26 1.075 0.106
Pampers – Turkey male 65 3.6 0.981 0.122
female 103 3.33 1.141 0.112
Pampers – Belgium male 65 3.94 0.864 0.107
female 104 3.59 1.251 0.123
Pampers – China male 66 3.52 1.113 0.137
female 103 2.75 1.055 0.104
Pampers Bangladesh male 65 3.51 1.12 0.139
female 103 2.74 1.12 0.11

Table 1: T-test between male and female purchase intention for the brand Pampers

t-test for Equality of Means
Levene’s Test for
Equality of Variances
95% Confidence Interval
of the Difference
f sig t df sig 2 tailed mean
difference
Std. Error
Difference
lower upper
pampers – USA Equal variances assumed 13,584 ,000 2,615 167 ,010 ,389 ,149 ,095 ,683
Equal variances not assumed 2,867 166,996 ,005 ,389 ,136 ,121 ,658
pampers – Turkey Equal variances assumed 2,009 ,158 1,575 166 ,117 ,270 ,171 ,069 ,608
Equal variances not assumed 1,629 150,897 ,105 ,270 ,166 ,057 ,597
pampers – Belgium Equal variances assumed 16,268 ,000 1,990 167 ,0048 ,352 ,177 ,003 ,701
Equal variances not assumed 2,161 165,289 ,032 ,352 ,163 ,030 ,674
pampers – China Equal variances assumed ,208 ,649 4,518 167 ,000 ,768 ,170 ,432 1,103
Equal variances not assumed 4,465 133,226 ,000 ,768 ,172 ,428 1,108
pampers – Bangladesh Equal variances assumed ,021 ,884 4,340 166 ,000 ,770 ,177 ,420 1,120
Equal variances not assumed 4,340 136,237 ,000 ,770 ,177 ,419 1,121

The purpose of the T – test is to show if there is a difference between male and female respondents in their attitude and in this case toward the brand Pampers and particularly how they rate the possibility to buy the brand if it is produced in one of the mentioned countries. For USA on the F test, the significance coefficient is 0,00 it is lower than 0,05, which means that the null hypothesis is denied and the alternative hypothesis is accepted or there is a statistically significant difference between gender responses for USA. T test (sig. 2 – tailed) with coefficient 0,01 also lower than 0,05 confirms as well the statistically significant difference for USA. Male respondents value higher the possibility to buy diapers from the brand Pampers if produced in USA (M male = 4,65) than female respondent (M female = 4,26). The high values given for USA might be because this is also the country of brand origin.  For Turkey there is no statistically significant difference between the genders with F sig. coefficient 0,158 and T sig. (2-tailed) coefficient 0,105 both higher than 0,05.  For Belgium F sig. coefficient is 0,00 and T sig. (2-tailed) 0,04 which means that there is statistically significant difference. Males value more favorably (M male = 3,94) the probability to buy the brand if produced in Belgium than females (M female = 3,59).   China has F sig. coefficient 0,64 and T sig. (2-tailed) coefficient 0,00 lower than 0,05 which means that there is a statistically significance between male and female respondents. Again males are more willing to buy products from Pampers if made- in China than females (M male = 3,52/  M female = 2,75).  For Bangladesh the situation is similar F sig. coefficient is 0.88 and T sig. (2-tailed) coefficient 0,00 which means that there is a statistically significant difference in the genders willingness to buy the brand if made-in Bangladesh. Male respondents have a lot more favorable attitude (M male = 3,51) than female respondents (M female = 2,74 ).  In summary except for Turkey for all other countries there is a significant difference between male and female purchase intention. For all of the tested counties male respondents express higher possibility to buy diapers from pampers than female respondents. China and Bangladesh get the lowest values.

Gender N mean Std deviation std error mean
Huggies- USA male 67 4,43 1,003 ,123
female 103 4,52 ,778 ,077
huggies – Turkey male 66 3.59 1,037 ,128
female 103 3.05 1,216 ,120
huggies – Belgium male 65 3,57 ,935 ,116
female 102 3.04 1,151 ,114
huggies – China male 66 3,48 1,026 ,126
female 104 2,91 1,224 ,120
huggies Bangladesh male 66 3,77 ,925 ,114
female 102 3,40 1,101 ,109
t-test for Equality of Means
Levene’s Test for
Equality of Variances
95% Confidence Interval
of the Difference
f sig t df sig 2 tailed mean
difference
Std. Error
Difference
lower upper
huggies – USA Equal variances assumed 2,509 ,115 ,667 168 ,506 ,091 ,137 ,362 ,179
Equal variances not assumed ,632 116,179 ,528 ,091 ,145 ,378 ,195
huggies – Turkey Equal variances assumed 1,200 ,275 2,992 167 ,003 ,542 ,181 ,185 ,900
Equal variances not assumed 3,098 153,825 ,002 ,542 ,175 ,196 ,888
huggies – Belgium Equal variances assumed 1,737 ,189 3,114 166 ,002 ,530 ,170 ,194 ,866
Equal variances not assumed 3,260 155,458 ,001 ,530 ,163 ,209 ,851
huggies – China Equal variances assumed 2,165 ,143 3,153 168 ,002 ,571 ,181 ,214 ,929
Equal variances not assumed 3,279 155,364 ,001 ,571 ,174 ,227 ,916
huggies – Bangladesh Equal variances assumed 5,819 ,017 2,266 166 ,025 ,371 0.164 ,048 ,694
Equal variances not assumed 2,352 155,025 ,020 ,371 0.158 ,059 ,682

Table 2: T-test between male and female purchase intention for the brand Huggies

For the other brand representing the group of every day class brands Huggies, the results are as follow:  Sweden with F sig. coefficient 0,11 and t sig. (2-tailed) coefficient 0,52 higher than 0,05 which means that there is no statistically significant difference between the genders. That is expected because Sweden is the country of origin of the brand.  For Bangladesh F sig. coefficient is 0,27 and t sig. (2-tailed) coefficient is 0,00 therefore there is significant difference between male and female respondent. Male respondents rate higher the possibility to buy diapers from Huggies if produced in Bangladesh with (M male = 3,59 ―somehow agree) than female respondents (M female = 3,05 ―neither agree or disagree).

For Malaysia F sig. coefficient is 0,18 and t sig. (2-tailed) coefficient is 0,00 therefore there is a significant difference between male and female respondent. Male respondents rate higher the possibility to buy diapers from huggies if produced in Malaysia with (M male = 3,57 ―somehow agree) than female respondents (M female = 3,04 ―neither agree or disagree).  China also has a statistically significant difference between the genders with F sig. coefficient 0,14 and t sig. (2-tailed) coefficient 0,002. Again males are more willing to buy the brand if produced in China (M male = 3,48) than females (M female = 2,91) And finally Lithuania also has a statistically significant difference between the genders with F sig. coefficient 0,17 and t sig. (2-tailed) coefficient 0,025. Again males are more willing to buy the brand if produced in Lithuania (M male = 3,77) than females (M female = 3,40).  To sum up there is a statistically significant difference between the genders for all the countries except Sweden. Male respondents rate higher the probability to buy the brand Huggies if made-in one of the tested countries, female respondents turn out to be more sensitive toward the made-in country and rate lower the probability to buy.

Gender N mean Std deviation std error mean
Pampers Swaddlers – USA male 65 2,42 1,298 ,149
female 103 1,92 1,218 ,120
Pampers Swaddlers  – Turkey male 65 2,95 1,082 ,134
female 103 2,80 1,240 ,122
Pampers Swaddlers  – Belgium male 66 4,68 ,747 ,092
female 104 4,59 ,808 ,079
Pampers Swaddlers  – China male 65 2,49 1,239 ,154
female 103 2,20 1,175 ,116
Pampers Swaddlers  Bangladish male 65 2,63 1,180 ,146
female 103 2,42 1,288 ,127

Table 3: T-test between male and female purchase intention for the brand Pampers Swaddlers

t-test for Equality of Means
Levene’s Test for
Equality of Variances
95% Confidence Interval
of the Difference
f sig t df sig 2 tailed mean
difference
Std. Error
Difference
lower upper
Pampers Swaddlers  – USA Equal variances assumed ,024 ,876 2,572 166 ,011 ,493 ,192 ,115 ,872
Equal variances not assumed ,2582 137,967 ,011 ,493 ,191 ,115 ,871
Pampers Swaddlers  – Turkey Equal variances assumed 4,045 ,046 ,843 166 ,400 ,158 ,187 -,212 ,527
Equal variances not assumed ,869 149,587 ,386 ,158 ,181 -,201 ,516
Pampers Swaddlers  – Belgium Equal variances assumed 1,221 ,271 ,771 168 ,442 ,095 ,124 -,149 ,339
Equal variances not assumed ,785 146,337 ,434 ,095 ,121 -,145 ,335
Pampers Swaddlers  – China Equal variances assumed ,694 ,406 1,518 166 ,131 ,288 ,190 -,087 ,664
Equal variances not assumed 1,499 130,785 ,136 ,288 ,192 -,092 ,669
Pampers Swaddlers  – Bangladesh Equal variances assumed 1,353 ,246 ,406 166 ,304 ,204 ,198 -,187 ,594
Equal variances not assumed ,246 144,975 ,295 ,204 ,194 -,179 ,586

For the brand Pampers Swaddlers , which represents the group of the high class brands with statistically significant difference is only China. F sig. coefficient 0,87 and t sig. (2-tailed) coefficient 0,01. Male respondents rate higher the possibility to buy diapers from the brand Pampers Swaddlers if made-in China (M males = 2,42) than female respondents (M females = 1,92). For the other tested countries Belgium, Italy, Bangladesh, Turkey there is no statistically significant difference between the genders with t sig. (2-tailed) coefficient higher than 0,05.

Gender N mean Std deviation std error mean
Huggies little snugglers  – USA male 65 2,35 1,152 ,143
female 102 1,90 1,215 ,120
Huggies little snugglers   – Turkey male 66 4,75 ,563 ,069
female 104 4,60 ,795 ,078
Huggies little snugglers   – Belgium male 65 3,14 1,059 ,131
female 103 3,01 1,133 ,112
Huggies little snugglers   – China male 65 2,49 1,174 ,1496
female 103 2,23 1,206 ,119
Huggies little snugglers   Bangladish male 65 2,65 1,178 ,146
female 102 2,39 1,220 ,121

Table 4: T-test between male and female purchase intention for the brand Huggies little snugglers.

t-test for Equality of Means
Levene’s Test for
Equality of Variances
95% Confidence Interval
of the Difference
f sig t df sig 2 tailed mean
difference
Std. Error
Difference
lower upper
Huggies little snugglers   – USA Equal variances assumed ,095 ,758 2,392 165 ,018 ,452 ,189 ,079 ,825
Equal variances not assumed 2,420 141,773 ,017 ,452 ,187 ,083 ,821
Huggies little snugglers   – Turkey Equal variances assumed 6,914 ,009 1,302 165 ,195 ,146 ,112 -,076 ,368
Equal variances not assumed 1,402 165,887 ,163 ,146 ,104 -,060 ,352
Huggies little snugglers   – Belgium Equal variances assumed ,034 ,854 ,735 166 ,463 ,129 ,175 -,217 ,474
Equal variances not assumed ,745 143,063 ,456 ,129 ,172 -,212 ,470
Huggies little snugglers   – China Equal variances assumed ,024 ,877 1,371 166 ,172 ,259 ,189 -,114 ,633
Equal variances not assumed 1,379 138,955 ,170 ,259 ,188 -,112 ,631
Huggies little snugglers   – Bangladesh Equal variances assumed ,052 ,820 1,329 165 ,186 ,254 ,191 -,123 ,631
Equal variances not assumed 1,340 139,924 ,183 ,254 ,190 -,121 ,629

For the other brand representing the high class brands Huggies little Snugglers the results follow the same direction. With statistically significant difference is again only China. F sig. coefficient 0,75 and t sig. (2-tailed) coefficient 0,01. Males are more willing to buy the brand if produced in China (M males = 2,35) than females (M females = 1,90). The other countries do not show statistically significant difference between the genders with t sig. (2-tailed) coefficient higher than 0,05.

Findings: So for the high class brands Pampers Swaddlers and Huggies little snugglers it can be summarized that there is no difference between gender purchase intention. Only China makes an exception and if the diapers from those two brands are produced in China male respondents are a bit more likely to buy the brand than female respondents, but both male and female rates are equal of ―somehow disagree.

Obviously for the high class brands consumers have higher expectations and regardless of their gender, they would not accept if the products of the brands Pampers Swaddlers and Huggies little snugglers are produced in one of the tested countries (China, Turkey, Malaysa, belgium Bangladesh, Greece) different from its country of origin Italy. Through the results from the T- test analysis presented above the first main hypothesis can be confirmed:

H1: Country of origin and country of production influence differently male and female customers’ brand purchase intention.

For the everyday class brands Pampers and Huggies it is clearly visible that male respondents are more likely to buy the brand if made-in these countries than female respondents. Male respondents are less sensitive toward the made-in label of these brands. And if these brands Pampers and Huggies are produced in one these countries (Bangladesh, China, Malaysia, Turkey, Belium, Lithuania) this would not affect significantly male customers, giving average ratings of (3,80) or ―somehow agree.

Female respondents on the other hand turns out to be more sensitive toward the made-in label and outsourcing the production of these brands in one of the tested countries would affect more negatively their buying decision, with average rate that they give (3,30) or ―neither agree or disagree.

Another finding that has been observed is that for both everyday class brands and high class brands European countries are rated higher than Asian countries, with the same tendency kept, males higher than females.  What is interestingly to notice is that for the high class brands Pampers Swaddlers and Huggies little snugglers except for China, there is no significant difference between male and female respondents. Both genders have higher expectations for the brand from the high class group and here the made-in labels are important. Both male and female respondents give a lot lower rates for the brands Pampers Swaddlers and Huggies little snugglers than for Pampers and Huggies. The average rate they give is (2,50) or ―somehow disagree.

For instance, the purchase intention for the brand Huggies if produced in China is evaluated from male/female respondents with (3,48)/(2,91) and for the brand Pampers Swaddlers with (2,42)/(1,92), respectively for the brand Pampers if made-in China (3,52)/(2,75) and Huggies little Snugglers (2,35)/(1,90). This tendency between the two brand classes is valid and for the other countries. That means that for the high class brands both genders are more sensitive toward the made-in country and are not willing to buy the brand if made-in one of the tested countries different than the brand country of origin.

H2a: The influence of country of origin and country of production over male and female customers’ brand purchase intention is different for everyday class brand and for high class brands.

Testing of Purchase intention based on the educational level of the respondents.

MEAN SD SIG MEAN SD SIG
Pampers – USA HS 4,15 0,93 Huggies – SWEDEN HS 4,29 0,91
BD 4,61 0,83 0,1128 BD 4,47 0,96 0,2093
MD 4,44 1,01 MD 4,64 0,76
PD 3,83 1,17 PD 4,00 0,89
PHD 4,25 1,50 PHD 4,75 0,50
TOTAL 4,41 0,96 TOTAL 4,49 0,87
Pampers – TURKEY HS 3,32 1,20 Huggies – LITHWANIA HS 3,15 1,28
BD 3,69 1,01 0,0388 BD 3,73 0,94 0,0773
MD 3,36 1,05 MD 3,53 1,01
PD 2,33 0,82 PD 3,67 0,82
PHD 3,50 1,29 PHD 4,25 0,50
TOTAL 3,43 1,09 TOTAL 3,55 1,05
Huggies – CHINA HS 3,06 1,37
Pampers – BELGIUM HS 3,76 1,50 BD 3,24 1,18 0,8163
BD 3,71 0,92 0,2277 MD 3,13 1,06
MD 3,66 1,05 PD 2,67 1,51
PD 3,50 1,52 PHD 3,00 1,41
PHD 5,00 0,00 TOTAL 3,14 1,18
TOTAL 3,72 1,13
Huggies –
BANGLADESH
HS 3,21 1,37
Pampers – CHINA HS 3,15 1,13 BD 3,42 1,18 0,06863
BD 3,22 1,18 0,3802 MD 3,24 1,09
MD 2,95 1,05 PD 3,17 1,33
PD 2,50 1,22 PHD 2,75 0,96
PHD 3,00 1,83 TOTAL
TOTAL 3,05 1,14
Pampers –
BANGLADESH
HS 3,00 1,20
BD 3,21 1,20 0,6257
MD 2,88 1,12
PD 3,17 1,33
PHD 3,25 1,71
TOTAL 3,04 1,18

Table 5: Purchase intention based on education of the respondents for the brand Pampers and Huggies

Here are presented the results for purchase intention on everyday class brands (Pampers and Huggies) based on the education of the respondents. For the brand Huggies there is no significant difference between the respondents with different education degrees. For the brand Pampers significant difference there is only for Turkey with coefficient 0,03 (lower than 0,05). The respondents with bachelor degree value the probability to buy diapers from the brand if produced in Turkey with (3.69), almost (4.00), which means ―somehow agree from the five point Likert scale, used in the study.

The respondents with professional degree evaluate the probability to buy with (2.33), which means ―somehow disagree.

For the brand Nike the respondents with professional degree disagree to buy the brand if it is made-in Turkey, while other respondents do not mind.

The average score given from the respondents for the everyday class brands, represented by Pampers and Huggies  is 3,50 which means that the respondents are indifferent toward the country of production of the brand and would keep on buying the brand no matter where exactly the diapers are made in, regardless of their education level.

For the high class brands, represented by Pampers Swaddlers and Huggies little snugglers the results are a bit different. The average ratings given from the respondent based on their level of education are visibly lower than those of the everyday class brands. Excluding the countries of origin of the brands which of course get the highest ratings, the average score is (2,35) which means that the respondents ―somehow disagree to buy diapers from the brands Pampers Swaddlers or Huggies little snugglers if the made-in country is one of the mentioned. Significant difference between the groups for the brand Huggies little snugglers there is for the countries China with coefficient 0,03 and Malaysia 0,04 both lower than 0,05.

For China there is a significant difference between respondents with high school education assessing their purchase intention with (2,59) or ―neither agree or disagree and respondents with professional degree with (1,83) ―somehow disagree.

It turns out that for the respondents with higher educational level like professional degree is highly unacceptable diapers from the brand Huggies little snugglers to be produced in China. For Malaysia the significant difference is between high school respondents rating the possibility to buy with (2,68) ―neither agree or disagree and respondents with master degree (2,00) ―somehow disagree.

In the one case respondents express indifference toward Malaysia as a country of manufacturing and in the other case with higher degree of education respondents express disagreement. For the brand Pampers Swaddlers statistically significant difference there is only for USA with coefficient 0,01. Respondents with high school education rate with (4,50) ―somehow agree and respondents with PHD education rate with (5,00) ―strongly agree, or the higher the level of education is the higher is the purchase intention, because USA is the country of origin of the brand.

It is also interesting to notice that besides the country of origin of the brand European developing countries like: Belgium and Greece get a bit higher ratings than Asian countries. And among the Asian countries China has being perceived most negatively.

Findings: It is difficult to make a general conclusion from the results based on the education of the respondents as only for two of the brands there is statistically significant difference and only in few of the tested countries. But it can be seen from the results that the more educated the respondents are the more sensitive toward the country producer they are, or the higher the level of education is the less likely is to buy the brand if it is produced in one of the tested countries different from its country of brand origin. Also regardless of the education degree the brand from the everyday class are evaluated more favorably with higher intention to buy than high class brands.

H2a: Country of origin and country of production have a significant influence on brand purchase intention for high class brands.

H2b: Country of origin and country of production do not play a role for every day class brands.

Factor analysis

Factor analysis will be used in order to determine which factors influence more consumers‘ brand purchase intention. In the online survey respondents are asked to evaluate thirteen statements particularly selected to measure customers‘ brand perception and purchase intention. With the use of ANOVA Factor analysis they will be decreased to lower number and grouped in three major factors that affect consumers‘ brand purchase intention.

quality of
the product.
feelings and
social recognition
product
type
When purchasing diapers,
I believe country of manufacturig
will determine the sophistication
of the product.
,706 ,200 -,219
To make sure that I buy the highest quality product or brand, I look to see what country the
product was made in.
,612 ,200 -,405
Diapers country of manufacturing
does not determine the quality
of the product.
-,713 -,119 -,006
Diapers made in Asia are generally
lower quality than similar diapers
made in other countries.
,706 ,262 ,-219
When the brand products are
manufactured in Asia, that ruins
the brand prestige and exclusivity.
,612 ,200 -,405
It does not matter where the brand products are manufactured if the brand characteristics and
identity are maintained.
-,219 -,350 ,706
I would feel guilty if I bought diapers made in Asia. ,090 ,731 ,-088
I would always prefer to buy diapers
made in the West.
,296 ,704 -,122
Brand name is important for me
when I purchase diapers products.
.136 ,648 230
When buying a product that is less
expensive, it is less important to
look for the made in country.
,131 ,251 ,749

From the rotated component matrix it might be seen the factors with stronger meaning or those with coefficient higher than 0,55. For the first column these are:

When purchasing Diapers, I believe country of manufacturing will determine the sophistication of the product.  – 0,768

To make sure that I buy the highest quality product or brand, I look to see what country the product was made in. – 0,793

Diapers made in Asia are generally lower quality than similar Diapers made in other countries. – 0,706

When the brand products are manufactured in Asia, which ruins the brand prestige and exclusivity. – 0,612

For the second column with coefficient higher than 0,55 are:

I would feel guilty if I bought diapers made in Asia.  – 0,731

I would always prefer to buy diapers made in the West. – 0,704

Whenever possible, I avoid buying diapers made in Asia. – 0,663

Brand name is important for me when I purchase diapers products. – 0,648

The third set of factors with importance for brand perception with coefficient higher than 0,55 are:

It does not matter where the brand products are manufactured if the brand characteristics and identity are maintained. – 0,706

When buying a product that is less expensive, it is less important to look for the made in country. – 0,749

According to the factor analysis results the three major factors that influence consumers‘ brand purchase intention are: ―quality of the product, ―feelings and social recognition and ―product type.

One statement from each group will be tested for the different brands with ONE WAY ANOVA analysis to see how they affect consumers‘ purchase intention for the two brand classes, every day and high class brands.

Difference in purchase intention based on the respondents opinion about the statement: “When the brand products are manufactured in Asia, that ruins the brand prestige and exclusivity”. 

The statement concerning brand perception: ―When the brand products are manufactured in Asia, that ruins the brand prestige and exclusivity is interestingly to be observed as it provides information about customers behavior based on their opinion about the brand prestige and exclusivity if produced in the Asian countries.

N MEAN SD
Pampers Swaddlers or
Huggies little snugglers
CHINA
strongly disagree 8 3,88 1,13
somewhat disagree 36 3,14 1,07
neither agree
nor disagree
57 1,88 1,00
somewhat agree 53 1,57 1,01
strongly agree 13 1,54 0,78
total 167 2,12 1,23
Pampers Swaddlers or
Huggies little snugglers
BELGIUM
strongly disagree 8 4,00 0,93
somewhat disagree 36 3,50 1,06
neither agree
nor disagree
57 2,56 0,89
somewhat agree 53 2,60 1,26
strongly agree 13 2,54 1,33
total 167 2,84 1,17
Pampers Swaddlers or
Huggies little snugglers
BANGLADESH
strongly disagree 8 3,75 1,49
somewhat disagree 36 3,33 0,72
neither agree
nor disagree
57 1,96 0,82
somewhat agree 53 1,94 1,26
strongly agree 13 1,77 1,09
total 167 2,32 1,20
Pampers Swaddlers or
Huggies little snugglers
TURKEY
strongly disagree 8 4,13 1,13
somewhat disagree 36 3,31 0,86
neither agree
nor disagree
57 2,18 0,91
somewhat agree 53 2,21 1,41
strongly agree 13 2,08 1,19
total 167 2,51 1,25

There is a significant difference between the respondents value for all the countries chosen,. Belgium gets the highest values respectively for those who somehow agree/ disagree with the statement, followed by Turkey, Bangladesh and like on the previous results China gets the lowest level of acceptance, as a possible made – in country for the brands Pampers Swaddlers or
Huggies little snugglers. China is evaluated with (3,88) ―somehow agree as possible country producer by the respondents who strongly disagree with the statement and with (1,54) ―somehow disagree by those who strongly agree with the statement. Belgium gets (4,00) from respondent who strongly disagree and (2,54) from those who strongly agree with the statement.  Bangladesh gets (3,75) and (1,77)  respectively for those who strongly disagree and strongly agree with the statement. Turkey with (4,13) and (2,08). It is interesting to see that even those who disagree with the statement and think that brand prestige and exclusivity would not be ruined if produced in Asia, give the lowest value for China (3,14). From the generally low average ratings (2.68) it can be assumed that brands from the class of Pampers Swaddlers or
Huggies little snugglers are not positively perceived if manufactured in the Asian countries, even for those of the respondents, who think that would not ruin the prestige of the brand. Belgium and Turkey are perceived a bit more favorably as possible country producer compared to the Asian countries. The country image effect may explain that, as Belgium is part of the European Union.

N MEAN SD
Pampers  or Huggies
BANGLADESH
strongly disagree 8 4,13 1,36
somewhat disagree 37 3,84 0,83
neither agree
nor disagree
56 3,32 1,02
somewhat agree 53 3,00 1,19
strongly agree 14 1,92 1,19
total 168 3,26 1,18
Pampers  or Huggies
MALAYSIA
strongly disagree 8 4,00 1,41
somewhat disagree 37 3,81 0,78
neither agree
nor disagree
56 3,27 1,00
somewhat agree 53 2,92 1,10
strongly agree 14 2,38 1,19
total 168 3,25 1,10
Pampers  or Huggies
CHINA
strongly disagree 8 3,88 1,55
somewhat disagree 37 3,68 0,97
neither agree
nor disagree
56 3,26 0,97
somewhat agree 53 2,79 1,20
strongly agree 14 2,15 1,21
total 168 3,15 1,18
Pampers  or Huggies
LITHWANIA
strongly disagree 7 3.57 1,62
somewhat disagree 37 4,03 0,76
neither agree
nor disagree
56 3,56 0,89
somewhat agree 53 3.3 1,17
strongly agree 14 3.15 1,21
total 167 3.55 1,05
Pampers  or Huggies
SWEDEN
strongly disagree 8 4,00 1,41
somewhat disagree 37 4,43 0,90
neither agree
nor disagree
56 4,60 0,78
somewhat agree 53 4,47 0,89
strongly agree 14 4,50 0,76
total 168 4,49 0,87

For Pampers  or Huggies  , which represents the group of every day class brands there is a significant difference for Bangladesh, China and Malaysia and Lithuania with coefficient lower than 0,05. For instance, those who strongly disagree that Pampers  or Huggies  brands prestige and exclusivity would be ruined if produced in Bangladesh  value the possibility to buy with 4,13(somehow agree to buy) and on the other hand those who strongly agree with the statement value the possibility to buy with 1,92 (somehow disagree to buy). Such high difference can be observed for China and Malaysia as well. What we can see here is that there is no big difference for the different countries, which is that case in the high class brands, where European countries are rated a bit higher that Asian countries. Here Lithuania is even rated lower than other Asian countries (3,57)/(3,25) strongly disagree/strongly agree with the statement. So for every day class brands like Pampers  or Huggies  it is observed indifference toward the country of manufacturing with average ratings score 3,30.

Findings: The average scores given for the everyday class brands Pampers  or Huggies  show that respondents are not so sensitive toward the made-in country and somehow express indifference. The rates given are definitely higher than for the high class brands. There is strongly expressed difference  between respondent who strongly agree and strongly disagree with the statement. Likewise, there is no expressed preference toward European countries over Asian.  Here respondent who disagree that Asian countries would ruin the prestige of the brand, they value high the probability to buy from China, as possible producer, which was not the case in high class brands.

These results can be used as a basis for confirmation of the next main hypothesis:

H2a: Country of origin and country of production have a significant influence for high class brands.

H2b: Country of origin and country of production do not play a role for every day class brands

Difference in purchase intention based on the respondents opinion about the statement: “It does not matter where the brand products are manufactured if the brand characteristics and identity are maintained”.

This statement also aims to measure what influence has the made in country in consumers‘ brand perception(purchase intention) if the brand characteristics and identity is maintained. It is interestingly to be observed because it is expected that when brand quality and identity are maintained, then made-in country should not be so influential, or to see are brand characteristics enough for customers to make the purchase decision.  There is a significant difference in the values for all the countries except USA with coefficient lower than (0,05). The most significant difference is among those who strongly disagree and those who strongly agree with the statement. For instance, China gets (1,91), which means that the respondents who disagree that it does not matter where the brand is produces if its characteristics and identity are maintained somehow disagree to buy diapers form the brands Pampers and Huggies if made-in China. On the other hand those who strongly agree with the statement value the possibility to buy with (3,65), which means somehow agree. It is interestingly to see the values of those who agree with the statement. Because more respondents have pointed ―somehow agree than ―strongly agree will see the values given for ―somehow agree. Although those respondents allege that it does not matter where the brand is produced if its characteristics are maintained, it has been noted that respondents still have some preferences. With highest values is Belgium (3,94), followed by Turkey (3,52) and lowest values get the Asian countries with (3,24) for China and Bangladesh.  The average rating of (3,14) means that respondents neither agree or disagree to buy diapers from Pampers and Huggies regardless of their opinion about the statement: ―It does not matter where the brand products are manufactured if the brand characteristics and identity are maintained.

Pampers  or Huggies
USA
strongly disagree 4,25 1,06 0,0530
somewhat disagree 4,37 0,68
neither agree
nor disagree
4,08 1,19
somewhat agree 4,62 0,84
strongly agree 4,56 0,75
total 4,43 0,93
Pampers  or Huggies
TURKEY
strongly disagree 2,73 1,19 0,0031
somewhat disagree 3,21 1.03
neither agree
nor disagree
3,16 1,28
somewhat agree 3,52 0,92
strongly agree 3,94 0,98
total 3,44 1,09
Pampers  or Huggies
BELGIUM
strongly disagree 2,64 1,21 0,000
somewhat disagree 3,37 1,16
neither agree
nor disagree
3,41 1,38
somewhat agree 3,94 0,74
strongly agree 4,24 0,96
total 3,73 1,11
Pampers  or Huggies
CHINA
strongly disagree 1,91 1,22 0,000
somewhat disagree 2,37 0,90
neither agree
nor disagree
2,84 1,10
somewhat agree 3,24 0,91
strongly agree 3,65 1,23
total 3,05 1,14
Pampers  or Huggies
BANGLADESH
strongly disagree 2,09 1,38 0,000
somewhat disagree 2,26 0,99
neither agree
nor disagree
2,78 1,18
somewhat agree 3,24 0,99
strongly agree 3,65 1,12
total 3,04 1,18
MEAN SD SIG.
Pampers Swaddlers or  Huggies little snugglers
CHINA
strongly disagree 1,45 0,93 0,000
somewhat disagree 1,42 0,61
neither agree
nor disagree
1,95 1,09
somewhat agree 2,02 1,03
strongly agree 3,15 1.5
total 2,12 1,23
Pampers Swaddlers or  Huggies little snugglers
BELGIUM
strongly disagree 2,18 1,17 0,0210
somewhat disagree 2,47 1,12
neither agree
nor disagree
2,76 1,13
somewhat agree 2,86 0,94
strongly agree 3,33 1,49
total 2,84 1,17
Pampers Swaddlers or  Huggies little snugglers
GREECE
strongly disagree 3,36 1,12 0,0019
somewhat disagree 2,74 0,99
neither agree
nor disagree
2,71 1,18
somewhat agree 3,03 0,78
strongly agree 3,67 1,34
total 3,07 1,10
Pampers Swaddlers or  Huggies little snugglers
MALAYSIA
strongly disagree 1,91 1,22 0,000
somewhat disagree 1,58 0,77
neither agree
nor disagree
2,21 1,07
somewhat agree 2,21 1,00
strongly agree 3,33 1,34
total 2,34 1,20
Pampers Swaddlers or  Huggies little snugglers
TURKEY
strongly disagree 2,36 1,50 0,000
somewhat disagree 2,00 0,88
neither agree
nor disagree
2,27 1,07
somewhat agree 2,33 1,01
strongly agree 3,42 1,35
total 2,50 1,20

For the group of high class brands represented by Pampers Swaddlers and  Huggies little snugglers   the results are a bit different. What makes impression is the lower ratings, for the two brands, for all the countries, compared to the ratings given for the everyday class brands.

There is a significant difference for all the tested countries. For the brands Pampers Swaddlers or  Huggies little snugglers   neither those who agree nor those who disagree with the statement: ―It does not matter where the brand products are manufactured if the brand characteristics and identity are maintained value with possibility to buy the brand. For China those who strongly disagree value with (1,45) and those who strongly agree with (3,15). Here Turkey is valued slightly more favorably than Belgium with (3,39). But interestingly even those that strongly agree with the statement do not express intention to buy, with the highest value given (3,39), which means neither agree or disagree.. Again even those who agree with the statement value the probability to buy with (neither agree nor disagree).

Findings: It can be said that for the group of high class brands Pampers Swaddlers or  Huggies little snugglers   respondents are more sensitive toward the country of manufacturing and do not accept to buy diapers from those brands if produced in one of the countries presented, different from the brand country of origin. While for the everyday class brands Pampers or  Huggies respondents are less sensitive and express indifference toward the country of manufacturing. Although for the two group of brands it can be seen that brand characteristics and identity are not enough to compensate the made-in country different from its brand origin country, for the everyday class brands, respondents are more likely to be indifferent toward the country of production if brand characteristics are maintained, or even somehow agree to buy. For the high class brands none of the tested country gets positive score for buying intention, except for Greece, which is the only country that respondents express some possibility to buy if brand characteristics and identity maintained.

These results confirm the hypothesis:

H2a: Country of origin and country of production have a significant influence on brand purchase intention for high class brands.

H2b: Country of origin and country of production do not play a role for every day class brands.

 Difference in purchase intention based on the respondents brand familiarity 

pampers co Huggies co mean std. dev sig sig 2 (tailed)
pampers  and huggies –
USA
know 4,45 0,95 0,603 0,124
don’t know 4,06 1,06 0,177
pampers  and huggies-

Turkey

know 3,47 1,07 0,784 0,232
don’t know 3,13 1,20 0,290
pampers  and huggies
– Belgium
know 3,75 1,12 0,234 0,410
don’t know 3,50 1,26 0,466
pampers  and huggies
– China
know 3,12 1,13 0,743 0,006
don’t know 2,31 1,01 0,007
pampers  and huggies
– Bangladesh
know 3,09 1,18 0,827 0,056
don’t know 2,50 1,03 0,044

 

In the online survey respondents have been asked for the country of origin of the four brands, in order to see if they know the brands and whether they are interested in them. Now this information will be used to see if this influence their purchase intention.

For the brand pampers and Huggies with statistically significant difference are the case when the brand is made-in China and Bangladesh. China with sig. coefficient 0,743 and Sig. (2-tailed) coefficient 0,00 lower than 0,05. Respondents who are familiar with the brand and know its origin are more likely to buy pampers and Huggies if it is produced in China (3,12 ―neither agree or disagree) than respondent who do not know the origin of the brand (2,31 ―somehow disagree).

For Bangladesh with sig coefficient 0,82 and Sig. (2-tailed) coefficient  0,04 lowered than 0,05 also respondents who know the brand origin are more likely to buy the brand pampers and Huggies if made-in Bangladesh (3,09) than those who do not know the brand origin (2,50).

pampers co mean std. dev sig sig 2 (tailed)
pampers swaddlers  and Huggies little snugglers- USA know 4,67 0,73 0,732 0,605
don’t know 4,59 0,67 0,605
pampers swaddlers  and Huggies little snugglers- Turkey know 2,41 1,.24 0,048 0,075
don’t know 2,84 1,00 0,046
pampers swaddlers  and Huggies little snugglers – Greece know 3,06 1,14 0,355 0,978
don’t know 3,06 0,96 0,976
pampers swaddlers  and Huggies little snugglers – China know 2,00 1,22 0,848 0,081
don’t know 2,42 1,12 0,070
pampers swaddlers  and Huggies little snugglers –  Malaysia know 2,28 1,24 0,048 0,075
don’t know 2,58 0,99 0,046

For the brand pampers swaddlers  and Huggies little snugglers –   significant difference can be observed only when the brand is made-in Turkey. Respondents who are familiar with the brand origin are less likely to buy if the diapers are made-in Turkey (2,41), than those who are not familiar with the brand origin (2,84).

Findings: In summary, for the everyday class brands when respondents who know the brands origin, they do not mind to buy the brand if it is produced in a country different than its brand origin country. Moreover, they express higher possibility to buy than those who do not know the country of origin of the brands Pampers and Huggies,  For the high class brands the results a exactly the opposite. When respondent are familiar with the brands and their origin, than country of manufacturing turns out to play important role in their purchase intentions and express less favorable reactions to buy pampers swaddlers  and Huggies little snugglers –  if they are not produced in USA – the country of origin of the brands and logically those who are not familiar with the brands origin are more likely to buy the brands if not produced in their  country of brand origin.

These results also confirm the second hypothesis in the research:

H2a: Country of origin and country of production have a significant influence for high class brands. H2b: Country of origin and country of production do not play a role for every day class brands.

Conclusions

For the high class brands, that were chosen to represent this group in the study has been found that consumers are more sensitive toward the made-in country and have higher expectations. For the group of high class brands all brand characteristics matter and made-in label is also taken into account.

Consumers express negative attitude toward buying brands like Pampers Swaddlers and Huggies little Snugglers if produced in the Asian countries. The developing European countries tested in the study are more favorably perceived with higher probability to buy compared to the Asian countries.

For the everyday class brands, represented by Pampers and Huggies, respondents express indifference toward the country of production and the made-in label does not play very important role in their purchase intention. For brands like Pampers and Huggies, respondents are more tolerable and would not affect negatively their purchase behavior if the diapers are manufactured in one of the tested countries, different from its country of brand origin. Nevertheless they are not fully indifferent toward the country of production and some preferences do exist. European developing countries are preferred than Asian countries. Among the Asian countries, China is the most negatively perceived, followed by other Asian countries. Explanation for this might be that China already has the reputation and popularity of a mass producer of cheap and low quality goods. The other Asian countries are not that well know and that makes them perceived a bit better than China in consumers´ mind. Developing European countries are logically perceived better, because of being part of the European Union. That serves as a guarantee for better quality control and some regulations from the Union.

One of the main hypothesis tested in this research : Country of origin and country of production influence differently male and female customers’ brand purchase intention leads to the conclusion that males are not so sensitive toward the made-in label of the diapers and express higher purchase intention than females if the clothes are made-in Asia. This is valid for every day class brands like Pampers and Huggies, when it comes to high class brand tested in the research there is no difference in the purchase intention between the genders. For brands from this level made-in label is taken seriously equally from males and females and influences their final purchase decision.

Although difficult to make a general conclusion from the results, it can be observed a slight tendency that the more educated the respondents are the more sensitive toward the country producer they are, or the higher the level of education is the less likely is to buy the brand if it is produced in one of the tested countries different from its country of brand origin.

Respondents who are familiar that pampers and huggies are American brand do not mind buying them if produced in Asia. On the other hand, respondents who know that the brands Pampers Swaddlers and Huggies little Snugglers are American react negatively if the diapers are manufactured in another country.

Managerial Implications

The financial crisis and the specific market situation has made a lot of diapers brands to consider moving their manufacturing to lower cost locations in order to survive financially and stand the competition. Such a decision is definitely not that difficult from a financial point of view, but not that easy to be considered all possible consequences over brand image and perception. Findings from the current research show that consumers not always perceive so negatively manufacturing in Asian countries or others, different from the brand home country,  but they do express preferences among the countries and in some cases even non-acceptance.  This research comes to be very useful as an information resource for managers, seeing that for the high class brands consumers react very negatively and are sensitive toward the made-in country. In these cases such decision to outsource, from initial idea of being more profitable for the company may turn into huge loses and ruin of the whole brand. The same consequences might happen also in the case when managers promote intensively the country of origin of the brand to customers. If they want to outsource the production, managers should consider it well and not to communicate the brand made-in country to consumers.

The current research investigates how outsourcing the manufacturing in another country would affect consumers purchase intention for the brands Pampers and Huggies, representing the everyday class brands and Pampers Swaddlers and Huggies Little Snuddlers, representing the high class brands. According to the results, the brands Pampers and Huggies can take advantage of outsourcing their production and generate cost savings from it, because consumers are not perceiving this negatively and would not affect significantly their purchase intention. This could be even fully overcome with the right marketing campaign, not focusing on country of origin of the diapers. However, for brands from the class of Swaddlers or Huggies Little Snuddlers this action should be avoided, because it would lead to very negative consequences. Consumers express disagreement to buy and moreover, this can ruin the exclusivity and prestige of the brands. But in case this is inevitable for the financial survival of the company, they can consider outsourcing in some of the developing European countries (Belgium, Lithuania, Greece), which are also low cost producers and are perceived better in consumers‘ mind. The research finds, China from the Asian countries as being perceived most negatively, followed by Malaysia and Bangladesh.  Another important implication from the study might be differences found between male and female respondents. Males perceive a lot more favorably the made-in country than females, but again this is only valid for everyday class brands. So this finding might be used from managers as a direction to focus on marketing campaigns aiming to decrease this more negative perception of the made-in label among female customers, or just not to spend too much in communicating the campaigns for men, as they either way have not negative attitude toward outsourced manufacturing.

Limitations and future research

The current research was focused and limited into the four brands Pampers, huggies, Pampers Swaddlers and Huggies Little Snuddlers, aiming to observe how country of production influences consumers‘ purchase intention for these particular brands. The same study could be done but with different brands or different product category.  The same data might be used for further analysis as in this study, analysis was concentrated on testing purchase intention for the different brands based on some factors like : gender, education, and statements rating. Another new clusters might be formed, that was not covered in this study. Purchase intention and brand perception might be tested based on previous consumption or experience with the brands. In this study brand perception was not being analyzed through the data, so that could be emphasis for a new research. In this study the influence of the made-in country was analyzed only as a geographic location, in the next studies might be taken into account the labor force and work conditions in Asian countries as manufacturers.  This research was conducted mostly among Asian countries, with the majority of the respondents from Lebanon and Syria. So to see how they perceive when Western brands are produced on their territory. Likewise in USA, as they are perceived as more open-minded and strongly industrialized economy.  The current study is particularly focused in diapers category, limited to the four brands divided in two categories: every day class and high class brands. The study could be extended to wider category or with more brands to provide better representation of the industry. The brands divided into the two groups are quite subjective, as for some consumers Pampers and Huggies might not be every day class brands and the opposite, for some consumers Pampers Swaddlers and Huggies Little Snuddlers are not high class brands. Also purchase intention toward the different brands if produced in Asian countries is quite general, without measuring particular attitude for the specific countries. The respondents used for the survey are mostly house wives and in the age group of: 25– 35, so it could not be said that they fully represent a population.

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