Consumers value national identity

3 February 2014
LONDON: A brand's country of origin is an important influence in purchase behaviour and UK brands are rated more highly than their share of global exports would indicate, a new global survey has revealed.

'Made In', a survey of 1,050 consumers across seven countries from FutureBrand, a brand consultancy owned by Interpublic Group, ranked the UK sixth in terms of its reputation among global consumers even though the nation is only the world's tenth largest exporter.

It scored particularly highly for fashion, luxury goods and personal care & beauty, where it ranked fourth, reflecting how some countries have built a strong reputation in some categories while lagging behind elsewhere.

Germany and Japan, for example, perhaps not surprisingly, performed strongly in the automotive and electronic goods categories, but not so well in the other four key product categories, which also included food and beverages.

The survey ranked the US and France as the top two countries of origin across all six categories, followed by Germany, Japan, Italy, the UK, Switzerland, Sweden, China and South Korea.

Brands from Turkey, India, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil featured among the next ten most highly-regarded in an overall poll of 20 countries of origin.

While the survey identified the US as exhibiting the "classic hallmarks" of a strong country of origin – defined as authenticity, differentiation, expertise and quality standards – and so justifying its top spot, FutureBrand also highlighted the growing reputation of Asian countries of origin.

Having built up a reputation in the manufacturing sector, the report suggested Asian countries would enhance their reputations further as they improve their labour conditions and environmental performance.

These issues increasingly matter to consumers and help to influence their perceptions about country of origin and national brands.

The 'made in' concept can strongly influence consumers' tendency to buy, the research found, and is the second most important factor after perceived levels of safety.

In a final recommendation, the report identified a number of key issues that brands need to consider when developing their 'made in' credentials, which include authenticity, transparency and legal protection of their association with their country of origin.

Data sourced from FutureBrand; additional content by Warc staff
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