A study on the associations of Germany, France and Italy evoked by direct and indirect country of origin markers

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For marketers who want to include the county of origin (COO) of the product in their marketing campaigns, it is important to know what the effects of the COO markers are. Although several studies have investigated to COO-effect, none of them was based on the actual content of the evoked associations but only on the categories they belonged to. Therefore, the focus of this research paper is on the differences between the associations evoked by a direct COO marker and an indirect COO marker; a foreign language (FL). 210 Dutch participants were given a questionnaire in which a direct and an indirect COO marker were involved. These markers stimulated them two write down associations about France, Germany and Italy. After all questionnaires were conducted, four students coded the associations into several categories. Data analysis was conducted by using Chi-square tests. The results showed that there are indeed differences in the associations evoked by the direct and the indirect COO marker. For instance, the foreign language evoked more positive associations than the direct COO marker. Besides that, the results showed differences in the associations when a congruent product is mentioned and when no product is mentioned, and differences in the associations evoked by the three COOs. A limitation of the research was that one of the categories, ‘characteristics’, was too broad. For further research it is recommended to divide this category into more specific categories.
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