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School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2012
Thesis number: 12814
Country of origin and customer-based brand equity: A quantitative study on Chinese cars going global
Author: Liu, Ye
Title: Country of origin and customer-based brand equity: A quantitative study on Chinese cars going global
Year: 2012  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; brandit; brands; autoteollisuus; car industry; vientimarkkinointi; export marketing; Kiina; China
Pages: 113
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_12814.pdf pdf  size:3 MB (2958099)
Key terms: Country of Origin; customer-based brand equity; branding; Chinese brands
Objectives: The objective of this study is to examine the role of brands’ Country of Origin (COO) effects on the brands customer-based brand equity. To be more specific, this study focuses on the consumer perceptions towards Chinese brands, automobile brands in particular, in the international market in order to understand how Chinese brands’ customer-based brand equity is influenced by brands’ Chinese identity and what are the strategies to effectively counter the negative influence provoked by the brands’ COO. The study is realized through three major research areas: 1) examination of current customer-based brand equity of Chinese brands in the international market 2) the Country of Origin effects on Chinese automobile brands 3) feasible strategies on improving the customer-based brand equity for Chinese automobile brands. In a word, this study aims to clearly underlie the relationship between Country of Origin effects and brands’ customer-based brand equity as well as to discover factors that hinder the growth of Chinese brands equity in the international market. Corresponding practical implications are presented in the end to provide feasible and market-based suggestions for future improvements.

Research Method: This study uses a quantitative research method, which is realized through an online consumer questionnaire. A snowball sampling is applied in order to circulate the questionnaire through major social network platforms. The questionnaire received 212 respondents in the end and 204 of which are considered valid. Most questions are closed ended questions measured by a 1-5 likert scale while three questions are open ended, one of which was designed to collect consumer thoughts for the practical implications.

Findings: The results provided by the questionnaire do not indicate an overall positive feedback on Chinese brands, which indicates inadequate customer-based brand equities for the brands that are associated with Chinese origin. The negative effects of China being the brands origin is discovered to be transferrable across brands from all kinds of categories, indicating the exclusion of product-category country association in this field. Additionally, it is proved that the Country of Origin effects and the customer-based brand equity share a bi-directional relationship, where mutual influences are detected to constantly shape and form consumers’ perceptions. Quality resulted to be the major factor that sabotage the brand image while brand image, on the other hand, is treated as an indicator of quality standard. Last but not least, factors that are essential to conduct improvements are discussed, and the channels through which the outcome could reach its best are listed.

Research limitations: The fact that the main empirical data was collected in the form of consumer questionnaire could possibly generate bias, especially when it is approached by a snowball sampling method. Further, due to time and budget limit, interviews with experts in the filed were not realized. Professional insights are, thus, missing. As solutions provided in this study were solely based on consumers’ opinion without taking into account of experts’ suggestions, strategies stated here could be rather one-sided. Implications provided may not be suitable for all Chinese brands cross industries of all kinds and resources needed to realize the strategies may vary among different companies.

Practical implications: Implications of this study is presented according to the results provided by factor analysis. Strategies concerning effectively counter negative Country of Origin effects are categorized into: product-related attributes, external association and brand differentiation while the marketing channels are discussed in terms of word of mouth and mass media.
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