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COO - How do they do?: Swedish Fashion Brands' Exploitation of the Country-of-Origin Effect
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Business, Economics and Design, Linnaeus School of Business and Economics.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Business, Economics and Design, Linnaeus School of Business and Economics.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Background: Some brands have reached popularity much because of their origin and the "made-in" label can possibly generate a positive differentiating effect to the brand. Adequate examples are the British Burberry or the Italian Gucci, the French Chanel or the American Apple. All these brands strategically communicate their origin as part of their brand and the inspiration for this thesis arose form the Country-of-Origin phenomenon in international marketing (COO). This refers to that brands use cues related to their origin as a component of their brand message. Even the Swedish origin can be a competitive advantage and more companies could perhaps benefit from turning to a COO strategy, as there is a current trend of being local in a global context. This would promote the using of firms' Swedishness to succeed in establishments on foreign markets. The authors of this thesis believe that if more Swedish companies would clearly distinguish as Swedish this could perhaps also enhance the positive image of Sweden. Therefore, this thesis is exploring to what extent some Swedish fashion apparel brands work with their origin as part of their international marketing.

Research Question: How do companies exploit their Country-of-Origin as part of their brand in their international marketing communication?

Purpose: The purpose of this thesis is to explore the exploitation of a Country-of-Origin effect in Swedish fashion apparel brands' international marketing.

Methodology: The study ha taken a primarily qualitative research design, which has included two research techniques. A pre-study was conducted, that consisted of a focus group interview where the following issues were discussed: the general view of Sweden, Swedish brands and companies, and their examination with the Country-of-Origin label. The pre-study gave important insights that were used in the main study - semi structured interviews with Swedish companies working in the fashion apparel industry. From the whole population of companies in the Swedish fashion industry, a first sample of 57 companies was made. From this sample a second sample of 11 companies was drawn, that represented approximately 20 percent that was argued to be a fair number of respondents to be able to see some patterns. The data from the interviews were analyzed and interpreted in a qualitative analysis procedure that focused on the finding of keywords and patterns.

Results: The results showed that a clear majority of the random interviewed companies, 9 of 11 use their COO in their brand and 8 companies said it is a more or less explicit strategy. The exploitation of their COO was made by using country-related cues in their marketing. The reason why these companies have turned to a COO strategy was that it could give them competitive advantages, since there was a positive match between associations of their brand and Sweden. The general conclusion that could be made was that the benefits from using a COO strategy differ with the product and the country. It can also be assumed that more Swedish companies could benefit from realizing  the potential in using a COO strategy.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 112 p.
Keyword [en]
Country-of-Origin, Country-of-Design, Country-of-Manufacturing, Country cues, Stereotyping, Sweden, Branding, Competitive advantages, Storytelling, Scripting
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-19805OAI: diva2:532970
Subject / course
Business Administration - Marketing
Educational program
Marketing, Master Programme, 60 credits
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2012-07-11 Created: 2012-06-12 Last updated: 2012-07-11Bibliographically approved

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