Effects of country-of-origin on brand image

A case for made-in-turkey products
CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY
Research Design
Fundamental Theories
In order to accomplish the aforementioned aims and goals, it is
necessary to conduct a combined research approach using both qualitative
and quantitative research to statistically and empirically determine
what opinions consumers hold regarding Turkey as a COO, and how those
opinions influence their purchase decisions. These results can be
utilized to determine what Turkish brands can do to become more
competitive on the international market.
The researcher will utilize descriptive theory to draw empirical
conclusions based on prior research regarding the relationship between
COO, brand image, and purchase decision. Secondary data, such as
governmental records, annual business reports, and statistics regarding
export totals and manufacturing data, will also be analysed and used in
conjunction with the independent research that will be conducted by the
researcher.
This research will consist of 2 surveys, a consumer survey and a
manufacturer survey. Since the research questions posed in this
dissertation hinge on consumer opinion and behaviour, surveys are the
best method to determine what their opinions are, as well as what
prompts their behaviour. It is also important to survey and interview
manufacturers in Turkey to gain insight into the industry’s opinions
and attitudes towards export and Turkey’s role in the international
market.
These surveys will consist of questionnaires including both closed- and
open-ended questions, utilizing the Likert scale to generate measurable
data as well as allowing for personalized responses to open-ended
questions in order to minimize the effect of limited response options
for closed-ended questions. These questionnaires will be issued through
systematic sampling to a sampling size of 100 consumers and 50 mid-level
manufacturing or industry professionals, and the response data will be
analysed quantitatively and qualitatively.
The research will use descriptive research theories that will employ
empirical methods. The main reason why descriptive theories will be used
is because the researcher is assumed to know little or nothing about the
phenomenon being investigated. This empirical descriptive research will
entail participant data collection through two separate surveys that are
comprised of both open-ended and closed-ended questions. One survey will
be conducted for gathering data to evaluate consumer’s point of view
regarding made-in-Turkey products. The second survey will be conducted
to help evaluate industry professionals’ experiences within their
field related to the topic investigated. The responses gathered in the
descriptive study will be analysed by converting the feedback into
numerical data.
Hypothesis
This research study is aimed at deriving information pertaining to the
role that country of origin (commonly referred to as COO) plays in
shaping the image of a particular brand. In general, the paper revolves
around products from Turkey relative to the perceptions of the United
States consumer.
This study starts on with findings of earlier research that has shown
that more developed countries show a positive Country of Origin effect
on the assessment of their products, as well as the perceptions of
consumers on the quality of the product, while less developed countries
have a negative impact on the image projected by their brands (Lotz &
Hu, 2001). Recent studies have shown this to be applicable in the case
of consumers in the United States and the manner in which they perceive
Turkish brands and products in general.
H1a: Consumers in the United States holds a generally low-quality
perception of Turkish products and brands.
H1b: Consumers in the United States hold an unfavourable perception of
the Turkish brands and products.
In the case of brands, it is proposed that Turkish brands come with
extremely weak brand equity in the United States market as shown by low
brand awareness and recognition of brands from the country (Lotz & Hu,
2001). In this case:
H2: Consumers in the United States have a low awareness and recognition
level of brands from Turkey.
The truth in the two hypotheses would confirm the findings previously
cited and would establish the fact that a negative country of origin
effect would influence United States’ consumers’ perception with
regard to brands and products that are associated with Turkey. In this
case, the economic development level of a country represents the overall
capacity of a country to manufacture products that necessitate a certain
level of technology and skill. This means that the capacity of a country
to produce services and goods that are competitive on a global level as
embodied in its capacity economically, comes as an information cue that
has the capacity to influence the images and perceptions of the
customers on the country of origin. On the same note, unknown brands can
only be favoured in instances where they are manufactured in
high-reputation and more developed countries. The perception of
consumers, therefore, is affected by the country-of-manufacture’s
development level in the case of brands that are associated with Turkey.
This means that the overall country of origin effect for Turkey is
moderated by the image country of manufacture’s image as a developed
country.
H3: The overall country of origin effect for Turkish brands on the
perception of consumers in the United States is considerably positively
affected by the country of manufacture that has a favourable image.
Moreover, studies have considered the effects that other extrinsic cues
have on consumer perception in multi-cue approach. Research shows that
in the presence of additional cues, there would be a reduction of the
relative importance of the country of origin on the consumers’
evaluation of a product. This is especially with regard to brand and the
associated COB effects. This is based on the rationale that in instances
where consumers are deficient of information pertaining to the product,
they would depend on the brand name so as to make inferences on the
quality of the product. The globalised world has allowed for products
that are manufactured in a particular country to be branded in another.
Indeed, research shows that the effects of a strong brand or country of
branding (COB) have the capacity to outweigh the negative effects
pertaining to the country of manufacture. In the case of Turkish
products, the strength pertaining to a non-Turkish brand may come with a
moderating effect on the potential negative effects pertaining to the
country of manufacture relating to products that are made in Turkey. In
this case:
H4a: For products relating to Turkey, the effects of country of brand
(COB) are considerably stronger than the effects of country of
manufacture on the United States consumers’ perception.
H4b: For products that are manufactured in Turkey, the general effects
of country of origin on the United States consumers’ perception is
considerably positively influenced by its association with non-Turkish
brand that has strong brand equity.
As much as there exists a proposal to the effect that Turkish brands
incorporate a low recognition and awareness level and, consequently,
brand strength in the United States market, some Turkish brands are
considerably more developed than others. In this case, it is proposed
that the introduced brands and products are more familiar to the United
States consumer than the unintroduced ones (Hamzaoui & Merunka, 2006).
Scholars have underlined the fact that the objective product knowledge
and brand familiarity has a considerable effect influence on the effects
of Country of Origin on assessments of a product. On the same note, in
cases where consumers are familiar with the brand and products, they are
considerably less influenced by the country of origin that consumers who
have low familiarity with the same. In this case:
H5: The higher the development of the Turkish brand in terms of
familiarity with consumers in the United States market, the higher the
positive country of origin effect on the United States consumers’
perception.
Research has also shown that there are variations on the effects of
country of origin across varied categories of services and products. A
large number of studies on the effects of country of origin have
concentrated on high-value products including electronics and
automobiles, while others have paid attention to the impact effects that
the country of origin perceptions of customers have on the low-value
products like coffee and clothing. Scholars and researchers have
indicated that the effects of country of origin are higher and more
pronounced in instances where consumers are contemplating purchasing
high-value products and items such as white goods, electronics and
automobiles (Hamin & Elliott, 2005). On the other hand, purchase
decisions for low-value basic commodities such as apparel and food are
affected in a considerably less magnitude by the effects of country of
origin. In this case, the effects of country of origin in the assessment
of a product are weaker partly as a result of the lower monetary risk
with which it comes. On the same note, in the case of low-value items
where the value for money has more weight than the quality and image,
price is seen as having more influence than the effects of country of
origin the purchase decisions of the consumers (Ghazali et al, 2008). In
this case:
H6a: For items that are associated with Turkey, the general effects of
the country of origin on the United States consumers’ perceptions are
considerably lower in the case of low-value products.
H6b: For items that are associated with Turkey, the general effects of
country of origin on the United States consumers’ perception are
considerably higher in the case of high value products.
Design
The independent research will use two separate custom survey designs to
gather data. The first survey will be named “Consumer Survey” and
the second survey will be named “Manufacturer Survey”. For the first
survey, the researcher aims at collecting 100 responses through
systematic sampling from several shopping malls located around Southern
California in the United States. The data collection tool to be employed
in the research will include experimental design. In assessing the
effects of Country-of-Origin on brand image, a double multivariate
design will be used. E model will be used to test two classifications of
products: clothing and automobile sector.
In addition to the data collected through first survey, the researcher
will use an additional survey to complement and/or support the data
gathered during the first survey. The second survey which will be named
as “Manufacturer Survey” will aim to collect information from
non-randomly selected 50 mid-level manufacturing companies facilitated
in Turkey. The sectoral concentration of the manufacturers will be
textile, automotive industry and automotive parts, food/beverages and
other various consumer goods manufacturers.
Survey Instruments and Data Collection
The data will be collected using both secondary and primary data
collection methods. Secondary sources will include peer reviewed
journals, and articles relating to the topic in question. The primary
data will be collected using two separate survey questionnaires. The
first questionnaire “Consumer Survey” will consist of 50 questions,
45 closed-ended and 5 open-ended towards the end of the survey. The
first section of the questionnaire, which consists of the demographic
questions (including respondent, gender, and age), will be comprised of
only closed-ended questions. The second section will contain questions
that specifically focus on the purpose of the research. This will ensure
collection of sufficient and valid information on the research topic. A
five-type Likert Scale will be employed in the questionnaire to convert
the results into numerical data.
In carrying out this research study, three brands are selected to be
used in the research including LG, Panasonic and BEKO. LG and Panasonic
are largely indicative of their country of brand origin. However, the
same cannot be said of BEKO, which is less open as to this fact as
Turkey is its country of brand origin. In this research, the respondents
are to be provided with three pictures that have the brands, as well as
the countries of brand origin, which are South Korea, Japan and Turkey
(Keller, 2008). Of particular note is the fact that the brands are
associated with the countries in which they are manufactured with the
description that LG is produced in Poland and Panasonic in the United
Kingdom, while BEKO is produced in Turkey (Keller, 2008). This will
allow for the formation of three different scenarios. In the first case,
the country of origin has been identified as a considerably developed
country (and therefore has the requisite technology and skill to produce
quality items), while the country in which the item is manufactured
comes as an emerging economy. In the second case, both the country of
manufacturing and brand name will be associated with what is a developed
country in all respects. In the third case, both the country in which
the brand originates and the country in which the item is manufactured
represent the same emerging economy considering that BEKO is produced in
Turkey. Of particular note is the fact that the first two brands are
also considerably more familiar with a large number of United States
consumers as compared to the third brand.
The plan in the case of this study, is to research the attitudes of the
respondents to the three products, with the respondents having only
abstract information pertaining to them. The measurement of the
country’s image is to be done in relation to some specific categories
of products, rather than measuring the entire image or perception of the
country. In this case, five dimensions are to be used including
innovation, competence, status, style and excellence (Nardi, 2006). An
image of each of the countries included in this research is to be
measured by the use of the five criteria, as well as a 5-point Likert
scale that ranges from “1” for “totally disagree” up to “5”
for totally agree”.
The second questionnaire, “Manufacturer Survey,” will encompass 20
questions, 10 closed-ended and 10 open-ended. This survey will be a
non-random sample targeting specific mid-level Turkish companies’
executives and owners. The first part of the questionnaire that forms
the comparable data will be gathered through closed-ended question
responses (Nardi, 2006). The content related to the closed-ended
questions will mostly pertain to company details regarding identifying
information and performance in their respective sectors. The second
half will contain questions that specifically focus on the purpose of
the research. This will ensure collection of sufficient and valid
information on the research topic (Bluemelhuber et al, 2007). This
portion will include self-assessments of their business’ successes,
their competitive advantages, and what they believe they are lacking.
The data will be collected and analysed using Likert scale to provide
accurate assumptions for both qualitative and quantitative results. In
order to enhance understanding and readability, the questionnaire will
initially be pre-tested through the employment of a judgment sample of
participants. After the pre-testing, subsequent revisions will be made
as needed.
Sampling Method and Sample Size
The researcher will employ a systematic sampling method to collect the
desired data for both of the surveys. For the first survey, the sampling
method will be used on a sample size of 100 respondents from various age
groups randomly selected from several busy shopping malls in California.
For the second survey, the selective sampling method will be used on a
sample size of 50 Turkish mid-level company executives and owners from
industrially related business (Hackshaw 2008).
Participants
The respondents for the first survey in the research will include
randomly chosen consumers at several malls in the United States. The
respondents for the second survey in the research will include
non-randomly selected Turkish mid-level company executives and owners.
The criteria for selecting second survey participants include
import/export background, number of employees, annual net-sales for
their exports, etc. (Kelley et al. 2003).
Data Analysis
The data obtained from the survey will be analysed using SPSS. The
survey is comprised of a factor analysis, and together with the analysis
results, a t-test will be conducted. Descriptive statistics and linear
regressions will also be employed in the analysis. Depending on the
final version of the survey, the quantitative portions of the results
will be analysed using ANOVA and regressions. On the other hand, the
qualitative portion of the results will be analysed with case summaries
and cluster analysis.
Since all types of data are to be recorded using numerical data, a
codebook is too be conducted so as to enhance the convenience pertaining
to running a computer analysis. A variety technique of data presentation
is to be applied in the study. Scholars have noted that the care that is
exercised in the presentation of data may directly influence the
statistical results’ quality. In this regard, data pertaining to
individual variables in the questionnaire will be carefully examined and
summarised before being presented in form of frequency distribution
tables and diagrams.
To enhance comprehension of the data, the research will make use of
descriptive statistics and make comparisons of variables numerically on
the basis of their dispersion and central tendency. The medians and
means are to be counted while varied approaches are to be dedicated to
the dispersion (OʼCass & Lim, 2001). On the same note, the means are to
be compared so as to comprehend the varied demographical
characteristics. In this case, the one way ANOVA and independent sample
t-test is to be carried out. Scholars have also underlined the
importance of using correlation co-efficient in the provision of an easy
and concise overview pertaining to the character of the relationship
between two metric variables. In addition, factor analysis will also be
used in some stages so as to detect the key components and enhance the
comprehensive nature of the findings.
Validity
Data collection represents various concepts that might be relatively
multifaceted to non-researchers. This means that the concept of validity
must be upheld in any research. Joppe wrote that “validity determines
whether the research truly measures that which it was intended to
measure or how truthful the research results are” (2000). A valid
measure has been defined as a measure that measures what the researchers
intended it to measure (Lotz & Hu, 2001). Scholars have underlined three
techniques for assessing validity including content validity, criterion
validity and construct validity. Of particular note is that none of
these comes as entirely sufficient or satisfactory. In this study,
construct validity will be used in measuring the extent by which an
operationalization measures the concept that its purports to measure
(Moisescu, 2006). To evaluate the construct validity of the study,
convergent validity, divergent validity and face validity will be tested
using varied tests.
Scholars have noted that a simple test for testing the face validity
pertaining to a study would be to pose questions to individuals that are
in the know about the actual topic. In this case, a group of volunteers
is to be invited to outline their thoughts on the measures and questions
that are posed in the study (Moisescu, 2006). On the same note, some
professionals in Turkish companies are to be consulted so as to
guarantee that the information to be gathered by the questions will be
both valuable and precise without the possibility of an invalid common
sense.
In this research, the researcher attempts to measure the level of
approval of made-in-Turkey products and what factors contribute to that
approval or disapproval. Understanding that the data will be collected
using survey questionnaires assists the researcher in capturing the
required information. Research validity helps in obtaining valid and
dependable results.
Limitations
One limitation of this research is that it will be carried out on only
two product classifications. As such, the data gathered cannot be
generalized to cover effects of country of origin for all products made
in Turkey. Generalizing the results obtained for the whole population
may be questionable. It could be said that the sample size of 150
participants in two separate surveys may not be sufficient to reach a
conclusion of how the brand image of products made in Turkey are
impacted by the status and picture of the country (Hackshaw, 2008). As
much as the findings may be transferable to a completely different
setting, the considerably low number of respondents can make the
findings of the study impossible for generalisation in a larger
population (Laroche, 2003).
Another limitation is that when asking people about their opinions, it
would be difficult to account for their level of honesty in their
response, especially when touching on an opinion of a foreign country.
The consumers may want to hide an opinion that may be less than socially
acceptable, and the results may be skewed by this dishonesty.
On the same note, the quality of research and data collected is highly
dependent on the skills of the researcher and may be more easily
affected by the personal idiosyncrasies and biases of the researcher
(Lotz & Hu, 2001). Indeed, scholars have underlined the fact that the
presence of the researcher in the course of gathering data, which more
often than not cannot be avoided in qualitative research, has the
capacity to affect the responses of the subject.
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