Beyond Country and Brand “Origin”


Place-Brand Associations and the Role of Place Image in Behaviour and Strategy, Special issue of Journal of Product and Brand Management; Deadline 31 Oct 2017

Journal of Product and Brand Management

Special Issue on:

Beyond Country and Brand "Origin": Place-Brand Associations and the Role of Place Image in Behaviour and Strategy

Guest Editors

  • Dr. Nicolas Papadopoulos, Chancellor’s Professor, Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada (
  • Dr. Mark Cleveland, Dancap Private Equity Professor in Consumer Behavior, Western University, London, Canada (
  • Dr. Boris Bartikowski, Professor, Kedge Business School, Marseille, France (


"Country of origin" (COO) is an old, tired, much debated, and much maligned construct, notwithstanding its more recent reincarnation as "brand origin" (BO) and that geography may be even more relevant today than ever before: Products may be "made" somewhere (Colombian coffee), or they may be "hybrids" with inputs from many origins (most contemporary cars), or they may use brand names that imply an origin stronger than their own (made in English Canada "Château des Charmes" wine), and so on – but one way or another they are associated with one or more places. And places, as contemporary research shows, are becoming ever more important since identity-related dispositions also figure ever more prominently in consumer behaviour as people try to cope with the homogenizing forces of globalization (Winit et al., 2014; Cleveland et al., 2016).

The purpose of this special issue is to get away from the narrow conceptualization of "COO" and specifically from the notion of "origin", and consider, instead, the bigger picture of place-brand associations and the role that place image plays in consumer behaviour and brand strategy.

Human behaviour is based on perception, and perception matters even if it misattributes reality (Magnusson, Westjohn, and Zdravkovic, 2011). Therefore, a brand’s perceived place of association (not "origin") can serve a number of functions, including as a cue to infer desirable traits, as a risk-reduction strategy, as a contributor to identity (Cleveland, Laroche, and Papadopoulos, 2011), and as an instrument of affiliation with or apartness from national or cultural collectivities at many different "levels of place", from city to region to nation and beyond (e.g., the strong subcultural, regional, and ethnic identities within the EU or Africa; Papadopoulos and Hamzaoui-Essoussi, 2015).

And yet much ink is used to show that consumers don’t really know, care, or can determine where a brand "comes from", and more ink to argue it is "BO" that matters, not "COO". This has helped to create a tempest in a teapot, since the literal meaning of "COO" has been gone the way of the dodo bird ever since the rush of research on hybrids starting in the 1980s (e.g., Hamzaoui-Essoussi, Merunka, and Bartikowski, 2011), which put forth all sorts of brand-place associations including country of design, brand, manufacture, parts, company headquarters, and so on (Papadopoulos, 1993).

In other words, ever since it was widely recognized that there are many "country of –" somethings, the argument against "COO" has been a case of attacking a fallacious strawman – "country of origin is dead! viva brand origin!" – even though COO has been used in research as an umbrella for all sorts of place associations , including but not limited to BO, for over 30 years now. It is as if the actual location of production (even if it could be identified in the era of hybrids) or of the brand’s parent country (even if it were known) matters more than the place (whichever place, not just "country") with which a consumer chooses to associate a brand based on whatever criteria he or she feels appropriate.

We need to remove the shackles of COO and BO and move on. The notion of place association ignores narrow definitions and incorporates a whole host of terms that have to do with, well, "place". After all, any of ethnocentrism, animosity, affinity, cosmopolitanism, worldmindedness, product-country image, place image, brand image, brand origin, product origin, brand reputation, corporate reputation, tourism destination image, xenophobia, and a whole host of other related terms, deal with one and the same issue: How, why, and to what effect do buyers relate the images of places to the brands they encounter in the marketplace, whether these "places" are small towns, nations, sub- or supra-national regions, or the world at large (in the case of cosmopolitanism, worldmindedness, and "global" brands)?
To do this we need to take stock of what we know and what we don’t (respectively "very little" and "almost everything") about the research domains mentioned in the previous paragraph, with a focus on understanding better the broad, encompassing construct of place-brand associations. In other words, this special issue is not looking for traditional studies within any one of the above domains, such as single-issue research on COO, ethnocentrism, or animosity, but seeks, instead, studies that relate two or more of these domains to help us better understand the broader effects of "place" associations in consumer behaviour and brand strategy. In this light, themes appropriate for this issue include, but are not limited to:

  • Dimensions of place image
  • Consumer likes and dislikes: Animosity vs. affinity effects on brand choice
  • The role of cosmopolitanism vs. parochialism, and worldmindedness vs. nationalism in buyer behaviour
  • Levels of place and relevance to branding: Towns, regions, nations, the world
  • Modes of expressing place associations: Brand names, advertising appeals, packaging cues
  • Role of place image for various types of buyers: consumers, travellers, investors, skilled workers, migrant manual workers, executive nomads, consumers in advanced vs. developing countries
  • Nation or place branding aimed at any one or more of the above buyers
  • Role of place image in various product categories: Food, luxury, industrial, fashion, goods and services
  • Consumer responses to marketing mix (4Ps) differences regarding product options from various places (e.g., differential pricing to combat product-country image weaknesses)
  • Relationship of ethnocentrism vs. cosmopolitanism with the global vs. foreign vs. local brand distinction
  • Inputs to place image creation: Schooling, media (do books, movies, or news matter more?), travel, ethnicity
  • Ethnocentrism, animosity, and affinity in ethnic consumers with dual country affiliations
  • Effects of consumer mobility on place images and place-brand associations
  • Branding of places (place or nation branding) and branding of brands-based-on-places


Prospective authors should (a) ensure their papers meet the Special Issue scope and (b) follow the JPBM author guidelines


  • Deadline for submissions: October 31, 2017
  • All papers must be submitted online, designated as submissions to this Special Issue, through the ScholarOne System (,
  • For questions or any additional information please contact any of the guest editors.


Bartikowski, B., and Walsh, G. (2015). Attitude toward cultural diversity: A test of identity-related antecedents and purchasing consequences. Journal of Business Research, 68(3), 526-533.

Cleveland, M., Laroche, M., and Papadopoulos, N. (2011). Ethnic Identity’s Relationship to Materialism and Consumer Ethnocentrism: Contrasting Consumers in Developed and Emerging Economies. Journal of the Global Academy of Marketing Science, 21(2), 55-71.

Cleveland, M., Rojas-Méndez, J.I., Laroche, M., and Papadopoulos, N. (2016). Identity, Culture, Dispositions and Behavior: A Cross-National Examination of Globalization and Culture Change. Journal of Business Research, 69(3), 1090-1102.

Hamzaoui-Essoussi, L., Merunka, D., and Bartikowski, B. (2011). Brand origin and country of manufacture influences on brand equity and the moderating role of brand typicality. Journal of Business Research, 64(9): 973-978.

Magnusson, P., Westjohn, S.A., and Zdravkovic, S. (2011). "What? I thought Samsung was Japanese": accurate or not, perceived country of origin matters. International Marketing Review, 28(5), 454-472.

Papadopoulos, N. (1993). What Product and Country Images Are and Are Not. In N. Papadopoulos and L.A. Heslop, eds., Product-Country Images: Impact and Role in International Marketing (Binghampton, N.Y.: The Haworth Press), 1-38.

Papadopoulos, N., and Hamzaoui-Essoussi, L. (2015). "Place Images and Nation Branding in the African Context: Challenges, Opportunities, and Questions for Policy and Research. Africa Journal of Management, 1(1), 54-77.

Winit, W., Gregory, G., Cleveland, M. & Verlegh, P. (2014), Global vs. Local Brands: How Home Country Bias and Price Differences Impact Brand Evaluations. International Marketing Review, 31(2), 102-128.