Speaker: Aurelia Durand, HEC Montréal
For over 50 years, the effect of origin—mainly studied at the country level of analysis with the country-of-origin effect—has been one of the most popular research topics in international marketing. Added to flaws in theoretical and operational foundations, this popularity generated a saturation effect with the topic now becoming almost ‘persona non grata’ in top academic journals. Joining other defenders of this line of investigation, I nevertheless argue that—with a much-needed change in perspective—research can actually reinforce its relevance for practice. So far, studies largely focused on the behavior of decision-makers at the receiving end of the effect (e.g., consumers’ and industrial buyers’ product evaluations). The perspective of marketing managers in organizations relying on their geographic origin to trigger a favorable effect (e.g., Ikea, Canada Goose, Victorinox, Volkswagen) or tone down a possible negative one (e.g., Corona) has been largely ignored. Many questions arise when it comes to “origin-based marketing,” i.e., the manipulation of geographic cues in communication and promotion activities with far-reaching consequences on organizations’ overall marketing activities and strategy. This conceptual paper thus addresses the following question: “Should marketing managers still work on the origin cue?” Doing so, it proposes an extended nomological network of the origin effect, integrating origin-based marketing as well as place branding as antecedents. It contributes to shed light on an unexplored aspect of a phenomenon that is still far from reaching its due date and unravels interesting research avenues.