Country Image and Product Evaluations: Impact of a Personal Contact with a Country

Sigitas Urbonavicius, Vytautas Dikcius, Skirmante Navickaite

Abstract


In the context of globalization, consumers in majority ofcountries are increasingly exposed to products from foreigncountries as well as have direct experience of visiting thesecountries. Personal experience with a country influencesone’s perception about a country as well as its products. Themechanism of this influence is complex and still evolving,presenting a research problem of this study.On the basis of previous studies, the authors of thisarticle suggest a different model of research. This modelsegregates conative and cognitive aspects of the countryimage, and argues that conative ones may be interpreted asone’s psychic closeness to a country. The aim of the articleis to test the model, analyzing how personal experience witha country and demographic parameters impact on psychiccloseness, image of a country and general evaluations ofproducts from that country.The study is performed in Lithuania, on the basis ofmail survey, developed on the judgemental samplingapproach. Germany was used as a target country formeasuring respondents’ psychic closeness, country imageand general evaluations of products from this country. Themain constructs were measured on the basis of modifiedscale proposed by R. Parameswaran & M. Pisharodi(1994). Personal experience with a country was measuredby registering visits to the country or temporary living in it.In total, 539 questionnaires were included in the analysis.The analysis revealed appropriateness of the studyapproach and allows us to highlight some differences,occurring on the basis of personal experience. It wasconfirmed that the country image depends on personalexperience from the country and that general evaluation ofproducts also depends on personal experience from thecountry. However, the link between personal experience andpsychic distance requires further analysis and testing.In addition, some differences were observed on thebasis of various demographic parameters of respondents.More general interpretation of findings is difficult dueto the scope of the study, since the major parameters aremeasured on the basis of just two countries. Thiscomplicates segregation of country-specific observationsfrom the general ones. Despite this limitation, the studysuggests further steps in researching the issue, since theoverall model has proved its appropriateness.


Keywords


country of origin, country image, conative elements, cognitive elements, psychic closeness, general product evaluations.

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Print ISSN: 1392-2785
Online ISSN: 2029-5839