Purpose – This study aims to examine country of origin (COO), price and brand effects on Lebanese consumers’ attitudes towards US products and brands while evaluating a low‐involvement product like chocolate. Design/methodology/approach – The research comprised formulation of a detailed questionnaire that was served to 488 administered at various shopping malls across Lebanon. Statistical analyses of data employed included Pearson correlation and analysis of variance (ANOVA) tests. Findings – The data supported both the hypotheses that respectively predicted that brand price was more important than COO in the evaluation of low‐involvement products. The data did not support the hypothesis that predicted a preference by Lebanese consumers for “Made in Lebanon” products, based on a similar observed preference for domestic products in developed nations. Research limitations/implications – The external validity of the findings are limited since an over‐exaggerated weight is provided for the “made in” label while in a real purchase situation; price as well as brand have a weight that is far superior to that of the COO. In today's business world several cues are already embedded in the brand name which limits the internal validity of the study; this includes the “made in” labels as external cues used by respondents while evaluating a particular chocolate brand regardless of the origin cue already dispatched by the brand itself. Originality/value – The results have evidenced, if needed, the importance of taste when purchasing a particular brand. Hence, a Lebanese consumer would not mind choosing a Ghour chocolate bar instead of a Nestlé or even a Cadbury chocolate bar only if these three brands had equivalent attributes. Brand is the second attribute considered by consumers when choosing a particular chocolate. Thus, a successful approach for international marketers would be to build strong brand equity. The results provide extremely useful outputs to the marketing professionals.
EuroMed Journal of Business – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 13, 2012
Keywords: Country of origin; Low‐involvement product; Cue; Country image; Hybrid product; Ethnocentrism; Lebanon; Chocolate