Purpose – The aim of this paper is to emphasize the role of the place of origin in overcoming the information asymmetries that characterize in particular “experience” and “credence” goods. Design/methodology/approach – After having summarized the role of the country‐of‐origin (COO) in facilitating producers to effectively communicate to consumers the quality of their products, the article presents two case studies: the Chianti Classico wine from Tuscany (Italy) and the tea industry in Guangdong (China). Findings – Both wine and tea have strong links with their place of origin. The two case studies show that business excellence depends not only on firms' strategy, but also on the territory where firms are located. In the case of Chianti Classico, the territorial brand plays a strategy role for product promotion, while Guangdong seems to be less effective in allowing consumers to perceive, and therefore to appreciate, the tea quality at the international level. This makes it possible to draw from the Italian case some indications that could be applied to the Chinese case but also to other productions in the world where the link with the territory is not sufficiently valorized. Research limitations/implications – Despite the impossibility of drawing general conclusions from case studies, the two selected ones can be considered as emblematic of two different territorial strategies that over time led to two different results. This could be the starting point for policy makers aimed at valorizing the importance of territory for increasing business excellence. Practical implications – The analysis suggests that connecting the products to their territory of origin can help firms communicate to consumers the quality of their items. The country of origin can be a powerful tool to reinforce a corporate brand, but of course it means admitting that the competitive advantage of a firm is also the result of collective public or private actions devoted to create and communicate a positive image of a specific locality. This implies a joint effort of firms and policy makers. Originality/value – The paper underlines the similarities between two apparently very distant products, wine and tea. To appreciate such a similarity makes it possible to identify success factors of one sector that can be used to overcome the weaknesses of the other. The indications that arise from the analysis can also be the basis to re‐define the strategy of several other “credence” goods that require the provision to consumers of tools facilitating their process of quality appreciation of products.
Measuring Business Excellence – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 23, 2013
Keywords: Place branding; Country of origin; Firm strategy; Beverage industry; Chianti; Guangdong; Italy; China; Corporate strategy