Perception of Japanese products in India
With the FDI influx the companies bring not only the product but also its country’s culture and people. Many of these Multinational companies manage their consumer perception through country of brand origin in their promotion campaigns. An example is the German accented narrator used to emphasise on “German made cars” and also includes “Das Auto” as a slogan in its advertisements.
Brand-origin is defined as ‘‘the place, region, or country where brand is perceived to belong by its target consumers’’ (Thakor, 1996) for example Sony, Honda and Panasonic consumers think of Japan .The idea is that familiarity with products made in the country is the strongest predictor for country perceptions. Therefore, perceived origin associations are evident within brand names, created through long term communication with the consumers.
How people evaluate products comes from their previous experiences and stored information about the products cues like brand and country of origin. Fishbein and Ajzen described three kinds of human beliefs: descriptive, informational, and inferential. Descriptive beliefs are from direct experiences with the product. Informational beliefs are those from outside sources of information such as ads, friends, and so on. Inferential beliefs are those formed by making inferences based on experience as this experience relates to the current stimuli, this can be positive or negative. Images held in consumer mind are one manifestation of these beliefs. Under effect of communication and previous use, consumers form images about product’s cues that will serves as a basis for judgment in future evaluations.
In India the first thing that comes to mind when asked for a Japanese product are automobiles. This is because of the brand namese which are japanese words themselves. Some of the adjectives used to describe Japanese producs are known to be long lasting, innovative, safe etc.
Some contibuters for perception includes
Country of Origin
Learning the language the brand comes from
Living in the country of the brand
Using the brand over a long period of time
Exposure to culture through various events within the counrty
Japanese brands are usually perceived with a positive attitude because of the numerous sterotypes we hear and are taught throught the media about the lifestyle, work culture, food culture and personalities of Japanese people. These stereotypes affect our attiude towards a product from the brand. Much of India are on the opposite spectrum of India in terms of lifestyle, values and principles.
Another factor that affects the perception is the developed state of the country, Japan is one of the top 5 developed countries and hence products from Japan are considered a more higher grade than home country products, which may not be the case. But capitalising on this perception is what gives companies the edge in a foreign market.
‘‘Ultimately, the power of a brand lies in the minds of consumers or customers’’ and that the meaning that customers attached to a brand may be different from that which the firm intends.(Country of origin, brand image perception, 2008)