Foreign Names for Products to Undergo More Review

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A product name can influence whether a consumer will initially make a purchase. Marketers have long known that assigning a foreign name can increase a product’s interest. But what happens when consumers discover that the product with an exotic name is actually manufactured in the domestic market or somewhere else? That’s the question pondered in a recent AMA Journal of Marketing study.

Purchasers who buy a product like Haagen-Dazs have partly bought into the marketing message that the foreign name means the item has foreign origins and is perhaps even of higher quality than domestic brands. Researchers studied consumer reactions when discovering that the cherished product with the foreign name is actually made at home. Part of the reaction has to do with the type of product involved. For those products categorized as hedonic, or sold with an air of luxury, consumers were much more likely to express frustration at being duped. Apparently, the mindset is associated with the idea that paying more for luxuries means they really should be luxuries instead of a marketing trick. Consumers have a different attitude about utilitarian products and their names. For example, they may associate German sounding names with quality. If they discover the utilitarian product in question is actually made in China, they are likely to continue purchasing it.

These days, consumers are demanding more information about the origins of the products they are buying. Researchers warn that marketers should beware when naming products because up to 25% of consumers make purchases based on the made-in label.

[Source: Melnyk et al. Double-Edged Sword of Foreign Brand Names. Journal of Marketing. AMA​.com. November 2012. Web. 7 Dec. 2012]
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.