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Any takers for 'Made in India'?

In a previous post titled, 'Country of Origin effects or racism?', I had mentioned how being perceived as 'made in a particular country' can in many ways affect perceptions about a brand. Take Japan for example. For years I have witnessed Indian buyers refusing to attribute a 'top quality image' to any brand that was manufactured in Taiwan, Malaysia or any other South East Asian country. What they wanted was, the 'Made in Japan' tag. It didn't even matter if the product was from the Sony stable. It had to be made in Japan. I may even venture to say that this perception of quality still lingers on, among Indian buyers.

If the 'country of origin effect' is potent enough to dictate perceptions, are US Jaguar dealers and Orient Express management justified in stating that the 'India-association' will bring the brand value down?

Of course, racist attitudes still exist. The Eau de Cologne-perfume comment stands testimony to that. But its also high time Indian companies realise that, to shrug of the downgrading effects of 'Made in India' tag, they will have to design, build and popularise at least a few Indian brands purely on their 'esteem appeal' and then get buyers to pay premium prices. Now that calls for top marketing competencies. Till that is done, the 'budget tag' will remain.

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