Wednesday 21 January 2015

The “Made In” Appeal of Promotional Products

We recently had a question from a customer who was concerned with the manufacturing of our promotional products. He sent us an e-mail asking for the country of manufacturing origin of our promo items – which got us thinking, is the appeal of local production really that great? What is the effect of “Made In” labels? Should we be worried about products made in China?
Country of Origin Label: a history
Before World War I, a product’s origin was not a major issue for consumers. But after losing the war and as punishment to the German industry, the victors imposed the country-of-origin mark on all German exports. German products were required to carry the English words “Made in Germany” so that the rest of Europe and North America could avoid products from the former enemy. Although the country-of-origin label was introduced under not the most favourable of events, nowadays it has helped to raise consumers’ awareness of sourcing and at the same time, has pushed countries with favourable attributions to the forefront such as Japanese workmanship, Swedish design or French fashion.

What images do customers associate with “Made In” labels?

There has been much research conducted in the past to find out the effect that country-of-origin labels have on the consumer with a great deal of focus on food products. But no matter what product – whether t-shirts, food items, toys or kitchen utensils – is being discussed, it will be deemed superior in comparison depending on the image or stereotype associated with that country. The influence of the country of origin on consumers is determined by feelings towards the country (affective country evaluation), by rational estimates of the quality of the country (cognitive country evaluation), from the general "made in"-image of the country (competence of country in manufacturing automobiles) and by evaluating individual products made in the country (evaluation of automobiles of the country). 

Misleading advertisements

During the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and thanks to the London Olympics back in 2012, the Union Jack could be found on every thinkable promotional product. Companies were keen to cash in on the British patriotism but investigations uncovered that some companies who had implied their products to be of British origin, were partly or wholly made abroad. According to some, the fact that product xyz was merely designed in the home country is already reason enough to warrant a country-of-origin label.

Why do customers place more value on products from their home country (or at least their home continent)?

A popular blogger who focuses on domestically made goods in the US stated that especially around seasonal holidays such as Christmas, the notion of buying locally produced goods increases because people want to give a gift that supports their neighbourscommunities or country and feel like they are contributing to raising the amount of jobs available for their fellow countrymen/women. And yet in the US alone, 97% of clothing and 98% of shoes sold are made overseas according to the American Apparel & Footwear association.
In a study conducted by Yi Cai, some people see the country of origin as a way of lowering the product’s value whereas others view the same product as completely unacceptable (though it may be decidedly cheaper when produced outside of the home nation).
Especially in rural areas or with the older generation, the country-of-origin plays a larger and more important role in purchasing decisions. These markets are usually populated with more patriotic shoppers and value being able to give back to their homeland.  

Should consumers be afraid of “Made in China” products?

The answer: NO!

Consumer and promotional products are often made up of parts from all over the world. Granted, most products seem to come from Asia. China alone makes 86% of lamps80% of luggage and 56% of household kitchen appliances, such as toasters. Try living without products produced in China even for a couple of weeks and you’d be surprised at how difficult this task can be. Chinese manufacturers are faced with the stigma of being suppliers of low quality products, but how can this be when many of the smartphone industry, luxury brands (Burberry) and high quality consumer goods are settled there? As perfectly summed up by the New York Times: “Made in China" is actually "Made by Someone Else" - by multinational companies from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States that are using China as the final assembly station in their vast global production networks.

Who is Promotiontube?
Promotiontube is a B2B online retail service provider for giveaways and promotional products. The customer is able to order customized, affordable promotional items as well as more upscale, premium, low-volume items. Promotiontube regularly updates its customer base on new trends within the promotional products industry.
The company was established in April, 2014 and the headquarter is located in Klagenfurt, Austria. Promotiontube serves SMEs with an automated product customization solution (designing of product printing positions and decorations) and an automatic order system.

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