Consumer affinity as a key factor to mitigate reluctance to buy foreign products: The moderating role of organic and induced image to counteract negative communication campaigns and image crises

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.24136/oc.2755

Keywords:

reluctance to buy, consumer affinity, perceived value and risk, organic and induced image, counteracting negative campaigns

Abstract

Research background: Anti-consumption practices, in particular consumers’ reluctance to buy (RTB) foreign products, are increasingly common in today’s globalised and interconnected markets. This phenomenon is accentuated by the impact of negative consumer dispositions (e.g., animosity or ethnocentrism), which contribute to an unfavourable perception of foreign products and, consequently, increase RTB. However, knowledge about possible factors that may mitigate this RTB foreign products is limited, and even less is known about the influence that positive dispositions (e.g., affinity) may have on consumer perceptions and consumption/non-consumption decisions. Moreover, consumers are inundated with information from various sources, which can significantly influence their perceptions and image of a product-country, especially in a context associated with negative communication campaigns and image crises.

Purpose of the article: This research delves into the study of consumer affinity towards a foreign country, understood as an emotional feeling or positive disposition of a consumer that may mitigate their RTB foreign products, which often results from negative communication campaigns and a country-product image crisis. In addition, its influence on perceived risk and value, and the impact of these on RTB, is investigated. The moderating effect of the organic and induced image formed by the consumer on the risk-value relationship is also analysed, determining whether the induced image undermines this relationship.

Methods: The empirical study focuses on the Spanish agri-food sector, which has been the subject of negative communication campaigns and image crises in foreign markets. The conceptual model was tested in a sample of German consumers, as Germany is the primary destination country for these products and has also been the origin of several image crises in this sector. PLS-SEM was used to validate the proposed hypotheses.

Findings & value added: This research underlines the importance of fostering feelings of affinity towards a country and its products as a means to counteract negative campaigns, increase perceived value and mitigate RTB in foreign destination markets. Companies and public institutions, which influence the formation of the induced image in consumers, can contribute to improving consumers’ perception of a product-country. By shedding light on these dynamics, this study offers valuable insights for companies trying to cope with image crises fuelled by negative communication campaigns, which are increasingly prevalent in the competitive international landscape.

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2024-06-30

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Serrano-Arcos, M. M., Sanchez Fernández, R., & Pérez-Mesa, J. C. (2024). Consumer affinity as a key factor to mitigate reluctance to buy foreign products: The moderating role of organic and induced image to counteract negative communication campaigns and image crises. Oeconomia Copernicana, 15(2), 717–763. https://doi.org/10.24136/oc.2755

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