The Provenance Paradox

This is an older (December 2010) article from Harvard Business Review that I re-discovered this weekend.  The article is entitled, “Why You Aren’t Buying Venezuelan Chocolate.”

It addresses ways that companies can overcome warped perceptions that are based solely on country or region of origin.  I can recall one successful ZMET study that addressed this directly – how do you market a vodka that is made in Pittsburgh, of all places?

The author, Rohit Deshpande, offers five options for countering what he calls “The Provenance Paradox”:

1. Stick to Colonial History

Examples: Turkish rugs, Indian spices, Egyptian cotton, Brazilian iron ore

2. Build a Brand for the Long Haul

Examples: Nissan (née Datsun), Honda, Toyota

3. Flaunt Your Country of Origin

Example: Colombian coffee

4. Downplay Your Country of Origin

Example: Corona beer

5. Hide Behind a Front Country

Example: None that wants to talk about it.