Country-of-Origin and Brand Positioning for Health Care Services

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The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between country-of-origin (COO) and brand positioning in the context of the high-involvement service of health care. This paper compares and analyzes different positioning strategies used in Europe, North America and the Middle East.


This paper uses content analysis of promotional materials for a sample of 168 health-care organizations located in 14 countries to identify brand positioning strategies used, such as foreign, local and global consumer culture positioning. A chi-square analysis and post hoc testing is used to examine how positioning strategies differ among regions.


The findings indicate that European and Middle Eastern health-care organizations most frequently use foreign consumer culture positioning, while North American institutions tend to use global consumer culture positioning. The findings indicate that health-care organizations in countries with a better reputation for care use different positioning strategies than in countries with a lesser reputation for quality care.

Practical implications

The findings are of value to international advertising and marketing professionals and hospitals seeking to attract patients globally in a competitive marketplace. Hospitals must consider their positioning relative to both domestic and international competitors and the COO of their target audience.


COO is important in high-involvement service industries because consumers lack the information needed to evaluate service quality. Consumers may rely on COO and brand positioning signals more heavily relative to goods or low-involvement services. However, little prior research exists examining COO effects and brand positioning for high involvement services and for health care specifically. This paper makes a unique contribution by filling this gap.




Emerald Publishing Limited

Publication Information

International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing