Religion is one of the most important sources of a culture's beliefs, attitudes, and values. Hindus do not eat beef, which means that McDonald's does not serve hamburgers in India. There was a big uproar when it was found that McDonald's french fries had beef as one of the ingredients. Similarly, Jews do not combine fish and dairy products, which makes McDonald's fish fillet a problem for them. Jews and Muslims do not eat pork, which rules out the use of bacon in many products sold by fast food operations. Restaurants in Malaysia have to declare that all meats are Halal or sacrificed in a specified religious way. In addition to religious requirements, religious sentiments also play an important role. After the incidents of September 2001, there was a distinct feeling of anti-Americanism in many parts of the world, particularly the Middle Eastern region. Mecca-Cola was an attempt to make indigenous products to compete with American ones. One of the concerns in allowing Turkey to join the European Union is that it is predominantly Islamic, whereas other members are comprised of Christians. All these cases show that religion plays a very important role in how people live as well as buy products and services. Linguists have divided the study of spoken language into four main areas: syntax (rules of sentence formation); semantics (system of meaning); phonology (system of sound patterns); and morphology (word formation). Unspoken or nonverbal communication includes gestures, touching, and other forms of body language. Both the spoken and unspoken aspects of language are included in the broader field of semiotics, which is the study of signs and their meanings. Language is a crucial tool for communicating with customers and channel intermediaries. Words have different meanings in different cultures. For example post in America may refer to putting something on a bulletin board, whereas in British English it may mean mailing through the post office. Similarly, Miller Lite was considered to have less alcohol in Europe, whereas Diet Coke was considered as a dietary supplement in the Middle East. Changes were made to market Miller Lite as Miller Pilsner in Europe and Diet Coke as light coke in the Middle East. In addition to syntax and semantics, phonology can have an impact. For example there is no letter that sounds like P in Arabic so Pepsi sounds like Bebsi and Popeye's sounds like Bobeye's. Similarly, sounds of r and l are intermixed in Chinese. In the United States recently, Sioux Gateway City airport decided to keep the symbol "SUX" although there were a lot of comments about its phonology. On the other hand, the airport decided to use it in marketing by using the slogan "Fly SUX" thereby making it easy for people to remember it. Semantics can also have an impact, such as the word Esso has negative connotation in some languages; Nova (as in Chevy Nova) meant it does not move and Colgate means "go hang yourself" in Spanish. Also, nonverbal cues can have different meanings. In some cultures shaking the head from right to left is considered as yes whereas it means no in some other cultures. Shaking hands is considered as finalizing the deal in some cultures and in others it is just an introduction. There are different ways of bowing in Far Eastern cultures to indicate different aspects. Thus, verbal and nonverbal communications have a distinct impact on marketing practices. In a low-context culture, messages are explicit and specific; words carry most of the communication power whereas in high-context culture, less information is contained in the verbal part of a message. Much more resides in the context of communication, including the background, associations, and basic values of the communicators. Japan and Saudi Arabia are examples of high-context culture, where a great deal of emphasis is placed on a person's values and position or place in society. In a low-context culture, such as the United States, Switzerland, or Germany, deals are made with much less information about the character, background, and values of the participants. In a high-context culture, a person's word is his or her bond. As a result, lawyers are much less important in high-context cultures. This also makes negotiations lengthy in high-context culture since several meetings or prodding is needed. An attitude is a learned tendency to respond in a consistent way to a given object or entity. Actually, they are clusters of interrelated beliefs. Many Japanese believe that the West is the source of important fashion trends, and therefore they share a favorable attitude toward American brands. A belief is an organized pattern of knowledge that an individual holds to be true about the world. Japan's monocultural society reflects the belief among the Japanese that they are unique in the world. Attitudes and beliefs are closely related to values. A value can be defined as an enduring belief or feeling that a specific mode of conduct is personally or socially preferable to another mode of conduct. Values represent the deepest level of a culture and are present in the majority of the members of a particular culture. The Japanese, for example, strive to achieve cooperation, consensus, self-denial, and harmony. Since these all represent feelings about modes of conduct, they are values. Attitudes, beliefs, and values are all interrelated and extremely important from a marketing point of view. Power Distance is the degree to which members of a particular society expect power to be unequally shared. Hong Kong and France are both high power-distance cultures; low power distance characterizes Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia. The power distance dimension reflects the degree of trust among members of society. The higher the power distance, the lower the level of trust. Companies in high power-distance cultures prefer sole ownership of subsidiaries because it provides them with more control. On the other hand, companies in low power-distance cultures are more apt to use joint ventures. Masculinity describes a society in which men are expected to be assertive, competitive, and concerned with material success, and women fulfill the role of nurturer and are concerned with issues such as the welfare of children. Femininity, by contrast, describes a society in which the social roles of men and women overlap, with neither gender exhibiting overly ambitious or competitive behavior. Japan and Austria ranked highest in masculinity; whereas Spain, Taiwan, the Netherlands, and the Scandinavian countries were among the lowest. The masculinity-femininity dimension is likely to manifest itself in the relative importance of achievement and possessions (masculine values) compared with a spirit of helpfulness and social support (feminine values). An aggressive, achievement-oriented salesperson can be more successful in Austria, Japan, or Mexico than in Denmark. The Japanese managers may react negatively to a woman, especially if she is younger than they are. A patent is a formal legal document that gives an inventor the exclusive right to make, use, and sell an invention for a specified period of time. Typically, this invention should be a new, novel, and/or non-obvious creation. On the other hand, a trademark is defined as a distinctive mark, motto, device, or emblem that a manufacturer affixes to a particular product or package to distinguish it from goods produced by other manufacturers. A copyright establishes ownership of a written, recorded, performed, or filmed creative work.
Counterfeiting is the unauthorized copying and production of a product. An associative counterfeit, or imitation, uses a product name that differs slightly from a well-known brand but is close enough that consumers will associate it with the genuine product. The worst form of counterfeiting is known as piracy, which is the unauthorized publication or reproduction of copyrighted work. Counterfeiting and piracy are particularly important in industries such as motion pictures, recorded music, computer software, and textbook publishing. The United States in particular has a vested interest in intellectual property protection worldwide since it is home to many companies which have patents, trademarks, and copyrighted materials.
Antitrust laws in the United States and other countries are designed to combat restrictive business practices and to encourage competition. Agencies such as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Japan's Fair Trade Commission, and the European Commission enforce antitrust laws. According to some legal experts, the pressures of global competition have resulted in an increased incidence of price-fixing and collusion among companies. The Sherman Act of 1890 prohibits certain restrictive business practices, including fixing prices, limiting production, allocating markets, or any other scheme designed to limit or avoid competition. The law applies to the activities of U.S. companies outside U.S. boundaries, as well as to foreign companies conducting business in the United States. Nippon Paper Industries was found guilty in a U.S. court of conspiring with other Japanese companies to raise fax paper prices in the United States. The Japanese government denounced the U.S. indictment as a violation of international law and Japan's sovereignty. A U.S. federal judge struck down the indictment, ruling that the Sherman Act does not apply to foreign conduct. However, a federal appeals court reversed the decision. Managers have to realize the fact that bribery is a fact of life in world markets. It is not going to change overnight or based on how ethical the U.S. companies feel about their business. In fact, bribery payments are considered a deductible business expense in many European countries. Two alternative courses of action are possible. One is to ignore bribery and act as if it does not exist. This may be a very hard option. The other is to recognize the existence of bribery and evaluate its effect on the customer's purchase decision, in other words, treating it as just another element of the marketing mix. The overall value of a company's offer must be as good as, or better than, the competitor's overall offering, including bribe. If possible, a lower price, a better product, a better distribution system, or better advertisement/promotion can be undertaken to beat the competition. The best line of defense is to have a product or service that is superior to that of the competition, whether a bribe is included or not. Thus, a bribe should not be a factor that will sway the purchase decision. Demographic changes can create opportunities which are unexpected or unforeseen. For example, demographic change has been a driving force behind a renaissance of shopping malls in the United States. The first enclosed mall opened in 1956. After over 50 years retail experts were using terms like "dying culture" to describe American shopping malls. Although America boasts approximately 1,500 malls, many have closed as the Internet has brought the world's stores into American homes. Similarly in France, two entrepreneurs began rewriting the rules of retailing years before Sam Walton founded the Walmart chain. Marcel Fournier and Louis Defforey opened the first Carrefour ("crossroads") hypermarket in 1963. At the time, France had a fragmented shop system that consisted of small, specialized stores with only about 5,000 square feet of floor space, such as the boulangerie and charcuterie. The shop system was part of France's national heritage, and shoppers developed personal relationships with a shop's proprietor. However, time-pressed, dual-parent-working families had less time to stop at several stores for daily shopping. The same trend occurred in other countries. A framework for selecting target markets should take into account the market size of the targeted market. The market size should then be multiplied by the competitive advantage in that country. Multiplying the market size and competitive advantage index yields a market potential. The next step in the analysis requires an assessment of the various market access considerations. Finally, multiplying the market potential by the terms of access index gives the final market potential. This framework takes into account the competitive advantage, market potential and the terms of access. This framework should prove useful as a preliminary screening tool for inter-country comparisons. However, it does not go far enough in terms of assessing actual market potential. Global marketing expert David Arnold has developed a framework that goes beyond demographic data and considers other marketing-oriented assessments of market size and growth potential. Thus, instead of a "top-down" segmentation analysis beginning with, for example, income or population data from a particular country, Arnold's framework is based on a "bottom-up" analysis that begins at the product-market level. The product-market refers to a market defined by a product category. For example, in the automotive industry that would refer to luxury car market. Arnold's framework incorporates two core concepts: marketing model drivers and enabling conditions. Marketing model drivers are key elements or factors required for a business to take root and grow in a particular country market environment. The drivers may differ depending on whether a company serves consumer or industrial markets. Enabling conditions are structural market characteristics whose presence or absence can determine where the marketing model can succeed. For example, in India, refrigeration is not widely available in shops and market food stalls. This creates challenges for storing dairy products and confections. So the enabling conditions are very important. After marketing-model drivers and enabling conditions have been identified, the management should weigh the estimated costs associated with entering and serving the market with potential short- and long-term revenue streams. One way to determine the marketing model drivers and enabling conditions is to create a product-market profile. If the market segment is judged to be large enough, and there are no strong existing or potential competitors, one should not assume that it is safe to enter the country. There are several other factors that can negatively impact a business. For example, significant regulatory hurdles may be present that limit market access. The company may also encounter cultural barriers or religious restrictions. Other marketing-specific issues can arise. For example, in India, three to five years are required to build an effective distribution system for many consumer products. Also, the approvals may take a considerably long period of time. Thus, apparent potential does not guarantee success. Managers have a difficult decision in such conditions. If there are certain prevailing conditions that require adaptation of products, then that should be taken into account. Also, it is important to consider the question of whether targeting a particular segment is compatible with the company's overall goals, its brand image, or established sources of competitive advantage. The three basic categories of target marketing strategies are: standardized marketing, concentrated marketing, and differentiated marketing. Standardized global marketing is analogous to mass marketing in a single country. It involves creating the same marketing mix for a broad mass market of potential buyers. It is also known as undifferentiated target marketing since it is based on the premise that a mass market exists around the world. Product adaptation is minimized, and a strategy of intensive distribution ensures that the product is available in the maximum number of retail outlets. The appeal of standardized global marketing is due to the lower production costs. The concentrated target marketing involves devising a marketing mix to reach a niche. A niche is a single segment of the global market. For example, in cosmetics, Chanel has targeted the upscale, prestige segment of the market. Concentrated targeting is also the strategy employed by the hidden champions of global marketing-companies unknown to most people that have succeeded by serving a niche market that exists in many countries. These companies define their markets narrowly and strive for global depth rather than national breadth. The narrowing of market definition is the key principle in this strategy. The third category differentiated global marketing, represents a more ambitious approach than concentrated target marketing. It is also known as multi-segment targeting. It entails targeting two or more distinct market segments with multiple marketing mix offerings. This strategy allows a company to achieve wider market coverage. For example, in the sport utility vehicle segment, Rover has a Range Rover at the high end of the market. A scaled down version, the Land Rover Discovery, is offered which competes directly with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Freelander, its newest vehicle, has been on sale in Europe for several years. Thus, there is a multi-pronged approach to marketing. Psychographic segmentation involves grouping people in terms of their attitudes, values, and lifestyles. Respondents are carefully selected by asking questions to assess their attitudes, values, and lifestyles. There are different companies that provide services and help in assessing these psychographic variables. Different groups are given names based on the attributes which describe their attitudes, values, and lifestyles. Automakers rely on this segmentation since the purchase behavior of a considerable size of consumers is dependent on psychographic values. A psychographic study showed that Porsche buyers could be divided into several distinct categories. One of the categories, "Top Gun" was found to buy Porsches and expect to be noticed. Proud Patrons and Fantasists, on the other hand, found such conspicuous consumption as irrelevant. Thus, automakers can design autos based on the preferences of populations grouped under each category. It is preferable to market to a mind-set rather than a particular age group. For finding such a group, psychographic studies are important. These analyses are expensive and require careful interpretations. SRI International, one of the market research organizations, has developed VALS/VALS 2 analyses of consumers based on psychographic values. A research team in Europe identified four lifestyle groups: Successful Idealists, Affluent Materialists, Comfortable Belongers and Disaffected Survivors. The first two groups represent the elite, while the latter two represented the mainstream European consumers. It should be noted that the segmentation and targeting approach used by a company can vary from country to country. Methods that can truly assess a population segment of a country should be employed for psychographic segmentation. Positioning refers to the act of differentiating a brand in customers minds in relation to competitors in terms of attributes and benefits that the brand does and does not offer. It is the process of developing strategies for marketing purposes. It is frequently used in conjunction with the segmentation variables and targeting strategies. "Attribute or benefit" strategies are used to expose a particular product attribute, benefit, or other special feature. Aspects such as economy, reliability, multiple uses, durability, and simplicity are very commonly used to describe the attributes of a product or service. For example, Visa's advertising theme "It's Everywhere You Want to Be" exposes its benefit of being useful at any place in the world. Thus, these types of slogans, themes, or jingles very cleverly outline the benefits or attributes of a product. A similar strategy that is used is related to "Quality and Price." This strategy can be considered in light of a continuum from high fashion/quality and high price to good value. Swatch watches advertise their quality, Swiss origin, as well as affordable price. This way price is always tied to the quality and durability of the product or service. Global consumer culture positioning (GCCP) is defined as a strategy that identifies the brand as a symbol of a particular global culture or segment. It has proven to be an effective strategy for communicating with global teens, cosmopolitan elites, and globe-trotting laptop warriors who consider themselves members of a transnational commerce culture. For example, Sony's slogan "My First Sony" is positioned as the electronics brand for youngsters around the globe with discerning parents. Benetton uses the slogan "United Colors of Benetton" to position itself as a brand concerned with the unity of humankind. Categories of products that lend themselves to this positioning are both associated with high levels of customer involvement and by a shared "language" among users. High tech products such as iPod, iPhone, MP3 players, video cameras, and all such technology-prone items fall into these categories.
Foreign consumer culture positioning (FCCP) associates the brand's users, use occasions, or production origins with a foreign country or culture. Foster's Brewing Group's U.S. advertising proudly uses the brand's nation of origin in all of its print ads and other promotions as being Australian. Local consumer culture positioning (LCCP) strategy associates the brand with local cultural meanings, reflects the local culture's norms, portrays the brand as consumed by local people in the national culture, or depicts the product as locally produced for local consumers. Budweiser's U.S. advertising particularly focuses on local aspects.