Advertising to International Markets – Different Cultures, Different Tastes

Why did they have such success in Romania? Because they came at the right moment – it was at a time when everything there was changing, communism was over and everybody was open to new experiences.

Seize the moment!

Nike has been selling shoes in China since 1984. Everybody knows that Nike shoes aren’t the cheapest, but they adjusted their prices for the Chinese market. Also, the sudden popularity of basketball in China was the real boom for Nike. Basketball players wear Nike and people in China love them so they love Nike shoes… This company found the right instrument to crack into a tough market.

Know the market. Find the opportunity.

MacDonald’s didn’t have to change their recipes too much in Romania, but this didn’t work everywhere around the world. Entering into a foreign market is more than just knowing the language. Knowing what tastes your customers prefer could be the key.

Hellmann’s mayonnaise tastes differently in Brazil than in the UK. It’s more lemony in Brazil and more vinegary in Britain. Dreyer’s modified their ice cream for the Japanese market since people in Japan prefer their frozen desserts to be less sweet. Japanese consumers prefer their beef to be fatty, Koreans like the taste of cow’s feet, and Hindu people do not eat beef at all.

Different cultures, different religions, different tastes. Research and tailor your product to fit consumer needs.

I only heard of cranberries after I came to Canada and I wasn’t sure what they were… that’s because this fruit isn’t known outside North America. When Ocean Spray Cranberries. Inc first tried to sell its products in the UK, they had to face very low sales. So, they adapted their product by selling a mixed cranberry juice with a juice preferred by children in Britain. They also changed the packaging and instead of selling the juice bottled, they started to use boxes. (Source: Marketing, Canadian Edition; Pride, Ferrell, MacKenzie, Snow)

Adapt your product.

It’s no longer news that English is not the first language on the Internet and international visitors prefer to purchase from websites in their own languages. If you want to sell to foreign markets, you have to speak your customers’ language.

Localize your website. Do not only translate your website: pay attention to cultural differences and customs. Small details like colors, numbers, and signs can transform your entire campaign into a nightmare if you don’t use them correctly.

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