Speak to enough brand managers of a global brand in countries around the world and you’ll soon come to expect the all too common refrain: “…but my market is different.” Ask them to elaborate, and you’ll get the low down on how consumer habits in their market are different, their consumers’ purchase behavior is different, preferences and tastes are different, how the media and the retail trade are different, and how their consumers and customers require unique, tailored, and delicate handling.
- How large are these local differences, and do they “matter”?
- In other words, should they affect how the brand is positioned and presented?
- Are the differences sufficiently important to undermine the central premise of the brand?
As these markets grow in size and importance, so will the influence that local brand managers in those markets have on the direction of the global brand and product portfolio.
If the multinationals are savvy, they will take new product ideas and even brand propositions from China and India, and bring them to the rest of the world through their global networks.
In that not too distant scenario, the local brand manager in India may be placed in the unfamiliar position of arguing that consumer preferences worldwide are in fact similar: “everyone’ll love an aloo tikki!”.