Think global, act local
It is understandable that a company whose brand or brands have a huge notoriety would prefer to change as little as possible when trying to penetrate foreign markets. But it could be disastrous to transplant a product from any cultural context to another without carrying out certain adjustments. This is particularly true in India. Kellogg’s learned this when it wanted to launch its product Corn Flakes a few years ago in a country where it is common to eat a bowl of warm vegetables for breakfast, and where the minority who do eat cereal for breakfast prefer to eat them with warm milk. The flakes could not stand up to the heat, became soggy and much less appetising. Paired with a very high price, the product did not experience the success that was expected.
He who wants to win, wants the ball…
Who could have believed that McDonald’s, whose main product is a hamburger, would succeed in a market where the vast majority of people don’t eat beef and a quarter of the population eat no meat at all? Yet, there are currently 160 branches across the country! This is because McDonald’s adapted its products to match local taste in a distinct menu, with no beef or pork but lots of vegetarian options. In fact, more than 70% of the menu is indianized (compared to a general average of 33% in Asia). Besides, they were able to keep their branding and link it to an image of quality, impeccable services, cleanliness and world-wide values.