The key issue in this case study is the dilemma that mostmultinational businesses when choosing between adopting a universalmarketing strategy and maintaining customized regional strategies.The cases study also highlight the merits and limitations of adoptinga universal brand promotion strategy for multinational companies.
When Ms. Singh arrives at the launch of the summer’s mostanticipated movie, The Grid Revisited, she notices how attendeesscramble to take home sunglasses used by the lead characters (Raman,2003). The glasses designed by Tom Snider, used the movie to marketthe product. It therefore did not come as a surprise when thedesigner received customer loyalty of a cult following through thepromotion by the movie. Mr. Johnson, Espoir’s CEO, invited Ms.Singh to the black-tie gala to show her that they too could use anupcoming popular movie to market their beauty products. However, sucha move would eat into the company’s budget and negatively impairother marketing projects. In this regard, the CEO tasked Ms. Singhwith talking other regionals marketing chiefs into cutting down ontheir current marketing budget in order to finance the publicityproject by the upcoming movie.
The issue arose when the marketing director for Eastern Europe saidthat a universal approach to promoting the brand would not work owingto the peculiarity of the market. Instead, he proposed the use ofMiss Russia and Ukraine beauty pageants to promote the brand. TheWestern Europe regional director was open to the idea until when ithe heard that an American movie would be used to promote the brand.The regional director in India welcomed the idea claiming that theIndian market was slowly opening up to universal trends.
As opposed to a universal brand promotion project, Espoir could adoptthe suggestions of the regional coordinators because they are betterplaced to know the market behavior. For the regional director forEastern Europe feels that using the upcoming movie would be a wasteof money because many people in the region are not so keen onAmerican movies. Singh is opposed to the idea because she feels thatwomen who use the company’s products are independent and empowered,and hence do not look up to models. She could be wrong because shehas never stayed in Eastern Europe. Maybe the clientele in EasternEurope is empowered and independent but still fancies models andbeauty pageants. It would therefore be rational to take intoconsideration the opinions of the regional heads.
The company could also maintain its advertising strategies becausethey are cost effective and working perfectly. As the adage goes, donot fix it unless broken. The products of Espoir already have acompetitive advantage in America, Europe, and Asia. The companyshould focus its efforts in improving the brand in Eastern Europewhere it is not doing well. In addition, using the movie forpublicity may not work as well as it did for Tom Sniders’ glassesbecause the designer already has a cult-like following. The largecapital input that the project requires make it an unnecessary risk.
Iwill recommend that the company abandons the universal promotion planand concentrate on the special needs of every region. A promotionplan that takes into consideration the different market patternsvarious regional branches will have more impact and cost less. On theother hand, a universal plan may have little impact because the moviemay only be a hit in the USA, or fail to be a hit at all. It is alsonot a guarantee that translations into to Indian languages or thoseof Eastern Europe will be available to help promote the product. Thenumber of people, who follow trends just because they saw them in amovie, is arguably low. Such consumer tendencies are common inteenage girls who are not the primary target market.
Thefirst step in implementing this recommendation is to conductextensive market research on the peculiar buying behavior of eachmarket. The regional coordinators can then develop an appropriatemarketing plan for the market they are operating in. For instance,the regional coordinator for Eastern Europe already discovered thatthe target market pays attention to what goes on in the beautypageants. The Western Europe coordinator already realized that thesupremacy battles between The USA and Europe have impaired thepopularity of American movies in European populations.
Allocatingmore funds for the promotion of the product in a blockbuster moviewould be a good contingency plan. In order to make it big, thecompany needs to take ridiculous risks. There will come a time whenthe company will no longer afford to bask in its comfort zone. Whenthat time comes, contacting the moviemakers will be an excellentcontingency plan. However, the contingency plan cannot work now dueto budgetary constraints.
Raman,A., P., (2003). The global brand face-off. Harvard BusinessSchool.