Friday, August 17, 2012 by Lee Mannering
Understanding cultural issues when entering global markets
Recently on the PMA website we posted a link to a blog from The Hartman Group (who has conducted consumer research for us previously) that focused on the importance of thoroughly understanding the consumer culture and mindset in new markets when expanding globally. This could include adapting products from their “home” markets; creating new business models to win, rather than importing old models; and strategizing beyond the top urban areas with the wealthiest consumers. Below I’d like to share some of the key points I found interesting in Hartman’s blog:
- “The added challenge in entering new food markets, for Western companies, lies in avoiding head-on collisions with local food culture and in finding behavioral spaces where modernization is altering food traditions. If your business is about outsourcing, for example, the act of cooking, it is important to remember that you are outsourcing the beating heart of your consumer’s cultural and moral world. In most societies, you are really outsourcing ‘Mom/wife.’”
- “In emerging markets, like India and Brazil, there is an added challenge: rapid social change caused by rapid Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth means that consumers vary widely in how they view the act of domestic cooking, the domestic cook and the appropriate occasions for outsourcing both to a food company.”
- “Developing markets behave much like the U.S. market 50 years ago, defining quality as Americans did then—by consistency, reliability, and uniformity. The hot BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) developing markets often venerate U.S. culture and aspire to own and use U.S. legacy brands. While these markets present lucrative new opportunities, they are also fraught with challenges, hurdles that will become costly errors unless companies acquire the cultural competency necessary to overcome them.”
- “The idea of ‘traditional family dinners at home’ is very different than in the 1970s. Single family units are a structure of the past. Today, households are more likely to be multi-generational, or composed of a sister and brother with partner and children, as an example. Conversing at the table is not routinely happening as digital devices emerge as preferred companions.”
You can read the full Hartman Group blog post by visiting the PMA website. In terms of helping our members better understand emerging markets and global trends, we offer global Fresh Connections events (the next one is August 22 in Pretoria, South Africa) and post the presentations from those meetings online, as well as offer global trade sessions during our Fresh Summit Convention & Exposition – we highlighted those earlier this week here on Field to Fork.