Paradox is statement that seems contradictory but indeed authentic. Think global and act local is a paradox in global marketing where markets are people who require localization but when company goes global, they consider the customer as equal all over the world which is called production driven, not people driven. In globalization mentality, companies talk about products, brands and market, not people (De Mooij, 2013). De Mooij (2013) and Aresi (2017) argue that one can act globally but cannot think globally because every human being thinking and behavior are influenced by his or her own culture. Aresi (2017) further points out that to understand the consequences of culture for global communication, one must possess knowledge on paradoxes because the more people know about other countries and culture, the more they become aware of their own culture and national identity. He goes on to say that the common mistake companies do in global marketing is that they use the system of one culture to develop advertising for other cultures, one culture’s motives to try to move people of other cultures. However, there is no common global language to reach global consumers and hence experience in a few different countries or language skills are not enough to go global. As a result, it is important for marketers to understand the cultural difference and what moves people of diverse cultures. (De Mooij 2014).
Aresi (2017) points out that although Language spoken by people of different countries represents different world views, just translating the language does not change the perception, thinking and behavior of customers. (Simon, 1993) Stated that “Translating advertising copy is like painting the tip of an iceberg and hoping the whole thing will turn red.”. Therefore, advertising should be more than words where pack shots, text, slogans, etc. must be changed considering the culture differences.
Red Bull Australian product is one of the best examples which is known for its global marketing. Red bull a nonalcoholic carbonated energy drink is the most popular drink in the world with 71% of world’s market of energy drink, reaching 166 countries with sales amounted to about 6.28 billion euros worldwide in year 2017 (Statista, 2018). The brand is successful in world market mainly because of their marketing and communication strategies. Brand targets students, drivers, clubbers, business people and sports people and resonates its strategies according to their targeted audience. (Siminoff, 2017).
The brand also considers the culture (taste, thinking and behavior) while entering the global market. Initially, the brand began with slogan “Red Bull Gives You Wings” but when they entered other European markets, they changed its traditional marketing strategy and marketed it as a sports drink instead of an energy drink. They sold the product immediately through mass-market channels like chain stores and had also ignored their traditional marketing mix in favor of a billboard campaign. The company also chose a new slogan: “You should never underestimate what Red Bull can do for you.” (Farris, Shames, Johnson & Mitchell, 2017)
Unlike their success in Europe market, entering England market is challenge for them. They are not allowed to use term “energy drink” by British marketing team as it the label already exist in the country. Therefore, the term stimulation is used with their logo, but it wasn’t a success as they could sell only 2 million cans in two years. So, the brand changed their promotion strategies where they hired students to drive Minis with a big Red Bull can strapped on top. This promotion enhanced sales up to 200 million cans, which came close to its total of gradually rising sales in Germany. (Gschwandtner, 2012)
In the Uinted State market, the red bull’s slogan “gives you wing” was interpreted wrong and even picked up in newspaper reports like quote from customer “You can get drunk and stay wide awake,” or “It’s the poor man’s cocaine.” There was rumor that the drink contains bull testicles. (Gschwandtner, 2012). This is how thinking and behavior of customer influence the market. However, the brand framed it slogan to “The motivation to have a Red Bull at night is the same as during the day, to wake up, be at your best, and have fun.” Likewise, Red Bull’s sales was a success and many Red Bull imitation products were introduced to the U.S. market.
The color of Red Bull can (packaging) mixture of white and blue, but in North American market it is designed in red, silver and blue colors as red color is perceived as a symbol of action and courage, whereas blue color is associated with youth and dynamism” (Brown, McDonagh, & Schultz, 2012). Where as in Chinese market white/silver color is not used as it indicate death and mourning. Therefore, it is designed in gold and red colors, because gold color represents wealth and happiness in China and red is associated with good luck (Krishnamurthy, 2016).
From the challenges and success stories of Red bull in international markets, I learned that the culture background, taste, thinking and behavior of the targeted customer has major influence over the success of the brand entering the international market. Therefore, it is important for any brand entering new international market to study the cultural difference and accordingly customize their marketing communication strategies to act local. Finally, the conclusion is all about “adaptation” as pointed out by Pratt (1956) “every market must be considered as a single unit and area and the adaptations must be defined in consideration of that.”