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Brand Image: Sri Lanka – The Southern Asian Dynamic
This brand image for Sri Lanka would be an accurate depiction because of the increase in change the country is always experiencing. Sri Lanka has plans in place for future national development to help better the country, with the help and use of humanitarian support from ally countries. Their national development plan also includes Sri Lanka is also known for their quality in exported goods. The quality of goods exported from Sri Lanka tends to be of a higher quality. Above all, Sri Lanka has a great human development rate, which means that the labor force has the potential to be powerful.
A strategy I would use to create this brand image would be to promote and advertise the quality of the goods produced in their home country. Promotion for planned national development would also be carried out. The advertising and promotions would take place to target countries that would benefit from importing goods from Sri Lanka. The brands or goods that are exported promote the country and contribute to creating the desired brand. The country (its’ government) needs to promote the brands of goods being exported also.
While Sri Lanka has the potential to be powerful, challenges could stand in the way of executing a marketing strategy. Building a brand for a product is not the same as building a brand for a country. A country would need to leverage all of their unique and positive qualities in order to be able to successfully promote themselves the way they plan to. If the government places strict laws on exporting goods, this could hurt the marketing strategy of promoting the country as a brand as well. Another challenge would be that the political violence in Sri Lanka could hurt the creation of the brand image. Countries who would like to import goods from Sri Lanka may see the political violence as an issue that they would prefer to steer clear of.
Q2. In which category of innovations do microwaves fall in India? As VP of White Appliances, how would you use the knowledge about the five characteristics of innovations to facilitate quicker diffusion of the product?
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Discuss in particular your target market and desired positioning of the product. Introduce some creative promotional ideas to sell to your chosen segment(s). Also discuss how you would distribute the product.
Microwaves are at a later stage of the early adopters category. They have not quite entered the majority category yet. This category of the innovation is not because people in India do not know or understand what microwaves are for and what they can do, it is a cultural barrier since many people in India see the idea and concept of the microwave as a European appliance. Emphasis is place on “European appliance” is because many people in India feel that the use of a microwave would not fit with the traditional Indian culture. Food must be hot off of the stove and prepared with fresh ingredients. Indians who do not necessarily see themselves accepting the microwave into their household believe that the microwave would take away from this cultural aspect of their beliefs and standards. From reading the case, I believe that microwaves can easily graduate toward the next stage for diffusion of innovation with a better product at a better price. Since Indian households are well aware of the concept of microwaves, I think that microwaves should serve a dual or multi-purpose in order to be seen as a more useful and cost effective appliance in India. Given the nature of a common home in India, they would need something that serves a purpose and does not take up more space than necessary. Due to the low incomes of a vast amount of the population in India, the product would have to be seen as a necessary investment. I believe that a micro-fridge would be a successful appliance if introduced to the Indian population. A micro-fridge is a small refrigerator with a small microwave attached to the top. In the U.S., many college students have these compact appliances in the vicinity of their dorm rooms. They are usually around four feet tall and 2 feet wide. This innovation within the product category would be an added value to the product because the product was designed to serve more than one purpose. This product differentiates itself from other product in India at this time (given the date of the case) because it time, money, and space. It saves time because cooking and reheating food can be done instantly. The micro-fridge saves money for households and users who currently experience the costs of gas stoves. This product saves space because it is a compact unit that is essentially a two in one appliance, meaning that it may not take up too much unnecessary space in a small Indian home. A few other attributes this product has aside from reheating food is that food can be stored, as well. This saves money also because food that would not normally be saved can now be saved, reheated, and consumed at a later time. The refrigerator can adequately preserve the freshness of the food, therefore the freshness should no longer be seen as an issue.
The five characteristics of innovation are relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, triability, and observability. Relative advantage is the perception that the innovation is more satisfactory than items that already exist in the same class of products. Compatibility is an estimate of harmony between the innovation and the values and norms of potential adopters. Complexity is a gauge of the difficulty faced by a consumer in understanding and using the innovation. Triability is the relative ease of testing out the innovation before making a decision. Observability is the degree of visibility given by the innovation (13De). Of the five characteristics, India seems to be in the “compatibility” stage, because many of them believe that the product simply does not mesh with their cultural values. To foster quicker diffusion of the product, as VP of White Appliances, I would place emphasis on the attributes that would pose as most valuable to the consumer in this market. If the consumer can see that the performance of the product/appliance can meet their expectations and standards.
The micro-fridge is already used by the millions of college students in the United Sates. There are many reasons why this product works for this segment. College students do not typically have much income (low income); many usually live on campus in dorm rooms that are not too spacious (small/tight living space); many heat or reheat food on an as needed basis and do not need to prepare more than a single serving of a meal. College students are also typically bachelors, therefore, the market I would choose to target would be the “Self-Serve Bachelors.” This segment of the market believes that microwave ovens are great and allows them to make their “curries and sambhar” everyday. Without a microwave, reheating portions of these meals using an oven would give off a burnt smell, which is not the case when using microwaves. When microwaves are used, the food tastes “just as fresh” as if were just made.
To promote this product to this segment of the market, microwave safe storage containers could be given away with the product. Storage containers that are microwave safe allow them to cook food, place leftovers into the containers to store in the refrigerator, and reheat in the container when ready to consume at a later time. This promotional effort could also attract households who have not used microwaves previously because they may not have serving dishes that would fit into the microwave or containers that would ensure preserved freshness of their food and meals. They can place the food from serving dishes into the microwave safe containers if they would like to reheat their food, and then store leftovers if there are any.
The micro-fridge would be distributed to retailers for the target market. The typical retailer for this product would still be retailers of appliances. The product would be distributed throughout India in many of the same places where other microwaves are normally sold because while the target market would be the “Self-Serve Bachelors”, many households in India would be able to find this product useful given that it has a competitive advantage over the microwaves that only serve one function.
Q3. Is price always in control of the marketing executive? Discuss. How can parallel imports affect pricing and what can companies do about it? If a foreign buyer is unable to pay you in international currency, discuss options available. What concerns you most about these options? Why do companies use intra-company pricing (transfer pricing)? Give an example.
Market executives are responsible for determining pricing objectives for return on investment (ROI), market share, pricing for market penetration, unit sales, and brand image. With the four P’s in marketing, price would be considered to be the factor that can either make or break a deal when it comes to having an overall competitive advantage for your product or service. Price is the factor that ultimately controls the market. In every aspect of business and marketing, costs can contribute to either the success or failure for a product or service. Price will vary upon service level. Depending on the level of service, the company and consumer pay for elements that include waiting time, traveled distance, or other expected standards. Costs are also acquired through product holding facilities, such as storage and warehouses. Other factors of costs include tariffs, taxes, and inflation. When costs are incurred by the manufacturer, the costs affect the entire supply chain, affecting the wholesaler, retailer, and ultimately the customer. When a company does not generate enough revenue to make a return on their investments while remaining profitable, prices are raised for the end consumer. If this happens, customers may no longer find value in purchasing that product or service, resulting in the customer seeking to fill their need with competitors’ products or services.
Cost factors controlled by the government include price floors and price ceilings. Parallel imports occur when a company utilizes polycentric, multinational pricing policy that requires price setting differences in different markets. Gray market goods are generally sold at prices lower than that of legitimate importers. This undercuts the prices of the legitimate importers. Consequences and costs of gray markets on global marketers include dilution of exclusivity, free riding, damage of channel relationships, undermining segmented pricing schemes, and reputation & legal liability. Companies can take a competitively active approach by including the gray markets in their competition. Once this market is acknowledged as competition, inclusion of this competitor into a strategic marketing framework can be created.
If a foreign buyer is unable to pay in international currency, there are many options available through countertrade. Countertrade is when payment is made in some form other than money. Under countertrade, there are payment options such as bartering, counterpurchase (parallel trading/barter), switch trading, compensation trading (buyback), or offset. Bartering is simply a direct exchange of goods or services between two parties. Counterpurchase is when cash is paid upon each delivery that is made. Switch trading is when a third party gets involved in a trade/barter where one party is not willing to accept or receive all goods in a transaction. Switch trading can apply to bartering or countertrade. Compensation trading is when a “hard-currency” down payment is made at the time of delivery and the supplier agrees to build a plant or provide the plant equipment, patents & licensing, or technical, managerial, or distribution expertise. Offset is where the government of the importing country makes a reciprocal agreement saying that if you want to export goods to that country, you must import good from that country.
Issues that may concern one about these options could be a concern as to whether or not the country of the buying company is financially stable. This may result in a good or service not selling as well in that country. Other issues of concern may be loss of money on contracts that are bought at spot rates and interest.
Intra-company pricing, or transfer pricing, is used for pricing goods, services, and intangible property bought and sold by operating units or divisions of the same company. Transfers of goods across borders represent a sale, which is a matter of interest to tax authorities who want to collect a fair share of tax, and customs service who want to collect duty on goods. Companies use intra-company pricing because it provides tax revenue earnings. Examples of this are subsidiaries of the same company buy from and sell to one another, like Toyota.
i) What are the pros and cons of standardizing advertisements for a company’s global customers? To market industrial products in the country you researched, which approach would you favor?
- Consistency in appearance of message throughout the world
- More cost effective for advertising and promotions (economies of scale)
- Message of advertisement may not be consistent given the variety of perceptions throughout the global market (message may reach target but may not be understood)
- A product that is advertised to have customization can be sold at higher rates
- The effectiveness of the advertisement could be impaired by noise
I would favor standardization for industrial products in Sri Lanka. Although people of Sri Lanka do necessarily share the same values, beliefs, living standards, needs, priorities, etc. as people of the United States, standardization would be a better approach. Advertisements would need to display an action of the industrial product in use. An action being displayed is different from a conversation being held or an advertisement that displays words with wit because the message can remain consistent because seeing how an industrial product is used may not necessarily cause confusion with the message that is being promoted. While standardizing a product in the global market equates to no differentiation or customization for the unique needs of a local market, customization of industrial products would not be very cost effective. Industrial products are typically used the same way globally. Therefore, I believe that the greatest return on investment for marketing industrial products in Sri Lanka would be obtained through using standardized advertisements. I would not be completely opposed to localization of advertising messages after the product has been introduced to the market and people have been made aware of the brand. Localization of the advertisement could pose as a competitive advantage for the company. This is a competitive advantage over the companies who do not use this strategy for advertising toward the consumers of the market. Because of this, the consumer may remember the product in their mind and associate the company’s brand to their need when seeking industrial material products. This could result in a greater amount of revenue generated compared to if standardization within the company’s advertisements would have remained in use.
ii) How can companies leverage ISO-9000 in their marketing efforts?
ISO-9000 is the international quality assurance system for manufacturing and service industries. Many associate the quality of a product with that of its brand. Products that are sold at premium prices in a competitive market are associated to quality as well. The quality of a good or service can be projected though its warranties or insurance. Companies or brands that are ISO-9000 certified guarantee quality in their services or brands. Companies big or small can leverage the use of ISO-9000. A company that wants to leverage the use of this high quality standard can market their products or services with placed emphasis on quality. A company can also advertise the use of ISO-9000 since it is internationally known, which can unveil opportunities that were not present before the company’s use of ISO-9000 was known. High quality at a lower cost can now be used as a way to promote your company’s brand since unnecessary costs due to inefficiencies are reduced. Advertising that your company is efficiently putting out products and services can also be a way for a company to leverage the use of ISO-9000 in their marketing efforts.
iii) Discuss how distribution might offer some of the best prospects of competing more vigorously in the global market place.
Value added is just an added dollar value to the product as it is passed from supplier to supplier in the supply chain. When value is added to a product at each stage/supplier location in the distribution channel, this adds to the cost that the end user/customer pays. Therefore, the end customer is not only paying for the product itself, but the value that has been added to the product because of the supply chain as well. With a more efficient distribution channel, unnecessary value added can be decreased, enabling the end user/customer to purchase a specified product at a lower price (without sacrificing quality). Although the end customer would be paying less, the result could equate to an increase in revenue for the company. This decreased/lower price could increase the appeal of the product to consumers who were not purchasing the specified product (or products) or brand of your product previously. This is an increase in the share of the market that you hold. Competition for efficiency in the distribution channel continues because companies that posses this quality have a competitive advantage over companies or organizations who do not.
(n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2014, from http://www.margaritabenitez.com/trends/lectures/TRENDS_CH02.pdf