Product Branding [WLO: 1] [CLOs: 1, 2, 3] Twitter
USE APA format throughout assignment.
Prior to beginning work on this discussion, review Chapter 10: Brand and Product Decisions in Global Marketing, the article Disneyland Paris: A Case Analysis Demonstrating How Glocalization Works, look through Forbes’ list of The World’s Most Valuable Brands (Links to an external site.)https://www.forbes.com/the-worlds-most-valuable-brands/#7e1b831e119c , and watch The Billionaire Behind the Space Jump (Links to an external site.) video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMYF4CIZcKcThere are a number of factors that can help a company build its product brand. Considerations in building a brand will require an understanding of both product concepts and branding concepts. Both Red Bull and Disney are among the many listed brands you will find in The World’s Most Valuable Brands (Links to an external site.) list.Part 1:
Explain the concept of brand image and brand equity for Red Bull.
Explain why Red Bull’s global marketing activities are so heavily invested around extreme sports and events that are associated with excitement and movement.
Identify at least five examples of brand extensions and co-brandings that Disney has implemented besides Disney Parks. Briefly explains each example.
Choose a country in Asia (e.g., Japan) and a country in South America (e.g., Brazil) where the mentor company you identified in your Week 2 – Global Marketing Plan Part 1 assignment currently has a presence.
Explain what similarities and differences you see in the product and/or brand between the two countries using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, cultural perceptions, and strategic alternatives in global marketing.Not all of the companies have a branch in those regions. In that case, discuss the implications of moving to an Asian county and/or a South American country should your mentor marketer decides to expand there using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, cultural perceptions, and strategic alternatives in global marketing.
Your initial discussion post should be 275 words. Cite your textbook and any other sources used to support your ideas.
Below, I have attached the Disneyland Paris article. I have also attached my Global Market Proposal letting you see what country I am using and the company I am using, Samsung.
The course TEXTBOOK
Textbook Cited: Keegan, W. J., & Green, M. C. (2020).
(10th ed.). Retrieved from https://www.vitalsource.com
10-1 Basic Product Concepts
10-1 Review the basic product concepts that underlie a successful global marketing product strategy.
The product P of the marketing mix is at the heart of the challenges and opportunities facing global companies today: Management must develop product and brand policies and strategies that are sensitive to market needs, competition, and the company’s ambitions and resources on a global scale. Effective global marketing often entails finding a balance between the payoff from extensively adapting products and brands to local market preferences and the benefits that come from concentrating company resources on relatively standardized global products and brands.
A product is a good, service, or idea with both tangible and intangible attributes that collectively create value for a buyer or user. A product’s tangible attributes can be assessed in physical terms, such as weight, dimensions, or materials used. Consider, for example, a flat-panel TV with an OLED screen that measures 42 inches across. The unit weighs 20 pounds, is 2.2 inches deep, features four high-definition media interface (HDMI) connections, has a built-in tuner capable of receiving high-definition TV signals over the air, and delivers a 4K screen resolution. These tangible, physical features and attributes translate into benefits that enhance the enjoyment of watching HDTV broadcasts and Blu-ray movies. Accessories such as wall mounts and floor stands enhance the value offering by enabling great flexibility in placing the set in a living room or home theater.
Intangible product attributes, including the status associated with product ownership, a manufacturer’s service commitment, and a brand’s overall reputation or mystique, are also important. When shopping for a new TV, many people want “the best”: They want a TV loaded with features (tangible product elements), as well as one that is “cool” and makes a status statement (intangible product element).
A frequently used framework for classifying products distinguishes between consumer and industrial goods. For example, Samsung offers products and services to both consumers and businesses worldwide. Consumer and industrial goods, in turn, can be further classified on the basis of criteria such as buyer orientation. Buyer orientation is a composite measure of the amount of effort a customer expends, the level of risk associated with a purchase, and buyer involvement in the purchase. The buyer orientation framework includes such categories as convenience, preference, shopping, and specialty goods. Electronics products are often high-involvement purchases, and many shoppers will compare several brands before making a decision. Products can also be categorized in terms of their life span (durable, nondurable, and disposable). Samsung and other electronics companies market products that are meant to last for many years; in other words, they are durable goods. As these examples from the electronics industry suggest, traditional product classification frameworks are fully applicable to global marketing.
A warranty can be an important element of a product’s value proposition. An express warranty is a written guarantee that assures the buyer that he or she is getting what he or she has paid for or that provides recourse in case a product’s performance falls short of expectations. In global marketing, warranties can be used as a competitive tool to position a company in a positive way.
For example, in the late 1990s, Hyundai Motor America chief executive Finbarr O’Neill realized that many American car buyers perceived Korean cars as “cheap” and were skeptical about the Hyundai nameplate’s reliability. Although the company had made significant improvements in the quality and reliability of its vehicles, consumer perceptions of the brand had not kept pace with the changes. O’Neill instituted a 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty program that represents the most comprehensive coverage in the auto industry. Concurrently, Hyundai launched several new vehicles and increased expenditures for advertising. The results have been impressive: Hyundai’s U.S. sales jumped from approximately 90,000 vehicles in 1998 to nearly 665,000 vehicles in 2017. Hyundai has also overtaken Toyota as Europe’s best-selling Asian car brand.
Oftentimes, packaging is an integral element of product-related decisions. Packaging is an especially important consideration for products that are shipped to markets in far-flung corners of the world. The term consumer packaged goods (CPG) applies to a wide variety of products whose packaging is designed to protect or contain the product during shipping, at retail locations, and at the point of use or consumption. “Eco-packaging” is a key issue today, and package designers must address environmental issues such as recycling, biodegradability, and sustainable forestry.
Packaging also serves important communication functions: Packages (and the labels attached to them) offer communication cues that can influence consumers when making a purchase decision. Today, many industry experts agree that packaging must engage the senses, make an emotional connection, and enhance a consumer’s brand experience. According to Bernd Schmitt, director of Columbia University’s Center on Global Brand Leadership, “Packages are creating an experience for the customer that goes beyond the functional benefits of displaying and protecting the object.”1 Absolut Vodka, Altoids breath mints, and Godiva chocolates are a few examples of brands whose value proposition includes “experiential packaging.”
Brewers, soft drink marketers, distillers, and other beverage firms typically devote considerable thought to ensuring that packages speak to consumers or provide some kind of benefit beyond simply holding liquid. For example, a critical element in the success of Corona Extra beer in export markets was management’s decision to retain the traditional package design, which consists of a tall transparent bottle with “Made in Mexico” etched directly on the glass. At the time, the conventional wisdom in the brewing industry was that export beer bottles should be short, green or brown in color, with paper labels. In other words, the bottle should resemble Heineken’s! The fact that consumers could see the beer inside the Corona Extra bottle made it seem more pure and natural. Today, Corona is the top-selling imported beer brand in the United States, Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, and several other countries.2
Coca-Cola’s distinctive (and trademarked) contour bottle comes in both glass and plastic versions and helps consumers seek out the “real thing.” The bottle design, which dates back to 1916, was intended to differentiate Coke from other soft drinks. The design is so distinctive that a consumer could even use his or her sense of touch to identify the bottle in the dark! The Coke example also illustrates the point that packaging strategies can vary by country and region. In North America, where large refrigerators are found in many households, one of Coca-Cola’s packaging innovations is the Fridge Pack, a long, slender carton that holds the equivalent of 12 cans of soda. The Fridge Pack fits on a refrigerator’s lower shelf and includes a tab for easy dispensing. In Latin America, by contrast, Coca-Cola executives intend to boost profitability by offering Coke in several different-sized bottles. Until recently, for example, 75 percent of Coke’s volume in Argentina was accounted for by 2-liter bottles priced at $0.45 each. Now Coke has also introduced cold, individual-serving bottles priced at $0.33 that are stocked in stores near the front; unchilled, 1.25-liter returnable glass bottles priced at $0.28 are available on shelves farther back in the store.3
Other examples of packaging innovations include the following:
Grey Goose, the world’s top-selling super-premium vodka brand, was the brainchild of the late Sidney Frank. The owner of an importing business in New Rochelle, New York, Frank first devised the bottle design and name. Only then did he approach a distiller in Cognac, France, to create the actual vodka.4
Nestlé’s worldwide network of packaging teams contributes packaging improvement suggestions on a quarterly basis. Implemented changes include a plastic lid to make ice cream containers easier to open, slightly deeper indentations in the flat end of candy wrappers in Brazil that make them easier to rip open, and deeper notches on single-serve packets of Nescafé in China. Nestlé also asked suppliers to find a type of glue to make the clicking sound louder when consumers snap open a tube of Smarties-brand chocolate candies.5
When GlaxoSmithKline launched Aquafresh Ultimate toothpaste in Europe, the marketing team wanted to differentiate the brand from category leader Colgate Total. Most tube toothpaste is sold in cardboard cartons that are stocked horizontally on store shelves. The team designed the Aquafresh Ultimate tube to stand up vertically. The tubes are distributed to stores in shelf-ready trays, and the box-free packaging saves hundreds of tons of paper each year.6
One hallmark of the modern global marketplace is the abundance of multilanguage labeling that appears on many products. In today’s self-service retail environments, product labels may be designed to attract attention, to support a product’s positioning, and to help persuade consumers to buy. Labels can also provide consumers with various types of information. Obviously, care must be taken that all ingredient information and use and care instructions are properly translated.
The content of product labels may also be dictated by country- or region-specific regulations. Regulations regarding mandatory label content vary in different parts of the world; for example, the European Union now requires mandatory labeling for some foods containing genetically modified ingredients. Regulators in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Russia, and several other countries have proposed similar legislation.
In the United States, the Nutrition Education and Labeling Act that went into effect in the early 1990s was intended to make food labels more informative and easier to understand. Today, virtually all food products sold in the United States must present, in a standard format, information regarding nutrition (e.g., calories and fat content) and serving size. The use of certain terms such as light and natural is also restricted.
Other examples of labeling in global marketing include the following:
Mandatory health warnings on tobacco products are required in most countries.
The American Automobile Labeling Act clarifies the country of origin, the final assembly
point, and the percentages of the major sources of foreign content of every car, truck, and minivan sold in the United States (effective since October 1, 1994).
Responding to pressure from consumer groups, in 2006 McDonald’s began posting nutrition information on all food packaging and wrappers in approximately 20,000 restaurants in key markets worldwide. Executives indicated that issues pertaining to language and nutritional testing would delay labeling in 10,000 additional restaurants in smaller country markets.7
Nestlé introduced Nan, an infant-formula brand that is popular in Latin America, in the American market. Targeted at Hispanic mothers, Nan’s instructions are printed in Spanish on the front of the can. Competing brands have English-language labeling on the outside; Spanish-language instructions are printed on the reverse side.8
In 2008, the United States enacted a country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law. The law requires supermarkets and other food retailers to display information that identifies the country from which meat, poultry, and certain other food products are sourced. France enacted a similar law in January 2017.
In Chapter 4, the discussion of aesthetics included perceptions of color in different parts of the world. Global marketers must understand the importance of visual aesthetics embodied in the color or shape of a product, label, or package. Likewise, aesthetic styles, such as the degree of complexity found on a label, are perceived differently in different parts of the world. For example, it has been said that German wines would be more appealing in export markets if the labels were simplified. Put simply, aesthetic elements that are deemed appropriate, attractive, and appealing in a company’s home country may be perceived differently—and to the product’s detriment—elsewhere.
In some cases, a standardized color can be used in all countries; examples include the distinctive yellow color on Caterpillar’s earthmoving equipment and its licensed outdoor gear, the red Marlboro chevron, and John Deere’s signature green. In other instances, color choices should be changed in response to local perceptions. For example, as noted in Chapter 4, white is associated with death and bad luck in some Asian countries. When General Motors (GM) executives were negotiating with China for the opportunity to build cars there, they gave Chinese officials gifts from upscale Tiffany & Company in the jeweler’s signature blue box. The Americans astutely replaced Tiffany’s white ribbons with red ones because red is considered a lucky color in China and white has negative connotations (see the Emerging Markets Briefing Book sidebar later in the chapter).
Packaging aesthetics are particularly important to the Japanese. This point was driven home to the chief executive of a small U.S. company that manufactures an electronic device for controlling corrosion. After spending much time in Japan, the executive managed to secure several orders for the device. However, following an initial burst of success, Japanese orders dropped off; for one thing, the executive was told, the packaging was too plain. “We couldn’t understand why we needed a five-color label and a custom-made box for this device, which goes under the hood of a car or in the boiler room of a utility company,” the executive said. While waiting for the bullet train in Japan one day, the executive’s local distributor purchased a cheap watch at the station and had it elegantly wrapped. The distributor asked the American executive to guess the value of the watch based on the packaging. Despite all that he had heard and read about the Japanese obsession with quality, it was the first time the American understood that, in Japan, “a book is judged by its cover.” As a result, the company revamped its packaging, seeing to such details as ensuring that the strips of tape used to seal the boxes are cut to precisely the same length.9
10-2 Basic Branding Concepts
10-2 Compare and contrast local products and brands, international products and brands, and global products and brands.
A brand is a complex bundle of images and experiences in the customer’s mind. Brands perform two important functions. First, a brand represents a promise by a particular company regarding a particular product; it is a type of quality certification. Second, brands enable customers to better organize their shopping experience by helping them seek out and find a particular product. Thus, an important brand function is to differentiate a particular company’s offering from all other companies’ offerings.
Customers integrate all their experiences of observing, using, or consuming a product with everything they hear and read about it. Information about products and brands comes from a variety of sources and cues, including advertising, publicity, word of mouth, sales personnel, and packaging. Perceptions of service after the sale, price, and distribution are also taken into account. The sum of these impressions is a brand image, defined as perceptions about a brand as reflected by brand associations that consumers hold in their memories.10
Brand image is one way that competitors in the same industry sector differentiate themselves. Take Apple and Samsung, for example. Both companies market smartphones. The late Steve Jobs, Apple’s legendary cofounder and CEO, was a constant media presence and a master at generating buzz; the iPhone, iPad, and other Apple products generally receive stellar reviews for their sleek designs, powerful functionality, and user-friendly features. Apple’s retail stores reinforce the brand’s hip, cool image. By contrast, Samsung’s brand image is more heavily skewed toward technology; few Samsung users are likely to know the name of the company’s chief executive.
“If you’re into a certain brand, you expect a certain terminology and vocabulary. For brands, it’s important to speak the language of the target audience.”11
Ron Tolido, Global Chief Technology Officer for Insights and Data, Capgemini
Another important brand concept is brand equity, which represents the total value that accrues to a product as a result of a company’s cumulative investments in the marketing of the brand. Just as a homeowner’s equity grows as a mortgage is paid off over the years, so brand equity grows as a company invests in the brand. Brand equity can also be thought of as an asset representing the value created by the relationship between the brand and its customers over time: The stronger the relationship, the greater the equity. For example, the value of global megabrands such as Coca-Cola and Marlboro runs in the tens of billions of dollars.12 As outlined by branding expert Kevin Lane Keller, strong brand equity brings numerous benefits for the company:
Less vulnerability to marketing actions
Less vulnerability to marketing crises
More inelastic consumer response to price increases
More elastic consumer response to price decreases
Increased marketing communication effectiveness13
Warren Buffett, the legendary American investor who heads Berkshire Hathaway, asserts that the global power of brands such as Coca-Cola and Gillette permits the companies that own them to set up a protective moat around their economic castles. As Buffett once explained, “The average company, by contrast, does battle daily without any such means of protection.”14 That protection often yields added profit because the owners of powerful brand names can typically command higher prices for their products than can owners of lesser brands. In other words, the strongest global brands have tremendous brand equity.
“There is a strong local heritage in the brewing industry. People identify with their local brewery, which makes beer different from detergents or electronic products.”15
Karel Vuursteen, chairman, Heineken
Companies develop logos, distinctive packaging, and other communication devices to provide visual representations of their brands. A logo can take a variety of forms, starting with the brand name itself. For example, the Coca-Cola brand is expressed in part by a word mark consisting of the words Coke and Coca-Cola written in a distinctive white script. The “wave” that appears on red Coke cans and bottle labels is an example of a nonword mark logo, sometimes known as a brand symbol. Nonword marks such as the Nike swoosh, the three-pronged Mercedes star, and McDonald’s golden arches have the great advantage of transcending language and, therefore, are especially valuable to global marketers. To protect the substantial investment of time and money required to build and sustain brands, companies register brand names, logos, and other brand elements as trademarks or service marks. As discussed in Chapter 5, safeguarding trademarks and other forms of intellectual property is a key issue in global marketing.
Local Products and Brands
A local product or local brand is one that has achieved success in a single national market. Sometimes a global company creates local products and brands in an effort to cater to the needs and preferences of particular country markets. For example, Coca-Cola has developed several branded drink products for sale only in Japan, including a noncarbonated, ginseng-flavored beverage; a blended tea known as Sokenbicha; and the Lactia-brand fermented milk drink. In India, Coca-Cola markets bottled water under the Kinely brand. In contrast, the spirits industry often creates brand extensions to leverage popular brands without making large marketing expenditures. For example, Diageo PLC markets Gordon’s Edge, a gin-based ready-to-drink beverage in the United Kingdom. Allied Domecq created TG, a brand flavored with Teacher’s Scotch and guaraná, in Brazil.16
Local products and brands also represent the lifeblood of domestic companies. Entrenched local products and brands can present significant competitive hurdles to global companies that are seeking to enter new country markets. In China, for example, a sports-apparel company started by Olympic gold medalist Li Ning competes head to head with global powerhouse Nike. In developing countries, global brands are sometimes perceived as overpowering scrappy local ones. In some cases, growing national pride may result in a social backlash that favors local products and brands. In China, a local TV manufacturer, Changhong Electric Appliances, has generated a high degree of awareness among Chinese consumers by cutting prices and using patriotic advertising themes such as “Let Changhong hold the great flag of revitalizing our national industries.”
White-goods maker Haier Group has also successfully fought off foreign competition and now accounts for 40 percent of China’s refrigerator sales. In addition, Haier enjoys a 30 percent share of both the washing machine and air conditioner markets. Slogans stenciled on office walls delineate the aspirations of company president Zhang Ruimin: “Haier—Tomorrow’s Global Brand Name” and “Never Say ‘No’ to the Market.”17 In 2002, Haier Group announced a strategic alliance with Taiwan’s Sampo Group. The deal, valued at $300 million, called for each company to manufacture and sell the other’s refrigerators and telecommunications products both globally and locally.
International Products and Brands
International products and international brands are offered in several markets in a particular region. For example, a number of “Euro products” and “Euro brands” such as Daimler’s two-seat Smart car are available in Europe; the Smart was eventually launched in the United States as well. GM’s experience with its Corsa model in the early 1990s provides a case study in how an international product or brand can be taken global. The Opel Corsa was a new model originally introduced in Europe. GM then decided to build different versions of the Corsa for China, Mexico, and Brazil. As David Herman, chairman of Adam Opel AG, noted, “The original concept was not that we planned to sell this car from the tip of Tierra del Fuego to the outer regions of Siberia. But we see its possibilities are limitless.” GM calls the Corsa its “accidental world car.”18
Honda had a similar experience with the Fit, a five-door hatchback built on the company’s Global Small Car platform. Following Fit’s successful Japanese launch in 2001, Honda rolled out the vehicle in Europe (where it is known as Jazz). Over the next few years, Fit was introduced in Australia, South America, South Africa, and China. The Fit model made its North American market debut in 2006.
Global Products and Brands
Globalization is putting pressure on companies to develop global products and to leverage brand equity on a worldwide basis. A global product meets the wants and needs of a global market. A true global product is offered in all world regions, including the Triad and in countries at every stage of development. A global brand has the same name and, in some instances, a similar image and positioning throughout the world. Some companies are well established as global brands. For example, when Nestlé asserts that it “Makes the very best,” the quality promise is understood and accepted globally. The same is true for Gillette (“The best a man can get”), BMW (“The ultimate driving machine”), GE (“Imagination at work”), Harley-Davidson (“An American legend”), General Motors (“Find new roads”), and many other global companies (see Exhibit 10-2).
In French (“La perfection au masculin”), German (“Für das Besteim Mann”), Italian (“Il meglio di un uomo”), Portuguese (“O melhorpara o homem”), or any other language, Gillette’s trademarked brand promise is easy to understand.
Former Gillette CEO Alfred Zeien explained his company’s approach as follows:
A multinational has operations in different countries. A global company views the world as a single country. We know Argentina and France are different, but we treat them the same. We sell them the same products, we use the same production methods, we have the same corporate policies. We even use the same advertising—in a different language, of course.19
Zeien’s remarks reflect the fact that Gillette creates competitive advantage by marketing global products and utilizing global branding strategies. The company reaps economies of scale associated with creating a single ad campaign for the world and the advantages of executing a single brand strategy. By contrast, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, the former CEO of Nestlé, has a different perspective:
We believe strongly that there isn’t a so-called global consumer, at least not when it comes to food and beverages. People have local tastes based on their unique cultures and traditions—a good candy bar in Brazil is not the same as a good candy bar in China. Therefore, decision making needs to be pushed down as low as possible in the organization, out close to the markets. Otherwise, how can you make good brand decisions? A brand is a bundle of functional and emotional characteristics. We can’t establish emotional links with consumers in Vietnam from our offices in Vevey.20
Whichever view prevails at headquarters, all global companies are trying to increase the visibility of their brands, especially in key markets such as the United States and China. Examples include Philips with its “Innovation and you” global image advertising and Siemens’ recent “Siemens answers” campaign.
In the twenty-first century, global brands are becoming increasingly important. As one research team noted:
People in different nations, often with conflicting viewpoints, participate in a shared conversation, drawing upon shared symbols. One of the key symbols in that conversation is the global brand. Like entertainment stars, sports celebrities, and politicians, global brands have become a lingua franca for consumers all over the world. People may love or hate transnational companies, but they can’t ignore them.21
These researchers note that brands that are marketed around the world are endowed with both an aura of excellence and a set of obligations. Across the planet, consumers, corporate buyers, governments, activists, and other groups associate global brands with three characteristics, which consumers then use as a guide when making purchase decisions:
Quality signal. Global brands compete fiercely with each other to provide world-class quality. A global brand name differentiates product offerings and allows marketers to charge premium prices.
Global myth. Global brands are symbols of cultural ideals. As noted in Chapter 7, marketers can use global consumer culture positioning (GCCP) to communicate a brand’s global identity and link that identity to aspirations in any part of the world.
Social responsibility. Customers evaluate companies and brands in terms of how they address social problems and how they conduct business (see Exhibit 10-3).
Nucor is a steel company best known for its pioneering use of the minimill. Minimills produce steel by melting scrap in electric arc furnaces—a process that is much more efficient than the one used by traditional integrated steel producers. Nucor uses print and online media for an integrated general branding campaign featuring the tagline “It’s our nature.” This campaign is designed to raise awareness about the company’s stance on a variety of issues, including the environment, energy conservation, sustainability, and the importance of creating a strong corporate culture.
A global brand, however, is not the same thing as a global product. For example, personal stereos are a category of global product; Sony is a global brand. Many companies, including Sony, make personal stereos, but Sony created the category 30 years ago when it introduced the Walkman in Japan. The Sony Walkman is an example of …
Samsung: Global Marketing Plan Part 1
March 15, 2021
Corporate organization adapt to remain competitive within the market, the advancement in technology, effects of globalization, and population have made several companies expand their operations to mature marketplaces while other have chosen to do so with internal markets. This document reviews Samsung’s internal environment and identifies a country where it can expand its operations based on the identified factors.
There are various strategies that corporate organizations adapt to remain competitive and to thrive in the market. The advancement in technology, effects of globalization, and population have forced many companies to expand their operations to mature marketplaces while others have expanded their operations to international markets. According to the last Forbes news, companies that open their needs where their opponents have not opened have more significant power. Through global expansion, a company can make its brand awareness durable before its competitors do. The global expansion also creates the firm’s image and builds an excellent reputation for future operations worldwide (Anwar, 2017).
Samsung: Global Marketing Plan
There are reports that companies with more global outlets control a large customer base and are also well established in the market. In the United States, top companies with robust brand loyalty and enormous profit, such as Apple, Samsung, Netflix, PayPal, etc., are globally known for their vigorous branches. The process of global expansion also involves analyzing environmental factors such as political, economic, social, technological, and legislative factors of a company (Keegan & Green, 2020). This paper will analyze Samsung’s internal environment and identify a country where it can expand its operations based on the identified factors.
Background information about Samsung
Samsung is one of the leading electronic companies globally. It is located in South Korea. Samsung products include memory chips, digital media devices, appliances, semiconductors, and integrated systems. Samsung has been in existence for over 80 years, and currently, it controls over $4 billion net worth with over 2000 display centers in over 400 countries. According to the company’s previous report, over 80 of its profit is obtained from overseas countries, with the U.S., Russia, U.K., China, Germany, and France being its primary target market (Gumparthi & Deb, 2019). However, the company has also expanded in Africa, and Australia and today, the company’s brand is prevalent in all continents. Samsung contributes to over 50% of South Korean export. Besides, Samsung contributes to over 20% of South Korea GDP. Samsung currently has more than 5000 workers; Samsung has received several international awards, including the best company in empowering employees and a center of excellence for quality customer services. Samsung has appeared in the Forbes list and Fortune 500 companies since 2010 (Gumparthi & Deb, 2019). The main competitors of Samsung Company are Amazon, Apple, Hot Point, Techno, Huawei, Sony, L.G., and Dell. Samsung had led the electronic market with its superior products for many years until later, when Apple emerged. The company is taking plight in its brand recognition and its brand loyalty globally.
The economic factors that determine the company’s hiring ability include the employment rate, level of income, and educational level—the higher the unemployment rate, the lower the bargaining power of employees (Keegan & Green, 2020). Employees obtained in areas with high unemployment rates tend to accept a lower salary. However, these employees are less competent, and they are also expensive in terms of the process and resources needed to train and equip them with the skills necessary for the job. This is because these employees have low education levels, and their income level is relatively poor (Haizar et al., 2020). Samsung usually expands its operations to high literacy levels, high income, and low unemployment rates. Since Samsung products are relatively high, they target middle and high-class customers. Samsung attracts customers in developed and developing countries globally. The economy of these countries allows customers to buy rather expensive products. Also, the operation of Samsung products requires a medium or high literacy level. Therefore, the company usually prefers expanding its operations to countries with high education and stable income.
Cultural factors such as workplace diversity and religion affect the global expansion of Samsung products. These factors also affect the hiring method of the company. For instance, in Japan, women are still considered not fit to be leaders (Keegan & Green, 2020). The role of women is undermined in many countries globally. Over the past ten years, Samsung only hires youth adults who are energetic, innovative, and flexible. The company believes that young adults are more productive than aged people. The company also believes that young adults are flexible and can change to the changing priorities than adults. Another cultural factor associated with the company is the effect of religion. In Islamic countries, especially in the Middle East, the company enjoys much support and customer loyalty in Christian regions (Haizar et al., 2020). These factors influence the company’s move to ensure cultural diversity in terms of age, religion, gender, or race. Technology is another cultural aspect that Samsung considers when it wants to expand to a country. Countries with innovative, literate, and technologically informed people tend to be the target market for Samsung.
Political, legal and regulatory
The process of obtaining a permit to operate in some countries may be complicated than in some countries. Some countries have strict trade policies that affect trade. Other countries pose high taxes to foreign investors, thereby undermining their ability to engage in business effectively. Other challenges such as political instability caused by civil war and terrorism jeopardize its ability to expand to some countries (Wulff et al., 2019). For instance, Middle East is highly characterized by civil war and terror attacks, including some African countries such as Syria, Myanmar, Iraq, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia. These countries experience constant war, which poses serious threats to economic growth, and this undermines trade. Also, corruption is a significant issue that affects commerce globally. There are countries with extreme cases of corruption. Corruption affects business because it violates the ethical principles as well as core values of Samsung. Samsung tends to avoid countries with t5hese challenges.
Countries that are trading partners of South Korea are given priority during the expansion process. Trading unions as European Union provides a better platform to expand its operations because it engages in free trade, thereby eliminating the effects of taxation and harsh government regulations (Wulff et al., 2019). Over a third of Samsung branches are found in the countries which are trade partners of South Korea.
Nigeria is one of the fast-growing countries in Africa. It has the highest population in Africa currently with a low unemployment rate. The highest population in Nigeria is youths. Nigeria is one of the technologically advanced countries. Besides, Nigeria’s literacy level is above average, making it a better area for expanding Samsung operations.
Nigeria has the highest population in Africa. The highest population is youths. Since youths for a significant market share for Samsung products, Nigeria can offer more opportunities. The population of Nigeria is evenly distributed throughout the country. A third of the population is found in the urban areas while the rest live in the rural population. The high population of youths contributes to the rapid economic growth of the country. Nigeria is the most suitable country for expansion because currently, there no giant electronic companies such as Amazon or Apple that have expanded in the region (Agwu, 2018). This implies that when Samsung expands o Nigeria, there will be limited competition.
Nigeria is a fast-growing country in Africa. The country’s economy relies on its immense population growth, low unemployment rate, high education rate, and high-income rate. The current unemployment rate in Nigeria stands at 23%. This is considered one of Africa’s best unemployment rates since some countries have as much as 40% unemployment rate. Over 60% of Nigerian youths are active in social media and are using smartphones, computers, and tablets. These are opportunities that make Nigeria suitable for expansion.
Nigeria loves a lavish lifestyle, and they are very fashionable. They are flexible to changing priorities and are very peaceful people. Nigeria has produced global women leaders. This shows that it is a country that gives equal opportunity to both women and men in employment, politics, and education. The previous report indicated that over 60% of the Nigerian youth population is active on social media platforms. This shows that when Samsung enters the Nigerian market, it will attract all the youth population.
Political, legal, and legislative factors
Nigeria is one of the most peaceful countries in Africa. The rate of corruption in Nigeria has also significantly reduced Nigeria over the past decades. The government of Nigeria allows foreign investors to invest in Nigeria at a low cost. The tax regulation is low. This attracts international traders to expand their operations in Nigeria. The employment laws do not capture minimum wage, thereby allowing employees and employers to enter bargaining power with employees regarding salary and wages. This will help Samsung set and control employee wages and decide on the best compensating employees.
Nigeria is one of the closest trading partners of Arab countries. Nigeria has partnered with some Arab countries, including Japan, China, and Russia, in business before. Nigeria exports most of its oil to China and Japan. The excellent relationship with other Arab Countries allows the South Korean government to trust Nigeria and consider it suitable for the expansion process.
Based on the critical analysis of Samsung’s global environment, Nigeria is the most suitable country to consider for expansion. This is because Nigeria’s general strategy aligns with the environmental factors determining regions that Samsung believes for future growth. Nigeria has a technologically advanced population, high literacy level, stable economy and politics, high youth population, high-income rate, low unemployment rate, and expensive lifestyle. These characteristics align with the features of Samsung’s target market.
Agwu, P. E. (2018). Analysis of the impact of strategic management on the business performance of SMEs in Nigeria. Academy of Strategic Management, 17(1).
Anwar, S. T. (2017). Alibaba: Entrepreneurial growth and global expansion in B2B/B2C ma Pickering, S. Y. (2016).
Effiom, L., & Edet, S. E. (2018). Success of small and medium enterprises in Nigeria: Do environmental factors matter. Journal of Economics and sustainable Development, 9(4), 117-127.
Gumparthi, V. P., & Deb, M. (2019). Branding Dilemma and Global Expansion: The Case of Caliber Technologies. South Asian Journal of Management, 26(3), 162-183.
Haizar, N. F. B. M., Kee, D. M. H., Chong, L. M., & Chong, J. H. (2020). The impact of innovation strategy on organizational success: A study of Samsung. Asia Pacific Journal of Management and Education, 3(2), 93-104.
Keegan, W. J., & Green, M. C. (2020).
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Wulff, E., Kee, D.M.H., Halttunen, E., Kara, H. and Pakarinen, N., 2019. An Analysis on How Samsung Can Improve Their Environmental Work by Adding New Ecological Transportation Method of Goods. Asia Pacific Journal of Management and Education, 2(3), pp.55-66.
Disneyland Paris: a case analysis demonstrating how
Nicholson School of Communication, University of Central Florida at Seminole State College,
Partnership Center, 100 Weldon Blvd, Sanford, FL 32773, USA
(Received 18 July 2009; final version received 28 September 2009)
This paper analyzes Disneyland Paris and how glocalization theory has been
successfully applied to it. Glocalization means interaction of the global and the local.
When the park was first opened, it was such a financial debacle that it has become the
typical case study on how not to open a theme park. The mistake that Disney made was
to use its traditional method to force-feed its US products to local cultures. The main
premise of this paper is that even a giant like Disney has to show adaptation to local
preferences in order to generate maximal profits and remain competitive.
Keywords: adaptation; culture; Disney; globalization; glocalization; marketing
This paper analyzes the theoretical concept of glocalization and how it has successfully
been applied to Disneyland Paris. Glocalization refers to the interaction of the global and
the local, a cooptation of the global and the local, and the conflation of both universalizing
and particularizing tendencies. Disneyland Paris used to be called Euro Disney. When
Euro Disney was opened, it was such a financial disaster that it has become the typical case
study on how not to open a theme park. The mistake that Disney made was to use its
traditional method to force-feed its US products from its Burbank, CA headquarters to
local cultures (Marr & Fowler, 2007). Yet, it did not work in France. The main premise of
this paper is that even a transnational firm and a global behemoth like the Walt Disney
Company has to show understanding and adaptation to local preferences in order to
generate maximal profits and remain competitive in the global arena.
This paper begins with a detailed description of glocalization theory and how the
concept exemplifies today’s internationalization trends. The paper then proceeds to
describe the evolution of the park from Euro Disney, when the European Disney theme
park first opened in April 1992, to Disneyland Paris, when glocalization and management
changes were brought in. What follows is the heart of this analysis: the glocalization of
Disneyland Paris. This section explains, in detail, the four major glocalizing changes that
have made Disneyland Paris more successful: (1) cutting the price; (2) turning shows and
settings into French style; (3) change of food menus and eating habits; and (4) change of
employee customs and labor policies. The paper ends with a discussion that also includes
suggestions for future research.
ISSN 0965-254X print/ISSN 1466-4488 online
q 2010 Taylor & Francis
*Email: [email protected]
Journal of Strategic Marketing
Vol. 18, No. 3, June 2010, 223–237
Glocalization theory: a description
Glocalization is a theoretical concept developed by Robertson (1994). Glocalization is a
portmanteau of the words ‘globalization’ and ‘localization’ and refers to the interaction of
the global and the local (Andrews & Ritzer, 2007), a cooptation of the global and the local
(de Nuve, 2007; Swyngedouw, 1997), the dynamics of cultural homogenization and
heterogenization (Eric, 2007), and the conflation of both universalizing and particularizing
tendencies (Robertson, 1994). While globalization, in and of itself, emphasizes the
universality of corporate or cultural processes worldwide, glocalization emphasizes
particularism of a global theme, product, or service.
For example, glocalization occurs when McDonald’s replicates its corporate
philosophy and symbols worldwide, while simultaneously catering to local tastes and
preferences. To be more precise, although McDonald’s keeps its golden arches and red
color the same everywhere, it also makes cultural adjustments and shows to be location-
friendly. From this perspective, McDonald’s is flexible. McDonald’s restaurants in Brazil
have ‘happy hours’ with salsa bands. In New Zealand, they serve kiwiburgers. In Egypt,
they have what they call McFalafels (Ritzer, 2007). Falafels are meatballs with beans and
chickpeas inside. These examples demonstrate that glocalization constitutes a model that
is both global and local at the same time (Ingleby, 2006). These McDonald’s examples
also mean that glocalization is synonymous with relocalization, that is, the integration of
local elements into global themes, products, or services (Archer, 2008; Lee, 2003).
What glocalization stresses is that transplanting a theme, product, or service elsewhere
has a higher probability to succeed when it is catered to the local region in which it is
introduced (Appadurai, 1996; Robertson, 2001). The fundamental assumption behind
glocalization is that imposing our cultural values in other cultures does not always work. In
The world is flat, Friedman (2005) argues that if nations want to survive on this planet,
they must sacrifice some of their economic imperialism to global processes in order to
achieve economic success by western standards. Yet, at the same time, to remain ‘local’,
local cultures must maintain, to a certain extent, their local traditions while going through
globalizing processes. Friedman (2005) describes this as glocalization as well. Hence,
glocalization is a variety of globalization that is sensitive to and concerned about
differences within and between areas of the world (Robertson, 2001). The objective of
glocalization is to pursue local market input and break out from the ivory tower. This also
means that no single approach is right in all instances.
Glocalization refers to both small changes in global products and more important
modifications to those products for a specific local market (Robertson, 2007). From this
vantage point, there are direct associations between the local and international levels
(Mooney & Evans, 2007). Local forces work to assuage the impact of global institutions
(Aliet, 2007). As explained in this paper in detail, one of these global institutions is the
economy of global scale set by a behemoth of internationalization: Walt Disney. For the
past two decades, one of the chief concerns the Walt Disney Company has faced regarding
globalization is assessing the fit of what it wishes to transfer abroad with the new host
environment (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 1989, 1997; Kogut, 1989; Kogut & Zander, 1992;
Prahalad & Doz, 1987). Since the parent Disney corporation in the USA is significantly
foreign from its subsidiaries on other continents, it is well cognizant that the transferred
Disney assets may not fit the receiving context in host countries (Hymer, 1976; Kostova,
1999; Kostova & Roth, 2002, 2003).
Glocalization is successful when adaptation to foreignness is successful. By and large,
foreignness means dissimilarity – or lack of fit – in operating contexts of a multinational
corporation between home and host environments (Hymer, 1976; Kindleberger, 1969).
Adaptation requires flexibility and tolerance, even encouragement of differences. One of
the greatest hurdles to effectiveness for managers working outside their home country and
culture is a lack of tolerance from the ‘locals’ that they encounter. Nevertheless, simple
tolerance of differences is just the beginning. Authentic adaptation requires managers to
generate diversity in response to local conditions (Ulrich & Smallwood, 2006). We think
we might know a great deal about foreignness, strategic fit, and differences in host cultural
contexts, but there is something about the role of the country environment in the global
transfer of corporation assets that we are missing (Brannen, 2004). As this case study on
the glocalization of Disneyland Paris will demonstrate, glocalization theory helps fill this
gap. Disney experienced unanticipated success in Japan but an equally unanticipated lack
of success in France. This illustrates that, one way or another, in the transfer process, the
transferred firm assets – as well as the notion of foreignness itself – assume unexpected
meanings that directly affect globalization outcomes (Brannen, 2004).
From Euro Disney to Disneyland Paris
In the mid-1980s, with a well-penetrated American market (Finnerty, 2007) and the
phenomenal success of Tokyo Disneyland (Bryman, 2006), Disney’s further expansion
worldwide was deemed necessary in order to achieve optimal market growth. Disney
decided on a geographical location to build a fourth amusement park: Europe. In 1987,
after considering more than 200 possible sites in the area, Paris was chosen; to be more
precise, the Disney theme park would be in the French new town of Marne-La-Vallée
(d’Hauteserre, 1999), located just outside of Paris, at 32 kilometers (or 20 miles) from the
city (Finnerty, 2007). This location was selected not only for its beauty and history, but
also for its vital position in Europe and easy access by train, plane, and cars. While 17
million people lived within a two-hour drive, more than 500 million lived within a six-
hour drive – whereas in 2004 almost 600 million lived within that distance (United
Nations Population Division, 2004). The theme park was considered to be situated inside
the hub of a vast transportation network. As such, the park would be linked to Paris by the
RER (the French regional express metro) suburban railroad system. It would also be
linked to the other main regions of France and Europe by the A4 motorway and, as it was
planned for June 1994, by the train à grande vitesse (high-speed train) railroad network
In addition, although the northerly French climate, particularly damp and cool in the
winter, was less appealing than the alternative location in Spain, the decision to select
the Paris area was facilitated by the guarantee of financial incentives and developments
of transport systems (Palmer, Cockton, & Cooper, 2007). Regional and national
governments, especially from France, agreed to provide helpful financial incentives as
they were eager to see the project as urban regeneration (Clarke & Chen, 2007). Disney
planned to build the theme park on about 4800 acres of land (Capodagli & Jackson,
2006). Approximately half of the developable land (2115 acres) would be used for
entertainment and resort facilities. Another 1994 acres would be exploited for retail,
commercial, industrial, and residential uses. The remaining acreage (that is, 691 acres)
would be devoted to regional and primary infrastructure, like roads and railway tracks
After the partnership between Disney and the French authorities was officially
implemented, the Disney theme park was built (Clarke & Chen, 2007). Upon completion,
Euro Disney, as it was called then, was the biggest theme park and resort development in
Journal of Strategic Marketing 225
Europe. The workforce that was necessary to build Euro Disney created and attracted
many jobs. It also served as the mechanism for the wholesale regeneration of the area. In
total, almost 80,000 jobs had been created by 1990, 66.6% of which were in the tertiary
sector (Ministère de l’Equipement, 1996). Although such theme parks target middle-class
customers, Euro Disney generated many jobs for unskilled and low-skilled employees
Euro Disney finally opened on 12 April 1992 (Adekola & Sergi, 2007). At the time,
Euro Disney was employing 12,000 people and had predicted that there would be 11
million visitors in the first year. Euro Disney consisted of the park, six hotels, and an
entertainment and retail center (Plunkett, 2008). In spite of all the publicity, enthusiasm,
and anticipation, the first season that Euro Disney’s first chairman, Robert Fitzpatrick, had
forecast was unsuccessful. Although Fitzpatrick spoke French well, earned two awards
from the French government, and was married to a French woman, his management style
was still too American, with substandard results (Hartley, 2007). He did not see expected
levels in attendance (50,000 people visited the park instead of the projected 500,000), food
and souvenir sales were low, occupancy rates in the six hotels were low, and the Disney
corporation could not capitalize on its enormous land holdings. Within days, hundreds of
Euro Disney employees quit their jobs amid complaints of working conditions (Wiseman,
2005). Within the first four months, over 1000 employees left for the same reasons
(Adekola & Sergi, 2007).
Euro Disney’s situation was in a predicament. Its stock ownership declined to 39%
(Aupperle & Karimalis, 2001). Per person spending in the park was less than 50% of what
was spent, per person, at Tokyo Disneyland. Hotel occupancy rates were 37%, a sharp
contrast with the rest of Disney’s US properties, where occupancy rates were 92%. The
French government’s appropriation of farmland for Euro Disney was the subject of
protests from French farmers (Mobley & Weldon, 2006). The fact that Euro Disney was
built on a former sugar beet field in Marne-La-Vallée was severely criticized for being
culturally insensitive to its European guests (Holson, 2005). In the summer of 2004, Euro
Disney’s shares sank by 13% in a single day (‘Trouble in le Royaume Magique’, 2004). As
ticket sales declined, the amount of debt increased (Smith, 2004). Many in the
entertainment industry call the opening of Euro Disney an exemplary study on how not to
open a theme park (Holson, 2005).
In line with these contentions, critics in France referred to Euro Disney as a symbol of
cultural imperialism that was ‘plastic’ (Palmer et al., 2007), the new beachhead of
American imperialism (Adekola & Sergi, 2007), a transplant of American culture into one
of the intellectual centers of Europe (Palmer et al., 2007), the exemplification of all that is
wrong with American culture; size, money, and Hollywood (Adekola & Sergi, 2007),
cultural wasteland (Aupperle & Karimalis, 2001), cultural Chernobyl (Gitlin, 2007), and
‘not Europe’s cup of tea’ (Morris-Dixon, 1992). Furthermore, critic Jean Cau blatantly
described Euro Disney as a horrible constructive design built with cardboard, plastic, and
appalling colors, and a chewing-gum construction spiced with idiotic folklore taken
directly from comic books and targeted for obese Americans (Palmer et al., 2007). After
World War II, the French government (and particularly the intellectual elite) developed a
sentiment of anti-Americanism, which escalated during the Vietnam War (Fielding, 2008).
They were dismayed, irritated, and even outraged by the power of American culture and its
impact on France and the rest of the world. For the past 60 years or so, France’s main
consolation has been the conviction that their culture is better than anything Walt Disney
or Hollywood can offer (Riding, 2006).
After heavy losses, Euro Disney was doing so poorly that it was believed it would shut
down. Although Tokyo Disneyland was making money, Euro Disney went nearly
bankrupt (‘Year of the mouse’, 2005). Robert Fitzpatrick resigned as Euro Disney’s first
chairman in April 1993, six years after he took the job (Bryman, 1995). Now, Euro
Disney’s new chairman was Philippe Bourguignon, a Disney insider who was French.
After careful reevaluation of its major problems, Disney management realized that the
company tried to impose a global strategy rather than a local strategy that could
accommodate the needs of Europeans (Rugman & Hodgetts, 2001). Disney committed the
mistake of concentrating its entry efforts on negotiating a more advantageous venture
contract, thereby leaving the typical Disney theme park design, management style, and
employee philosophy untouched (Brannen, 2004).
The Disney corporation was forced to change its approach. The transition from
Fitzpatrick to Bourguignon was a radical shift from American-style management to
European-style management (White, 2004). Bourguignon spun Euro Disney around
completely (Kotabe & Helsen, 2007). By appointing a French manager, top US-based
CEOs such as Michael Eisner now recognized the importance of European cultural
traditions. The company began making a series of essential modifications. First of all, it
renamed Euro Disney ‘Disneyland Paris’, after two other names had yielded unsuccessful
results; that is, ‘Euro Disneyland’ and ‘Euro Disneyland Paris’. The new name,
‘Disneyland Paris’, was selected as it would help locate the theme park with precision on
the map of Europe (Kaikati & Kaikati, 2003).
Second, another major change implemented by the Disney corporation was to change
management: the new chairman was Gilles Pelisson, who replaced Philippe Bourguignon
in 1997 (Smith, 2006), and later, André Lacroix, a French citizen appointed as the new
boss in 2003, who introduced new shows (‘Trouble in le Royaume Magique’, 2004). Both
managers boosted marketing. A third major change, facilitated by the new managers, was
to abandon Disney’s global approach and substitute one that appealed to local tastes
(Rugman & Hodgetts, 2001). In other words, the implementation of glocalization has been
the key to success of Disneyland Paris. The next section is the heart of the paper; it
demonstrates how glocalization works by focusing on the Disneyland Paris operation, a
model of glocalization that had to claim its own independence Bastille-style. Indeed,
Parisian independence was the best possibility (Aupperle & Karimalis, 2001).
The glocalization of Disneyland Paris
Glocalization is an example of what changes should be made after a company
unsuccessfully tries to impose its entire culture in other countries (Martin, 2007).
Following a disappointing beginning, Disneyland Paris was forced to glocalize its
corporate philosophy, practices, services, attractions, and products to adapt the park to
European tastes (Lainsbury, 2000). The first manager of Euro Disney had low knowledge
of French culture (Adekola & Sergi, 2007). For this reason, some tailoring to link into
European culture (Palmer et al., 2007) and to understand the fundamentals of French
culture (Aupperle & Karimalis, 2001) was implemented.
As O’Brien (1992) remarked, Olivier de Borsedon, president of Parc Astérix, nurtured
the idea that Disneyland Paris needed to have a true combination of a French/American
park. For Borsedon, this had to be achieved through a better analysis, interpretation,
evaluation, and implementation of the French culture’s components (Aupperle &
Karimalis, 2001). It was only after Disneyland Paris quit turning its staff into American
clones and started catering to local tastes that the Paris operation worked passionately and
Journal of Strategic Marketing 227
keenly to distance itself from US Disney interference in an attempt to be more closely
rooted to its European/French clientele (Aupperle & Karimalis, 2001). Eventually, the
major changes bore fruit: Disneyland Paris became the number-one paid attraction in
Europe (Martin, 2007).
This section explains, in detail, the four major glocalizing changes that have made
Disneyland Paris more successful: (1) cutting the price; (2) turning shows and settings into
French style; (3) change of food menus and eating habits; and (4) change of employee
customs and labor policies.
Cutting the price
When Euro Disney opened in April 1992, Europe was still amidst an economic
recession (Palmer et al., 2007). So, the high admission prices were, literally, a turn-off to
European visitors. The situation was made worse by the high prices on merchandise and
menus inside the park, which was reflected through low spending on Euro Disney
products and other items. Before the April 1992 opening, a market research survey
revealed that the French were unwilling to spend over 200ff (French francs) for a single
adult to enter the park. Disney fired the chief executive at that time (an American) and
hired a French chief executive who lowered admission prices. Before that, prices were
high. There were not only high by European standards; there were also higher than
Disney’s two American parks (Adekola & Sergi, 2007). So, in 1995, a year after it
became ‘Disneyland Paris’, the admission price for a single adult was cut. As a result,
the number of visitors increased by about 23% in 1995. During that year, the park
operated at a profit for the first time (Monroe & Cox, 2001). During the 1996 season, the
number of visitors increased by 33%. Of equal relevance is the fact that, by the year
1996, 40% of the visitors were from France, half of whom were from the Paris area
(Monroe & Cox, 2001).
In addition, when Euro Disney opened in 1992, the American-style hotels built around
the park cost $300 a night, which was not practical for the typical French family taking, on
average, a three- to six-week vacation (Jandt, 2007). By the time the park changed its name
to Disneyland Paris, it reduced its hotel prices. Disney also misunderstood how Europeans
arrange vacations. Unlike Americans, who like to book their trips directly with Disney,
Europeans like to go through travel agents. In 1992, Disney did not think about training
travel agents, leading to fewer bookings (Holson, 2005). By the same token, Europeans
were unlikely to spend the whole of their holiday period at a theme park, preferring to dip
in and out for just a day or two to experience the rides or attractions (Palmer et al., 2007).
Changes were also made in that regard.
Turning shows and settings into French style
Despite the anti-Americanism sentiment started by the French intellectual elite after
World War II, the average French citizen is a passionate consumer of Disney products,
particularly comic books (Dobbs, 1986). When the park was opened, France was very
familiar with the series of Disney characters (i.e. Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy,
and others). In addition to Disney characters, shows, settings, and other Disney
paraphernalia had been widely experienced by the French when growing up, even long
before the entry of the Disney theme park. In other words, there was plenty of pre-existing
context for Disney in France (Brannen, 2004). Yet, such Disney experience in the host
country did not help.
To begin, most French children’s experience with Disney characters comes from
reading Le Journal Mickey – a comic book series where characters like Mickey are
portrayed more cunningly and with a bit more brains than the American Mickey (DeRoo,
2006). So, the perception of Mickey Mouse in France is different. The traditional US
virtuous and puritan version of Mickey is considered uninteresting among the French.
What this means is that there is a negative semantic fit at a conceptual level. Therefore,
Mickey is perceived as bland at Disneyland Paris (Brannen, 2004). Mickey is just an
example of many. In general, during the ‘Euro Disney’ time, French visitors thought
that the theme park had an overwhelming American orientation. For instance, it was
‘too American’ for the French to celebrate Halloween. After realizing this, the new
management placed more emphasis on events familiar to Europeans (Adekola & Sergi,
2007). Besides, adult visitors at Euro Disney thought that their children were running the
risk of eroding both their culture and their imagination (Champin, 1992). The French did
not have a similar context of gift giving to fit into; so Euro Disney souvenirs were much
less popular. In fact, still to this day, Disneyland Paris has the lowest sales of souvenirs
among all Disney’s theme parks. Among the interviewed parents who visit Disneyland
Paris with their children, they say that Disney souvenirs are viewed as tacky and a waste of
money (Brannen, 2004).
This statement about the ‘tackiness’ of Disney products brings an interesting point:
according to Aupperle and Karimalis (2001), since the French and Europeans are quite
content with their own culture overall, they tend to desire more local content in their
parks. To the Europeans, it is better to have something that is authentic than something
reconstructed from fiberglass. From this vantage point, detail and craftsmanship are more
appealing than heart-stopping rides. A setting does not have to be sparkling and
impressive or look like it is new. Rather, it should be authentic, that is, made of wood
(Jefferson, 1993). Euro Disney was perceived to be too American, too cowboy, and too
simplistic. In places like northern France, a theme park needs to be exceptionally
cosmopolitan, something that reflects a ‘Tapestry of Nations’ like the theme of global
nations at Disney’s Epcot.
As a result, glocalization in Disneyland Paris became the key. Proper modifications
were made. Today, settings are different from what they were at Euro Disney. The theme
park looks less glittering, more authentic. US products have been downplayed; souvenir
stores carry sweatshirts with small, underemphasized Disney logos (Jandt, 2007). Since
the Walt Disney Company proved capable of incorporating memorable Disney characters,
designs, and movies within an environment that progressively became European-Parisian,
it turned out to be that American culture was less rejected (Aupperle & Karimalis, 2001).
Before, most exhibits and rides did not have a local theme and did not appeal to
Europeans (Rugman & Hodgetts, 2001). Now, shows, attractions, and exhibits are more
Europeanized. For instance, managers at Disneyland Paris got inspired by Jules Verne’s
novels and came up with a unique version of the Tomorrowland (Yee, 2006), where the
future can be as distant as Mars (Telotte, 2008). The park created other European-specific
attractions also based on Jules Verne’s stories, that is, history movie shows and a science
fiction tour (Rugman & Hodgetts, 2001). Minnie, Mickey’s lover, was transformed into a
French star, reminiscent of Josephine Baker and other chanteuses of the Moulin Rouge,
supplied with flashy dresses and garters (Brannen, 2004).
More importantly, buildings were less painted with US Disney-type colors. As it is the
case for all elements of visual identity, it is the local environment within which colors and
logos are used that will determine their relevancy (Neal & Neal, 2007). When Euro Disney
was launched, Disney faced problems with graphics and colors. Disney’s signs used great
Journal of Strategic Marketing 229
amounts of purple – a color widely seen on signs in Disney’s US sites. Yet, visitors found
purple morbid; in Catholic Europe, purple is considered a symbol of death and crucifixion.
Glocalization had to take this religious difference (or even superstition) into account
(Hammond, 2008). In a similar vein, the French had issues with an employee who painted
a Disneyland Hotel in pink, even before Disney management approved the color. The
painter thought pink was the right color and had started painting (Lymbersky, 2008). Pink
in Europe does not always have positive connotations. Among many other things, the
Nazis ordered homosexuals to wear a pink insignia before killing them in gas chambers
Change of food menus and eating habits
Until glocalization was brought to Disneyland Paris, Disney theme parks around the world
were notorious for not serving alcohol, especially in public areas of the parks. This
decision was motivated by the belief that alcohol and a safe, fun experience for the family
were not a good match. Not surprisingly, during Euro Disney times, alcohol was not
available on any site (Palmer et al., 2007). Although many visitors were habituated to
having an alcoholic beverage with lunch or dinner, liquor was not sold (Rugman &
Hodgetts, 2001). Unfortunately, guests at the European theme park complained about the
rule (Ulrich & Smallwood, 2006). American puritanical family values jarred with
European – especially French – traditions of having wine with their meals (Aupperle &
Karimalis, 2001). Not offering wine was more than a culinary faux pas among the French;
it was an insult (Holson, 2005).
Additionally, the American habit of eating a little while walking around – a practice
called ‘grazing’ (Wilkins & Wyche, 2008) – conflicted with the French habit of sitting
down to eat a massive meal with a glass or two of wine (Palmer et al., 2007). Since in
Disneyland Paris everyone arrives at 9:30 a.m. and leaves at 5:30 p.m., they like to have
lunch at 12:30 p.m. This resulted in producing huge crowds of brusque and bad-tempered
patrons at the park’s restaurants between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. According to Jefferson
(1993), Disney’s employees had to engage in some behavior modification in order to cater
to the guests’ requests during lunchtime. More recently, it appears that the Walt Disney
Company has learned its lesson; the appointment of André Lacroix, a French citizen, to