International Positioning Strategies
After the global market has been segmented and one or more segments have been targeted, it is essential to plan a way to reach the target(s). To achieve this task, marketers use positioning, a process whereby a company establishes an image for its product in the minds of consumers relative to the image of competitors’ product offerings. In today’s global market environment, many companies find it increasingly important to have a unified global positioning strategy.
Can global positioning work for all products? One study suggests that global positioning is most effective for product categories that approach either end of a “high-touch/high-tech” continuum. Both ends of the continuum are characterized by high levels of customer involvement and by a shared “language” among consumers.
1) High Tech Positioning:
Personal computers, video and stereo equipment, and automobiles are examples of product categories where high-tech positioning has proven effective. Such products are frequently purchased on the basis of concrete product features, although image may also be important. Buyers typically already possess or wish to acquire considerable technical information. High-tech products may be divided into three categories: technical products, special-interest products, and demonstrable products.
i) Technical Products:
Computers, chemicals, tires, and financial services are just a sample of the product categories whose buyers have specialized needs; require a great deal of product information and who share a common “language.”
ii) Special-Interest Products:
While less technical and more leisure or recreation oriented, special-interest products also are characterized by a shared experience and high involvement among users. Again, the common language and symbols associated with such products can transcend language and cultural barriers. Fuji bicycles, Adidas sports equipment, and Canon cameras are examples of successful global special- interest products.
iii) Products that Demonstrate Well:
Products that “speak for themselves” in advertising of features and benefits can also travel well.
2) High-Touch Positioning:
Marketing of high-touch products requires less emphasis on specialized information and more emphasis on image. Like high-tech products, however, high touch categories are highly involving for consumers. Buyers high-touch products also share a common language and set of symbols relating to themes of wealth, materialism, and romance.
The three categories of high-touch products are:
i) Products that solve a Common Problem:
At the other end of the price spectrum from high-tech, products in this category provide benefits linked to “life’s little moments.” Ads that show friends talking over a cup of coffee in a cafe or quenching thirst with a soft drink during a day at the beach put the product at the centre of everyday life and communicate the benefit offered in a way that is understood worldwide.
ii) Global Village Products:
Channel fragrances, designer fashions, mineral water, and pizza are all examples of products whose positioning is strongly cosmopolitan in nature. Fragrances and fashions have traveled as a result of growing worldwide interest in high-quality, highly visible, high-price products that often enhance social status. However, the lower- priced food products just mentioned show that the global village category encompasses a broad price spectrum.
iii) Products that use Universal Themes:
Some advertising themes and product appeals are thought to be basic enough that they are truly transnational. Additional themes are materialism (keyed to images of well-being or status), heroism (themes include rugged individuals or self-sacrifice), play (leisure/recreation), and procreation (image of courtship and romance).