By students, for students.

Global Marketing Management: One world, one voice? (part 2)

In Management, Marketing on March 24, 2013 at 5:09 pm


Advantages of standardised advertising

Advertising consists of communications aiming to persuade an audience to take or continue an action, ideally entering into a value-laden relationship with an organisation (Kotler and Armstrong, 2012). MNEs are increasingly standardising advertising in strategy, execution or language when marketing products in multiple regions.

Standardised advertsing

Figure 1  Duncan and Ramaprasad (1995)

The value created by marketing can be considered from the buyer, seller and buyer-seller perspective. Standardised advertising is expected to create value for the seller by increasing the willingness of consumers to pay, opportunities for licensing, efficiency of communications and increased demand at reduced costs, by using advertising concepts (which can take years to develop) in several countries. P&G has institutionalised this logic in a ‘search and reapply’ practice.

This would be a false economy if standardisation did not support the brand’s value to the buyer. In fact, studies find that global brands enjoy customer perceptions of superiority even when this is not objectively the case (Steenkamp et al, 2003). Questioning 1800 consumers from 12 countries revealed preference is based in the quality signalled by the brand’s global presence, the power of the ‘global myth’ and brand implications of social responsibility (Holt et al, 2004).

Standardised advertsing

Figure 2 Source: Holt et al, 2004

Quality signal

Establishing a single brand image is the most important advantage of standardised advertising. Globally-recognised brands have consistent visual, verbal, auditory or tactile identity across regions. Consistency contributes to the brand’s utility as a promise of quality. As advertising connects markets across cultures, the desirability of a product is evidenced by its widespread availability.

Additionally, connections with a particular market can increase quality perceptions. Ishal Ismail, owner of Malaysian KFC, reveals that, “Anything Western, especially American, people here love. It makes them feel modern when they eat it.” (Friedman, p.293-4, 1999) The veneration of foreign goods is prevalent among developing consumer segments. The Chinese say “Heaven is abroad.” (Ger, 1999, p.67)

Global myths

Thompson (2004) argued that myths, understood in this context as narratives (often based in binary oppositions and archetypes) which order buyer experience and position social groups within society, could be harnessed.

Mythologies often fixate on globally recognised company figures. Steve Jobs became the basis of creation, satanic, hero and resurrection myths respectively based in the company’s foundation, rivals IBM and Microsoft and Job’s dismissal and subsequent return to Apple (Belk and Tumbat, 2005). Myths give audiences a personification of the company while drawing upon familiar narrative dynamics. Engaging with these shared myths, advertisements and brands allows buyers to create an imagined global identity, shared with communities bound by consumption (Holt et al, 2004).

Social responsibility

Standardised advertising makes the reach of MNEs apparent. This places global brands under consumer pressure to be responsible in their business – interestingly, a criterion which does not affect preferences between local brands (Duncan and Ramaprasad, 1995). However, the cosmopolitanism of global advertising’s target audience means that assisting a community in one region will increase brand prestige worldwide.


Figure 3 Pampers’ vaccination campaign is widely publicised

Preconditions for standardised advertising

The value standardised advertising adds to the buyer-seller relationships can be significant. However, businesses will not automatically benefit. MNEs can only achieve this scale of advertising with appropriate corporate structure, consumer segments and concessions to local conditions. These preconditions are explored in the next section.


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