Keegan 1 has highlighted the key aspect of marketing strategy as a combination of standardization or adaptation of product and promotion elements of the mix and offers five alternative and more specific approaches to product policy:
- One product, one message, worldwide: While a number of writers have argued that this will be the strategy adopted for many products in the future, in practice only a handful of products might claim to have achieved this already.
- Product extension, promotion adaptation: While the product stays the same this strategy allows for the adaptation of the promotional effort either to target new customer segments or to appeal to the particular tastes of individual countries.
- Product adaptation, promotion extension: This strategy is used if a promotional campaign has achieved international appeal, but the product needs to be adapted because of local needs.
- Dual adaptation: By adapting both products and promotion for each market, the firm is adopting a totally differentiated approach.
- Product invention: Firms, usually from advanced nations, that are supplying products to less well-developed countries adopt product invention.
Another critical element that is closely aligned with the product and promotion is the brand. Anthony O'Reilly, Chairman of H.J. Heinz, believes that the communications revolution and the convergence of cultures have now set the stage for truly global marketing. The age of the global brand is at hand. For example, Heinz was looking to expand its 9 Lives cat food brand and Morris the Cat logo into Moscow. Although it is a stable and successful brand in the US, testing and research done by Dimitri Epimov, a local marketing manager in Moscow, led Heinz executives to make a marketing change to ensure the product's success in Russia. Namely, a fatter-looking Morris was created for packaging. Another discovery: While Americans tend to treat their kitties with tuna, Russian cat-lovers prefer to serve beef-flavored food.
As discussed earlier, product positioning is a key success factor and reflects the customer's perceptions of the product or service. However, in countries at different stages of economic development, the customer segments that are likely to be able to purchase the product and the occasions on which it is bought may be significantly different. For example, while KFC and McDonald's restaurants aim at everyday eating for the mass market in the developed countries, in less-developed countries they are perceived as places for special-occasion eating, and are beyond the reach of the poorest segments of the population. The product positioning, therefore, must vary in some dimensions. In confirming the positioning of a product or service in a specific market or region, it is therefore necessary to establish in the consumer perception exactly what the product stands for and how it differs from existing and potential competition by designing an identity that confirms the value of the product.