Join Doug Ladd for an in-depth discussion in this video The importance of your company's culture and values, part of Marketing Foundations: International Marketing.
- This may seem like the understatement of the year to you, but I'm gonna say it anyway. Not everyone in the world values the same things you do. Shocking, right? One big mistake companies can make when entering new countries is assuming that what matters to your company also matters to the potential customers in this new market. Each company has its own personality that's constructed of those things valued by the founders, usually, and then carried through the products, services, policies, decisions and actions taken by the employees.
All this rolls into what is commonly referred to as the company culture. It's how you treat one another. The way ideas are presented and refined. The processes used to make decisions. The manner in which priorities are set. Some companies take the time to write down their values and mission. Others publish a set of operating principles or some other document that guides their employees. Johnson & Johnson has used a credo to communicate to their employees things the company values in an effort to ensure its associates are aligned.
It is very important that you understand the culture of your company and the things that matter most to you and your other employees when thinking about expanding into new geographies. The reason is there are some countries where the government, people and culture are going to be very closely aligned with what matters to your company. And there are some places on Earth where what matters most to your company may be in direct conflict with the predominant culture of the people. An analogy may help illustrate this point.
If you work in a business that designs, makes and sells bathing suits for women, or let's say you're working for a company that sells and distributes wine. Your company may not choose to expand into Saudi Arabia or other predominantly Muslim countries because those markets aren't consistent with the foundations of your organization. This isn't to say that you can't expand internationally if you don't have a written description of your company's culture. But if you don't have something already documented to help guide your way, I'd suggest you take some time to capture a few guiding principles.
A good way to do this is to create a few columns. One column can be entitled What we value or What's important to us. Under this heading you can capture the things important to your firm. Areas such as how you view your customers, how employees are treated, how conflicts are resolved, how priorities are set, can be good thought starters to capture here. Then create a second column entitled Where we draw the line. Under this heading you can capture some points that would be out of character for your company.
To keep this list from losing focus, I'd suggest limiting this to actions or scenarios that you have a high probability of facing. Doing this exercise will help you better understand what's important to your company and help you think about how to export your culture into a new geography.
The course also investigates options for global expansion, such as exporting, licensing, joint ventures, and direct investment, and details how to put together a successful marketing mix using distribution, promotional methods, and translation. Plus, learn where to turn for more information about your specific target markets.
- The rise of the global consumer
- Learning about customers in global markets
- Accessing foreign markets
- Adapting products
- Balancing risks and rewards