What is International Market Communications?
International market communications includes all methods companies can use to provide information to and communicate with existing and potential customers. This can be greatly influenced by many factors such as cross-county cultural differences (language, economic, socio-cultural, legal and regulatory). Some examples of different forms of international marketing communications are advertising, sales promotions, direct marketing and public relations. Depending on the type of industry, the medium of communication may vary in importance. For example, in the consumer goods industry advertising may be extremely prevalent. However, in business-to-business marketing, public relations and relationship building is much more crucial.
The Rise of Global Advertising
Due to both the rise of technology and globalization, global advertising as a form of international market communications has become extremely prevalent into today’s marketing universe. However, while some companies implement adaptive advertising strategies that are geared towards each culture, others opt for a more standardized approach that is more cost efficient. Advertising can either be used to reach a mass audience or a precisely defined market segment. While it can be very cost efficient when used to reach a mass audience, traditional mass audiences are fragmenting due to increasing media options and various forms of channels to reach the target consumer. Digital communication (Internet, mobile) is the fastest growing form of advertising, while traditional media (newspapers, radio, magazines) are struggling for relevance. Advertising is utilized to build awareness, inform, persuade, and remind! The number one challenge globally – How can your brand stand out from the crowd? A Yankelovitch study shows 65% of people feel “constantly bombarded” by ad messages, with 59% feel ads have little relevance. Various global advertising channels include TV, radio broadcasts, newspapers, magazines, Internet, many physical facilities, transit vehicles — all cluttered with ads.
Barbie & the Standardized Advertising Approach
Mattel Inc. is a great example of a firm following a global advertising approach. Mattel is the world’s largest toy company and the firm’s best selling brands include Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, and American Girl. Mattel utilizes a standardized marketing strategy, even selling the same original Barbie in 59 countries. Barbie uses advertising forms other than the normal traditional advertising methods, relying on its movies and partnerships with corporations like Facebook and Volkswagen to stimulate large doll sales. One example is one of Matel’s highest selling Barbie worldwide is the Rapunzel doll.
Essentially, if demand is the same in every single market, and technology and communication is homogeneous, companies should go for a standardized international marketing approach. Especially with travel and globalization, commonalities get spread and can make for a global environment that could be suited for a standardized international market communication approach. It is crucial to react to your audience, industry and demand in all international marketing channels. For example, due to the brand’s shun for its unrealistic portrayal of women at a time when society in many countries was moving towards gender equality and inclusivity, Mattel overhauled Barbie with a diverse product lineup that includes dolls of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities to better portray a variety of cultures, all sold worldwide.
New Barbie advertising promoted a message of the power of play and portrayed the new Barbie as someone kids aspire to be. Barbie's most successful recent advertising campaign include the “Dream Gap” which prevents girls from realizing their full potential as adults because of societal constraints. This change towards both ethnicity representation and new advertising strategy made an impact not only globally, but in Barbie’s homeland.