Aldi Caters to Health Trend

A consumer trend that has taken the food industry by storm is a more health-conscious customer, no longer consuming for taste, but for holistic nutrition. According to research, the global market for organic foods will be worth $323 billion by 2024, with more than 60 percent of consumers attributing “healthfulness” as an influencing deciding purchasing factor (Afable). It is important to note, the yearning for holistic health, meaning the attention to the mental, physical, and emotional health, are important sociocultural changes that influence existing company decisions and give opportunities for new companies to enter the market. More and more consumers are making purchasing decisions based on what they believe would make them feel better (Bold Business). As the Executive Vice President and Practice Leader for Client Insights at Information Resources Inc., Ms. Wyatt says, “Brands and retailers can stay one step ahead of the competition by providing consumers with a seamless shopping experience that supports their holistic health goals.”

Aldi U.S. is part of a privately owned German company, Aldi Sud, which opened its first U.S. stores in 1976, known for low prices and award-winning private label foods and beverages with a “keep it simple” motto. Aldi Sud has been widely successful in its home country and has decided to expand and update its stores in the United States, spending $5.3 billion to remodel its existing 1,800-plus stores and open 800 new ones as part of their 5 year plan. The company is focused on offering foods that are more convenient for the shopper and hope to become the third largest grocer in the United States by the end of their plan, which will put them behind Walmart and Kroger (Lempert). As part of their growth strategy, Aldi has expanded their fresh food offerings by 40% in hopes to capture the growing health-conscious consumer. 

The United States organic food market has grown with more and more people pursuing organic food options with simple ingredient lists, no artificial add-ons, and gluten-free options. A trend that has arisen from the health-conscious consumer has been the Free From offering, which consists of food options that are free from dairy, lactose, allergens, and gluten. In addition, the global consumer is wanting not only organic, but also health functionality in their food options like probiotics, omegas, and vitamins. As of 2017, the food functionality offerings is valued at $247 billion dollars (Mascaraque). 

Study shows that 41% of Generation Z and 32% of Millennials would pay a premium for sustainably sourced ingredients, which has led to the rise of health-centered companies, concentrating on organic locally sourced food options to capture the growing market (Ganev). There is also a commitment from the consumer to at least one health, wellness, ethical or environmental attribute among the foods they eat and are willing to pay for food that delivers on their claims (Steingoltz).

In reaction, Aldi has offered and plans to enhance their exclusive brands: SimplyNature, Earth Grown, Specially Selected, Never Any!, LiveGFree (live gluten free). Offerings include their “fresh never frozen” seafood, organic meats, a Never Any! brand of chicken, which does not have any antibiotics, hormones, animal by-products, steroids or salt and are fed a 100% vegetarian diet. They also offer Earth Grown kale veggie burgers (Lempert). Aware of the changing consumer buying behavior, Aldi's innovations in fresh, organic, and trendy offerings has been capturing the health-conscious consumer. Aldi’s organic produce sales have increased by over 200 percent in the last three years and they continue to add to its private label gluten-free products (Reagan). 

Aldi also reformulated and removed more than 125 ingredients in its SimplyNature products back in 2015 to meet the needs of shoppers who want simple and few ingredients while still providing a healthy and natural food offering (Lempert). With Aldi really pushing towards a simple yet healthy plan, it will be interesting to see how Walmart and Kroger will measure up in 2022, especially as holistic health trends does not seem to be slowing down any time soon.


Apple Cross Cultural Consistency

Apple is an international brand that offers the same products accross different cultures. An iPhone in China looks like an iPhone sold in the US. Apple's cross international marketing team aims to provide a consistent experience across different cultures. This is seemingly different from other brands who will completely customize their product offerings to cater to different cultures. Apple has stated that it is committed to “bringing the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software, and services”

Apple Store in China

Even with this consistency across products and even the look of the stores in different countries, apple does still pay attention to different cultures. One of the ways that it does this is customize its content toward different audiences. For example with their garage band software, they will add in culturally appropriate instruments depending on the audience. This ensures that even in different cultures, people can get the same brand experience across apple products.

The Erhu Instrument in Garage Band

Another important way that apple maintains the same experience across different cultures is to hire local translators and writers to ensure that the copy is written in the same effective manor in every language. This is important because many brands have translated things incorrectly and caused themselves major headaches when selling to another culture.

An example of a Chinese Apple Ad

With these examples, we can see that while many brands go through radical strategies when selling to cross cultural markets, apple strives to maintain it's core identity. An apple product in China looks the same as an apple product in Mexico, Russia, or the US. Not only that but the brand experience is maintained across all of these cultures. This cross cultural consistency is very refreshing and as we have seen with apples great success, it has been very effective.


When Cross Cultural Marketing Goes Wrong

In class we are often taught about the right way to approach cross cultural marketing across the globe throughout various markets, however there are many well known instances where cross cultural marketing has gone horribly wrong. One of the common things that can happen is a simple translation error when changing a slogan from one language into another. A good example of this is KFC when they first moved into mainland China. The first translation of the slogan “Finger-Lickin' Good” was translated into “Eat Your Fingers Off”. This was quickly corrected and KFC is now seeing great success in China.

Translation errors are not limited to US companies going global, there are also examples of other companies translating their slogans into english for the US market. A Swedish vacuum company wanted to advertise the power of their new vacuum and the english slogan came out as “Nothing sucks like Electrolux”. Although this sounds funny, it did not end up working out well for the company.

A screen shot from the TV ad

There are many other examples of simple translation errors across cross-cultural markets with different languages. The most well known errors have come from US companies marketing their products globally. However there are many smaller errors that can be found on imported products where they are translating into the English language. There is even a blog devoted to the errors that occur when translating into the english language. The page is called “engrish” and currently their most popular post involves a boba tea advertisement.

The most popular post on engrish

Another common error that can occur in cross cultural marketing is the assumption that different countries have been raised with the same folklore as other countries. Proctor and Gamble found this out the hard way when they attempted to market diapers to the Japanese market using imagery from western folklore of a stork delivering the baby. Sales in Japan began to slow down and management soon discovered the error in the marketing. In Japan, babies are delivered via a large peach floating down the river. The stork delivery is completely foreign to the Japanese market.

Pampers' misguided imagery in Japan

The final cross cultural marketing error comes when you get your own target market culture completely wrong and end up offending other cultures. Cadillac found this out when they advertised their new ELR to Americans and explained what it was like to be a hard working American while inadvertently criticizing other global culture's work schedules. The problem was that the ad did not resonate with everyone and in fact made some people very upset. Ford used this as an opportunity to make their own ad to market to a different segment within the American market. Many Americans found both advertisements to be off putting however foreigners were most offended by the Cadillac advertisement. The takeaway here is that it is not a good idea to criticize other cultures in your ad campaign. With the internet, it is easily shared globally and you may ultimately receive some bad feedback.

Cadillac Offensive Ad and Ford's Response


Uber in Saudi Arabia

Uber’s initial success was achieved through its capitalization of consumers’ need for a convenient and low cost option in transportation and from the drivers’ perceptive, a fast and easy way to earn extra income. Uber was founded in 2009 by Travis Kalanick, serving as CEO in the majority of the company’s existence, and was the first to enter the market as a ride-hailing application/service, which uses online-enabled platforms to connect passengers with local drivers. In a market where alternatives were high priced taxis, unreliable or overly-crowded public transportation, or the time-consuming option of walking, Uber was seen as a disruptive company that changed the cab industry and created its own. 

In the US, according to gathered 2017 statistics, passenger demographics are young mid to low income individuals, split almost evenly in gender and urban context. With the raise of technology and popularity of smart phones, Uber had a great product in a market craving for change. Uber is now available in 65 countries with 75 million passengers and 3 million drivers, and approximately 15 million Uber trips are completed daily. Based on 2018 Q2 statements, Uber received $2.8 billion in revenues. Although competitors like Lyft and Grab are increasingly obtaining more market share, Uber still remains dominate with the exception of Didi in the Chinese market. 

In the US, statistics from 2015 infographics showed that Uber drivers were between the ages of 30 to 49 years, primarily male, educated, and non-Caucasians; however, female drivers have increased to nearly 30 percent. It is important to note, that in the US, there is little entry barriers to join Uber so long as you have a valid driver’s license, a functional and safe vehicle, and a cleared background check. Uber has a feature where the consumer and driver rate their experience using a 5 star scale, 5 being perfect, which helps to weed out the underperformers. Uber has an overall user and driver rating score of 4.4 compared to the average 4.0 rating from taxi. It also informs both parties on each other’s basic information, displaying more information about the driver, providing security and safety measures. 

Although Uber is deemed a disruptive company in regards to destroying cab industries in countries, it is now being seen as an aid in driving cultural transformation, particularly in Saudi Arabia, which is governed on Sharia Islamic law derived from the Quran. According to the 2018 statistics, Uber has about 95,000 monthly active drivers in the country; however, only one was a woman. The extreme disparity between the 30 percent female drivers in the US and less than 1 percent in Saudi Arabia is completely cultural, as only recently did Saudi Arabia’s King Salman lift the country’s ban prohibiting women driving. Sharia Islamic law countries have commonly viewed women as second class citizens, but most recent government has tried to introduce more liberal progressive initiatives to stimulate the economy. Allowing women the option to drive was one of those movements.

Needless to say, Uber had been anticipating cultural shifts in Saudi Arabia to try to attract the eager and capable females drivers. Surveys conducted showed 31% percent of women expressed interest in earning income by driving. Also, results showed that 74% of prospective female Uber drivers would only want female passengers. To market and tap into this new demographic, Uber has announced their development of a new feature for female drivers in Saudi Arabia to be able to select a preference to be connected to female passengers. This feature is said to be released in the fall. In addition, to cater to this shift in consumer behavior of increased desire and ability of women wanting to enter the workforce, Uber has partnered and is funding groups that provide financial support for women interested in obtaining their driver license. Uber also announced a 2 year initiative aiming to increase women in the workforce through affordable transportation. They have also created a registration portal for woman to apply to be Uber drivers. Overall, Uber’s initiatives has gathered more than 100 applications.  

It is yet to be seen how successful Uber will be in increased diversity in their driver demographics in Saudi Arabia to mimic that of the US, especially against its strong domestic competitor Careem. Nevertheless, we see a global company shifting its operations and creating features to cater to cultural shifts.


Dunkin Donuts International Offerings

Donuts can make people happy across many different cultures but did you know that donut cultural origins can be traced back to the middle east and Europe in the 1400s? They didn't arrive in America until dutch settlers introduced them to Americans in the early 1800s. With this information it is clear that a multi national donut chain could take advantage of different market segments by familiarizing itself with the cross-cultural expectations of the perfect donut.

The Original Dunkin Donuts Quincy, MA

Dunkin Donuts is a chain that originated in America and became a multinational company. Today they operate over 11,700 locations in 43 different countries. The countries include the UK, Russia, Spain, Germany, Sweden, China and Austria. With the doughnut's mixed cultural history, Dunkin Donuts needs to be careful what it delivers in each country.

Sometimes moving into a new country proves challenging and unsuccessful. One example of this was when Dunkin Donuts tried to move into Russia. They ended up losing money and pulling out. After an 11 year break from the area, they reentered with a new partner with an eye on the booming coffee business. The local partner was important because they would be helpful in adjusting product offerings to meet local cultures and help to improve profitability.

An example of local operators changing the product offerings to suit local cultures can be found in their Indonesia chains back in the 90s. Dunkin Donuts executives found that the stores in Indonesia were sprinkling cheese on top of the custard filled doughnuts. While this may seem gross to American doughnut eaters, it proved hugely successful and was adopted as an official product in the area.

Indonesia Cheese-topped Donut

In the late 1980s, Dunkin Donuts had merged with Baskin Robbins which proved to be successful to American culture but challenging elsewhere. In America, people tend to think of doughnuts as a breakfast item and ice cream as an afternoon dessert. This allowed them to continue sales all day in America, however this was not the same in other countries. In Russia and the asian markets people did not see doughnuts as breakfast foods. They were seen as more of an afternoon snack item like ice cream. Because of this, the strategy that worked well in the United states was not effective in other countries.

One important consideration when management is deciding to invest in a new flavor to satisfy a local culture is to assess the economic feasibility of the investment. If they make a new doughnut flavor for a specific market segment, will it be too limited to be able to sell to other markets? Some international markets, like Russia, are also almost completely unfamiliar with doughnuts. This requires Dunkin Donuts to customize the products for that area. With Russia having a large enough market, this type of product offering shift makes sense.


Made in China

A strong communitarian culture has been instilled and enforced by the Chinese government. In other words, individual success or individuality is frowned upon. Rather, as a group or community, true success is manageable. If an initiative or project fails, the group fails, and if there is success, it is because of the group as a whole. Chinese government has instilled this into the minds of the people, making them conscious of their daily decisions as it reflects the community as a whole. In correlation, the Chinese government has pushed citizens to have a great sense of Chinese pride, never talking ill about their country, the products and services offered, and their people. Therefore, Chinese musicals/artists have success or have the potential to be successful if there movement, songs, and lyrics align with Chinese core values and beliefs and do not go against the government. When it comes to artists/entertainers, both international and domestic artists are censors or banned if:

– their heart and morality are not aligned with the party and whose morality is not noble
– they are tasteless, vulgar and obscene
– their ideological level is low and have no class
– their character has stains, scandals and problematic moral integrity

The Higher Brothers, a four person hip-hop group from Chengdu city consisting of Masiwei, Psy. P, Melo, and DZ Know have taken over mainland China by storm and are making headlines internationally, resonating with the growing urban youth culture in China. The Higher Brothers are China’s first internationally acclaimed hip-hop group. With the help of New York based media company, 88rising, the group released their first studio album, “Black Cab”. Songs like “Black Cab”, talking about the Cab drivers of the Chinese city, “Made in China”, and “WeChat”, a hyper-phone application combining functions of popular American phone applications, have catapulted them to the Chinese main stage, with their promotion of Chinese pride. As a Chinese university student and fan puts it, “China Represent!”

Crossing over to Western Culture would be a different arena. However, Higher Brothers have already collaborated with popular global brands like Adidas, Beats by Dre, and Air Jordans in China that would increase their recognition by tourists. Nevertheless, what has caught America’s attention was a reaction video, a video posted on YouTube of people reacting to other videos. 88rising produced a video of new popular American hip-hop artists reacting to Higher Brother’s biggest single, “Made in China”. Their reactions, impressed by the Chinese hip-hop group, has not only been seen by influential members on the community but also gathered over 3 million views. This Chinese pride is explained when Masiwei, the leader of the group, says in an interview, “If you say you don’t love me, you’re lying, because everything you have is made in China”.

It still comes into question how the American audience will feel about Chinese lyrics like “Made in China”, in a country where there is an extreme American pride. However, America, especially the hip-hop culture today, has become readily accepting of people that are different and go against the grain. For example, American rappers like Smokepurpp and Lil Pump leverage their status as Internet oddities to embark on legitimate careers. According to the Institute of International Education, the total number of Chinese international students in American institutions rose by 48 percent between 2013 and 2016, which may increase Higher Brothers’ potential success in America. As Chinese student puts it, “I don't think I ever wanted to be Chinese more than this moment right now.” Now, they have begun their North American tour hitting 10 American cities and 2 Canadian cities, already performing in Austin, Texas. Only time will tell whether America brings Higher Brothers great success. With China becoming inseparable from international economic success in all aspects, domestic artists must stay under China's favorable view, while also generating enticing global content. Higher Brothers’ lyrics promotes subtle nationalism, while increasing their global presence.


Driving A British Sports Car in The USA

When posting content online, it often goes to all corners of the globe. With that comes misunderstandings stemming from differences in culture. Many individuals view and judge things from the cultural experiences they have obtained themselves, in their own geographic location.

This can be seen when a British commenter talks about getting better miles per gallon in his car than an American. This can be a confusing topic for both parties involved until they realize that a gallon in the UK is actually a different volume than a gallon in the USA.

A common UK to American comment

Let's back up, take a broader look and discuss British cars. Some well known manufacturers are: Aston Martin, Land Rover, Bentley, Jaguar, Lotus, MG, Rolls Royce, and McLarern. We are going to focus on Lotus because it is the most out of place car here in America.

The Lotus Elise Navigating Buttonwillow Raceway

The Lotus Elise is a beautiful car when you aren't standing next to it. When you stand next to it, you realize how small it is. Small cars may be normal in Europe and the UK, but in America we have much larger cars. Many Americans will have trouble fitting inside of the Lotus.

An American struggles to fit in the Lotus

One of the striking differences between the US and the UK is that the UK has better public transportation. This fact alone might make owning a Lotus much more practical in the UK. In Orange County, CA it is common to drive your own vehicle or use ride-sharing apps to get around. This is ok because cost of car ownership is relatively low in the USA compared to other countries.

With how spread out the US is geographically and how inexpensive fuel is, larger and more comfortable cars make more sense to Americans. After spending a couple weeks daily driving the lotus I could not wait until the day I got rid of it. Here are the things I noticed:

-It leaks: when it rains, the water leaks in from the roof

-It creaks: The car rattles so much you can't tell when you actually have a problem

-American drivers can't see the car on the road

-Americans like the way it looks

-Americans like driving it but not being passenger

-It is slow compared to similarly priced American cars

-It is light (1970 lbs) and very inexpensive to run

-The Elise was sent over to the US market with only 189hp which poses a slight problem for Americans. Americans like horsepower.. a lot. A large amount of vehicles in America come with a big displacement engines.

The American Dodge Viper came with an 8.0 Liter V10. It returned 8 mpg on the way to the office!

The good news here is that you can bolt on a supercharger and make your Elise much faster or you can simply buy a Lotus from the factory with more power. For example, the Lotus Exige S 240 came with 240hp stock.

Exige S 240 at Buttonwillow Raceway

Instead of power, I focused on reliability on my lotus. The stock oil pan did not have a baffle in it. The stock suspension needed some improvements. I turned to JRZ suspension in the Netherlands to build me a proper coil-over damper. The stock wheel sizes were not appropriate for the US domestic market, so a local aftermarket company produced a custom sized wheel-set for the lotus.

JRZ Dampers for Elise – Imported from the Netherlands

With these improvements, the Elise was able to keep up with the stock corvettes on the race track. The benefit of running the smaller, lighter Elise over a larger, heavier, American car is that the consumable expenses are much lower.

This means that although it may not be the fastest vehicle out on the track, you will spend a lot less money running the car. Gas, brakes, and tire costs will be significantly less than a more typical American sports car. While the Lotus Elise was an enjoyable experience, I obtained much more joy on the day that I sold the car.


“Taking over the Mother-tucking World”

Ever since the first season aired in 2009, RuPaul's Drag Race, a reality show featuring drag queens competing for the crown and a cash prize, but also highlighting issues of self-acceptance, self-expression, and the dismantling of societal norms, coupled with the popularity and strength of social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, has become a global phenomenon. 

In depth, affected and repulsed by the current US political climate, it is easy to see why Drag Race has been embraced even more by the LGBTQIA+ community, but also those outside, as an observed resistance to the current climate. As RuPaul says, “Every time I bat my lashes, it is a political act”. The cultural divide has brought shows like Drag Race to the forefront, highlighting the important of diverse representation.

Produced by World of Wonder and hosted by drag queen legend, RuPaul Charles, RuPaul's Drag Race has been expanding its viewership, moving from Logo, a network run by Viacom, to Viacom's most popular VH1 network, which has twice the potential viewership footprint. With annual US viewership consistently rising, Drag Race went global via Netflix in 2013, making the series available in 30 countries worldwide; its popularity has risen even more with the 2016 Emmy win and global-known celebrity guest judge appearances like Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, and Ariana Grande now on its eleven season with two spin-offs.

On Dec 5th2018, RuPaul announced there will be a new “Queen of Great Britain” crowned with a UK version of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” starting on the BBC network next year.It marks the first time that the series has been adapted for the British market. It is important to note an already established fan base in the UK due to Netflix UK and drag race contestants’ UK presence during annual global tours.

BBC producers believe that the UK market is hungry for a show highlighting their unique drag scene culture and highlighting queer issues from the British perceptive. As well-known UK drag queen puts it, “We have very different reference points – seaside entertainment, pantomime, pub culture, 80s London club culture – we're less about pageantry than our American sisters. It would be a very exciting moment.” 

In order to cater to the British consumer and global obsession of UK Royal culture, Drag Race UK announced a “Royal-Mother-To-Be” runway challenge, associated with the beloved Meghan Markle. Only time will tell how the UK consumer, mainly the LGBTQIA+ target audience, will react during the premier of their first episode. The shows' future lies with the careful analysis of the cross-cultural consumer behavior of the UK market, localizing enough to the British culture through challenges/tasks and runways, celebrity guests, and chosen highlighted issues, while keeping the essence of the American model that has brought them great success in the US.

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