Arup Kumar Baksi
Post globalization branding strategies focus on hybridization of cultures and incorporating the same to mutate the brand DNA. Globalization has given birth to a jargon namely ‘glocalization’ which is a measure of local adaptability of a global brand. The basic concept of branding has undergone a paradigm shift while taking into consideration the cultural and ethnic aspects while spreading across global markets. Once in a global market, a brand undergoes a metamorphosis, often a triggered one, depending on the degree of change sought to fit local conditions. Academic researches on Brand DNA analysis and Brand Metamorphosis are still at the neonatal stage and enough literature support is still not available. This article (in a Case Study format) tries to analyse the metamorphosis undergone by the number one global brand – Coca Cola, in Indian market. Key words
Brand, Brand DNA, glocalization, metamorphosis, hybridization, adaptability, culture.
Globalization has had a huge impact on the branding strategies of international companies. Since the early 1990s many multinational companies, such as Unilever, have moved from a multidomestic to a global marketing approach including global branding strategies (Schuiling and Kapferer 2004). Cost-cutting due to economies of scale and benefiting from a strong worldwide image have been suggested as the most important reasons in favour for a global brand strategy (Schuiling and Lambin 2003). Moreover, the alleged convergence of consumption patterns across borders (Levitt 1983) challenge the concept of brands adapted to local needs and conditions. However, from a consumer perspective, reactions to the prevalence of global brands seem to be quite heterogeneous. On the one hand, consumers seem to value and admire global brands as illustrated by their sometimes even iconic status. On the other hand, global brands are often criticized for threatening local differences and for imposing an objectionable consumer culture on societies (Holt 2002). This criticism culminates in the antibranding movement represented by renowned spokespersons like Naomi Klein or George Ritzer. This paper aims to examine how consumers perceive and evaluate global brands. We define global brands as brands “that consumers can find under the same name in multiple countries with generally similar and centrally coordinated marketing strategies” (Steenkamp, Batra and Alden 2003, p. 53).
So far, consumer research has focused on positive effects of a global brand image, i.e. of the perceived brand globalness. Research indicates that consumers value global brands especially for their assumed high quality and prestigious image (e.g., Nguyen, Barrett and Miller 2005; Steenkamp, Batra and Alden 2003). An internationally well-established brand name can act as a "halo" construct that effects quality beliefs (Han 1989). If a brand is perceived as globally available, consumers are likely to attribute a superior quality to the brand, since such quality is thought of as a prerequisite for international acceptance. Furthermore, prestige and status benefits have been shown to constitute one of the primary motivations of consumers to choose global brands. Especially in Non-Western countries, international brands are more expensive and scarcer than local brands and, therefore, have an exclusive appeal (Batra et al. 2000; Steenkamp, Batra and Alden 2003). In addition, the consumption of internationally recognized brands demonstrates a cosmopolitan and modern lifestyle – an association highly desirable for some consumer segments (Alden, Steenkamp and Batra 1999). So far, the disadvantages of global brands from a consumer perspective have not attracted as much interest in the marketing community. One exception is provided by Schuiling and Kapferer (2004) who...