This article will focus on how organizations can create an effective international advertising program for their business. Many corporations have seen the need to venture into the international market. As a result, they have challenged their marketing departments to develop advertising campaigns that will highlight their products and services in targeted countries. Although the field is growing, organizations face several challenges as they determine the types of strategies their businesses will utilize in order to make their presence known in the international market. Although there is no one way to create an effective international advertising program, one practitioner has provided three easy steps that can serve as a guideline when developing an effective international advertising strategy.
Many corporations have seen the benefits of expanding their brand presence into the international market. As a result, they have challenged their marketing departments to develop advertising campaigns that will highlight their products and services in targeted countries. Given the popularity, academicians and practitioners have contributed to the literature in terms of what the most effective practices are in international advertising. George Zinkhan (1994) discussed some of the important issues in international advertising in the 1994 special issue of Journal of Advertising. Corporations have increased their international advertising budgets. Global advertising expenditures exceeded $322 billion in 2000 (Burberry, 2000) and continued to grow pass the $400 billion mark (O'Guinn, Allen, & Semenik, 2003). In 2013, global advertising expenditures surpassed $500 billion.
Although the field is growing, organizations face several challenges as they determine the types of strategies their businesses will utilize in order to make their presence known in the international market. Marla Royne Stafford (2005) emphasized four of the major challenges that corporations need to address. Corporations should work on their positions regarding message issues, standardization versus adaptation, media issues, and advertising regulations.
- Message Issues. Corporations must develop a message that accurately reflects the culture of interest. It has been found that specific aspects and psychological factors may differ significantly across cultures (Cateora & Graham, 2002) even though the outcomes may be the same. In most cases, there is a possibility that these variables may have a significant impact on the advertising message. Researchers (Nevett, 1992; Koudelova & Whitelock, 2001) have conducted content analysis to explore this phenomenon. These researchers may use "a coding system to distinguish the differences in appeals, executions, tactics, or cues across two or more countries" (Stafford, 2005, p. 66).
- Adaptation versus Standardization Many in the field continue to debate whether standardization or adaptation is the best method for international advertising. As a result of the different perspectives, three schools of thought have emerged: standardization, adaptation, and contingency. Supporters of the standardization model believe that international advertising should highlight the similar desires of buyers regardless of the country of origin. The adaptation model seeks to ensure that cultural issues are addressed in advertisements. The contingency model falls in the middle of the two previously mentioned approaches. This perspective encourages corporations to make a decision based on the specific circumstance. The suggested approach could change depending on the factors involved.
- Media Issues. "Media options are critical to services, and existing media infrastructures may hamper service providers' efforts to communicate effectively with their potential customers" (Stafford, 2005, p. 66). For example, some countries monitor what can be seen on television (Kotabe & Helsen, 2001), which may hinder an organization's advertising message. The use and growth of the Internet has provided corporations with new opportunities to get their message across the global network. The Internet can be used to minimize some of the challenges previously identified. The Internet offers corporations the ability to advertise goods and services in foreign markets. Organizations must select the appropriate media strategies that will effectively convey their message. The media message is critical because it is a key factor in the success of the advertising campaign, especially in the international marketplace.
- Advertising Regulations. International advertisers must be aware of the various advertising regulations in each of their target markets.
International Advertising Programs
Although there is no one way to create an effective international advertising program, Peter Holt (2004) has provided three easy steps that can serve as a guideline when developing an effective international advertising strategy. He created this design to assist organizations with thinking about how they would like to generate leads in a global market. Holt (2004) believed that an international advertising strategy was the first step in this process. Having a plan will allow the organization to develop a proactive approach in its international expansion. His plan was based on three steps:
Prioritize the World.
There are nearly two hundred countries in the world, but that does not mean that an organization should advertise in all of them. Rather, a corporation needs to target which markets make the most sense for its products, and the advertising campaign should be geared toward those countries and cultures that are selected. When conducting an analysis of whether or not to enter a specific market, the organization should (1) identify the challenges facing the country, (2) determine if it will be hard or easy to conduct business in the country, (3) create a grid of the factors that have led to an organization's success with specific products and/or services in the target country, (4) consult the United States Department of Commerce to research the target countries, and (5) contact the International Franchise Association since it has significant information on international development.
Establish a Profile for Leads.
Many US franchisors have found that utilizing a master franchising method has provided a level of success when attempting to expand into another country. If this option is pursued, the first step will be to determine who the...
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