, . (2015), "Executive summary of “Localising the packaging of foreign food brands: a case of Muslim consumers in Pakistan”", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 24 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBM-07-2015-905Download as .RIS
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Executive summary of “Localising the packaging of foreign food brands: a case of Muslim consumers in Pakistan”
Article Type: Executive summary and implications for managers and executives From: Journal of Product & Brand Management, Volume 24, Issue 4
This summary has been provided to allow managers and executives a rapid appreciation of the content of this article. Those with a particular interest in the topic covered may then read the article in toto to take advantage of the more comprehensive description of the research undertaken and its results to get the full benefits of the material present.
The importance of product packaging has been confirmed by numerous studies. Packaging can serve to differentiate offerings and significantly impact on consumer purchase decisions. Information conveyed on packaging helps inform buyers of the product’s qualities and benefits both prior to purchase and during actual consumption. Surveys have variously indicated that consumers regard packaging as an important criterion that might even increase their willingness to pay a price premium. Packaging has also been associated with an increased tendency toward brand-switching.
Evidence shows the impulsive nature of many purchases. Consumers typically make such decisions at the point-of-sale rather than beforehand. This further illustrates the critical role of product packaging. Certain scholars contend that brands need to capture attention on the shelves to become a purchase consideration. Color, typology, shape and other design elements are recognized as cues which enhance the attractiveness of packaging.
The prevailing tendency for international brands to compete in overseas markets has prompted much debate about what marketing and advertising strategies should be utilized. On the one hand are those who purport a standardized approach. This is premised on the belief that a largely homogenous global market segment now exists. Advocates of this view claim that cultural divides have narrowed considerably to an extent where differences between national consumer groups have become minimal and inconsequential. Some evidence exists to suggest that marketing elements have a similar impact across different national contexts.
Others, however, argue that differences between consumer segments are becoming greater. Cultural diversity thus renders any standardization ineffective and potentially problematic, they claim. Firms that persist with this philosophy put sales and competitive advantage into jeopardy. Strategies should, therefore, be localized to account for any unique cultural, environmental and industrial characteristics. Marketers can increase the appeal of their advertising messages to specific consumer segments through an emphasis on, for example, ethnicity, religion and language. Researchers have found that individuals do identify with appropriate cues and that this can lead to more positive responses to both advertisements and featured products. One example is the use of ethnic minority figures in advertisements when targeting ethnic consumer groups.
These arguments are likewise pertinent where product packaging is concerned. The dilemma, therefore, facing companies is whether to use the same packaging across all markets or to tailor designs for different contexts. Those in favor of the latter point to evidence that meaning is culturally determined and conveyed through, for example, language and symbols deployed. Use of standardized packaging enables firms to achieve economies of scale but may not elicit the desired response from consumers within certain markets.
Some evidence suggests that responses to foreign and local packaging cues could vary depending on product type. Analysts specifically compare hedonic and utilitarian products in this respect. For instance, it has been suggested that responses to experiential products can be more favorable when packaging incorporates a picture of the product. Verbal cues have the capacity to be equally significant. One example is the reaction when French language is used instead of English. The exoticness typically associated with the former serves to enhance the pleasure and sophistication acquired through the consumption of hedonic foreign products. Consuming these products is additionally viewed as a means of enhancing one’s social image. However, studies revealed only weak effects where functional products were concerned.
Further examination of these issues is carried out by Khan et al. in a study involving undergraduate students from a university in Pakistan. This nation was selected as the study context mainly because foreign brands are perceived favorably and typically associated with high quality and social status. Following preliminary research, the authors selected carbonated soft drinks and chips as hedonic products for the study. Coca-Cola and Lays were the respective brands chosen. Milk and bottled water served as functional products, accordingly represented by Nido and Nestle. All the brands used are widely available in supermarkets in Pakistan.
Standard and local versions of packaging were used for all four brands. The packaging was identical apart from information being either in English or a local language. Subjects were organized into two groups and exposed to either the standardized or localized packaging for all four products. Each group rated brand and packaging on likeability, indicated whether they perceived each brand as foreign or local and revealed how often they purchased the brands. All subjects then viewed both forms of packaging for the brands and asked which version they would choose to purchase.
Analysis revealed that respondents:
were more favorable toward packaging used on both hedonic brands when it was standard rather than localized;
showed no distinct preferences for standard or local packaging use with utilitarian products;
indicated greater brand likeability when standard as opposed to localized packaging was used for hedonic products; and
considered functional products more likeable when in standard rather than localized packaging. However, the difference here was insignificant.
Results also indicated that likeability and selection of packaging can also be influenced by familiarity with and usage of the specific product.
On this evidence, the authors conclude that global brands are unlikely to benefit from tailoring product packaging to local markets. This is especially evident for hedonic products, which are perceived more highly when foreign cues are used. In addition, the minimal difference in impact of the respective packaging forms for functional products is interpreted as proof that standardized packaging can be successfully used for both product types. Adopting this strategy enables firms to lower costs associated with manufacturing, logistics and marketing.
Future study could seek to ascertain the reasons why foreign hedonic brands are perceived as reflecting higher quality and status. Whether or not foreign cues are able to influence perceptions of a product’s utilitarian attributes is another research option. The role of habit in future consumption decisions can likewise be considered. Khan et al. also recommend using samples more representative of Pakistan’s population to account for perceptions of less educated rural consumers. Extending the study to different nations and product categories is suggested too. Use of fictional brands can be used as a control mechanism. Researchers might additionally compare private and public consumption of goods and determine whether the influence of packaging cues is predominantly internal or external.
To read the full article enter 10.1108/JPBM-08-2014-0694 into your search engine.
(A précis of the article “Localising the packaging of foreign food brands: a case of Muslim consumers in Pakistan”. Supplied by Marketing Consultants for Emerald.)