U.S. companies that wish to expand their geographic operations to China, Korea or Vietnam face a number of seemingly insurmountable hurdles, among them cultural differences, distribution snafus and business practices that radically differ from those of Western countries. Those willing to meet the challenges are advised to proceed with patience, perseverance and flexibility-virtues that eventually can help build big profits in a nation whose economy is growing faster than that of the United States.
When Proctor and Gamble entered China in 1988, it faced the usual barrier to entry to marketing. One Houston Chinese Translation worker recalls, how Proctor and Gamble was up against selling a product – disposable diapers – historically not part of the Chinese consumer marketplace. At that time, there really was no demand for this type of product because mothers didn’t see a need to move away from traditional cloth diapers. In 2007, Proctor and Gamble introduced a viral marketing program that catapulted the Pamper’s product line to the top of the product category in unit sales. Today, Proctor and Gamble joins the ranks of the highly successful corporations that have learned to market effectively to the Chinese.
As mentioned previously, part of Proctor and Gamble’s success stems from it highly successful promotional activities that were developed in conjunction with a team of translation service workers. In 2007, Pampers launched a “Golden Sleep” campaign which included nothing short of in-store celebrations and internet programs that went viral that asked parents to upload pictures of their babies sleeping in Pampers. All of the campaigns reinforced the message that babies that wear Pampers fall asleep much faster and sleep with fewer disruptions than those babies that don’t.
The success of Proctor and Gamble in emerging markets has allowed the company to set and meet ambitious growth plans that call for adding 500,000 new customers each day through 2013.
According to a San Francisco Vietnamese translation worker, another company that has been hugely successful in the Chinese market includes Campbell’s Soup. Even though the Chinese diet consists of a large portion of soup, the majority of soup had always been handmade. Thus, the challenge for Campbell’s Soup was to shift consumer preference and prove that their soup was better tasting, more convenient and offered a cost-efficient alternative.