During the 1990s there was a global consolidation in many industries. Mergers and acquisitions were taking place with the goals of breadth of product line and a presence across the globe. As companies become global, they were forced to confront cross-cultural issues. Although companies pushed for a single model internationally, it became clear that there was a need to at least modify products and features, and at times go even further in adapting a product for different cultures. A recent example of this involves Nabisco’s Oreo Cookie offering.
Prior to the launch of Oreo Cookies to certain Asian markets, the company consulted with French Translation Chicago, a leading provider of research, localization and translation services. The Chicago based company encouraged Nabisco to develop an orange and mango flavored Oreo cookie. But with years of experience in the Asian markets, the company warned that consumers in those markets had discerning opinions about what a mango should taste like.
As it turned out, Nabisco was very experienced in developing and marketing custom products for foreign markets. Previously, the company had worked in conjunction with a Chinese Houston Translation company to develop green tea flavored Oreos for China. Prior to that, the company had even consulted with Spanish Translation Services of San Francisco when they launched banana and dulce de leche Oreos in Argentina.
The Oreo brand represents a $2 billion brand, and emerging markets will represent nearly 50-percent of revenues for the brand this year. Thanks to the involvement of translation and localization firms, the sales in emerging markets grew by more than 25-percent in 2011. But product development is only part of the brand’s success. International brand mangers working closely with localization and translation agencies also developed effective promotional campaigns for these markets too.