Episode 4

In Conversation With: Allyson Stewart-Allen: Foreign Fails Part 2

Published on: 25th October, 2023

Welcome to In Conversation With a new mini-series podcast from The Marketing Society. With Rachel Letham Head of Content and Communications, “in conversation with” Allyson Stewart-Allen, Marketing Society Member and CEO of International Marketing Partners, a consulting firm helping companies successfully internationalise. We will delve into both the global and local perspectives when it comes to branding.

We’ve seen over the years that one size does not fit all when going global. Companies often make incorrect assumptions that other markets are just like their home market. This can lead to expensive mistakes. 

In this episode:

Allyson shares examples of successful localized marketing campaigns, like KitKat's wasabi and green tea flavours in Japan and Starbucks' half-wrap sizes in Singapore. 

Watch the video here for props from Allyson's "cabinet of curiosities" https://youtu.be/biURVI5d_Wk

Other examples include Pandora's city-specific charms, Estee Lauder fragrances tailored to different cities, and Volkswagen adding cupholders to beetles for the US market.

On the other hand, Zara and QVC made mistakes by not properly researching local tastes when expanding internationally - Zara undersupplying larger clothing sizes in the UK and QVC bracelets being too small for German wrists.

The key takeaway is to view cultural differences as just that - different, not wrong. Avoid judging other markets and instead see the commercial opportunities. 

Do your homework to understand local tastes, shopping behaviours, sizing, etc and adapt products and marketing accordingly. Don't assume other markets are the same as your home market.

In the final episode, Allyson will share advice for effectively adapting and localizing branding and messaging when expanding internationally.

Biography: Allyson Stewart-Allen

Allyson Stewart-Allen is a renowned advisor, author, speaker, broadcaster and Non-Executive Director focused on helping leaders and their companies to successfully internationalise. You’ve probably seen or heard her on Sky News, BBC News, France 24, DW News, CNBC, LBC or watched one of her 5 seasons of The Apprentice – or maybe attended one of the many leadership courses she runs for Oxford University’s Said Business School.

Originally from Los Angeles and based in London for over 30 years, Allyson applies her extensive international consulting experience, MBA education with Dr. Peter Drucker and French and German languages to the company she founded, International Marketing Partners.

Having advised over 260 organisations across 27 countries, Allyson helps leaders successfully and profitably span international and functional boundaries. She is the creator of the LinkedIn learning course Leading International Growth, as well as author of both editions of the best-selling book Working with Americans.

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The Marketing Society podcast
The Marketing Society is a progressive global community of senior marketers. Our purpose is to empower our members to be brave leaders. Since 1959, we have grown into an influential network of 2500 members.
The Marketing Society is a progressive global community of senior marketers. Our purpose is to empower our members to be brave leaders. Since 1959, we have grown into an influential network of more than 2650+ members across our global hubs: London, Scotland, Hong Kong, Singapore, UAE and New York. Our members are mostly senior clients (over seventy per cent) from brands such as ASOS, Barclays, IBM, Disney, HSBC, Mars, Samsung, Unilever and Vodafone.

Everything we do is through a brave lens – pushing boundaries, tackling taboos, providing comfortable spaces to have important conversations and building meaningful connections. We speak up, inspire one another, share best practice and discuss the challenges and opportunities we face. We work together to make our industry better for business and better for the world around us.

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