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Standardization versus adaptation of international advertising strategies : towards a framework

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  1. Determinants influencing Standardization or Adaptation of International Advertising Strategies and Tactics (IAST)
    1. ''Consumer involvement'' variable
    2. Standardization (S)
    3. Adaptation (A)
  2. Methodology
  3. Judgement of the quality of the article
    1. Pros and Cons of the Article
    2. What did the article contribute to our understanding of International Marketing

The purpose of this article by Papavassiliou and Stathakopoulos was to create a framework capable of detailing the environmental determinants that affect the degree of standardization or adaptation needed in international advertising decisions.
Some studies argue that a standardized advertising strategy is the most desirable option when consumer needs are universal (e.g. Levitt, 1983, Buzell 1968 and Killough 1978), while others argue that adaptation of the advertising strategy across boundaries is more appropriate, due to differences in the buying motives and cultures of the consumer (e.g. Helming, 1982, Youvich, 1982; Kotler 1986). Some academics suggest a combination of standardization and adaptation (Quelch and Hoff, 1986; Peebles et al., 1977). The authors list several factors (related to local, firm and intrinsic determinants) which influence international advertising decisions, and the degree of standardization or adaptation that may be appropriate for the firm. They conclude with a proposal of a continuum for international advertising decisions, showing, on one hand, the standardized creative advertising strategies and tactics, and on the other, the adapted creative advertising strategies and tactics.

The specific elements that can be adapted or standardized along the continuum, are the key advertising decisions any firm has to make:
- What is the message? (Creative strategy: intention of the message; appeal)
- Who is the target market? How must the message be constructed to reach them? (Creative tactics)
- Which media is most effective? (Media strategy) (F. Brassington et al., (2003)).

?Creative strategy refers to the advertising concept or theme (promise/claim), while creative tactics relate to the way in which the advertising strategy is expressed or ?executed? in the finished advertisements (e.g. visual elements, headlines, content of appeal, process of appeal)? (Papavassiliou, 1990, p.505).

In the following section, the continuum is introduced, with the factors influencing international advertising strategies. Standardized or adapted conditions are illustrated, and research evidence given wherever necessary in the article.
Subsequently, the research methodology is scrutinized and eventual improvements/gaps shown. Finally, a comment is made on what the article contributed to our understanding of international marketing.

[...] is one of the most important determinants a lot of evidence exists standardized advertising is more feasible for industrial goods than for consumer goods (Boddewyn et al, 1986). Nature of the Product THIS IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT FACTOR!!! Boddewyn et al (1986) reported that standardized advertising is good for industrial goods but not for consumer goods. Mueller's study (1991) examined how product involvement influenced international advertising standardisation. Zaichkowsky (1986) compares high-involvement products (localize strategy) and low involvement products (standardize strategy). [...]

[...] Introduction to IASC The international creative advertising strategy and tactics are represented on an international advertising strategy continuum (IASC), showing the degree of standardization and adaptation in advertising for a multinational firm. Which elements are standardized or adapted, and to what degree, are in turn determined by a company-specific analysis of and ?intrinsic? determinants affecting the business. The IASC consequently shows the relationship of these factors and the advertising effectiveness Determinants influencing Standardization or Adaptation of International Advertising Strategies & Tactics (IAST) LOCAL environmental Adaptation Standardization determinants Similarity Cultural environment across - Different different countries (similarity or not) Similarity Economic conditions across - Different different countries; (similarity or not) Similar Legal condition across - Different different countries; (similar or not?) Not high in host Presence of local and - High in host countries international countries competition (is high in the host countries or not?) Well developed Advertising infrastructure - Underdeveloped (well developed or underdeveloped?) Convergence Consumer profile across - Uniqueness different countries; (unique or convergence) Strong Country of origin Image - Not strong Standardization FIRM environmental Adaptation determinants Managerial and financial characteristics Not culture The strategic orientation - Very culture oriented of the oriented corporation Great Financial position of the - No difficulties organization difficulties (difficulties or not?) Nature of product Industrial - Is it more about: industrial - Consumer products products, products/d.p consumer products or consumer durable products? [...]

[...] The advantages of doing so: - The multinational firm can maintain a consistent image globally - The Confusion of customers who travel frequently can be reduced - For the company, it is easier to create only one message across countries, which saves costs (media, advertising production and material costs) and time. Middle of the continuum: - Consumer involvement increases. - Consumer behavior starts to become rational, as well as emotional, as product characteristics (function) become important in the purchase decision-making process. [...]

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