With this in mind communications strategy has to be developed and implemented. The central debate remains that of degree of uniformity. The pros and cons are obvious, i.e. economies of scale, consistent message across markets, centralized control, different market characteristics, media availability and costs and government regulations (Balabanis & Diamantopoulos, 2011). The stronger argument appears to be that different strategy appears to work in different situations, rather than a totally standardized campaign. Once these geographical issues are decided upon then the scope of the campaign, objectives and elements of strategy can be worked on. If the organization develops a message for one market and then transposes this intact into others or if it develops a message with a number of markets in mind from the start, it may be centrally conceived in both cases (Han, 2009; Wills & Ryans, 1977).
This is popular because of co-ordination and control providing the benefit of speed of roll out. With easier production and fewer staff involved the cost benefits are easy to see. The danger is that voiceovers/dubbing and so on may not be adequate or may even be disastrous. However, the search for universal symbols and meaning transference in many markets with the same message is an attractive proposition. There are three ways to choose - adoption (the whole thing is exported, language and all, and can work for, say, French perfume), prototype (where concepts and central ideas remain intact but where local input is made use of and the control of this remains in the hands of the company but depends on the quality of the local input), and concept co-operation or guideline (that keeps a certain amount of the brand and company facets intact, for example company colours, strap lines, and raises the dangers of lack of control but also imposition of facets that are wrong for particular markets) (Michell & Joel, 1995; Sandler & David, 2003).
Four creative impediments to centralization might exist: locals wishing to take control and prove themselves; cost reduction through adapting campaigns that pays less to the agencies than creating a new campaign; local managers who do not wish to see their authority decline; and the 'not invented here' syndrome (Bailey & Gutierrez, 2007). Standardization is possible where audiences are similar (for example, lifestyles), where image can be used, where the target has similar characteristics (for example, social status), where the product is high tech (for example, involving innovation/innovators and a common technical language) and where products have a nationalistic flavor (for example, country of origin can be important) (Foss & Eriksen, 1995).
Adaptation is necessary where concentration on the differences is seen as important / necessary to tackle problems encountered by a standardized approach across the marketing environment (from political to social/cultural to media infrastructure) and where internal differences such as stage in the product/brand life cycle can be catered for (Mueller, 1996). Examples of companies such as Parker (pens) and Colgate who have realized to their cost what it can mean to fail with a standardized approach are common in the literature.
There is also recognition that the adaptation approach does not necessarily mean changing fundamentals such as core values of the brand. In communication terms the actors in a commercial may be changed (as with Coca-Cola using different national sports and therefore players) at a surface level. An illustration of the possibilities for marketers to acquire and develop strong signifiers that can have worldwide meaning is provided in the case study (Maheswaran, 2004).
Going international with a brand of whisky raises many issues. Perhaps the case study beginning of the relationship between the spirit and 'Scottishness' was Compton Mackenzie's Whisky Galore in which the Hebrideans conspired to 'Scottishness' and defeat the excise man. Recent Hollywood interpretations of Scottishness single malt whisky: the through the likes of movies such as Highlander, Braveheart and Rob Roy may Bunnahabhain and have done no harm to the Scottish (or Scotch) whisky campaign. In recent other single malts years a number of acquisitions by the big international players in the spirits market have taken place. The rationale for this is that global distribution over the past couple of decades has been achieved. What is missing is a full range of good to premium brand offerings - hence the acquisitions (Insch, 2003).
Seagram were central to this and have a history now of global distribution of many things including Chivas Regal. This brand is now in the Pernod Ricard stable having been part of the aforementioned Diageo/Pernod Ricard deal. The Bunnahabhain Distillery was founded in 1827 on the Isle of Islay, north- west Scotland. The distillery produces a single malt whisky, marketed under the Bunnahabhain brand name. Single malt whiskies are produced by over 100 distilleries in Scotland, and the Bunnahabhain is a medium, smooth, soft, mellow, light, gold-colored drink with a hint of peat. Traditionally, malt whiskies are classified according to how old they are - generally the older, the better and more expensive. Price plays an important part in brand choice, but this does depend on the product and the occasion. Generally, blended whiskies are cheaper, for example a bottle of Bells would cost around £12; a supermarket branded single malt will retail at around £14.99; an established brand could retail at anything from £16 but most are around £25 unless on special promotion as, for example, around Christmas and New Year. If the product is to be 'mixed', for example with ginger or Coca-Cola, a cheaper brand may be adequate, but consumers are willing to pay a lot for a quality malt, especially when it is bought as a present or for a special occasion. In the whisky market, packaging is at least as important as advertising - some would say is as important as the product itself! Image is a highly relevant factor in customers' decision-making (Bailey & Gutierrez, 2007). The Scottishness of the product is crucial. Traditionally, Scotland and good whisky go hand in hand; consumers see the origin of a whisky as a quality indicator when making a purchase decision.
Jack Daniel's has very successfully exploited their 'Southern' U.S. roots when marketing their product to the UK. Similarly, the story of the Stone of Scone, is part of Scottish folklore. For many years whisky has had an old image to go with its ageing customers. In recent years whisky marketers have woken up to the fact that if they do not introduce their products to younger drinkers then they are facing a declining market (Michell & Joel, 1995). Whisky, particularly when mixed, has more appeal to younger drinkers, and many of the younger age groups have been targeted recently, for example, Bell's with their 'good crack' campaign and Teachers with pub-based promotional campaigns. However, all the distillers have a common marketing problem - how to make their product appealing to the new younger markets without alienating the current older customer. Before the aforementioned sale, earlier in 2000, Seagram had attempted to target younger drinkers with a 'trendy makeover'. With both Chivas Regal 18 and its sister brand, Chivas Regal 12, revamped, an attempt was made to attract the younger drinker without alienating the traditional drinker - the age-old problem, especially in alcoholic drinks product categories. This involved adding to the brand's aura of quality and heritage (Maheswaran, 2004).
The objective was to reinforce Chivas Regal as the perfect gift for the sophisticated whisky drinker. It is argued that the single malt can survive drowning in cola but it is the pipe and slippers image that is damaging a key industry (billions of pounds in export earnings, tens of thousands of jobs, communities' survival in danger and so on). It was probably by accident rather than design that a positive association between television's Inspector MorselThe Sweeney/John Thaw and whisky evolved. Burns may have known that 'freedom and whisky gang the gather but today's twentysomethings are more likely to associate whisky with middle age. However, all is apparently not lost. In Spain Scotch is seen as part of the inspirational nightlife culture but to be taken long with cola rather than sipped and savoured. In Greece whisky has overtaken ouzo as the favoured drink with 'disco machismo' favouring the Dimple blend (suggestive shape of the bottle and the name) and France is now the biggest market for Scotch. The finest whiskies have always had snob appeal but Scotch is seen as one of the most highly prized products in the spirits industry and one of the few bright spots of the alcoholic drinks business (Foss & Eriksen, 1995; Sandler & David, 2003).
Brands such as Laphroaig are said to have literary appeal in a sort of 'Islay chic' kind of way (as used by, for example, Dick Francis, Will Self and Edwin Black). Visitor centres, brand ambassadors and bartender evangelists are some of the ways…