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It is important to reconcile the seemingly opposing extremes. It is a best practice to satisfy customer needs by learning from the diversity of adopting, adapting, and combining the best of what already works (Trompenaars and Woolliams, 2004).
In regards to the soft drink market in Italy, the best approach would be to utilize adaptation. It appears that standardization would not work as sales in this sector for the same ole product are down. Introducing a healthy drink aimed at the aging population through an adaptation scheme would seem to be the best approach.
Italy has a bicameral political system that is composed of a Senate and a Chamber of Deputies. Both of these are directly elected and have equal authority. The Speakers of the Senate and Chamber are second and third in command to the President of the Republic. The government consists of the President of the Council of Ministers and departmental Ministers who together make up the Council of Ministers. Ministers are nominated by the Prime Minister and formally appointed by the President of the Republic (Italy, 2009).
Italy is one of UK's largest markets in regards to exports of goods. Exports accounted for around $9.2bn in 2008. UK imports from Italy in 2008 were worth $13.7bn and bilateral trade is worth over $22bn. Italian government policies are increasingly directed at the structural reform of the economy with the liberalization of key sectors such as energy and telecommunications. There is an ever growing interest in the concept of public-private partnership in the public services, which is providing new investment and co-operation opportunities for British companies (Italy, 2009).
Italian consumers are very sophisticated and often demanding. They are very particular in terms of quality. Traditional, high quality British consumer goods often do very well while designer items or recognized fashion brands are also very popular. British technologies, along with equipment, components and services all have a good reputation. Innovative high-quality products always have high interest. The key sectors of products include: clothing, footwear and fashion, construction, creative & media, energy, environment, food & drink, healthcare, infrastructure projects, and security (Italy, 2009).
American business representatives often find that selling in Italy offers a set of new challenges. But it also presents no problems that are insurmountable. Over 7,500 American companies are actively doing business in Italy. U.S. executives often find that some commercial practices differ from those in the United States, but that most are very familiar. In Italy the system of retail and wholesale distribution centers on small, family-operated stores. But is has been seen that despite this the supermarket-type operation has gained importance (Marketing U.S. Products and Services, 2004).
Italy represents a large and affluent market where language and personal relationships are greatly valued when conducting business transactions. As a result, some form of local presence is generally required in order to be successful. Companies that wish to enter the Italian market, as an alternative to establishing a subsidiary, might decide to use an agent or a distributor. The option used depends on the type of the goods or services that are to be distributed in Italy. There are important distinctions in Italian law between distribution and agency agreements (Marketing U.S. Products and Services, 2004).
Agency contracts are governed by the Italian Civil Code as well as by a number of other legislative decrees. The term commercial agent does not correspond exactly to the concept of agency in common law countries. Under an agency contract the principal manufacturer or exporter appoints an agent as the principal's sole agent for the territory concerned. This person then permanently acts for and on behalf of the principal in promoting the execution of the agreements. This makes the contractual relationship between the principal and the buyer, not the agent. The normal pattern of payment for an agent is either entirely by commission or partially by commission in addition to a periodic payment (Marketing U.S. Products and Services, 2004).
Under Italian law a distribution agreement is one in which a manufacturer or exporter contracts with a distributor in order to purchase goods which the distributor then sells on the distributor's own account. The incentive for the distributor can be found in the price differential that exists between one transaction and another. There may be differences involving the possibility of returning the non-sold goods or other formulae, but the distributor is always acting as the principal in the contract with the subsequent being the purchaser. There are no laws or regulations currently in effect in Italy providing for advance notice of termination, termination compensation, or social security payments in connection with these agreements (Marketing U.S. Products and Services, 2004).
The law that would be governing these transactions is based on Roman law, particularly its civil law, and on French Napoleonic law. The codes of the Kingdom of Sardinia that existed in civil and penal affairs were extended to all of Italy when Italy was unified in the mid-19th century. When the penal code was revised in 1990 the old inquisitory system was replaced with an accusatory system similar to that of common-law countries. In addition to the codes, there are innumerable statutes that integrate the codes and regulate areas of law for which no codes exist, such as public law. Under the Italian constitution, the judiciary is independent of the legislature and the executive, and therefore jurisdictional functions can be performed only by magistrates and judges who cannot be dismissed (Legal System, 2009).
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