From Multi-Country Concept Testing/ Optimization To Corporate Database And Beyond

Johannes Hartmann
Unilever Bestfoods
Howard Moskowitz
Moskowitz Jacobs Inc.
Jeff Ewald
Optimization Group, Inc.

INTRODUCTION: THE EXISTING SITUATION FROM THE CORPORATE BOARDROOM

The existing belief in many companies is that concepts for FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) need to be individualized for each culture. This point of view does not necessarily find itself based on fact, but rather on belief. Management does recognizes the growing internationalization of products, the increasing trade among countries, and the emergence of brands that can be called world brands. At the same time there is the perennial reluctance to abandon the local point of view and simply agree that the world is becoming homogeneous. Current trends neither point to a complete homogenization, nor do they point to complete country-to-country differentiation. They point to some in-between reality (Trout and Rivkin, 2000). In actuality, even when a case for globalization can be made on the basis that consumers in many countries declare the same motivations and expectations, a closer look will often reveal slight differences that must be taken into account (Kapferer, 1998).