If a company decides to sell its products, or its brands, in a foreign market, it has to deal with a very critical managerial issue. If, and up to what extent, should it adapt its value proposition? This a critical decision not only in operational terms. In fact, we can easily imagine that if you want to sell your product in a country where there is a different language, you have to at least adapt the language in your package in your communication. This is very operational, but what I have in mind is a more strategic decision. We can assume that every different geographical market has consumers who are different in terms of habits, tastes, and benefits. If I have one value proposition that I sell in my market, and I want to sell the value proposition in a different market, should I adapt it? Or should I keep the value proposition the same? The two different options, we can position them on a continuum: on one side, there is complete adaptation; on the other side, there is full standardization. What does that mean, standardization? Basically, you use the same value proposition in every geographical market you want to compete in. Both options, adaptation and standardization, have advantages and disadvantages. It is not good, per se, to choose one or the other. In fact, by adaptation, we basically mean that there are some components, or maybe the whole value proposition, which is adapted to the specificity of each geographical market: the product, the communication, and maybe the brand. You have the same value proposition, but you can change the brand, or differently, you have a completely new brand in the different markets you want to compete. On the other side, standardization means that you use the same exact value proposition. Basically, adaptation has a lot of advantages in terms of effectiveness. Because if you adapt, most of the value proposition, the whole value proposition, or some components of that value proposition, you meet, in a more effective way, some specific requirements of the consumers in the market you want to compete in. But obviously, by adapting, you lose the possibility to standardize, that is to say, to be more efficient. Adaptation goes for effectiveness, but the price you have to pay is you lose efficiency. Maybe you have to change the communication campaign. You have to change some components of the product, and by changing, you have to bear costs. On the other side, standardization has a clear advantage, efficiency. Because you can use, you can have synergies in terms of communication, production, manufacturing, servicing, commercial synergies. You don't have to change much. By doing this, you can gain a lot of efficiency. But what is the price you have to pay? Effectiveness. Because obviously, you ask, implicitly, to the consumers in the different markets to adapt their needs to the specificity of your value proposition. As you can see, both of them have advantages and disadvantages. And the point is, which kind of advantages or disadvantages do you want to get? If a company decides to adapt, so to follow an adaptation strategy, it must have in mind that every component of the value proposition can be adapted, the product, the service, the communication, the distribution. The point is which component? And the components sometimes should be adapted, because the specificity of the market requires a very strong adaptation. Let's take, for example, a typical global burger chain. Most of them rely on one specific product, which is the beef burger, but if you want to open your outlets in India, where most people do not eat beef, or in Japan, where maybe most people eat fish; if you want to compete in those markets, by definition, you have to change your product. In this case, if you don't adapt, you will find it very difficult, and sometimes impossible, to get into a market and to compete against the local competitors. These examples show that the product can be adapted. But when we talk about product adaptation, we can talk about many different things. Maybe you can adapt the ingredients, you can change some of the ingredients to make them more consistent with the preferences of the consumers in the market. Or maybe you can change the occasion of usage, so the product is exactly the same, but you try to position that product for a different occasion of usage in the market you want to compete. Or maybe, it’s the service connected to the product. Or maybe there are other elements that you combine with the ingredients of the product, in order to provide consumers with some benefits. Obviously, you can adapt the communication. By adapting communication, we have in mind, two different things. You adapt the message to make the message more consistent with the culture, the habits of the consumers, or maybe you adapt the media, the communication media you use, to position the product in the market. But you can also adapt the distribution chain. Another option is to adapt your distribution strategy. In fact, many countries are different in terms of their distribution system. In some countries, the most common outlet is a street market. In other countries, where the distribution system is more developed, you can have different kind of formats through which you can sell your products and your brands. According to the distribution system, you need to adapt some part of your distribution strategy, and maybe the service provided to your consumers through the distribution system. As we've seen, every component of the value proposition can be changed and adapted to the specificity of the market, and maybe also the brand, because sometimes when you sell your products in countries where the language is different, the culture is different, maybe the name of your brand in the local market, has a completely different meaning, in the market you want to get into. So you need to change the brand, in order to make it more acceptable, and more appreciated by the consumers of that market. If every component of the value proposition can be changed, the point is, which one? Which one is to be changed? The answer, again, goes into the market. That is to say, it depends on the preferences, on the habits, and on the perceptions of the consumers you want to serve in that market. The final point to understand is that there is not a best option. There is an option that is consistent to the specificity of the company, its competencies, its resources, and its objectives. One company can choose to adapt its value proposition and other companies can decide not to adapt, to make it very standardized. For example, we can take one single industry, let's take the chocolate industry. In the chocolate industry, in the global industry, you have some brands, some companies, which basically adapt, completely, their value propositions, but there are also companies which use exactly the same valuable position over all the countries they compete in. Let's look at some communication campaigns and let's see what are the differences. Let's figure out what are the objectives behind those communication campaigns, which basically moved companies to choose one option or the other one. As you have noticed, one company has decided to keep the communication campaign standard across the different countries. In this case, the most important thing is to define and design one positioning, and keep it consistent across the different markets. The other company has decided to adapt its communication campaign, although the message behind the communication campaign is the same, but the way the message has been designed and presented is completely different, because the differences in the markets justify this choice.