If your brand is strong and is recognized in one market it does not mean you will reach the pinnacle of success and recognition in another.
Most worldwide brands before entering a new market in a different country will study the potential growth. More so brands are learning from experience that one needs to investigate the relationship of existing brands to their retailer and the consumer in order measure the tolerance of new competition entering the game.
In 1995 when Gatorade entered into the Lebanese market, Quaker Oats backed distribution company with dollars for advertising and a way they went. Nothing was going to hold this brand down. This was an amazing time in Lebanon’s reconstruction efforts from a 15 year civil war, expatriates from all over the world were coming back to live and invest. Markets were booming and companies wanted in.
Gatorade went in with an aggressive advertising budget showcasing their main celebrity face Michael Jordan and the “I want be like Mike” campaign. This plan was a slam dunk, it had success written all over it. Not! Gatorade barely made it not even generating any market share worth bragging about. With very little money left to their budget the direction changed course as market research took the ball and advertising was benched.
Gatorade’ s success into the Lebanese market was based on complete engagement principals of advocacy and brand culture, relationships and business development.
The history of the beverage market in Lebanon is controlled by one supplier. From advertising, celebrity sponsorships, to market shelf, Pepsi controls the market share, this is no secret as millions of dollars are dumped into Lebanon’s beverage industry annually. Gatorade was already at a disadvantage upon entering, even though their worldwide success proved otherwise. For Gatorade to succeed in this market they needed to overcome many challenges and growing pains were going to hurt.
We needed to know the brand inside out from the Stokely VanCamp days, Florida Gators to the national stage. Everyone in sports needed to want Gatorade. And with plenty expatriates coming into the country there was going to be an emotional tie to the brand with consumers.
Our team had to be forward thinking and a step ahead. Our engagement had to be result driven to carve a piece of the market share. We needed to profile our consumer in order to identify our target market which we did successfully.
Within seven months we had gained 8 percent of the market share. We had penetrated a market with a sports drink gaining visibility and profits.
Our success was based on completed engagement of product culture followed by solid communication with head office, the sales team working the B2B, while market research worked the B2C with qualitative Q&A and sponsorships from marathons, tournaments and indirectly supplying the PAN Arab Game athletes with products.
We were one fine oiled machine, we understood our roles and together worked for one goal. Our success was inevitable.