Considering the international relations from the trading position, we have chosen the idea of confronting of the Australian market and the American market with the purpose to help Australian EKEN Power Bands brand expend at the international arena.
We are going to consider the product and its significance at the Australian and US markets, identify competitors, check the options for entering international markets and expand there, underline the country of product origin and the consumers behaviour there, consider American consumer ethnocentrism and animosity, point to the market segmentation, target audience and positioning and on the basis of this information highlight international marketing mix and other related factors with the recommendations EKEN Power Bands should follow if it wants to enter international market and expand there.
Having chosen a good advertising strategy, offering unique bands, an office in Los Angeles, creating positive public image in the country of origin and correspondence to the newest technological developments may result in high consumer activities and raise of selling rates in the USA.
Country-of-Origin, Consumer Ethnocentrism and Consumer Animosity
Australia is the country which produces EKEN Power Bands and is considered to be its place or origin. The country is developed in the relation to sport, but it seems to be seasonal and the company wants to provide year cycle business.
Australian customers are rather prejudiced to the innovation. Much influence is provided by mass media, but the credibility of their impact is rather doubtful. The Australian market is full of sceptical views, the media is a powerful weapon in persuading the minds of people. The negative effect from such news is obvious.
Once the news reported that “A Wristband claiming to boost strength, balance and flexibility has been exposed as a fake” (Mawby, N 2010), people have taken the same side. However, mass media offers minimum reasons and it is impossible to draw conclusions about the reasonableness of such statement (Dowling & Weeks 2011). This is the main characteristic of the Australian market as the country of origin for EKEN Power Bands.
It should be stated that much attention is paid to the consumer ethnocentrism, as this issue influences customers’ choice, and as a result, defines market segmentation.
Considering consumer ethnocentrism, it should be mentioned that a lot of different factors may be considered as both advantageous and disadvantageous for the country of origin (Parts 2007). Trying to struggle over the American consumer ethnocentrism, EKEN Power Bands has taken a good strategy.
The brand uses famous sport stars to impact Americans. According to the customers’ priorities, Americans’ choice can be in favour of the products used by the celebrities. When famous sportsmen wear the products by EKEN, people are tend to notice it and buy the advertised items, to make sure that they have reached their idol at least in cloths elements. Such strategy is going to help EKEN Power Bands avoid consumer ethnocentric relation from the American consumers.
Consumer animosity in the relation to a specific country is defined as “the remnants of antipathy related to previous or ongoing military, political or economic events” (Lwin, Stanaland & Williams 2010, p. 249) and “affects the intension of buy products imported from that country” (Hoffmann, Mai & Smirnova 2011, p. 236).
There are three main reasons which may cause animosity, that is perceived threat, antithetical political attitudes, and negative personal experiences (Hoffmann, Mai & Smirnova 2011). There is no consumer animosity of Americans in the relation to Australia what is good news for EKEN which should not worry about this problem.
The main difference between consumer ethnocentrism and consumer animosity is that the first notion shows antipathy to all foreign products and their consideration of bad quality, and in case of the second notion, the antipathy is based on the negative attitude to the specific country and may not be connected with goods quality.
Conclusion & Recommendations
In conclusion, it should be stated that Australian company EKEN Power Bands has chosen a good international strategy. Focusing on people who are either fond of sport or going in for sports on the professional basis, the company has chosen the USA as the target market with the advertising campaign directed at the encouraging people to but bands by means of using celebrities and sport stars, EKEN Power Bands is going to achieve good success, if other international market factors are followed.
It has been stated that EKEN Power Bands should work more to establish successful public relation in Australia and not to make company’s public image in Australia (influenced negative by a number of unsupported publications which pointed to the usefulness of bands) spoil its sales in the USA.
Furthermore, it can be stated that the choice of the target market and target audience helps the company implement successful market segmentation and occupy a niche at the American market as EKEN Power Bands position itself as the one which produces unique products.
Dowling, G & Weeks, W 2011, ‘Media analysis: what is it worth?’, Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 32, iss. 1, pp. 26-33.
Hoffmann, S, Mai, R & Smirnova, M 2011, ‘Development and Validation of a Cross-Nationally Stable Scale of Consumer Animosity’, Journal of Marketing Theory & Practice, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 235-252.
Lwin, M, Stanaland, A & Williams, J 2010, ‘Exporting America’, International Journal of Advertising, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 245-278.
Mawby, N 2010, ‘Power Balance wristbands exposed as a sham’, Herald Sun, 23 December, viewed 18 May 2011, http://www.news.com.au/technology/power-wristbands-banned-and-refunds-ordered-by-accc/story-e6frfrnr-1225975249012
Parts, O 2007, ‘The Measurement of Consumer Ethnocentrism and COO Effect in Consumer Research’, Transformations in Business and Economics, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 139-154.