Posts Tagged ‘local adaptation’

Thai Latte please

January 28, 2011

A few months back I made some noise on here about the scope for Australia to leverage a barista advantage internationally.

The argument was that our wide brown land was at the cutting edge of the ‘third wave’ of fancy coffee-making (and by fancy, I’m not talking about the Franken-coffees dreamed up by Starbucks for people who like whipping cream, flavoured syrup and milk rather than roasted bean-infused goodness).

Having spent the last fortnight in Bangkok, I can say there may well be considerable competitive advantage for the Aussie approach a few steps back from the leading edge also.

After enduring the overpriced faux coffee of the aforementioned US giant out of desperation, and the abomination that is my hotel’s brew, I followed a tip from an Aussie and headed to a little café run by some locals who’d lived and worked in Melbourne (reportedly).

Café Ohana is doing no more than what your standard Melbourne coffee vendors does, i.e. latte, macchiato etc. They deliver it in a slick Scando-decored venue, with tasty sandwiches and a mix of cakes, but it’s not anything amazingly groundbreaking.  But it felt like an oasis to me, and seemed to be a happy haunt for numerous Japanese ladies who lunch.

It must being doing well, as the firm is about to open another branch (according to their Facebook page).

It’s a reminder that international  transfer of competitive advantages doesn’t always have to be lead with the fanciest, most innovative version of your product.  Indeed, sometime it pays to tone down the radicalness so as to find a receptive audience.

Now if only I could find a purveyor of quality craft beers around here too…

Has Amazon caught the forward integration bug?

December 8, 2009

Every time I think I’m done with this vertical integration obsession another example pops up.

Rumours are flying around the news sites that the giant of online retailing Amazon might be bringing a portion of its delivery process back in-house.

They are reportedly considering opening old school bricks-and-mortar shop fronts in the UK where buyers can pop past to pick up their purchases.

This would represent a substantial shift in the business model of the firm, and also a convergence back with various other high street retailers (most notably in the UK Argos) who also have a strong online presence.

It is also an interesting example of adaptation to the quirks of infrastructure and custom from location to location. Parcel deliveries may be less practical in the UK given different living arrangements, and customers are more densely situated meaning such distribution points could be viable.

A quick example of local adaptation

November 16, 2009

It’s always fun to find examples of multinationals adapting their products for host markets. Such adaptation (a.k.a. local responsiveness) is one of the key choices such firms face (along with decisions regarding the extent to which resources and activities will be shared/integrated)

The recent 40th birthday of Sesame Street reminded me of their expansion efforts. Actually, Google’s adapted logos showcasing the very familiar characters alerted to me the anniversary.

The list of logos Google used is indicative of the adaptativeness of the Sesame Street creators (once known as the Children’s Television Workshop – now called Sesame Workshop). There were different Muppets featured on Google’s page in Belgium, the Netherlands, Israel, India, South Africa and Mexico.

boobmah chamki Google logo Galli Galli Sim SimIndia’s character’s (above) include Boombah, “a hedonistic, vegetarian lion who believes he is descended from one of India’s historic royal families” and Chamki, “a schoolgirl dressed in the uniform of an Indian government school [who] is the only Sesame Muppet to practice a martial art”. The show is called Galli Galli Sim Sim on the subcontinent, and is predominantly in Hindi.

It isn’t surprising that a company targeting children has made such substantial alterations to meet the needs of overseas markets. Making the show understandable (i.e. in a local language) and relevant (reflecting these kids’ experiences) is the only way the show would achieve its aims (it is worth noting the firm here is a not-for-profit). But I like it because its a fun example.

Oh, and of course, we shouldn’t ignore that Google also adapts its interface for host country audiences…

Any other quirky examples out there?