Where product is made – Differentiation Strategy !
Mention Vodka, and what country comes to mind? Russia. That is the country people associate with vodka more than any other. One of the most popular brands of vodka is Absolut, but Absolut is made in Sweden, not Russia. What? Yes, Absolut is as Swedish as Bjorn Borg, likea, Volvo and the Swedish Bikini Team.
Absolut success has been built on the back of it’s highly imaginative print advertisements, which we think are simply stunning. Perhaps you might have seen them. Absolut also makes no mention that it is made in Sweden, because people have the perception that vodka is a Russian thing.
So, if you are Stolichnaya, how would you fight Absolut in its key market of the US? Make use of your country of origin. Stolichnaya is Russian. It is the real thing. So, Stolichnaya could hang the “Not From Russia” label on Absolut. This is a differentiating idea that is hard for Absolut to fight as long as people still perceive Russian vodka to be, well, more authentic.
Absolut might make best vodka in the world, but perceptions are hard to change. So, if we were Stolichnaya, we would keep playing the Made in Russia cards. Maybe even use a tag line like – Из России с любовью, From Russia with love. But that might infringe on the copyright of the James Bond franchise as that was also tittle of Bond movie. Furthermore, Bond does not drink vodka. He drinks martini, stirred, not Shaken. But being Russian is a big plus for Stolichnaya.
What does this mean for you?
Your country of origin is important because it can either help to differentiate of hamper the growth of your brand. Before you even start a business, ask yourself two very important questions: “what kind of business do I want to do? Is the country I am in perceived as a leader in this type of business ?” These are critical strategic questions that can make or break your brand. If you already have an existing business, find out if your country of origin can be a differentiator or not. If the answer is yes, then slap on that “MADE IN [COUNTRY NAME]” label proudly on your product. Like Japanese electronics are considered to be world class and Japanese people are considered to be awesome in terms if what they do and how perfectly they do. And if the answer is No, you might have to do a Multiscan.