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School of Management and Economics Essay

During this work, we experienced how to manage the relationships within our work group in order to be efficient. Trust and collaboration have been the prerequisites for the formation of this team. We considered this bachelor thesis as an ongoing process, where all the parts of the paper have been rewritten many times.

This work enables us to see marketing from a new perspective, more complex, maybe closer to the reality of companies.

We would like to thank the managers from L’Oréal, Edouard Laclavière, Valentin Guillois, the manager located in Honk Hong, Ivan Coste-Manière, Iku, Aico, Mayumi, Ying, Sun-Young, Ahra and Katrin that dedicated time to answer to our questions. We are grateful to all these persons as they made the writing of this thesis possible. We would like to thank our tutor, Christine Lundberg that helped us finding our way in this process by providing us with good advice.

We would like to thank also Marie Thuriot and Isabelle Petit, from IPAG, Nice, who answered from France to our emails and helped us in our researches orienting us to the right websites and to the right persons.

Finally, we would like to thank our friends and relatives for their support, comprehension and criticism.
Växjö, May 25th 2006

Emilie, Lauranne and Tytti

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Bachelor thesis in Economics at Växjö University, 2006 Authors: Lauranne Fina, Tytti Luc and Emilie Venezia Examiner: Jerzy Kociatkiewicz Tutor: Christine Lundberg Title: The Role of Cultural Differences in the Product and Promotion Adaptation Strategy: A L’Oréal Paris Case Study

Introduction: Nowadays, firms are becoming more and more global. However, are consumers becoming global too? Therefore, the challenge for the firms consists in determining if they should adapt their products or if they should consider the consumers as being global, and keep their product standardized.

The purpose of this paper is to investigate adaptation strategy in South Korea, Japan and People’s Republic of China (PRC) for make-up products and its promotion considering the influence of culture on the consumer behaviour. This is studied referring to the European market. L’Oréal Paris is used as an example to illustrate the study.

Methodology: This study is a case study about L’Oréal Paris. To conduct it, we chose to use qualitative interviews and document analysis. Different kinds of interviews have been done in order to know more about the company adaptation strategy, the culture and the consumer behaviour in Asia. Written sources as external documents from L’Oréal Paris, websites, press articles, scientific articles and literature have been used to complete the primary data.

Theoretical framework: Culture is a system of meanings shared by members of a group. It is an important part of marketing because it influences the consumers’ wants and needs and because it impacts on the interpretations of products’ communication. This demonstrates that the culture impacts consumer behaviour. The study of the consumer behaviour conducts companies to adapt their products features, their packaging, their symbolic attributes, their service attributes and their promotion.

Empirical data: The empirical data comes from various sources. We interviewed three managers from L’Oréal Paris and as well girls from the following nationalities: three Japanese girls, one Chinese girl and two Korean girls. We also interviewed a specialist of cosmetics. All these interviews were conducted in order to answer our objectives. The interviews with the Asian girls and with the specialist of cosmetics were conducted in order to collect data on the culture and on the consumer behaviour.

The interviews with the managers of L’Oréal Paris were conducted in order to collect data on their adaptation and standardization strategies on the studied markets. Analysis: Cultural aspects impact directly or indirectly on the consumer behaviour. The culture diversity creates the consumer behaviour diversity as it can be noticed in South Korea, Japan and PRC where the culture and the behaviours are very different than in Europe.

L’Oréal Paris is trying to know more about these consumer behaviour differences in order to answer the consumers’ demands and to adapt its products and promotion strategy.

Conclusion: L’Oréal Paris is adapting some elements of its product range and its promotion. The three countries studied are very different culturally speaking. However, the adaptations on products and promotion made by L’Oréal Paris do not take fully into account these cultural and consumer behaviour differences. Moreover, many promotion and products aspects are standardized. Thus, the L’Oréal Paris adaptation strategy in the Asian zone is a mix between standardization and adaptation. In its adaptation strategy, the firm considers some elements of the consumer behaviour therefore of the culture. To conclude, the cultural differences may influence the make-up products and promotion adaptation strategy.


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