The 650 Company

US-Mexico project evaluation and subsequent product launching

Objective: Fortune 500 Company had an objective to expand its market presence with consumer product introductions into Mexico.

Initial Process:
The company worked with consulting firms and local agencies with the objective of evaluating the project and developing strategies, budgets and plans of action to launch a successful venture. This was the same procedure used successfully in the development of product introductions in the home market. Why should this be any different?
Results: After applying market research and feasibility studies, results showed unrealistic positive results compared to the company’s experience in launching products in the home country and other markets. According to the data out of Mexico, the company could expect over 80% market share by the end of the 3rd year after launching, even with strong brand competitors in Mexican markets!

Clearly something was wrong.

Why had this occurred? Although many of the agencies they used were local and very professional, the communication was impacted by the misinterpretation of the data obtained by the client Company in the context of the Mexican culture. The Company, nor the local contacts, truly understood the other fully, not because of language barriers but because of subtle cultural context. The Company was asking the usual questions and the locals were providing the answers to the questions asked. But no-one was translating one to the other in the context of the different cultures.

Company reaction:
After many months, major investment, and a difficult learning curve, the company realized they needed to make adjustments to their approach if they wanted to have a successful business experience in the Mexican market.

The Company initiated work with the principals of The 650 Company
. With input from 650, the Company was able to adjust the project evaluation process to be “readable” and comparable to experiences management was familiar with at Headquarters.

Some examples of the adjustments made using specific methodology were:
  • Researching basic insights, seeking detailed clarification and explanation.
  • Work with the team to develop an adjusted value proposition.
  • Made minor adjustments in the research scales used in order to reflect the Mexican culture of “politeness” when responding to questions in an interview.
  • Concept testing and product acceptance testing ratings were also adjusted to be comparable with international standards.
  • Formulated new contracts with agencies and distribution channels which included costs not reflected in previous “verbal” agreements that would affect pricing.

Adjustments and changes were subtle yet very meaningful.

End Result: Once the many factors were considered and the cultural insights were put into proper perspective, the results were presented within a context that the Company felt comfortable in making decisions. The venture was ultimately financially successful and much time and investment was saved by a deeper understanding of the subtle cultural differences involved along each step of the way.

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