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You're Missing Out If Your Beverage Marketing Doesn't Change by Geography

6 2022

Considering branching out into new markets and offering your products to new countries? Here’s what you need to know about beverage marketing in different regions throughout the world.

Cultural Differences Matter, Even Within One Region 

While it may be natural to assume that all countries within one region share the same cultural traditions, there may be significant differences between nations that are considered to be part of one market. Many bottlers have a beverage marketing approach specifically for the European Union - but they may fail to note that there are distinct consumer preferences that vary by country. 

A German customer might have differing tastes from their near neighbors in Hungary, and the same goes for a Slovenian customer vs. a Croatian customer. Localization - understanding your brand’s value proposition for a particular region or country, and determining how your product can fulfill local customers’ needs - is crucial. 

For example, Pringles in the United Kingdom got into hot water when they merchandised their bacon crisps at point of sale units that were celebrating Ramadan, managing to offend when the aim was quite the opposite. ‘Greater awareness and understanding of the key dimensions of culture can help us to communicate better with customers across different markets and regions in more subtle ways.’ says Fiona Lomas of Smart Insights.


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Weigh The Unique Needs Of Each Market

Beverage trends can also be extremely different from country to country, so it’s critical that you stay aware of exactly what’s happening within a region on a nation-by-nation basis. 

Some markets might require beverage packaging that’s bilingual or even multilingual, which could mean a need for a redesign. For example, in Belgium, you must provide packaging in both Dutch and French and in some instances, German. In Canada, all packaging must be provided in French and English. You may want to ask yourself if entering a market that needs you to revamp your packaging is worth the headache or if it’s the best decision for your brand.

Now that you’ve decided to branch out into a new region, you may be thinking, “But where do I start when tailoring my messaging for specific regions?”. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with our top tips for 3 of the major regions around the world below; APAC, Europe and Africa.


Tips For Beverage Marketing In The APAC Region

The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is home to some of the biggest beverage markets in the world, and it’s clear that gaining a foothold in the region is critical for bottlers and beverage manufacturers. 

Translating your English-language approach into the local language simply won’t cut it. Nuances vary greatly by region and country and something that is said in English, may not translate correctly to another language. Take this example from KFC when they first launched in China. Their well known slogan of ‘finger lickin’ good’ translated to ‘eat your fingers off’.

Be sure to utilize social networks that are specific to the region. Believe it or not, Facebook and Instagram may not be your go-to platforms, depending on the country. In China, for example, you’ll have more beverage marketing success via the WeChat app, and in Japan, the LINE platform reigns supreme. 

Global economic trends affecting the APAC region should also be taken into consideration for your marketing strategy. With a worldwide surge in inflation leaving many consumers with less purchasing power, flexible pricing and a mix of packages with more affordable options is key.

RC Cola Philippines adopted an “out-there” marketing strategy, which saw them deploy commercials that were meant to spark conversation. The Filipino public embraced the unusual campaign, making their own parodies and memes based off the commercials and caused these ‘crazy’ ads to go viral.


4. A Beginner’s Guide To European Beverage Marketing
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The European continent includes more than 40 countries, and the European Union lists 24 different languages as native to the region. While European countries may be physically located in close proximity to each other, crossing a border can mean a different language, attitude, and mentality. Beverage marketing in Europe must be specifically tailored to specific countries, as the area contains vast differences, especially by region.

Western Europe tends to be more affluent, with customers generally enjoying higher levels of disposable income. Craft and premium beverages, which are sold at a higher price point, are more likely to succeed in this area.

On the other hand, consumers in Eastern Europe tend to be more focused on affordable options. Generally speaking, Eastern Europeans are more traditional than their Western counterparts, and their beverage choices reflect this.

For all of Europe, beverage marketers should embrace more conservative, refined advertising. “In your face”-style advertising, which may be successful in other regions, is unlikely to impress European customers. That’s not to mention that Europe has higher legal restrictions and regulations on advertising than elsewhere in the world, which may limit your options.  


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African Beverage Marketing 101

Across the continent of Africa, social media plays a big role as to what beverage trends resonate with consumers and influence their purchasing choices. In general, eCommerce use in the region is relatively low, but steadily growing. In order to make an impact in the African market, you’ll need to consider alternative, non-eCommerce-focused routes to market success.

A staggering 65 percent of South African consumers belong to the Millenial and Gen Z generations, which means that they are tech-savvy and gain much of their information online. 
Like their counterparts in the rest of the world, younger African consumers are particularly interested in healthier alternatives and product promotions, as opposed to the more mature market with higher disposable incomes that favors traditional media. 

“Africa has over 50 countries, each of which has its own unique culture. A marketing strategy that works in Nigeria may not work in Kenya,” explains Benewaa Bonsu, a digital marketer focusing on Africa. “Collect data, analyze and respond accordingly. As long as you are working with a well-defined goal in mind, it is easier to establish your target audience and market to them effectively.”

RC Cola Nigeria’s campaign which featured bright colors, loud music, and grab-your-attention, eye-catching advertising proved to be a hit with local consumers. Social media posts pairing RC Cola with traditional delicacies have also struck a chord with the Nigerian public.


Guidance For a Country-Specific Strategy That Works

RC Cola has been working with bottlers and manufacturers spanning the globe for decades. We support our bottlers worldwide by partnering with them on developing and rolling out bespoke, country-specific beverage marketing strategies for maximum market impact and results. For more on how RC Cola can help you create a beverage marketing strategy for a new region, get in touch with us here.

Get in touch with the RC Cola Team!