I just found an older, but still good article about some interesting cases of failure of American firms in Japan: Knight, Gary A. (1995), International Marketing Blunders by American firms in Japan – Some Lessons for Management, Journal of International Marketing, Vol. 3, No. 4, 107-129. Knight writes about well known brands’ failures, including the big three US automotive manufacturers, Avon Cosmetics or Betty Crocker. It’s a well written piece which should be appealing to both academics and practicioners. What amazes me most about these companies’ blunders is the fact that we’re dealing with companies here which have all the human and financial resources needed to do things right. And yet, they ignore some of the basics. Many times it’s general knowledge about cultures (including, in the case of Japan, the status orientation or the collectivistic attitudes) which could be easily picked up and integrated into corporate strategies for market entry. So the question is, why don’t they do things properly and continue to fail in international markets?
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