The globalization, seen as the extension of the market economy and the capitalism at the world level increased these last years (Usunier & Lee, 2009, p.12). That’s why companies which decide to become international are more and more. Thisglobalization advocates relations between cultures which have a fundamental function on the customer behaviour. With the economic globalization, we could trust that there is now a global culture like Levitt (1989) said but a lot of writers like Nkosinathi (2002) argue that there is always maintenance of cultural differences because the world doesn’t share the same standards, practices and social values.Armstrong & Kotler (2006) interpret culture as “The set of basic values, perceptions, wants, and behaviours learned by a member of society from family and other important institutions”. Culture is a main factor that a company has to take care in its marketing mix. When a company already implanted in a region wants to insert its product or service in a new region, it must take the choice between thestandardization and the diversification of its product. The standardization strategy can be defined as “An international marketing strategy for using basically the same product, advertising, distribution channels, and other elements of the marketing mix in all the company’s international markets” (Armstrong & Kotler, 2006, p.577). On the other hand, the diversification strategy has been definedas “An International marketing strategy for adjusting the marketing-mix elements to each international target market, bearing more costs but hoping for a larger market share and return” (Armstrong & Kotler, 2006, p.577). In this essay, we will discuss about the cultural understanding difficulties by firms which want to introduce themselves in new markets. We will use the example of Disney todemonstrate that culture is primordial in order not to fail in different markets.
Disney is an American company with a varied domain of activity but we are going to be interested in that of theme park creation which had encountered success in the United States and so Disney decided to open new parks abroad. In the 70s and 80, the triumph of the Florida and California parks is due to American visitorsbut also to the international traveler who are millions to visit the park each year. That’s why Disney decided to open new ones abroad. The first park abroad was opened in Tokyo in 1983 and was a success; between 1983 and 1988, roughly 50 millions of persons had visited the park (Hartley, 2005, p.205). Furthermore, 2,74 millions of European people visit the Florida and California parks and spend1,6 billion dollars on their products. That’s why they decided to open in 1992 a fourth park in Europe, in France, in Marne la Vallée.
They choose this place because of the location of Marne la Vallée and of France which, with the population around can be considered as the centre of Europe, also because of the transport networks, of the capital Paris which is close, and because of the Frenchgovernment and the ground they made available for the building (Grant, 2008).
Unfortunately, during the opening of the park, April 12th 1992, it didn’t encounter the success the American leaders were waiting for. They hoped for about 12 million visitors in 1994 but only 8,8 millions came. Furthermore, the hotel occupation rate was weak and no more than 29% of the visitors were French (DisneylandParis, 2009). Nowadays, the turnover and the number of visitors match more with those expected by the head.
These difficulties have been caused by notably economic and financial problems, but especially because of structural and cultural factors (Grant, 2008). Indeed, Disney encountered difficulties to surround the European culture that affected the fame of the group but which have been quickly...