Case Study Analysis
PSY/322
July 13, 2015


Case Study Analysis
Consumer behavior and purchasing decisions are influenced by several factors. These factors are even greater when a company chooses to expand its business operation from domestic markets and go into new international markets. Before businesses make this leap, they need to ensure that they conduct a very thorough cross-cultural market analysis to verify that the new market will be profitable. In this paper, I will analyze two cases involving global companies that failed to conduct a proper cross-cultural market analysis before entering a new foreign market. The two global companies that I will discuss are Apple and the Walt Disney Company. Apple’s case involves the 2008 lackluster release of the iPhone in Japan and the Walt Disney Company’s 2005 controversial decision to offer Shark Fin Soup at Hong Kong Disneyland.
IPhone Release in Japan
For this case study analysis, I will use Yukari Iwatani Kane’s newspaper article titled “Apple’s Latest iPhone Sees Slow Japan Sales.” Kane’s article discusses the numerous reasons behind Apple’s disappointing IPhone release in Japan. The release in Japan had been so disappointing because they sold less than 500,000 of the IPhones compared to their project 1,000,000 sales (Kane, 2008). The reasons for this huge failure can be attributed to Apple not doing its research prior to the IPhone release. I will now discuss the lessons learned by Apple on how the Japanese consumers’ behavior and purchasing decisions are different than the rest of the world. I will also evaluate how the differences in consumer behavior across cultures affect marketing mix strategy.
Lessons Learned by Apple
Some of Apple’s biggest marketing tools that it was using to promote the latest IPhone in Japan were its technological capabilities. However, a very important and costly lesson that Apple learned was that Japan is typically ahead of the technological curve when it comes to electronics capabilities when compared to the rest of the world. An example of Japans advanced technological capabilities were that high-end digital color displays, satellite navigation, digital cameras, digital TV-viewing, and music players were standard features on Japanese cellphone before the IPhone was rolled out, yet the IPhone did not include these features.(Kane, 2008). A very culturally important technological features that the IPhone was missing out on was the use of Emoji’s for texting and email (Kane, 2008). In the Japanese culture, Emoji’s are a staple in creating appealing texts and emails. A financial technology that the Iphone was lacking was a chip that is used as a train ticket, debit card, or credit card (Kane, 2008). The chip made paying for purchases or boarding a train very quick and convenient for Japanese Consumers. The technologies mentioned above were all missing in the latest IPhone that Apple had brought to Japan.
On the other hand, Apple promoted and marketed technologies in the IPhone that Japanese customers had either already been experiencing for years or that were completely new to them. One technology that was promoted was the inclusion of the 3G data network technology to gain access to the internet. Yet in Japan access to the 3G data network was not a new or exciting feature for potential Japanese consumer, because Japanese consumer have had access to it for several years before the IPhone was introduced (Kane, 2008). One of the new features that the IPhone had that was new to the Japanese consumer was the touch screen. Nevertheless, this new feature caused concern for a large number of Japanese cellphone users because they were anxious that they would have trouble getting use to the touch screen (Kane, 2008).
Consumer Behavior Across Cultures Affect Marketing Mix
As pointed out in the above paragraphs, consumers have expectations when a new product is in marketed. It is extremely important that businesses understand that not all markets have the same needs and wants. For example, the marketing strategy of using the 3G data network for United States customers was an excellent marketing strategy for Apple but a huge failure for Japanese customers. If Apple would have focused on marketing and promoting other features of the IPhone that Japanese consumer would have found appealing they would have had better sales.
Shark Fin Soup at Hong Kong Disneyland
For the second case study analysis, I will use Keith Bradsher’s newspaper article titled “Chinese Delicacy