The Marketing Society Forum: Will Foreign Ownership of British Brands Affect Their Marketing?

Marketing, May 16, 2012 | Go to article overview

The Marketing Society Forum: Will Foreign Ownership of British Brands Affect Their Marketing?


A state-owned Chinese group, Bright Food, has bought a 60% stake in cereal company Weetabix.

MAYBE - CELIA PRONTO, MARKETING AND ECOMMERCE DIRECTOR, FORD RETAIL GROUP

British brands have expanded internationally by exploiting their reputation for quality, design, creativity and heritage, making them prime investment targets.

Given their success has been built on these qualities, most investors will not fundamentally want to change a brand's essence or positioning, but will look at opportunities to use these in both new and existing markets.

The marketing strategy may, however, need to be reviewed to ensure cultural fit, especially where a brand has had a presence only in the UK.

Any change will need to balance what is appropriate in new markets with a desire to not alienate customers in existing markets.

NO - MEL CRUICKSHANK, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, LIDA

Before we get paranoid about the sale of British brands, we should remember that Bright Food is buying Weetabix from Lion Capital in Texas It simply reflects the shift in global economic power away from the West.

This deal is more an opportunity for expansion in the Chinese market than a change of UK marketing strategy, as the cereal market grew by 15% last year in China.

Retaining the current team, including chief executive Giles Turrell, will give Bright Food access to extensive brand-building, technical and product-development capability that will help it grow overseas, as well as in home markets. …

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