Every good marketer knows it: you have to localize to succeed in international waters. Atlanta-based The Coca-Cola Co.’s secret recipe for Coca-Cola can vary by location. McDonald’s Corp., Oak Brook, Ill., offers “Le” Big Mac in Paris with a side of beer but upholds its kosher menu at some of its restaurants in Israel by not including the cheeseburger. And yet, how do you apply this need to adapt to a local market when the promise of your product is the uniqueness of its origin? Do you risk losing your key differentiator when you embrace local needs?
Two brands recently faced this difficult challenge of adapting to the U.S. market while promoting the specificity of their “terroir,” their local specificity. At the core of the concept of terroir is the idea that you can’t make this product anywhere else than “here” — wherever that may be. Probably the most famous example is Champagne. After all, you can make lovely bubbly in many places around the world (Prosecco, anyone?), but Champagne can only come from Champagne, France. And that’s what makes it so special.