Why does it work over there but not over here?

Low and no-sugar sodas have a significantly higher proportion of sales in the UK than they do in any other market. Seltzers (flavoured waters) have been growing rapidly in the USA but have so far struggled to catch on in the UK

The examples are numerous and brand owners and marketers have struggled with the conundrum for years.

If it works over there, why does it not sell over here?

The problem lays in the lack of understanding of how and why consumers in different markets have different emotional responses to the same sensorial experiences.

To unravel this, to understand how to adapt brands and products across markets we need to look at the problem in a different way.

An American consumer enjoys a seltzer because of the way that it makes them feel. This is an emotional response to its positioning, communications and to their consumption experience. The same consumer experience will not produce the same emotional response from a UK consumer.

It is Cultural, it is deep within the consumers’ psyche.

To make a seltzer work in the UK we need to identify the emotional response that the UK consumer will like and how we can deliver it through the brand and product experience.

Our emotional response to any experience is a culmination of our experiences up until that point. While our particular set of personal experiences are unique to us, they are also very culturally driven. Consumers that grew up in the UK collectively will respond in a similar way to any particular sensorial experience while those in the USA (or Germany or India…) will respond differently.

Typically, brands adjust their messaging and/or flavours to suit different markets and sometimes this works, but it often feels like they are shooting in the dark – why don’t seltzers work in the UK?

But when you can profile the consumers’ emotional requirements in a particular market and understand how these can be delivered through the brand experience (positioning, comms. and product experience) making a new category work in a new market becomes a little easier.

And it can be achieved quite quickly, while your competitors are still scratching their heads.

Chris Lukehurst is a Director at The Marketing Clinic:

Understanding the connections between the consumer experience and emotional responses.