The Bel Group is one of the oldest and most influential food industry companies in Europe, which has either founded or bought almost 30 well-known food brands. A few years ago, Bel decided to enter the competition in the Iranian food market – the most critical consumer market in the Middle East. Accordingly, they made their way to this competition by introducing their most popular product, Kiri cream cheese.
Branding a product in a new region or country is no big deal for a big company like Bel. Such a company enjoys experienced staff, funding to support marketing plans, and, most important of all, experience. On the other hand, the Iranian consumer market has always given a thumbs-up to European brands and in most cases, clearly preferred them to be local and Chinese brands. This issue is true for any product, from cars to breakfast chocolate. Despite all of these promising facts, there was a problem that did not allow Bel Kiri to sell on the Iranian market.
What was the problem?
It was Kiri itself! Kiri in a Persian is a slang term; it means “something like a penis,” which actually means “nonsense and junk.” Although Bel later changed its product name to Kibi following a partnership with a local company, no one has forgotten Kibi’s past.Now we all know that Bel has proved that even though it is an expert in food production, it has some inexperienced marketing strategists and marketing consultants. It has. Kibi has a lot of meanings, but none had anything to do with cheese or even dairy. The name of traditional Lebanese food, the name of a town in Ghana is a Japanese name. Even in Indonesian, it means “unfortunate.”