There’s an excellent article on global brands in the November-December edition of Communication World. “A Whole New World” was written by Stephen Cheliotis and Lizzie Carr.
In the article, the authors note that “to fully optimize a brand, a company must understand which emotions that brand influences, to what extent, and how that effect differs among different groups.” This is true of international and national brands alike.
As I have written in several previous posts, a brand affects individuals emotionally. Purchases are based on emotion and immediately rationalized by the logical brain. A familiar brand reduces anxiety and insecurity by serving as a trusted, reliable source. I know about the quality of food and service I’m going to receive when I visit Chipotle anywhere in the country. Likewise, consumers around the world knows McDonald’s delivers a certain level of service, hygiene and quality. We trust brands to deliver on their promises.
A brand is an essential business asset capable of convincing others to positively evaluate a given business, product or service as well as enables successful line extensions.
The authors suggest several steps to ensure a strategic plan is in place that continually assesses and reviews the brand’s vision and strategy, as well as the local position in each market in which it operates. Again this applies to national or international brands.
The principle goal is ensuring the brand engages and inspires internal and external markets in all target markets.
Here are the five steps:
1. Internal Brand Audit
Conduct a thorough internal brand audit that includes all disciplines across the business, not just marketing. Include the brand’s history, stories, architecture, culture and equities. Determine what the brand has in its arsenal, why and how the brand has developed, what it stands for and what the real values, personality and emotional hooks are. Do this using primary and secondary research. It’s important to speak with a broad range of employees because different points of view, and silos, do exist,
2. External Brand Audit
Take into consideration the opinions of stakeholders, customers and prospect. Know what is being said about the brand in social media. Expect to see different perceptions among different customers in different markets.
3. Target Consumer Group Identification
A global target consumer group is one that has relevance in all markets — now or in the future. Getting the audience right is one of the key element’s of the brand’s strategy. It is these consumers that the brand should aspire to connect with on an emotional level.
4. Vision and Positioning
While a global brand positioning is a necessity, you must also overlay any future positioning with local market nuances. It is useful to have established global brand position and guidelines documented so all internal players know what can and cannot be done to the brand to ensure alignment, consistency across markets and local flexibility. You must create a global brand activation platform that defines the brand communication’s core message while tapping into shared trends, consumer attitudes and cultural behaviors.
5. Global Versus Local Messaging
Speak with local market managers to help determine how to best express the brand’s global message on a local level. This will ensure consistency and relevance across all markets.
Can these five steps help you with your national or international brand?