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Can a Brand Be All Things to All People?

 


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Do you focus on building a global brand or be sensitive to individual market needs? The quick answer is both. The core brand values must live in the brand globally and within each employee of that brand. These ensure a basic level of quality and familiarity within the organization and to its customers. From there, regionally, ethic and cultural differences add local personality. Like the generations of a family each offspring has their unique characteristics but is still part of the value structure passed from generation to generation.

Economics is usually the driving force pulling in all communications elements to reflect the brand “one-size-fits-all" campaign. But the advantage of a central approach is the wealth of brand knowledge at the core of the organization. There is generally a great deal of resources and expertise within the corporate head office where each message is painstakingly developed to ensure consistency of thought. The problem is the lack of spontaneity and missed opportunities to meet local needs. Ideally you want both. The challenge is building an organization that can accomplish both. I guess that why they call this work!

Key elements to a successful global brand
  • Simplicity
  • Consistency of message
  • Structural & rigid use of trademarks
  • Global basic insights of interaction with brand

  • Key elements to a successful regional brand
  • Opportunistic (evolving messaging)
  • Feels, looks and sounds local
  • Unique to the cultural environment
  • More personable & complex insights
  • Brands that have been successful with globally directed branding have been IKEA, Apple's iPod, Nike and Gap. IBM reinvented itself in the early 1990s and consolidated its global advertising with Ogilvy and Mather. I was working for Ogilvy at the time and I remember the challenge of orchestrating a global campaign of this magnitude. The creative concept was brilliant and simple. The campaign was vignettes of people around the world in specific cultural environments (i. e. , Nuns in Italy, Monks in Tibet) talking about going online. Their conversation played out in their traditional language with subtitles. The world coming together via computers. Greg Farrell stated in the USA Today (1999) that this campaign helped IBM build a brand valued at $44 billion in 1999, which accounted for 27.6% of its $158 billion market capitalization. If you are interested in finding out more about this campaign, there is an articled published in the Journal of Advertising Research, by Wayne R. McCullough in the May, 1996 issue.

    Even company's that aren't global but cross many country borders are consolidating their brand messaging. Staples Business Depot's very successful “easy" button is just as relevant in Canada as in USA where it was originally conceived.

    The Dove litmus test campaign developed by Ogilvy in Canada took the Dove brand into a new direction where beauty meets science. This simple visual campaign demonstrated Dove's superiority over the competition by showing the results of a litmus test. This campaign ran around the world with dramatic sales results every where is played.

    Global brands can be highly successful if they can connect to a global human insight but regional brand development can build on unique opportunities and can build a deeper common relationship.

    Derrick Rozdeba - I am a connoisseur of fine brands. Using my brand appreciation and insights, like a sommeliers, I will impart my knowledge and opinion in savoring the many brands that identify our lives. Visit my blog http://derrickrozdeba.blogspot.com/

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