Implementing Global branding

Global branding has been both a blessing and a curse for many companies. A global branding program can lower marketing costs, realize greater economies of scale in production and provide a long term source of growth. If not designed and implemented properly, it may ignore important differences in consumer behavior and/or the competitive environment in the individual countries. These suggestions can help a company retain many of the advantages of global branding while minimizing the potential disadvantages.

Understand similarities and differences in the global branding landscape: International markets can vary in terms of brand development, consumer behavior, competitive activity, legal restriction and so on.

No shortcuts in brand building: Building a brand in new market should be done from the ‘bottom-up,’ both strategically (building awareness before brand image) and tactically (creating sources of brand equity in new markets).

Establish a marketing infrastructure: A company must either build marketing infrastructure “from scratch” or adapt to existing infrastructure in other countries.

A company must often use many forms of communications in overseas markets, not just advertising to embrace integrated marketing communications. Most global brands have marketing partners in their international markets that help companies achieve advantages in distribution, profitability and added value to establish brand partnerships.

Balance standardization and customization: Some elements of a marketing program can be standardization (packaging, brand name); others typically require greater customization (distributions channels).

Companies must balance global and local control within the organization and distribute decision making between global and local managers.

Establish operable guidelines: Brand definition and guidelines must be established, communicated, and properly enforced so that marketers everywhere know what they are expected to do and not do. The goal is to set rules for how the brand should be positioned and marketed.

Implement a global brand equity measurement system: A global brand equity system is a set of research procedures designed to provide timely, accurate and actionable information for marketers so they can make the best possible short-run tactical decisions and long run strategic decisions.

Proper design and implementation of brand elements (brand names and trademarked brand identifiers) can be an invaluable source of brand equity worldwide.

The world market for service is growing at double the rate of world merchandise trade large firms in accounting, advertising, banking, communication, construction, insurance, law, management consulting and retailing are pursuing global expansion. Price water house American Express, Citigroup, Club Med, Hilton and Thomas Cook are known world wide US credit card companies have streamed across the Atlantic to convince Europeans of the joys of charge cards. In Britain, industry heavy weights Citibank and American Express have wrested a lot of business from big British banks like Barclay’s.

Many countries however have erected entry barriers or regulations. Brazil requires all accountants to possess a professional degree from a Brazilian university. Many Western European countries want to limit the number of US television programs and films shown in their countries. Many US states bar foreign bank branches. At the same time, the United States is pressuring South Korea to open its markets to US banks. The World Trade Organization consisting of 147 countries and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), consisting of 110 countries continue to press for more free trade in international services and other areas.

Retailers who sell books, videos, and CD-ROMs, and entertainment companies have also had to contend with a culture of censorship in countries such as China and Singapore. In Singapore for example book retailers must submit potentially “hot” materials to the Committee on Undesirable Publications.