Building a global brand presence and preference

By Tom Dougherty

Branding to be preferred across the globe

Global brand presenceThe global brand is one of the most exciting efficiencies in business. Global branding allows tremendous economies of scale, especially in marketing communications investments. However, these economies of scale are only achieved when the brand impact is not sacrificed.

But isn’t that a contradiction? How can brands be implemented across widely different countries and work equally hard for all markets and offerings? Especially when the most effective brands are optimized for a specific market and offering.

How to Build a Global Brand Presence For Different Cultures

After all, countries are different. They have different histories and cultures. So a brand designed for one country may not be suitable for another.

Global brand presenceHow do you overcome this problem? How do you build a global brand without making it unsuitable for some markets?

It is possible.

It requires a great deal of discipline in developing the brand positioning architecture that is suitable for all countries. Developing brand design elements and brand communications in each country for each product offering is also required. In the most extreme example, let’s develop a global positioning for a brand associated with different product offerings in different countries.

We must support it with brand design elements and brand communications that harness local cultural idioms.

Foundation Of Global Brand Positioning – Four Layers

The foundation of a global brand positioning must penetrate below all the layers of cultural differences to foundational human values and aspirations. Every global brand architecture has four levels of thrust.

1. The deepest level of thrust is human motivation. For example, let’s consider AT&T. Let’s say we have hard-wired consumer services, wireless consumer services, and business broadband services. Here’s the crux. We must seek the greatest common human motivation that all telecommunication products address.

Global brand presenceForget the product and begin with the customer, whether individuals or institutions. The greatest single motivation for telecommunications customers is to get ahead in a highly competitive environment. Individuals need to get ahead for their own livelihood. Because in today’s world, not advancing is to falling back and by the wayside.

So, the deepest level thrust is the most powerful customer benefit. HELPING CUSTOMERS GET AHEAD. We call this the strategic customer benefit. Note: it is a customer benefit, NOT a product benefit. Telecommunications, even different kinds of telecommunications, perform a critical function toward getting ahead.

We live in a networked reality. Different people and functions working together toward common goals with information flowing among them accomplish almost everything. Reliable telecommunications is critical toward getting or delivering more such information sooner.

Getting the right information sooner is the most important function toward getting ahead, whether one is an individual or an institution. This is a universally true and powerful benefit. All three kinds of telecommunications product offerings address it.

The other layers of thrust.

2. The strategic product benefit that contributes most to the strategic customer benefit is the second of the four layers. In the case of telecommunications, this is clearly reliability. This is because, where there is little or no reliability, information necessary to get ahead is less likely to be received. That compromises performance and endangers the ability to get ahead. Of course, it is not enough to just claim reliability.

Global brand presenceThat is, Telecommunications becoming reliable is critical. The second deepest layer of product benefit is also true in all the countries where the company operates.

3. The actual functional technology that makes the strategic product benefit possible is the third layer. Call it strategic product support.

In the case of consumer hard-wired services, the technology may be a superior fiber network. In the case of consumer wireless, the technology may be a superior switch. Also, the technology may be superior customer service in the case of institutional broadband services.

Regardless of country, they support the very same strategic product benefit. That in turn supports the very same strategic customer benefit.

4. The global brand positioning architecture is the most uniquely compelling thrust and cannot be used by competing for telecommunications services. In the case of AT&T, this might be the “global leader in telecommunications.” As you can see, it supports the three deeper layers of the positioning architecture in a way that stands apart. It must also accomplish it in a way that is unique to this brand of telecommunications.

Together, these four layers of the global brand positioning work together but differently in each country.

Staying Consistent

Of course, the brand name and design elements must be consistent with the brand character of a world leader in telecommunications. However, the actual content and design of all communications, whether in advertising, brochures, or website, will use idioms and situations based on the local culture, while staying consistent with the global positioning and brand design.

This transforms a global brand into an exquisitely crafted conceptual structure. The language, the metaphors, and the situations used in the brand communications may be unique in each market. But the brand positioning architecture, the brand design elements, and the brand character remain the same across the world.


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Being global requires a different strategy