3 tips for building a local, global brand

Published: 05 / 02 / 2019

How do you create a global brand without losing sight of your local roots? As the global economy continues to evolve into a single market, this is one of the biggest challenges facing today’s businesses.

This quandary was the subject of a masterclass led by Sharon Keith, former marketing director at Coca-Cola Africa. Speaking at the Association for Communication and Advertising’s Apex 2018, Keith explored how to build global brands at a local level.

According to the latest Interbrand Rankings, the current top ten global brands make up 42% of the total value of all brands. Keith highlighted that, ‘If you look at those brands, there’s absolutely no way that they could become global brands if they weren’t relevant, credible and interesting to people at an extremely local level.’

Meanwhile, research by McCann Worldgroup’s Truth Central revealed that while consumers want brands to be relevant locally, they expect them to be a force for world change too. Questioning nearly 24,000 people from 29 countries, the survey demonstrated that 81% of consumers feel global brands have the power to make the world a better place, while 72% said they were open to brands playing a bigger role in society.

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s inspirational phrase ‘global is local and local is global’ might be simple to say, but building consumer trust through these means is not so easy. The following tips can help you build global brands while ‘thinking local’:

1) Translate your global narrative on a local level

When Coca-Cola launched its ‘Coca-Cola celebrating Ramadan’ campaign, it wasn’t intended to be global. It was developed in Dubai for Dubai audiences, but the business adapted the idea for use in other countries to successfully convey ideas about happiness and individual connectivity.

In contrast, Pampers failed to apply any local insight or adaptation of its stork motif branding in Japan. Unlike other global markets, the Japanese were unaware of the folklore about storks delivering babies, resulting in consumer confusion and poor sales.

2) Build consistency through a global brand operating system

Consistency supports and develops a brand’s narrative, visual identity and distinguishing attributes. Keith spoke about ‘DMeX’, Coca-Cola’s employee resource which contains details on every brand element including colours, content, creative ideas and digital assets. In one practical example, it ensures Coca-Cola umbrellas are always the right shade of red. Similarly, using its own global brand operating systems, Heineken is able to ensure its brand always looks the same in every campaign around the world.

3) Create a brand vision that inspires locally

Companies need to take the time to ensure their branding translates and expresses their global vision and mission at a local level. Jonnie Walker has achieved this by focusing on a global insight that people always want to progress in life. Its ‘keep walking’ tagline celebrates the human journey, resonating with people everywhere.

Underpinned by local knowledge and global expertise, Adare International’s award-winning marketing communication team service some of the world’s most recognisable brands, delivering innovative, integrated marketing activities across global and local markets.

Established in 1982 as a print management company in the UK, Adare International has evolved, growing business partnerships in overseas markets. The company now has offices in over 40 countries, with a portfolio covering every aspect of marketing communications.

If you want to work with a company that understands what it takes to function globally while operating as a pillar of the local community, get in touch with the Adare International team today: hello@adareinternational.com.

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