We specialise in serving headquarters of global brands, helping them cut complexity costs in strategy execution across markets and fulfil their corporate role as scale economisers and advantage accelerators. Leverage our consulting expertise, technology solutions and remote talent resources to create organisational simplicity, scalability and efficiency in multi-market operations.
Transforming global brand marketing, creative and eCommerce operations into a competitive advantage
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"Going Global " : Global Brands and Global Branding Benefits
The common approach that firms which sought to “go global” employed was to extend their domestic marketing strategies to international market. In other words they pursued the standardised approach of branding. This is what led to creation of global brands whose positioning, advertising strategy, personality, look, and feel are in most respects the same from one country to another. Global brands give companies competitive advantages, such as: 1) economies of scale in production and distribution 2) lower marketing costs 3) power and scope 4) consistency in brand image 5) ability to leverage ideas quickly and efficiently 6) uniformity of marketing practices. For example, it costs IBM much less to create a single global advertising campaign than it would to create separate campaigns for dozens of markets.
The common approach that firms which sought to “go global” did is to extend their domestic marketing strategies to international market.
Creating a global branding enables a company communicate consistent messages to customers in all it international markets. Consumers now receive marketing messages from a huge number of different sources, so delivering a consistent message is the most effective way to reach consumers. A global company can reduce the risk in developing a global campaign by building on branding strategies that deliver successful results in domestic market. Building an existing brand progressively, market by market, is the safest and most cost-effective way to create a global brand.
Consumers now receive marketing messages from a huge number of different sources, so delivering a consistent message is the most effective way to reach consumers
Expansion of the market footprint to global markets, gave rise to global brands - brands whose positioning, advertising strategy, personality, look, and feel are in most respects the same from one country to another. A true brand represents a consistent set of associations and attributes that are recognizable to a relevant target audience of sufficient size and quality to sustain a viable, growing business. A global brand must do this on a macro scale, delivering a reliable core promise while remaining relevant to diverse audiences. As firms expand their international activities, their standardized approach to branding led to international and eventually to what is now called global branding and global brands.
Global brands : positioning, advertising strategy, personality, look, and feel are in most respects the same from one country to another
Importance of Consistency in Global Branding Execution
Global brand as a marketing strategy is built around the idea of creation of a single global strategy that can be replicated in local markets. One story that can be literally and figuratively translated in multiple languages so that it will resonate and engage consumers around the globe. One of the pillars of global branding execution is brand consistency – consistent application of brand materials across touchpoints and geographies.
Consistency in communication towards consumers is critical to maintaining the strength and favourability of consumers' brand associations.
Why is the brand execution consistency important? The reason is the Brand Equity and Consumers' Brand Knowledge Structures which are influenced by marketing communication activities of today. Any marketing action a firm takes today can change consumer's Brand Awareness of Brand Image and have an indirect effect of future marketing activities. Consistency in communication towards consumers is critical to maintaining the strength and favourability of consumers' brand associations.
Consistency in global branding comes down to making sure that your brand is communicated consistently across all channels and touchpoints between your brand and your consumer
Consistency in global branding comes down to making sure that your brand is communicated consistently across all channels and touchpoints between your brand and your consumer. This today means that your Brand must look the same, feel the same and say the same thing on all platforms, all devices, all languages, all media formats and all dimensions, and at all times. Sounds easy but it is not. For global brands the multi-dimensional challenges of digital environment plays out in an already complex setting - both organisational wise (most global brands are widely complex organisations) and execution wise - they exist over multiple territories, countries, languages, cultures.
This today means that your Brand must look the same, feel the same and say the same thing on all platforms, all devices, all languages, all media formats and all dimensions, and at all time
Global Brand Directives : Vehicle To Ensure Consistency
A true global branding campaign execution is a highly complex organisational endeavour which brings together countries, vendors and partners working as virtual teams that span both geographical and time zones in intense time sensitive coordination and communication tasks. As it is based on a single global creative that needs to be replicated across markets, global brand campaign execution is a geographically dispersed organisational activity whose success requires brilliant implementation of materials conforming to established brand campaign guidelines. Brand campaign guidelines is a document containing instructions and rules of application and communication of brand materials that are centrally created but left out to implementation to third-parties, business units across the globe and their partners. As the core capability of dominant retail brands is just that – physical retailing and physical retail branding, digital application of those materials has been a challenge at first, thus as a relatively new channel brand guidelines lack(ed) detailed digital implementation rules and instructions. One such Digital Brand Directive we created for Nike Football category & campaign across wholesale.com network in Western Europe.
Unique expertise required for creating Brand Directives merges intimate knowledge of the brand, technical design and production expertise of materials on retail physical properties, formats, operational efficiency as well as in-depth knowledge of any partner’s retail properties and knowhow of the behavior of implement creative materials. For creation of Digital Brand Directives mentioned knowledge is built up with specialist knowledge of digital properties, web technologies as well as as retail partner's e-commerce platforms. Global Brand Directives and their versions, adaptations for channels are distributed throughout the organisation and throughout the network of vendors responsible for implementation of brand materials in the market.
One of, if not the biggest, threats to the continued success of a brand is lack of consistency.
In-House Global Brand Creative Team : Global Brand Guardians
One of, if not the biggest threat to the continued success of a brand is lack of consistency. Consistency in delivering on your brand promise and consistency in how your brand is presented to the market. Brand guardianship is a key component of brand management, a combination of discipline and creativity that keeps your brand strong and healthy. The discipline of brand guardianship ensures that your visual brand is consistently applied, everywhere. The role of brand guardians in global organisations hoovers between in-house brand creative team and global brand function. Even though brand professionals are ultimately those that deploy brand materials into the market and decide what form they should take, ask for adjustments to language and cultural specifics, it is the In-house global brand creative team that creates and maintains the rules. Located at global or regional headquarters the mission of brand creative in-house teams is to consolidate creative operations into a single creative centre of excellence that supports & guides local business units (countries) in brand creative campaign implementation.
In-house global brand creative teams need to drive creative excellence—strongly influence corporate and product-level creative strategy, design thinking, and overall excellence in creative execution across the company. One of their corporate roles is also brand excellence—strongly influences corporate and product-level brand strategy and government of adherence to design and voice guidelines. So it is up to global brand creative in-house team to ensure creative and brand excellence in global execution, to guide and govern brand and creative excellence while providing support to local markets and business units.
With continuously rising heterogeneous market brand content demand streams, communication of campaign details and creative direction becomes a constant challenge
Country Level Brand Implementation : Brand Guardians' Nightmare
In todays very busy digital market (in particular) it is imperative to make sure your brand is in line at all times with what your company stands for. With exponentially rising number of digital touchpoints and within an organisational context of large global organisation, spanning continents, time zones, languages, product, brand and functional matrix organisational lines this is, however, lot easier said than done. The rapidly changing scope of work of in-house agencies from the "2018 In-house Creative Industry Reports" done by Cella and BOSS Consulting reveals the pressure of digital environment. "There was a significant increase in the percentage of in-house agencies providing banner ads and other artwork for website use (from 2% to 85%), as well as in teams creating HTML emails (3% to 66%)".
Rise of digital design work was especially excerbated by COVID-19 pandmemic and societal shift to digital. As reported in "2021 In-house Creative Industry Reports" done by Cella Consulting, digital design now dominates ( by 83% increase across the board) the work scope of in-house agencies.
Complexity takes a completely different and new meaning for those who in-house brand creative teams who work in global organisations and serve global brands. Not only does complexity and demands rise because of the sheer number of stakeholders involved and brands managed, but also because of the fact that they operate across multiple countries, geographies and timezones. As it is based on a single global creative that needs to be replicated across markets, global brand campaign execution is a geographically dispersed organisational activity whose success requires brilliant implementation of materials conforming to established brand guidelines. Because execution happens through intense time sensitive coordination and communication across geographical locations between countries, partners and vendors, benefits of global brand as a marketing strategy - lower marketing costs, can be often offset by higher management costs - which is known as “global brand paradox". With continuously rising heterogeneous brand content market demand streams, communication of campaign details and creative direction becomes a constant challenge. As headquarter teams are unable to systematically cope with operational and administrative load, foundation of global branding - brand consistency across markets may starts to erode.
As headquarter teams are unable to systematically cope with operational and administrative load, foundation of global branding - brand consistency across markets may starts to erode
The organisational complexity is nowhere more present than in global organisations that follow global brand as a marketing strategy with headquarter leading, global-to-local execution model. For a campaign to be executed, brand creative team needs to work with brand marketeers in headquarters, but also those across regions and countries. It is within these campaign launch time bound upstream and downstream communication (from headquarter to countries and vice versa) that most of the waste happens as it is done either through email chains or through different type of project management tools that weren't designed for brand directives communications, viewing, and distribution.
Subsequent versions or very final version of the campaign creative might not be the one that gets implemented in the market.
In these cases when retail and digital brand directives are shared via emails, they get misplaced, undelivered or unseen in marketeers' already flooded email inboxes.
Moreover, as global campaign launches often have last-minute changes and adaptations to the global creative, within more than present communication gaps between headquarters and countries, subsequent versions or very final version of the campaign creative might not be the one that gets implemented in the market. Because of these last minute changes, and general creative brand content supply chain issues, many organisations work with brand creatives that are "WIP - work in progress". This type of brand creative directives version is an attempt 'extend' the time gap and provide some 'breathing space' to country teams for actual implementation in the market, as the last-minute changes might only apply to 5-10% of the initially provided creative. However, even without versioning. last minute changes, WIP versions of brand creative directives, country campaign implementation is fraught with dangers to brand consistency. With incomplete, late or non-exhaustive brand creative directives, faced with a tight window of market opportunities and steep performance expectations, country level marketeers will often act on their own, risking the global brand equity.
With incomplete, late or non-exhaustive brand creative directives, faced with a tight window of market opportunities and steep performance expectations, country level marketeers will often act on their own, risking the global brand equity.
Easily accessible brand creative directives, campaign information, implementation do's and not-to-do's, responsive support from headquarters teams or principal partnership agency for questions, adaptations and localisation request will go a long way in preventing brand application incidents. In absence of simple, easily accessible and informationally exhaustive brand creatives directives and ready-to-implement "on brand" creative assets global organisations risk damage to their brand equity. Not only in the markets where wrong or improper branding campaign application incidents happen, but globally, as in time of social media cross-country spillovers and global escalation happens in seconds.
Case in point: UberEATS India’s recent “Wife Appreciation Day” ad, which… uh… did not go over well with Twitter users, either in India or globally. An Uber India promotion for wife appreciation day backfired spectacularly with a sexist message
Fast-growing companies and brands are especially susceptible to errors of judgment, for reasons of rapid expanding teams, not deeply embedded internal brand importance awareness practices as well as 'break something-make something' growth attitudes and imperatives. On the other side, traditional global organisations are no less susceptible but for other reasons - organisational complexities and sheer number of markets, products and brands they manage. Both traditional and new companies are exposed to the global-to-local brand implementation divide.
Both traditional and new companies are exposed to the global-to-local brand implementation divide.
Solving the Global-to-Local Brand Creative Implementation Divide
Due to touchpoint fragmentation, organisational executional complexity and heterogenous levels of brand talent availability across markets, brand implementation often is inconsistent and underperforming - leading to brand erosion. As small HQ teams serve large and heterogenous brand content demands from markets they experience operational brand execution & e-retail digital branding capacity and process gap where timely delivery and implementation according to brand direction becomes a constant challenge. As digital touchpoints exponentially outnumbered people and as traditional workflows became outdated, HQ in-house brand creative professionals lacking proper technology and talent resources become digitally disabled and set up to fail.
SO DIGITAL GLOBAL BRAND CONTENT EXCELLENCE PLATFORM helps in-house brand creative teams of global brands effectively mange the relationship with local business units in terms of creative brand direction, campaign content demand streams, local adaptation request and worldwide learning.
Aesthetics & Visibility
Campaign project details, brand content and brand creative implementation guidelines are merged together and made available within aesthetically pleasing and highly functional design context that enables quick access and visibility of available materials for download and implementation locally.
Market Visibility & Country Content Systematisation
Our solution leverages technology to systematise and simplify market-by-market visibility and availability of brand approved campaign directives and brand content while providing scalable digital production support resources of principal partnership agency for tier 2, tier 3 content design execution and/or adaptation requests by markets / stakeholders.
Merged Creative Direction & Campaign Launch Details
Campaign project details, brand content and brand creative implementation guidelines are merged together and made available within aesthetically pleasing and highly functional design context that enables quick access and visibility of available materials by countries and remote marketeer teams for download and implementation locally.
Country - by - Country Access / View to Content
Country / user level specific view to the platform content ensures content access speed & relevance while having campaign creative guidelines sortable and visually presentable per multiple editable criteria cuts target campaign search time.
Easily Accessible Campaign & Campaign Directives Overview and Management
Unlike DAM solutions whose structural logic stems from individual asset / file management, SO DIGITAL BRAND CONTENT EXCELLENCE usage architecture resides on campaigns and campaign directives management, within which individual assets are made available for download. Management of campaign directives & campaigns and not assets.
Digitisation of Workflows between InHouse Creative Team and Principal Partnership Agency
Functional operations with client/stakeholders and principal partner agency are completely digitised and translated to platform interface which enables data driven learning and continuous improvement of creative operations.
Both Supply & Demand Digital Structure = Creative Operations Scalability
As platform introduces structure both on the content supply side and content demand side, creative in house teams are relieved from repetitive communication and operational project administration tasks can provide scalable creative brand excellence support as a foundation for brand growth.
Execution, Not Strategy, Separates Leaders from Laggards. Leverage our platform to create organisational simplicity and deliver speed and efficiency in execution across markets. Align inside to win outside.
Brand management is in itself complex, should your organisational execution increase or decrease this complexity? Simplify global brand operations - use a single point of contact and engagement for all phases of brand campaign execution. Make your day-to-day operations and workflows SO SIMPLE, SO EASY, SO FAST - SO DIGITAL
Contact us today for a no-commitment walk through of SO DIGITAL platform solutions implemented for clients like Nike EMEA and Uber EMEA.
Remedy : "Why brand guardianship matters more than ever" http://netlawmedia.com/Reports/Remedy_brand_guardianship.pdf
Andrew Vesey, Brand Quarterly, "Protecting Your Brand – Even From Yourself" http://www.brandquarterly.com/protecting-your-brand-even-from-yourself
Lucia Peters, Bustle, An Uber India Promotion For Wife Appreciation Day Just Backfired Spectacularly With A Sexist Message" https://www.bustle.com/p/uber-india-promotion-for-wife-appreciation-day-just-backfired-spectacularly-with-a-sexist-message-2423392
The BOSS Group and Cella Consulting, LLC. 2018 In-House Creative Industry Report, May 2018.