Execution, not strategy, separates leaders from laggards. Leverage our platform solutions and talent resources to create organisational simplicity and deliver speed and efficiency in functional execution across markets.
Rise of Corporates, Global Value Chains and Global Brands
During the twentieth century, large diversified corporations emerged as the most powerful players in economic affairs. Today, such corporations account for up to 60 per cent of output in advanced developed countries. As corporations grew, they became more complex. To deal with complexity, corporations began to divide themselves into divisions that specialised in specific areas of the corporation’s product and geographic portfolio. Over time, the managerial functions of the corporation were separated from the operating divisions, resulting in the creation of a headquarters as a specialised entity dedicated to the management of the corporate portfolio, physically separate from places of production.
Growth of global corporations also meant the growth of “global value chains” - geographic dispersal of the corporate value-adding processes. Global value chains are a manifestation of a corporation’s search for efficiency as it competes for profits and market share. Sourcing of raw materials happening in one part of the world, assembly in second, sales and marketing in third part of the world, while the distribution of finalised products as well as marketing campaigns and materials is often global with (some) local adaptation aka. "glocalization".
Growth of global corporations also meant the growth of “global value chains” - geographic dispersal of the corporate value-adding processes.
In the 1980s, it was primarily global hope-to-be’s who were beginning to stake ground for the future while struggling to figure out how to actually get there. Cool start-ups and aggressively reinvented brands in fashion, technology, and transportation–Nike, Microsoft, Sony, Apple, British Airways, Honda–began to push frontiers and establish brand reputations far in excess of their actual market footprint.
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.
Expansion of the market footprint to global markets, gave rise to global brands
"Going Global " : Global Brands and Global Branding Benefits
The common approach that firms which sought to “go global” did is to extend their domestic marketing strategies to international market. In other words they pursued the standardized 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
Running a consistent global branding reduces the cost and complexity of managing campaigns. Some multinational companies employ different advertising and marketing agencies for each territory. If each agency creates a different campaign for the local market, costs can rise rapidly because of the duplication of effort. By developing a single global branding and advertising strategy, you can reduce the number of agencies you use and eliminate duplicate cost. Global brand management entails using organizational structures, processes, and cultures to allocate brand-building resources globally, to create global synergies, and to develop a global brand strategy that coordinates and leverages country brand strategies. To execute global brand strategies in local markets within a common framework and to reach economies of scale and scope in communication, production of materials, campaign management and execution, many standardize their branding operations.
Idea behind a consistent global brand and branding is that it reduces the cost and complexity of managing campaigns
Global Brand Strategy Execution, Global Brand Paradox and Global Branding Disadvantages
Global branding management and execution requires coordination among countries and the headquarters so that a clear image of the company and its offerings develop – the big picture. Hierarchical relationship between countries and headquarter(s) may vary from a centralised , headquarters leading model where headquarters authoritatively directs and coordinates activities, to an individual market leading model, where countries make majority of decisions and activities while only marginally involving headquarters. Disregarding the relationship typology, all global organisations that follow the global brand as a marketing strategy require a transparent, functional, and efficient operational coordination and implementation architecture that can support the maintenance and growth of an unifying and consistent global brand expression. Unfortunately, in majority, even famously brand driven global organisation this is not the case. Global brand campaign execution architecture stemming from notoriously non-process driven brand function nestled within a complex matrix organisation is often a source of colossal waste of time, money, data and missed opportunities. While global brands benefit the multi-national organisations, their complexity increases costs.
Global - Geo - Region - Country - Retailer : global branding campaign execution
While global brands benefit the multi-national organisations, their complexity actually increases costs.
Branding operations in global organisations that implement global brand as a marketing strategy are an example of a global value chain - geographically dispersed corporate value adding process. 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. Global branding campaign execution as 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 guidelines. This in turn requires multiple, upstream and downstream communication, information and asset flows between headquarters, countries, vendors, all within a time-limited campaigns lifecycle.
Benefits of global branding can be offset by complexity costs of organisational structure and its misalignment
Benefits of global branding such as communication effectiveness through consistency and risk reduction through scaling individual market successes across multiple countries can be offset by complexity costs of organisational structure and its misalignments. Intended lower marketing cost of running a global brand are annulled by higher management costs of underlying organisational design of a global organisation. Global brand paradox—(in)ability to maintain brand consistency and capture economies of scale & scope across borders while leveraging lessons of shared knowledge, without letting complexity get in the way of speed and agility of execution.
Organisational ambiguity in global brand campaign execution
Global brand campaign execution architecture stemming from notoriously non-process driven brand function nestled within a complex matrix organisation is often a source of colossal waste of time, money, data and missed opportunities. The complexity cost of global brand as a marketing strategy is nowhere more evident than in the matrix global organisation that follows a centralised, headquarter leading, global-to-local, (digital) brand campaign execution. It is within these, deadline determined and intensive downstream and upstream campaign information and brand assets flows, that the matrix complexity takes its toll from an already 'weak', non-process driven and non- tailored technology supported, brand function's global operating model.
This in turn requires multiple, upstream and downstream communication, information and asset flows between headquarters, countries, vendors, all within a time-limited campaigns lifecycle.
This particular interplay between (1) global brand as a marketing strategy, (2) global-to-local execution, (3) global organisation with a (4) matrix organisational model, and (5) technology unsupported brand function global operating model, creates a 'perfect storm', exacerbating and bringing to surface negative externalities of underlying elements, that make the global brand campaign execution architecture which produces waste.
Global Branding Execution : Email Chaos, Asset Chases and Late Nights at the Office
Global branding execution as a process is a complex system where geometrically rising number interactions between elements and participants create exponentially rising complexity costs. (In)visible results of organisation induced complexity are hundreds of thousands wasted hours in misalignments between organisational levels (Global - EMEA - Country - Retailers) that take shape of continuous email chains of disconnected information, asset chases and late nights at office. Misalignments also often lead to last minute launches which create additional costs and overtime charges by agencies. Aside of waste of time, energy, process data (insights) and money, significant opportunity costs arise due to the fact that highly paid professionals are trapped in email micro-management of tasks instead of value adding strategic brand building activations
For most if not all global brand organisations - most ubiquitous 'branding software' is 'Microsoft Outlook' inbox.
Process driven digital enablement of branding seems to have bypassed even biggest and very brand driven organisations. Digital evolution seems to have happened only up to the level of DAM solutions - which are basically just digital warehouses for storage of assets. However, operations which involve actual steps of branding, workflows, and especially top-level ones - between geographically dispersed organisational levels which work as virtual teams in global campaign execution, still rely on email as a 'branding software'. That is why, for most if not all global brand organisations - most ubiquitous 'branding software' is 'Microsoft Outlook' inbox.
Email as a global 'branding software' : waste of time, process data and money
Highly paid professionals are trapped in email micro-management of tasks instead of value adding strategic brand building activations
With exponentially rising number of digital touchpoints, business process management technology unsupported global branding function, global brand campaign execution means only one thing : email chaos, asset chases, late nights at the office and overburdened brand mangers and brand directors.
SO DIGITAL - Simplifying Global Branding Execution
To avoid the "global brand paradox" which translates to countless hours of waste in misaligned activities taking form of endless email chains, endless chases of digital assets and continuous organisational executional ambiguity of global branding, global organisation need to both perceive and manage global branding through the lens of supply chain management - look at branding as physical and information flows between headquarters and countries, vendors and partners. The waste of time, in age of digital properties, where We All Compete on Digital Customer Journeys game that requires continuous "feeding of feed" supply of brand content, translates directly to wasted market opportunities. It because of this that we at SO DIGITAL look at global branding and branding operations as a supply chain management challenge and create solutions and services with this perspective in place.
SO DIGITAL provides global brands with both technology solutions and scalable talent resources that help global brands and their headquarters achieve economies of scale and scope and reduce organisational complexity costs in global branding. Our solutions create organisational simplicity and deliver speed & efficiency in execution across markets by standardising and codifying branding operations. We establish clear roles and responsibilities and translate it to platform interface in shape of user levels. We secure process implementation by defining chain of actions with defined goals to be completed by each user level within a predefined time frames and other user action dependencies.
Instead of being buried in endless chain of emails, brand professionals are able to perform all of their campaign execution related tasks in connection to other organisational levels within a simple and aesthetically pleasing interface. Platform is organised with a supply chain perspective and vertical and horizontal process visibility - meaning that all participants see the phases and action points that are time and role relevant with progress stage indicators.
Platform collects both process and output data per defined use - meaning that users can define the desired reporting on campaign success and build upon reports with 3rd party tools. Also that there’s an organisational campaign execution performance metric - how fast or how slow does an organisation roll-out a campaign globally.
Given that the physical (assets) and information flows are centralised and shared among participants each organisational level has a visibility of the progress / stage of the campaign which removes excess emailing on alignment issues.
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.
Anne-Wil Harzing "An Empirical Analysis and Extension of the Bartlett and Ghoshal Typology of Multinational Companies."
Dr. Michael Bloom and Michael Grant The Conference Board of Canada: "Valuing Headquarters (HQs): Analysis of the Role, Value and Benefit of HQs in Global Value Chains"
Stanley M. Davis, Paul R. Lawrence, HBR.org : " Problems of Matrix Organizations" https://hbr.org/1978/05/problems-of-matrix-organizations
Liz Gold, Bizfluent.com, Updated December 15, 2018. " What are the 4 Types of Organizational Structures? " https://bizfluent.com/info-8149155-functional-vs-matrix-organization-structure.html
Patrick Gleeson, Ph. D., Chron.com, Updated January 28, 2019 "Advantages & Disadvantages of Matrix Organizational Structures in Business Organizations"
Stuckenbruck, L. C. (1979). The matrix organization. Project Management Quarterly, 10(3), 21–33.
Andrei Perumal, Stephen Wilson "Wilson Perumal & Company, Inc.", Multiple articles on www.wilsonperumal.com, Books : Growth in the Age of Complexity and Waging War on Complexity Costs (McGraw-Hill)
Craig Gorsline : "Leadership in the Age of Complexity" https://www.thoughtworks.com/insights/blog/leadership-age-complexity
Andrew Sheng and Xiao Geng : "The global age of complexity" http://www.ejinsight.com/20170613-the-global-age-of-complexity/
Steenkamp, Jan-Benedict. (2017). Global Brand Management. 10.1057/978-1-349-94994-6_7.