Tips for Building an Effective Global Branding Strategy
Think of a well-known, Fortune 500 company. Are they a global brand? The answer likely is yes.
Global branding refers to when companies standardize their marketing and advertising strategies across global markets. Companies that have global brands generally use the same or similar marketing strategies to promote the brand, regardless of location.
Global branding is appealing when a company has an advantage locally or regionally and has its sights set on expanding internationally. The benefits of having a global brand include:
- Expanding your client base: Businesses can boost the number of customers while increasing their profits.
- Creating a competitive advantage: Businesses can stand out from their competitors in similar industries.
- Improving customer awareness: Businesses can spread their products and services through global channels that they previously couldn’t reach.
- Growing brand exposure in new cultures and markets: Businesses have an opportunity to increase foreign investment, gain information about new cultures, and have more access to talent.
To begin adopting a global branding strategy, companies and branding agencies must take a look at their offerings and think critically about how they can develop relative to three key factors:
- Establish a Vision
- Build a Global Audience
- Ensure Alignment & Consistency
1. Establish a Vision
For a company to expand their global brand, it must have a strong brand voice that gives it a clear identity that will resonate with customers all over the world.
For example, AirBnB prides itself on finding the perfect homes and rooms for any trip. Since its launch in 2008, AirBnB has grown from their San Francisco-based operation. The housing platform now offers accommodations in over 100,000 cities and 191 countries.
Their mission is to create a world where everyone can belong anywhere. In this vein, the company repositioned itself in 2016 as a hospitality company, focusing on building “home” experiences for their customers.
To support their vision of world-class hospitality offerings, their global branding strategy relies on community storytelling. This shift has been defined through social media campaigns, television ads, and YouTube videos from ‘superhosts’ all over the world.
Users can see stories from happy guests, quirky hosts, and one-of-a-kind homes all over the globe.
AirBnB’s clear identity as an open community platform has allowed the company to access customers across the world who can use its platform to connect with housing options.
2. Build a Global Audience
To achieve success with global branding, companies need to know what attracts audiences to their product or service.
L’Oréal’s mission is to provide the best cosmetic products to women and men around the world in over 150 countries. The brand strives to highlight one of their key attributes — diversity, making them more appealing to people in different countries.
Their company also focuses on four divisions that complement each other: They creatively combine research and development with strategic, innovative marketing campaigns reach and appeal to different kinds of consumers.
Their strategy of universalization is key to their success globally. The company prides themselves on respecting, capturing, and understanding differences in desires, needs, and traditions.
As a global leader in the cosmetics industry, L’Oréal lines their messaging to promote wellness and diversity – showing their customers all over the world that beauty does come in different looks, shades, and sizes.
3. Ensure Alignment & Consistency
Companies need to ensure consistency in their global branding and messaging to build trust with audiences.
McDonald’s is a classic fast food chain that prides itself on uniformity and adaptability.
The golden arches and iconic red and yellow colors are trademarks of the McDonald’s brand, which is constant in the over 39,000 locations worldwide.
Customers know that they’re getting the same quality and experience at every McDonald’s location, which keeps them coming back.
Along with their traditional look and approach, McDonald’s is one of the more culturally aware restaurant chains.
While traditional American items like the “Big Mac” and “McNuggets” appear on every menu, they adjust their menus to add local cuisine.
In Japan, customers can order a Samurai Burger, which is unique to the area.
The burger, served with a unique side of waffle fries, is smothered in sweet Teriyaki sauce, making it different from other burger options around the world.
Customers know what they’re going to get from traditional menu items, but each of their international locations has food selections that suit the desires of the consumers they serve, making their hold on global audiences strong
Build a Global Branding Strategy That Fits Your Business
For businesses to market themselves as global brands, they must consider several factors:
- Establishing and communicating a strong vision that can resonate with potential customers.
- Catering to specific cultural differences and while remaining true to their values.
- Focus on a consistent message that aligns with their goals and customer expectations to target a larger net of consumers.
Building a global branding strategy is challenging, but committed parties can incorporate their messages and services on a larger scale through creativity, innovation, and strategic ideas.
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