February 21st, 2017
Branding in a globalised society
We live, work, eat, sleep and breathe in a globalised world. Everything we do, read and consume is of an international level. There is no escaping it. We have the internet to thank for that. When I first went off stomping the world at the tender age of 18 – the only communication I had with my parents for weeks at a time was through a dusty payphone holding a handful of coins. There was internet then of course – I am not that old. But internet cafes were smelly, full of shady looking characters, and half the keys were missing off the keyboard. “Hi Mum nd Dd, Hving gret time!! Thnks for posting the mrmite.’
I didn’t have the world at my fingertips. I didn’t have a smartphone. Now, we can skype call several different nations at once to discuss the same matter. We can watch hundreds of different New Years celebrations happen within a few hours. Things have moved on. Fast. And things are moving faster. Our greedy consumer natures mean we need this speed. We consume content like a drug, and different time zones, or thousands of miles between us and them, no longer matters.
So what does this mean for brands? Wherever you are located, whatever you selling, whoever your services are aimed at, you are a global brand. Why? Because you will have a digital presence, and this presence is accessible to everyone around the world. And even if you don’t, the world has camera phones… your brand will eventually come online.
Not following me? Have a look at below and you soon will be…
Hence comes the problem of globalising brands. We (thankfully) live in an extremely diverse and eclectic world. You shake your head in the West and it means ‘no’. In India it means ‘yes!’. Give the thumbs up over here and it means ‘Yea! Go for it!’. Well in some parts of Greece and Islamic countries it is an extremely rude sexual gesture. Guinea pigs are a snuggly family pet in the UK, in Peru they are a tasty street snack.
It’s tricky, no, impossible to create a truly universal brand that will appeal and say the same thing to the world. That’s a fact. And you will need to segment and speak to your core audience first. The key people you need to build a relationship and rapport with. That’s a given. You can’t be worrying about what an old man in Asia may be thinking of your latest campaign if it isn’t relevant to him.
But when it comes to naming brands, you really do need to be thinking bilaterally. We worked with a new brand with a big global vision to change the way people buy and sell houses. The new name we chose – Proppio – is a name that is relevant in all languages. It was adapted from ‘Propio’, Spanish for ‘own’. To create a name that was purely bespoke, we added an extra ‘p’ to represent the core vision of bringing together the three ‘p’s: People, Property and Places.
We also work with other global brands such as Forevermark. It’s a daily talk of ours to help their marketing teams act as brand guardians across the organisation bringing a huge range of content in line with the true brand vision, whilst simultaneously making sure that each piece of content of campaign is relevant and sympathetic to that specific culture.
Branding rules have to be bent in most cases, but that’s ok. You are a brand, talking to one person. Make sure that one person wants to continue the conversation in their own language.