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The Challenges Of Global Branding

Updated: Sep 22



Once a brand achieves success in its domestic market, top management usually explores opportunities to market its brand internationally.  Multi-national companies continuously investigate new opportunities to grow their market share by entering emerging markets. Generally, the most attractive markets have a large, bustling middle-class, limited competition, and a vibrant economic outlook.  


Some of these countries are included in the BRIC nations—Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Other countries that have gained the attention of marketers include several developing members of the EU and oil and mineral-rich nations in Africa. Marketing brands in international markets can be challenging.  Products and advertising that are successful in one country may flop in another country.


Entering a new market without first-hand knowledge can prove disastrous in terms of both the money the company invests and the embarrassment of a poorly planned product launch. One reason that new products fail when launched in new markets is that decision-makers at the corporate level lack cultural knowledge, professional translation skills, and valuable insights into the local market.  This lack of knowledge often is not discovered until after a campaign or website is launched when it is too late.  


For this reason, many companies have decided to control key elements at the corporate offices, while allowing personnel at the local level to have a voice in marketing and other sales and distribution aspects. When a brand goes international, marketers strive for a certain level of consistency that will allow their brand to be recognized throughout the world. People recognize a brand by its quality, aesthetics, packaging, logo, color, font, and even the type of retail outlet.  


Most consumers don’t expect to find premium brands at Walmart. However, because attaining this level of uniformity can be challenging for some companies, they allow a certain level of leeway.  For example, an organization like UNICEF is sometimes challenged when entering primitive markets that don’t have access to radio, television, printing resources, or the Internet.   In such cases, keeping track of how marketing communication is being managed in the field is impossible.  


Thus supervisors must be trusted to make the right choices since they know the local market. Some of the benefits of global branding are a higher number of consumers to reach, increase in brand awareness. It costs much less to create a single global advertising campaign than it would create separate campaigns for dozens of markets.


A global brand also benefits from being driven by a single strategy. First, economies of scale may prove elusive. It is sometimes cheaper and more effective for companies to create ads locally than to import ads and then adapt them for each market. Moreover, cultural differences may make it hard to pull off a global campaign: even the best agency may have trouble executing it well in all countries.


Finally, the potential cost savings from “media spillover”—in which, for example, people in France view German television ads—have been exaggerated. Language barriers and cultural differences have made realizing such benefits difficult for most companies. Developing a superior brand strategy for one country is challenging enough; creating one that can be applied worldwide can be daunting. In my opinion places like Russia will be one of those places that will have more challenges due to the socialist government and the consumers are not like those in North America and other parts of the European Nations.