I remember reading an article in the Financial Times last year that challenged companies to search for a new style of marketer. They weren’t speaking about the latest need for marketers to be both creative and comfortable with data. They were actually referring to the growing need for marketers to stand up to the challenge of taking local brands global. The marketer who understands when local specificities make sense and when they don’t. (Read the article here)
In this networked, global market in which we live, more and more successful local brands are being groomed for global roll-out. What does it take to repeat success at the market level when you launch globally? Here are my five suggestions to help you:
1. Understand the market
This is the basis of any new product launch and applies just as well to global roll-outs as it does to local developments. Today’s consumers are demanding, so find out as much as possible about them, their rational needs but also their emotional desires, whether or not they are articulated. For global roll-outs, an additional information concerning the comparison of similarities and differences between the customers in the local and future markets must also be considered.
2. Understand the category
What does the product stand for in the eyes of your customers? Do those in the new market have the same sensitivities as the ones in the local market where your product has met with success? Will the consumers in the new target market perceive the same benefits in the same way? If not, is this really a potential market, or are you just rolling-out there due to geographic proximity? I am still amazed how many organisations base their roll-out strategy based on geography rather than the customer!
3. Position based on a Human Truth
One of the similarities that brings all consumers together is their basic human needs. Think parenting and wanting the best for your children, used by Nestlé’s Nido and Unilever’s Omo / Persil. Think women and their frustration at not being considered as beautiful as the retouched models in their magazines, used by Unilever’s Dove. Think of men and their need to charm and seduce women, to affirm themselves, used by Lynx / Axe from – you’ve guessed it – Unilever. These are needs that can be found the world over and which can form the basis of a very successful roll-out communication strategy.
4. Can you use your local heritage?
Many countries and regions have strong, stereotyped images that can play to inherent qualities associated with certain product categories coming from them. Think French perfume, Swiss watches, Russian Vodka, Italian fashion, German or American cars, Japanese technology. If your brand has a strong positive association with local tradition or nationality, then make use of it.
5. Don’t (just) think regional
Just because countries are geographically close, doesn’t mean their populations are similar when it comes to category image and usage. When planning product roll-outs, consider how alike the consumers are in terms of values, usage and behaviour as well as category trends, before deciding on the order of country launches. This way you are more likely to be sensitive to and better prioritize the markets most open to the new product launch.
One final comment on global roll-outs. C3Centricity’s partner PhaseOne, wrote a guest post for us a couple of months ago on the risks of implementing global creative. As global communication experts, PhaseOne knows what it takes to succeed in taking communication global. It makes a great complement to this post and you can read it here: “Why Implementing Global Creative is Risky“
Many companies have effectively rolled-out local successes to other countries in the region, if not the world, but many more have failed. What would you add to the list to increase the odds in favour of a regional or global roll-out? I would love to hear your thoughts.
If you would like to know more about improving your branding and communications, then please check out our website: http://www.c3centricity.com/c3c-solution/products-and-services/brand/
Whenever you identify a need to better understand and communicate with your current or future customers, then please contact us; we know we can help catalyze your customer centricity.
This post has been adapted from one that was first publised on C3Centricity Dimensions in January 2012