How to Protect Your Brand Integrity in a Global Market
A business will always strive to keep its brand in the spotlight. In today’s dynamic and competitive market, it’s becoming more and more difficult to achieve this. With the massive advancements in marketing that are brought on by the internet, keeping brand integrity and recognition up has become an imperative rather than an optional move.
As a business grows, it requires new consumers and business connections in order to support that growth. Expanding into new markets is the best way to achieve this. Unfortunately, different markets beget different marketing strategies. It’s not as simple as copying your original idea and translating it into a different language when working overseas. The harsh truth is that the business must adapt its strategy in order to succeed in international markets.
Succeeding in this venture requires strengthening the brand in different ways, while also providing your business with the means to spread on its own in these areas. The content must be optimized to fit local markets without compromising the success and recognition of the global brand. To achieve this, you have to keep a few key things in mind.
1. Define your global imperatives
When you want to localize content, you have to get more specific as you go. What kind of changes do you want to see on a local level when compared to the ones you’ve already made on a global level? Decide on negotiable and non-negotiable aspects of your brand identity and go from there. Customization is a big part of spreading your company’s global identity, which is why these lines need to be set in advance.
How will your company be named in another area? You might not think that consistency in naming is important when it comes to small details. Whether it’s going to be called “company” or “ company inc.” doesn’t seem like it could affect the brand recognition. However, even the tiniest of changes can have a huge impact on international markets. Consumers like consistency, which is why your remote team needs to be careful when they introduce something relatively new.
Cultural differences might warrant some flexibility in terms of visual and textual branding. Look no further than the Colgate naming scandal in Spain. Languages differ, which means that you need to keep language barriers in mind when applying your marketing strategies overseas. Logos are not exempt from this. Visual art encounters just as much variation when you cross different borders. Colors and shapes are interpreted differently in some cultures, which means that your brand has to be adapted to match these different expectations.
2. Protect your brand’s visual integrity
When someone talks about your brand, you want them to have a clear image of what your brand represents in their mind. A strong visual identity is something that makes your company stand out. In today’s competitive business market, it’s crucial that your brand sets itself apart from the others in the field and provides consumers with something that will put it on the map.
When you’re working on strong visual identity, you’re not just looking at brand logos and banners. Those are extremely useful assets for your business, but they aren’t the central theme, they’re just one part of the visual image. Instead, you have to work on creating a cohesive brand story, no matter where your business takes you. Have consistent and strong messaging across every possible channel of communication. Everyone needs to be in on the plan. Whether your marketing experts are working on giving you a platform on Twitter or just handing out flyers, the language you use has to be consistent and powerful enough to stick.
When properly applied, visual integrity can give your brand recognition and increased value. If your brand is easy to recognize, it becomes more trustworthy, which makes it more appealing for the average consumer.
3. Asses opportunity and risk
There’s no handy guide that can tell you what kind of digital marketing strategy is best. It depends on a multitude of factors that can differ between brands. Your own brand needs a unique strategy that will make it really stand out, but not harm it in any way. Coming up with one is difficult, but doable.
Despite the many differences between marketing content strategies for brands, there are some universal truths that apply to all of them. For starters, you need to remember that content isn’t just content. There’s a huge difference between “content” and the media that you carefully craft in order to match the integrity of your brand. Well-executed content is something that you need for your brand’s marketing, as it can significantly boost the business’s success in the long run. If it lines up with your vision for the brand, you can be sure that it’s the right choice.
Unfortunately, nobody can accurately predict the effect certain content will have on consumers in a different local environment. Even the greatest experts in the field have been wrong countless times. It’s a matter of learning from trial and error. Your best bet would be to take the opportunities that you are given and use them. On the other hand, make sure that you focus on staying consistent with the strategy. A better opportunity that doesn’t match up with your general idea might not be worth the effort. Being consistently above average will net you better results than being excellent once in a while.
4. Determine the rules and enforce them
You have to determine what sets your brand apart from the competition. It’s a long, arduous, and creative process that requires quite a bit of dedication on your part. Once you’ve concocted a solid marketing plan, you might think that the worst is behind you, but there’s still a lot more work to be done.
How do you enact your plan of action? It sounds a lot easier than it really is. You can’t just send everyone in the company a memo and hope everything turns out just fine. Instead, you have to approach it with some strategic planning. Delegate some of the work towards the local managers. Your global strategy needs someone that will enact it according to your specifications. This person is called a digital steward. Often, this title is given to a high-ranking member of your marketing department.
Their job is to ensure that the plans of the C-suite leadership are properly maintained within their own domain. There are many things that they must review in order to apply the desired strategy. An audit must be done on all of the released content so far, in order to determine what changes need to be applied to specific areas. They should also look into proper international trademark registration for the country in question, in case the laws differ compared to the original country of the business.
5. Decentralize the brand content
A one size fits all line of thinking won’t get you anywhere in the global market. The truth is you need to decentralize your content when expanding into different markets. If your company wants global brand recognition like the likes of Apple and Pepsi, it’s going to need to adapt and compromise in certain areas.
Nobody can argue against keeping the brand identity and integrity under tight control, but the way it’s expressed needs to be given some leeway. Local preferences need to be given priority when it comes to advertising campaigns for your brand. Content creation is a lot more complex than just making interesting things to read and look at. It’s a combination of art and math. Take into account the preferences of your target demographic in an area before you decide to act. Better yet, decentralize the choices for content creation and make use of talent abroad. The central authority of the business should retain full control of the brand image, but the way the image is displayed through various types of content should be left to individual markets.
You might be wondering to what degree it is okay to decentralize your brand integrity decisions. There is no simple answer to this question, as there are many factors to consider beforehand. For example, certain countries might have different regulations in terms of privacy and advertising ability. While pharmaceutical companies are free to advertise their products in the United States, European pharmaceutical companies are not allowed to do so. The rules must be upheld as violations can incur hefty fines.
Improving your brand’s integrity while expanding across multiple markets is a very difficult task that requires thorough planning and perfect execution. In order to reach a high level of success in the global market, your brand needs to make use of every possible strategy. Marketing isn’t as simple as it sounds, which is why it’s very important that you educate yourself and your marketing experts in the many things that can help your business expand. Once you’ve made use of some of these ideas, you are sure to propel your brand to new heights in markets that it has only recently been introduced to.