How can your brand expand internationally, without losing your local identity?


Growing a successful brand in a home market feels great – and whilst a fantastic achievement, once you’ve reached saturation and growth has slowed, you need to look further afield for new opportunities.

International expansion is the next logical step for brands on the up, but this type of growth is not without its challenges. One of the biggest concerns from a marketing perspective is that your core brand values will be diluted – or even lost – as your geographical reach increases. So how can you stop that happening?

Renowned advertising agency, McCann, tackled this question at its recent Global Brands Summit, where industry leaders shared their advice to growing brands hoping to take their company international.

Here are some of the key challenges they discussed – and our advice on how to respond to them, from our experience in the marketing technology sector.

Keep your brand values consistent across all territories…

Chevrolet’s Global CMO, Tim Mahoney, hit the nail on the head at McCann’s Summit when he said that “The basics of steering your brand are the same whether you’re global or local: making sure that you’re relevant; making sure that you’re understood; making sure that you’re consistent”.

 When it comes to international growth, the most successful brands have a core set of values in place before embarking on new markets, and a clear marketing strategy that can be used across all territories.

Without a strong set of values and a strategy in place, it’s easy for marketing campaigns to become disjointed when you’re launching them in multiple markets – Whether you’re bringing local marketing teams on board, or working with independent regional agencies, your ability to communicate and manage them effectively is critical to your success.

One way to make sure those values and guidelines are clearly communicated to new partners in international territories is to invest in a global brand deployment platform, which will enable your head office team to work seamlessly with regional marketers. Not only that, but it’s also highly scalable, so you can easily bring in new teams as your overseas growth continues.

…but give regional teams the power to localize their content

 Although a single, global strategy is essential to world domination, this doesn’t mean that every market should be doing the same thing. As Mastercard’s EVP Marketing and Communications, Cheryl Guerin, mentioned at McCann’s Summit, “local brands…need to really understand who they are and if their values can travel”.

While brand consistency is vitally important to your successful growth, a ‘one size fits all’ approach to campaigns can be too broad. The risk is that, by trying to be relevant to every potential customer in every country, you end up resonating with no-one.

That being said, rarely should your regional marketing team or agency need to create their own campaign from scratch in order to drive sales. Your core marketing campaigns might not travel wholesale, but they can become highly relevant with a few expert tweaks.

A global brand deployment platform can assist you here, as your central marketing team can develop collateral templates with editable sections for regional teams to localize.

Using their in-market knowledge, they can adjust the content to appeal to potential customers – and with McCann research showing that 56% of consumers trust local brands over global brands, a few strategic edits could make a massive difference to your campaign ROI.

Best of all, any changes can be made within global brand guidelines, for complete consistency.

Give every marketer the platform to create authentic campaigns

 Enabling regional teams to adapt content for their target audience is also important in helping your brand to build consumer trust in new markets. And that trust is there for the taking.

“consumers still believe in the power of brands and companies to act in a positive way – and they, in fact, trust global brands and corporations more than institutions, political bodies or other organizations”.

Suzanne Powers – Global Chief Strategy Officer, McCann

All too often, international marketing campaigns fail because brands struggle to communicate their core values with regional teams; they do not share or store the campaign assets in a methodical manner; and, even if they do share them successfully, they cannot give local staff the power to tweak content to appeal to that market.

Using a global brand deployment platform to manage your campaigns will ensure that every marketer in each territory you explore knows exactly what’s going on at any point in time.

Not only that, it affords your senior team greater control at a global level. You know exactly what each regional arm of your business should be doing, and you have the transparent communication channels in place to quickly iron out any glitches.

This slick, cohesive approach will show in the quality of your campaign execution, no matter how many countries you expand into, and ensure that no off-brand collateral ever makes it to market.

Technology gives your content the scalable platform it needs for global growth

Ultimately, successful international expansion relies on having strong local values that can work globally, and communicating those clearly to new audiences. And you need a strong working relationship between head office and local marketing teams to achieve this.

Technology can enable this relationship by creating a central portal for issuing instructions, a place to share collateral, and a means of approving campaign assets. And it can do this in a scalable way – so you can just keep adding in new teams or agencies as your global reach grows.

With Brandgility’s help, your brand can go global

For brands eyeing overseas expansion, Elateral’s Brandgility global deployment platform is the ideal technology to turn your growth plans into reality.

We’re already helping brands all over the world to unite their network of marketers within a single campaign strategy – just take a look at our case study page.

To find out how we can help your business go global without losing your local brand values, discover Brandgility for yourself.

We’d love to show you around.  Complete the form below and we’ll give you a quick live demo.


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