Building and maintaining a consistent message, image, and personality takes a combination of diligence and solid brand management. And while this is true of any business, it can pose a particular challenge for brands that are seeking to go global.
Expansion into new territories invariably means having to open up whole new channels to distribute your marketing material. It means launching location-specific sub-campaigns to hit home with new audiences. What’s more, it almost certainly means that a lot more people are involved in producing branded material, including marketers on the ground and/or, local agencies.
With all of this going on, the idea of maintaining 100% brand consistency may seem too much. Mistakes and oversights are part of life, and it’s impossible to check and sign off every brochure and landing page across the globe. How likely is it that some ‘off-message’ material is going to slip through the net?
The good news is that there’s nothing inevitable about brand inconsistency, even for global businesses. With this in mind, here’s how to ensure that 100% consistency across all markets isn’t just a pipe dream.
Why consistency should be a priority
When the CMO Council asked global marketers to rank the local marketing challenges they were faced with, “keeping messages consistent” topped the list.
Who cares if your US and European customers are receiving distinctly different messages? Does it really matter if your local print ads don’t quite match up with your corporate website?
Most buyers expect to have the same experience across all platforms. And where brands present a consistent message across all their platforms, revenue tends to increase by an average of 23%. To cut through the noise of the marketplace, to build up recognition, and to avoid customer confusion, consistency is something you cannot afford to let slide.
And thanks to the internet and social media, your message is now global – brands can no longer assume that geographic location is enough to guarantee that they’ll only see the content that was published in that market.
Two areas are especially problematic:
Central v local inconsistency.
Consumers should be able to recognize your product branding every time they encounter it. If local marketers are asked to tailor materials to the sensibilities of local audiences, the changes can be made in such a way that there’s a mismatch between your core global campaign and locally produced items – whether colors or logos or fonts.
Cross-channel and cross-market inconsistency.
How many times have you gone into a store looking for an offer but been unable to find it? Examples include discrepancies between social media messaging, print advertising, and in-store displays. It also includes situations where local teams each have their own take on how to adapt centrally-produced assets, resulting in wildly different approaches.
Remember: it’s very easy for customers from a particular market to stumble across material that wasn’t intended for them.
Where brands present a consistent message across all their platforms, revenue tends to increase by an average of 23%.
Staying consistent: how it’s done
Businesses that successfully maintain consistency tend to have two things in common; first off, there’s a strong focus on brand governance. Secondly, there’s a commitment to making it easier for production teams to create consistent content through the right technology. Here’s a closer look at each…
For consistency to be achieved, you need a ‘rulebook’ in the form of comprehensive branding guidelines. These need to be distributed to local teams, agencies, and all other relevant stakeholders.
Each brand also has its building blocks – i.e., brand assets. Examples include key corporate imagery, logos, templates, product spec sheets, and all other raw materials necessary for producing specific items. If different teams are working from different sets of assets, the end result is unlikely to gel. Effective brand governance involves ensuring that all production teams have access to the right assets, right when they need them.
The right technology
With baked-in rules determining what can and cannot be changed on a particular item, intuitive templating allows your teams to adapt items, but in a way that you can control. Through this combination of digital asset management and intuitive templating, Brandgility delivers exactly what you need to ensure global consistency.