Big Brands Divided – Local or Corporate Advertising?

Guest post by John Thomson, President and CEO of Saepio

When we think of big brands, specifically the management of their reputation and marketing activities, it’s easy to imagine remotely located think tanks with extensive security that could rival Fort Know. But in reality, many of the world’s most well-known companies trust the management of the core of the brand – its assets – to someone else.

It’s easy to understand – and sympathize with – these brands that are stretched across the globe, having to tailor to each region, its customs and culture. I remember being at a CMP conference in 2008 and the CMO of one of the most successful and well-recognized producers of personal computers told a story about how when he got to the company, they had 800 different agencies throughout the globe. Each one was creating and executing totally inconsistent marketing campaigns in the attempt to be more appealing to the local market. And then, they were able to take that number down from 800 to 200, and surprisingly that was a tremendous feat!

Enter the age old question... what’s better? Letting marketers come up with their own, local, relevant campaigns or using repurposed material that “corporate” has created?

The problem with a corporate “one size fits all” is that nine out of 10 times, it doesn’t. You lose an entire market and waste your campaign budget with an irrelevant advertisement. On the other hand, everyone has seen the example of local-led marketing gone wrong – totally inconsistent with the overall look and feel of a brand, which should solicit the same feeling from its customers whether they are in San Juan or Bangladesh. I am a true believer in a happy medium, where guidelines can be set forth to ensure consistency while still making relevant to local consumers.

The solution to a brand divided? Treat content in a rules-based manner and keep your global marketing teams up to date with fresh, relevant content components that they can use. This way, they can assemble marketing campaigns that are compliant and consistent with the brand, while also locally relevant. To accomplish this, global brands have to figure out how to make sure that every marketer in every corner of the globe first has access to these assets and, equally important, knows how to use them. With these processes in place, the need for a local agency is eliminated and brand consistency and integrity is maintained.


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cody beach
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