May 31, 2010
Before going to the topic in depth it is prerequisite to know about what actually meant by branding a product and most importantly why it is required. Nonprofessionals may think of a brand as just a logo or a package but actually it is really an aggregation of all the physical and emotional characteristics of a company, a product, or a service encountered by the consumer at all points of contact. Branding is important because it communicates a brand’s business proposition and, hopefully, a reason why a consumer should desire the product represented by the brand.
The most successful visual expressions of a brand embrace its core attributes and seek to establish a positive emotional relationship between the brand and its audiences, both internal and external. Building a local, regional, or national brand with a clearly defined and understood target audience is difficult enough, but the challenges increase geometrically when a global brand is at stake.
Before a building a solid foundation companies must determine the brand’s core attributes, personality, and positioning by appraising its market category, target consumers, and competitors, as well as the attitudes and beliefs of their own employees. In addition, governmental legislation and taxation, political issues, social and environmental pressures, cultural differences, local customs, religious restrictions, consumer tastes, and different languages will need to be considered.
Creation of a captivating name, word mark, or symbol is first step. The name must be pronounceable in all languages and dialects, free of negative connotations, and not confusingly similar to existing names such as Apple. Brand identity and distinct positioning messages are best communicated across all countries through packaging and graphics that are as standardized as reasonably possible. People now-a-days tend to recognize brands first by their signature color schemes and unique graphic elements and second by their names.
Second issue in this regard, the quandary of country association. Some global brands are strongly associated with their country of origin. Indeed, in certain categories this is part of the essence of the brand. It is up to companies either to emphasize these associations to their advantage or to recognize that their path to brand success is to be found by trying to embody the world’s cultural differences into their brand for example Yahoo who subtly modifies both content and communications for each of its 23 country-specific sites.
Thirdly, taking into regard cultural tastes and differences means beyond the product or service itself, the visual identity of the brand also faces problems of acceptance. A color or a design that achieves a positive result in one country may not have the same effect in another. Although the package or logo must portray the products or company’s values, attributes, personality, and positioning, it must also ensure that cultural tastes and differences are taken into account. In other words, a global brand must retain its autonomy while also adhering to local sensitivities.
Fourth is the worth of Physical packaging in the global branding. The distinctive shape of a package can become so recognizable that it often becomes the cornerstone of a brand’s advertising. Shape equity is one of the more difficult assets to acquire, especially on a global basis, but once established it can be a powerful visual tool.
An effect of environmental and social pressures comes on the fifth number and its mean that do not just stop at packaging. Consumers are also becoming more aware of how their products are obtained, grown, produced and disposed off.
The hottest issue is currently like always different government legislation of consumer packaging from country to country on sixth. Marketers will find that governmental control in matters of package labeling can differ greatly from country to country. In the United States, for instance, much of the copy on package labels (in particular, product descriptions, net weight statements, and health or nutritional claims) is tightly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Other countries have package-copy guidelines that are either much more lenient or very different from those in the US, and this creates an obvious hurdle for consistent global communication.
Last and seventh step is the economies of scale which actually an advantage of a unified global branding policy. But keep in mind that a company has to make sure there is open communication and balance among all international participants (marketing, production, design, printing, advertising, promotion, and so forth) and that all points of view are listened to and respected early on in the process. The bigger and more well known a brand is around the world, the more important it is to build a spirit of teamwork among all who will have a stake in protecting the long-term equity of the brand, while still allowing tactical local action to optimize short-term revenues.
The final conclusion is doing in global branding that great brands tap into basic human needs and aspirations. There can be no stronger global brand platform than one that speaks directly to customers and improves their lives.
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