Building and using global experiences to enhance brand awareness and affinity

When listening to brand experts about how to market and promote brands across cultures and continents the recommendations are often one of balance of opposites.

Be consistent but be mindful of local sensitivities, be borderless but also local, build a single brand but adapt it to local cultures.

That does not provide clear direction of what to do. Yet, some brands seem to have excelled at striking a balance between the science and art of addressing global audiences with local appeals. 

In essence global valuable brands build on four key values: trust, respect, ego and belonging. If one looks at all successful brands they have one or more or even all of these characteristics at their core.

These values and characteristics, although they can manifest themselves in different ways are as near universal as can be imagined.

The brand focus depends on a large extent on its core requirements.

  • Tech Brands such as Apple, Google, Microsoft have a single global persona that fits within the shared values of technology savvy urban youth
  • Luxury and aspirational brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, BMW and Nike build on ego and esteem enhancement as belonging to a selective and “superior” tribe
  • Many Fast Moving Consumer Brands such as Coca-Cola, Nestle, Danone build their brands on family, trust and security.

But increasingly with globally shared information provided by the internet global experiential and group rallying events are core to some brands personas.

This is most noticeably the case for the two most global sporting events The Olympic Games and the Football World Cup. These have been and increasingly are marketing super events capturing over £1bn of marketing spend from many sponsors wanting to establish a more intimate relationship with a global audience of typically young males.

Sports is still one of the most favoured shared global experience chosen by many brands. Covering Tennis, Sailing (Louis Vuitton Cup), Formula One, etc.

One Brand that has taken this to the next level is Red Bull which is targeting niche global adrenaline filled events such as the X Games, Diving, competitive flying and (tongue-in-cheek) soap box racing rallying a tight global group together. Also, it has enabled them to have a huge presence in a segment they are not only supporting but also creating. This strategy has made their brand preeminent not only in that compact segment but also in the broader market by osmosis.

The internet and ease of global communication and interaction are creating many global tribes. “Through the power of technology, age-old obstacles to human interaction, like geography, language and limited information, are falling and a new wave of human creativity and potential is rising”  - The New Digital Age by Schmidt & Cohen of Google.

This quote reflects an optimistic yet curiously deterministic prophecy about the revolutionary potential of the Internet. Such prophecies, common in popular discourse, predict that technologies and institutional structures will shape patterns of global cultural consumption, sweeping away old allegiances based on cultural traits such as language and geography. 

For instance, there is much more in common between IT specialist or gamers in Colombo and London that there is between them and farmers in their respective countries.

Similarly, across Europe focussing on the large urban population in the European Union (including UK, Sweden, France, Greece, Germany, Finland, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Ireland, Denmark and 17 other countries) enables the creation of global but highly targeted advertising. This approach enables brands to target and personalise their brand development and embed them more subtly through experiences and brand ambassadors.

The trend supporting the targeted experiential marketing approach is the increasing importance of social media and key influencers such as superstar bloggers or vloggers such as Chinese vlogger Papi Jiang who recently sold an ad slot for $2m.

This provides brand owners to create or use global targeted events and experiences that will appeal and attract these key influencers and spark positive and excited chatter over the social media airwaves.

Some brands are creating specific global experiences to target highly selected customer groups. Nike promoting women fitness (and the need to wear cool kit) with their Nike Women Races, Microsoft targeting children and tempting them away from WhatsApp with their Microsoft Skype-a-Thon.

Others promote a single event globally such as the Google I/O event by involving key influencers in the event covering all regions and segments.

Some brands with high-status, such as Ray-Band also created targeted global in shop experiential and engagement tours not only to engage consumers but more importantly to embed brand ambassadors embedding their brands in the local community.

Building brand awareness around global events involves the development of three things: the creative aspect, the messaging aspect and the creation of one-of-a-kind experience. These three principal components should work in synergy to attract the key audience and interact successfully.

Created: October 14th, 2016


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