Global or regional marketing of a brand is a different kind of marketing. As a result, there are significant differences in how we approach our marketing efforts.
In this day and age, most brands have a reach beyond their borders; we are living in a truly global era. Every brand owner's dream is to become a meaning-laden, attractive, and desirable brand. However, when reaching out to different cultures beyond your own, you need to be aware of certain peculiarities.
First of all, it is a fact that we are all humans (smile) and that our fundamental needs are the same. But the way we satisfy our needs can be very different from one culture to another. Most important of all, when we talk about something, when we mention a word, when we use jargon, when we show a picture, we could mean vastly different things than another person from a different culture. I remember working on a global project and doing qualitative research in five countries – two in Latin America and three in Europe; it was very eye-opening for several reasons. The most critical learning was for me that simple concepts – like beauty – could have vastly different connotations in one country versus another. And I don't mean only that the difference exists between Latin America and Europe. Even between two neighboring regions, there could be significant differences in how they perceive certain things. For example, in one area, beauty could point to natural and balanced; in another, it could mean more health-related, and celebrity culture could dominate in a third area.
Yes, it is a fact that now that the world is more global and billions are connected through social media, the perceptions are getting closer. Nevertheless, years ago, when I was working for Unilever, my Dutch boss at the time told me one day, "never assume." This is the best advice I have gotten in my marketing career – never assume.
So, if you have a brand that you want to reach beyond borders, then you need to make sure that your strategy and communication will make sense and be stickable in other parts of the world. It might sound scary and expensive, but it could be as simple as asking friends, doing some online research, or getting some advice. Even if you don't have any means, knowing what you don't know is the most critical step in any strategy and communication development. Because if you know what you are missing, you will get closer to finding solutions and means to find the needed answer.