Content Marketing

Coordinating Global Marketing for One Brand in 23 Countries

As a global brand, you don’t have one global audience. Your audience consists of multiple regional and local audiences. And within each of those audiences are specific stories to capture and tell. Those stories don’t just magically appear. There has to be an initiative to find, capture, and then share them. It takes communication and collaboration. When it happens, it’s a powerful tool to connecting your brand to your specific audiences. So how do you collaborate with teams spanning 23 countries, five core languages, and 15 time zones?

Building a coherent global brand: the reality with a 50-page brand guidelines document

Brand guidelines are important for maintaining a consistent brand. They give your teams insight into the who, what, why, and how of the brand. But a 50-page document of brand standards alone won’t grow a global brand. It’s just one piece that needs to be paired with client stories and the content to communicate them.

Have you invested a significant amount of time and money into a global brand initiative only to find your teams around the globe to be unresponsive?  Big brand guidelines alone won’t engage teams around the world after releasing one. Even if it has all the rules and looks great, it still isn’t coming to life.  And even with the wonderful work that is happening, there’s no real effort to share across countries.

A global brand has to market to local and regional audiences and trust your marketing teams to deliver local marketing campaigns

Your target audience isn’t everyone. There isn’t one collective “global” audience that your team can focus on. Your audience consists of many local audiences. When you’re trying to market to everyone using the same exact language and photographs, you end up with cliché stock photography that no one relates to.  Setting out to empower each marketing team across the 23 countries to capture and share those individual stories, these stories would then become core to the new and improved brand.

Your global story is made up of local stories

A global brand can’t be a one-way street out of the headquarters. Guidance and direction from headquarters is important, but your global strategy shouldn’t ignore the value of those closest to the audience the brand is speaking to. There needs to be an exchange of ideas and content between headquarters and the teams around the globe. This extends your brand’s reach and gives your global teams ownership of the brand.

This kind of “allowing creativity” philosophy not only empowers local teams but provides quality stories and content for other regional teams as well as their headquarters. With more ideas and content sharing, the more coherent and alive the brand becomes.

Connecting marketing teams across 23 countries

When working across 15 different time zones, you can’t rely on calls to be their only means of communication, especially when dealing with developing countries’ infrastructure that can lead to frequently dropped calls. Deploying a self-service model enables teams to access what they need, when they need it.

Teams should set up a digital asset management (DAM) system. A DAM system is an intuitive, accessible place where anyone can access or contribute content. It facilitates the sharing of stories and content. Creating value for these hard working marketers helped grow the system organically, where the standalone brand doc fell flat.

A DAM system functions as the central content hub for all teams. It gives them the power to connect and monitor the content containing the stories they receive, and it easily gives transparency to what other teams are creating. Using a DAM system empowers headquarters, local teams, and others to collaborate — not just work individually.

How digital asset management connects 23 countries

Hiring a local photographer to capture client stories, and using the photos in local marketing campaigns. But it doesn’t stop there. Photographs can be uploaded to the DAM system and reviewed for quality and assigned metadata. They’re then accessible to be used for other subsidiaries, third-party direct mail, and by headquarters for annual reports.  Shifting the focus on empowering their local marketing teams has helped the spread of ideas, deploy marketing campaigns, and share success stories.

Nate Holmes

Nate Holmes is the marketing coordinator for Widen Enterprises and its Smartimage brand extension. Nate has a strong interest in brand management, content marketing, and marketing analytics. Nate enjoys working with people of different backgrounds at organizations of all sizes, ranging from marketing communications teams at larger enterprises to principals of small-to-medium sized businesses.

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