The notion of the global village was brought to the forefront years ago with the wide adoption of the Internet, but the rise of social media has made the village even more compact. This means two things for brands: one – users are in control of brand messages, and two – brands need to make sure the key concepts of branding are easily translated across the globe.
This statement comes from marketing specialist Barbara Kahn, director of the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, who claims that one of the major elements of brand positioning is to understand the global implications of the brand. In an interview published on Wharton´s online business journal, she explained that no matter where a start-up business is located, shaping its brand identity should focus on these global implications.
There are brands with universal appeal, such as Coca-Cola and Toyota, that have managed to sound relevant in most markets they target and it is no surprise that brands like these enjoy a positive perception from international consumers, she added.
However, being relevant everywhere does not mean that the message should be the same everywhere. There are still important differences that should be taken into account, such as variations in cultures and geographical location, which in turn affect the distribution process and the brand positioning.
In conclusion, brands should move away from being product-oriented and focus on becoming consumer-oriented. By keeping the brand´s integrity on the one hand and showing that they care for consumers´ needs on the other, brands can maintain a positive image globally, Kahn stated.